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Promoting Gay Marriage at Notre Dame

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NOTRE DAME, IN — The Gay Film Festival and the lesbian-themed Vagina Monologues are gone for now, but we have just been given a new and even more troubling example of what is likely in store in wake of the university’s approval of a gay student organization.

The Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s (GALA) was recently permitted to present on campus a program featuring the married gay Episcopalian bishop Eugene Robinson and his promotion of gay marriage and assault on the Church’s teaching on homosexual sex.

The GALA Gay Marriage Promotion

On April 6 in the business school, GALA presented a film on the life and homosexual love of the gay Episcopal bishop Eugene Robinson. The event was presided over by the bishop himself.

We will return to GALA in more detail in a later bulletin about the university’s approval of a gay student organization. For now, it is enough to say that GALA strives to establish a presence on campus in various ways and to advance gay student interests at Notre Dame and that it has enjoyed considerable success.

The most celebrated prize, of course, has been the recent university approval of a gay student organization, but GALA itself has established beachheads. For example, it organized an entirely lop-sided panel presentation on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy, an event we will describe in a future bulletin.

The inroad it made this time is its most significant by far. The film that Bishop Robinson and GALA presented in the business school on April 6, “Love Free or Die,” is an important weapon in the drive for gay marriage and the repudiation of the teaching of the Catholic Church that homosexual sex is sinful.

It is enough to view the trailer to see what it is about. It opens with the declaration “Gene Robinson is Married,” and in the trailer and other parts of the film Bishop Robinson explains why this is to be applauded.

Proclaiming “I have God’s voice,” the bishop declares, “The church, the synagogue, and the mosque have gotten this all wrong.” After the Catholic hierarchy is listed among opponents, he continues, “It is not right what the churches have done to us.” “The church has been wrong before,” he insists, “and it’s wrong again.” Those who believe in justice should “fight the religious sources.”

Why did the university approve the use of university facilities to bring to students this message through one of its most prominent ecclesiastical voices?

Because the university considered it “an academic event.”

So we were told by the university spokesman, who wrote: “A film on a subject of considerable importance in our society with a personal appearance by the subject of the film would be considered an academic event,” and accordingly the request by a faculty member for this use of business school space was approved.

We refrain from speculating on how far this value-free standard will take the university beyond an attack on the Church’s teaching on sodomy and promotion of its seal of approval by the state. It is enough that the policy goes that far.

In light of this expansive definition of “academic event,” what, really, will it mean for the university to have given assurance that the activities flowing out of the gay student organization will conform with Church teaching?

Father Jenkins’s Role

It seems unlikely that Fr. Jenkins would discriminate against the new student gay organization by barring activities open to others. (And if he did it wouldn’t matter anyway since the students could act through their supporters.)

Accordingly, we asked the university if Father Jenkins had been involved in this decision.

The university declined to answer. Its spokesman explained, “We don’t comment on internal discussions among administrators.”

To be sure. But, as we responded, we did not, and would not, ask for that. As we wrote, we “simply asked whether Fr. Jenkins knew about this decision, whether he played some role.”

You may draw your own inferences. To us, the likely one is that Father Jenkins was at least aware of the matter but does not want to acknowledge it. In any case, he knows of it now, and he did not take this opportunity to declare that he will not permit such a promotion of gay sex and assault on the Church to take place again.

In contrast, St. Mary’s turns GALA out

Patrick Mangan, the executive director of Citizens for Community Values of Indiana, has informed us that after he wrote the president of St. Mary’s, Dr. Carol Mooney, about the GALA dinner that was scheduled for the St. Mary’s campus after the Notre Dame affair, she revoked permission. The dinner, at which the GALA Thomas Dooley award was given to Bishop Robinson, was held elsewhere.

The GALA Student Dance

That same evening gay students, in GALA’s words, were invited to “dance the night away at the beautiful Beiger Mansion in Mishawaka.” The event was mentioned, but not described, in the Notre Dame Observer.

The newly elected president of the student body, a public advocate of gay marriage, critic of “abstinence only” sex education for high school students, and principal student promoter of the gay student organization, attended and gave a glowing account to The Observer.

GALA and The Grotto

The GALA weekend concluded with prayer at the Grotto.

The Evangelium Vitae Award Dinner

In a striking illustration of Notre Dame’s inherently unstable dual personality, almost contemporaneously Notre Dame pro-life leaders and supporters gathered in impressive numbers at the celebratory annualEvangelium Vitae award dinner.

This year’ award — a striking medal and a $10,000 prize, went to Mother Mary Agnes Donovan and the Sisters of Life.

This increasingly prominent award and dinner is one of the initiatives of the Notre Dame Fund for the Protection of Human Life. As we have reported, this is the organization that was born of an agreement between the university and Mr. Bill Dotterweich, the founding alumnus, which the university has now repudiated by refusing to accept further donations to the Fund.

(We do expect this annual event to continue until the Fund has exhausted its resources and even thereafter under the aegis of the Center for Ethics and Culture and the new university Fund for Life located within the Center — as long, that is, as Professor Carter Snead remains the Center’s director and the administration does not move the new Fund from the Center. As we observed in our full analysis of this unhappy episode, neither condition is assured beyond the near term.)


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We commend the administration on these actions:

Appointments. The university has appointed two accomplished faculty members who contribute significantly to the school’s Catholic mission as directors of important institutes: Brad S. Gregory as director of the Institute for Advanced Study and Paolo Carozza of the Law School as director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. We congratulate Professor Carozza also for Chile’s award to him of its highest award to foreign citizens for his leadership in the drive for human rights.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan as commencement speaker. Given the choice of President Obama as the 2009 commencement speaker, Cardinal Dolan’s selection this year is both especially welcome and another indicator of the warring Catholic and secular elements within the school’s character.


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