Serpentine! Serpentine!


Under the pressure of public scrutiny, Notre Dame has backed off facilitating surgical abortion though its employee FSA. But so far they have held their ground with cut-rate sterilization, abortifacients, contraceptives.

NOTRE DAME, IN — In the wake of our bulletin of yesterday disclosing that the university has made expenses for abortion, sterilization, abortifacients, and contraceptives reimbursable to employees under the university’s  Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan, the university has hastily reversed itself respecting abortions – but not sterilization, abortifacients,  contraceptives, or sex change surgery, for that matter.

The university sent this notice to employees yesterday:

Update: Coverage Clarification & New FSA (Flexible Spending Account) maximum Qualified health expenses for FSA medical accounts are medical and dental expenses as outlined in IRS Publication 502, except for abortion services.
The spotlight of publicity worked this time, partly, anyway. The iniquitous expansion of FSA coverage was a deliberate decision that, given its radioactivity, was presumably made at a high level. In any case, it reached that level on November 6, when Bill Dempsey emailed the university’s general counsel and an assistant vice president about the matter.

He received no reply, no expression of appreciation for bringing the matter to their attention, no pledge to take action.  Only after our bulletin began drawing intense interest on and off campus and  triggering press inquiries was there what looks a lot like damage control scrambling.

It is sobering to consider that Notre Dame would be involved in facilitating surgical abortions had its change in policy not been exposed; and even after deliberation it has continued its offer of cut-rate sterilization, abortifacients, and contraceptives through its FSA. Include sex change surgery in that list, since expenses for such surgery is tax deductible and the IRS bulletin that now governs Notre Dame’s FSA covers all deductible medical expenses.

While of course the partial reversal is welcome, this remains another episode bewildering in its ham-handed management and, in combination with the university’s sanctioning the free provision of abortifacients and contraceptives to students and employees, deeply depressing for the indifference it shows  to the sacredness of human life and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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12 Responses to “Serpentine! Serpentine!”

  1. STEVEN MARTINEK (ND 1971, NDL 1974) January 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    “The most legitimate, primary vital irreplaceable facet of the academic, athletic, social action, and research brand of the University of Notre Dame, has always been and will and shall remain, our core Catholic identity, history and tradition—our very soul!” The current administration compromises and imperils our core at true “millstone risk.” Shame on them–and, sadly, shame on us! Steve Martinek 71, 74

  2. This is yet another example of Notre Dame’s “progressive agenda” that has been pervasive throughout the University for many years! It started with Father Hesburgh and the Land of Lakes Conference. I am all in favor of Notre Dame becoming a preeminent, world class University, but not at the cost of losing it’s Catholic core values. They should not be mutually exclusive!

  3. richard griffin '60 November 28, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Where is the uprising? It appears that the Chairman, the President and the majority of Fellows, Trustees, students, professors and other employees have what they want, except perhaps for surgical abortion. Not to worry, a high percentage of abortions are achieved chemically anyway. Hard to comprehend. How sad!

  4. A copy of this document:
    which denies the Sanctity of the marital act including within The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, and thus denies that God Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage, should be given to every Priest at Notre Dame and they should be asked why they believe this document represents The Catholic Church’s teaching on sexual morality and respect for the inherent Dignity of our beloved sons and daughters.

  5. Still staunch competition with Georgetown for bottom of the barrel in authentic educational systems. Fr. Hesburgh would be impressed. Another sad day within and below the omnipresence of our Lady.

  6. Bill Dotterweich November 26, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Is there not one – – – not even one – – – trustee who will speak up on this matter ?? Are they all jellyfish, so comfortably ensconced in their bubble of like minded, self-congratulatory peers that they lack the spine to speak out publicly?? Do they fear risking their preferred seating at sporting events ?? Are their resumes that important to them ??

    Many years ago, after I had made a (at that time significant) donation to Notre Dame, I was asked if I would be interested in Board membership. I declined. Good decision. I saw the board (save for the Fellows) as just an advisory get-together. It was unclear to me then whether their input was ever taken seriously. Still unclear.

  7. William J. O'Connor November 25, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    . Dialogue has done nothing. Marches have done nothing. Prayer has done nothing.The possible reversal of Roe v. Wade will do little, as relentless advances of science surpassed our dialogue long ago, and mothers will find abortion friendly states.
    61 million innocent, defenseless unborn children are dead, some with Notre Dame’s policy of participation. Only effective action may prevent more of this, and.we are already too late. Unless we act now, we cannot help the next 61 million, and moderation of speech will contribute to Notre Dame’s “success”

    William J. O’Connor
    Class of 1974

  8. Silence, silence. If someone had absconded with some money from Notre Dame, you can be sure some university whistleblower would have said something about that. Someone would have contacted the bishop, if they knew a small town priest was having an affair with the woman who lives next door to the rectory, and it was causing a scandal in the small town. The omerta-the mafia word for a code of silence, is deafening at Notre Dame and sadly shows us where our clergy stand at Notre Dame, and sadly, none of them will stand to protect the life of an unborn baby from legalized murder. There haven’t been any priestly-altar boy scandals we know of at Notre Dame, but this silence, this omerta, when you know something very bad is going on and you say and do nothing is the same brand of mortal sin. It’s the death of the Catholic Church in America, at a place where the Church allegedly claims to do its thinking, and we are all watching it happen from front row seats. Catholic clergy at Notre Dame stand for nothing and their vows mean nothing. There is no fight and no fiber in the clergy at Notre Dame.

  9. John McNamara '86 November 23, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Dear Bill and Sycamore Trust Friends: I am deeply troubled by what we have been witnessing, as a benefit of the Sycamore Trust’s reporting over the last month. Thank you for your moral courage in reporting on the Obamacare/abortion scenario at Notre Dame. I think you and Mr. Simboli have taken a very professional, clinical, legal/business like approach to your reporting, which I respect. I am going to go in a different direction again, as a person who has suffered as the result of dishonesty and cover-up by people in high ranking positions, which I think is part of the overall picture in this Obamacare/abortion scenario at Notre Dame. I think Mr. Joubert made a very relevant point in his last email to the group, and, like Richard Creedon, being a reader whose writing frequently “awaits moderation” I want to look at this situation from a different perspective.
    My great great grandparents left Ireland in the second half of the 1800’s, at great expense and at the price of never being able to see family members, friends and our homeland ever again because of English laws in Ireland that made it impossible to go to school, own land and have a good job if you didn’t convert from being a Catholic to being a Protestant. Photos were rare then and few of us can imagine the magnitude of the decision to leave your entire family history behind forever, likely to never be seen again. Their Catholic faith and personal integrity and the future of their souls and their family was that important to them.
    As a result of your reporting this week, we have learned that some high ranking official at Notre Dame (wink, wink) who desperately wants to remain anonymouse, was willing to pay an abortion doctor insurance money collected from the University of Notre Dame, to kill innocent babies with a scalpel or a syringe full of saline into the babies’ skulls. That money comes from all of us, alums, students, employees and clergy. Despite Bill Dempsey’s letters to the University’s attorney and vice president about this moral outrage, the University has chosen to remain silent, ALWAYS, ALWAYS THE SIGN OF DISHONEST PEOPLE AFRAID OF GETTING CAUGHT DOING SOMETHING THEY DON’T WANT OTHERS TO KNOW ABOUT. The University has now partially changed its policy, but is still paying Notre Dame money to be used for abortion pills and other items the Catholic Church preaches against.
    In the midst of this, Father Jenkins and Father Malloy (President Emeritus) have failed to condemn and apologize for this “mistake”/moral outrage that goes against the Ten Commandments, all Catholic doctrine and their priestly vows. Fr. Malloy and Fr. Jenkins, and all Holy Cross priests, sisters and brothers took an oath to the Catholic Church, similar to a marriage vow, to remain faithful to Catholic doctrine and spread the faith, not to be cool frat boys and girls and cover for each other and follow a mafia-like “omerta” code of silence. Let’s say an anonymous “Fr. I” made the decision to pay the abortion doctors, with Notre Dame money, to kill babies. Every member of the clergy at Notre Dame, from Fr. Malloy, to Fr. Jenkins, to Fr. Miscamble, to Bro. Joe and Sister Mary has the strongest imaginable moral obligation to contact their bishop, or the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to report what is going on at Notre Dame and request an investigation of whomever made these decisions about paying for abortion at Notre Dame. To not do so is the equivalent of being a Dartmouth frat boy, knowing of date rapes, sexual harassment, drug use and cheating, and saying nothing and covering it up. It’s called “complicity” in the law. You have the power to stop a very great mortal sin and you are allowing it a second chance to occur at a later date at Notre Dame again, with your cowardly silence. I hate to write that, many clergy may not have been directly involved, but at Notre Dame we all know someone in the clergy made this decision. This anonymous “Father I” has essentially been caught having an extra-marital affair with another religion, liberal secular humanism, because he is no longer committed to, and finding satisfaction in, his relationship with the Catholic religion. The moral upbringing of his flock, the lives of hundreds of babies, and the reputation of the Catholic Church for honesty are at risk, while you cowards look the other way and are remaining silent and are not asking the USCCB to investigate. “Fr. I”, like Fr, Curran at the Catholic University of America, will be able to find another home, better tailored for him, whether it be the Univ. of So. Cal or SMU, but Fr. I does not belong at Notre Dame spreading his secular humanism and waiting to sneakily impose it again in the middle of the night on the Catholic Church and the University of Notre Dame, when no one is looking, and placing YOU in the position of covering for him like a gang member or a good police officer having to cover for a dishonest officer. Do the right thing and ask for an investigation. Fr, I is only going to be emboldened if you don’t, and will try to sneak this action into place again in the future, when Bill Dempsey is no longer around. Please simply do the right thing, not the cool thing or the “omerta” thing, do the honest thing and what you took a religious vow to do, and don’t wait for Fr. Malloy or Fr. Jenkins to lead the way, they have had the chance and have chosen omerta. Stand for something and love the Church like all our Irish and Catholic ancestors did.

  10. Charles van Ravenswaay November 22, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Deeply……deeply disturbing…….another step away from the eternal truths at the core of our faith……another degradation of the sanctity of life.

  11. Things do not look good. However, it is important to realize that ND is an academic institution. As such, it is necessary for relevant groups and individuals *on campus* to find ways to voice intellectual challenges to the university’s decisions. This could be op-eds, lectures, symposia, and challenges to members of the C.S.C. order about the relevant issues. And to make sure these challenges get media attention. After all, ND is now run as a big business, and businesses are attuned to public perception and shirk negative attention.

    The philosophical and theological vacuity of the rhetoric surrounding Notre Dame’s official pronouncements need to be challenged. As for example, the risible claim that providing abortifacients and other contraceptives is necessary to accommodate religious pluralism, an argument that could just as well rationalize the university cooperating with the local PP to provide surgical abortions. After all, at Notre Dame one will find any number of people who support the latter and who think they can do so on the basis of their “religious” views.

    I do hope that a very public critique, emanating from the ranks of concerned persons on the campus, and with suitable national media coverage, will help bring national focus on the issue of abortifacients, as well as to issue of how closely intertwined contraception in general is intertwined with abortion. Far more needs to be done to educate the public about the ethical, medical, and legal aspects of abortifacients and other contraceptives. What better place than at ND, given its prominence as a Catholic place, however erstwhile.

    To underscore the point in the bulletin above, two points.

    1. It is worth considering how FSA coverage provides a de facto university *subsidy* for actions deemed immoral by the Catholic tradition.
    2. It is also worth taking a look at the language at
    …which suggests that the university’s moral stances on a number of issues suddenly change as the second hand sweeps past midnight on Dec. 31, 2017. Read it closely. What was previously precluded in the FSA’s in 2017 is suddenly no longer precluded, with the exception of surgical abortion, which concession had to be extracted this week via pressure on the university, which refuses to talk to concerned alumni.

    There are others who are far more expert, but persons wanting one starting point for analysis may find of interest the article “Abortive Contraceptives and Pro-Life Rhetoric” It links to various resources.

  12. I can only conclude that Notre Dame is completely unacceptable as a place to send any of my children to study. If abortion is acceptable so is every sin possible, and hell will be the payment for anyone involved in causing the damnation if the young, or Jesus was a fanatical liar.