Conveniently Blind

Blind to moral consequences, #NotreDame will operationalize Fr. Jenkins's contraceptive culture through its wellness center. #GoCatholicND Click To Tweet

The university has now disclosed the unsettling details of its contraception program. Coverage will include drugs that cause abortions; they will be prescribed and provided through the campus wellness center; and abortifacients will be provided free for several more months and cut-rate until the end of the year. The program is described in three online sources: FAQs for employees, FAQs for students, and a formulary of drugs and devices to be covered. This distressing episode becomes worse as the program unfolds.

Abortifacient effect of approved contraceptives.

In announcing his decision to include contraceptives in the University’s health plans for students and employees, Father Jenkins made a point of saying that only “simple contraceptives” would be covered — only those, that is, that “prevent conception.” No doubt he wanted people to believe that Notre Dame was not running afoul of the Church’s teachings on abortion: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception” (Catechism 2270).

But when it came time to specify the approved contraceptives, Father Jenkins’s “simple contraceptives” morphed into contraceptives whose “primary purpose is to prevent conception.

One immediately wonders what the unmentioned “secondary” purpose might be. Since that purpose is to cause abortions, it is scarcely surprising it was left unstated. The incriminating fact is that the many hormonal contraceptives covered in the Notre Dame plan have a “fail safe” abortifacient function. The American Life League explains that such contraceptives act as abortifacients when they fail to prevent conception because they alter the lining of the uterus “causing the woman’s body to reject the living human embryo.”

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute concurs, declaring that if life begins at conception — as the Church of course teaches — “not just some hormonal methods but all of them” can cause abortions.

Now consider the first contraceptive in Notre Dame’s formulary and another chosen at random:

  • Altavera. “This combination hormone medication is used to prevent pregnancy. It contains 2 hormones: a progestin and an estrogen. It works mainly by preventing the release of an egg (ovulation) during your menstrual cycle. It also makes vaginal fluid thicker to help prevent sperm from reaching an egg (fertilization) and changes the lining of the uterus (womb) to prevent attachment of a fertilized egg. If a fertilized egg does not attach to the uterus, it passes out of the body.
  •  Levonorgestrol. “It works mainly by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. It may also work by preventing fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg) or by preventing attachment (implantation) to the womb (uterus).”

This taking of human life is called “embryocide,” and Notre Dame is evidently willing to facilitate it provided it is not as frequent as with the abortifacient “morning after” pills, which are excluded from the Nore Dame policies. It is a distinction without a principled difference.

The Continued Subsidization of Abortifacients

But Notre Dame is not by any means through with abortifacients. By delaying invoking the exemption from the Obamacare mandate offered last year by the Trump administration, Notre Dame is requiring its insurers to provide employees with abortifacients until July 1 and to students until August 15, when Notre Dame’s policies will take over, despite Father Jenkins’s declaration that these drugs “are most gravely objectionable in the Catholic tradition…because they involve the destruction of innocent human life.”

And even July 1 is not the end for employees. For the rest of the year Notre Dame will continue to provide cut-rate abortifacients to employees under the University’s Flexible Savings Account program. The University says this will end next year, but given Father Jenkins’s remarkable vacillation on these issues and the mounting pressure for even more contraceptive coverage we described in our last bulletin, one can scarcely count on this.

This dawdling in ending Notre Dame’s facilitation of “the destruction of innocent human life“ is hard to understand, to put it conservatively.

A Risible Pass at “Moral Formation”

Finally, the University has decided that, because of its “commitment in the context of its Catholic mission to the formation of undergraduates,” while contraception prescriptions may be filled through the campus Wellness Center for graduate students, undergraduates will have to use some other pharmacy.

That is to say, Notre Dame’s commitment to the formation of its undergraduates is only strong enough to avoid filling prescriptions for them, but not strong enough to prevent it from providing them insurance for contraceptives nor for avoiding the scandal associated with prescribing and selling contraceptives on campus to graduate students and employees. Surely it is fanciful to imagine that requiring undergraduates to walk to the nearby CVS to get the contraceptives the University provides through its plan will deter them from using them and engaging in the illicit sex they facilitate. Indeed, it seems fanciful to imagine the University really thinks anything of the sort.

We close as we began: This program gets worse as it unfolds. It is bound to. No good can come of a Catholic school’s decision to provide students and employees with instrumentalities that cause abortions and provide the means to commit actions the Church teaches are gravely sinful, not simply contraception but the fornication and adultery it facilitates.


Please join us in person or online at Reunion 2018 for a discussion of “The Church and Notre Dame” by Father Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C., Sarah Drumm (’18), Kevin Angell (’20), and Bill Dempsey (’52).

An award-winning historian and former chair of the History Department and Rector of Moreau Seminary, Fr. Miscamble, our principle speaker, has been a central figure in the debate about Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. He has recounted the earlier history of that debate in his book “For Notre Dame: Battling For the Heart and Soul of a Catholic University,” and at our breakfast he will discuss the current challenges to Notre Dame’s Catholic identity and ways to meet them.

Fr. Miscamble will be joined by Sarah Drumm, the past President of the student Right to Life club, Kevin Angell, the past Managing Editor of The Irish Rover and current Deputy Grand Knight of the Notre Dame Knights of Columbus, and Bill Dempsey, the President of Sycamore Trust.

The Church and Notre Dame
Saturday June 2, 2018
Conference Center at McKenna Hall
Room Lower Level
Complimentary breakfast opens at 7:15 a.m.
Program 8:00 am – 9:30 am


Join Our Petition Opposing Father Jenkins’s “Contraceptive Culture”

This is the fourth time Fr. Jenkins has publicly brushed off the objections of his and the University’s bishop, the Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades. Recall The Vagina Monologues and Queer Film Festival and the honoring of President Obama and Vice President Biden. It is time for all alarmed by the growing breach between Notre Dame and the Church to speak up.

We invite all members of the Notre Dame community – alumni, students, family, faculty, staff – and all concerned Catholics to join the petition we have prepared urging the Fellows and the Trustees to maintain the existing exclusion of contraceptives from Notre Dame’s policies and to end promptly the provision and subsidy of abortifacients.


9 Responses to “Conveniently Blind”

  1. John A. McNamara '86 June 2, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Thanks for providing the internet link to the Sycamore Breakfast this morning. Fr. Miscamble IS quite impressive in his analysis of Notre Dame’s drift from Catholicism. I am sorry to hear what he said about his prospects for becoming the next president of Notre Dame, he’s the Holy Cross Order’s best alternative to Jenkins. He has great wit and IS a people person and is so very well-read and intellectual, while remaining down-to-earth..He was very kind and diplomatic with respect to Fr. Hesburgh. Hated to hear about the two professors who were let go and denied tenure for being too pro-Catholic. Disgraceful on ND’s part.

    I was very impressed by the student speakers, they were so poised and well spoken. Their parents did a great job and should be very proud of them. It is actually encouraging to hear that Notre Dame today is so much more involved in the pro-life movement, sending 1000 students to the March for Life, and that the Knights of Columbus are active on campus. I wish the same could have been said during the 80’s, I was a little envious of today’s students, since those opportunities were not visibly present in the 80’s. How ironic it was to hear that the students are providing more Catholic support and education to fellow students than the administration of the university..

    Class years from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s appeared to be well-represented at the breakfast. I am hopeful that many alums from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s were home with children and watching on the internet. Wished the 80’s had been more strongly represented in your recent petition to the University.

    I suspect there is a fair amount of anticipation as to what Sycamore Trust is going to do next in light of the University’s health insurance policies, particularly following the lawyer’s letter earlier this year. Can you say what is next, or are you concerned that such a statement would be leaking info/plans to an administration that has not been particularly responsive to inquiries about its policies?

    Thank you again for your good work and all the good information you provide. The breakfast was impressive and encouraging. It has been QUITE discouraging, if not sickening, over the past school year to read each mistaken, anti-Catholic step the Notre Dame administration has been taking to distance itself from Catholicism, and the breakfast this morning gave a ray of sunshine, but I suspect many alums would like to see a change of administrative direction and leadership soon at the university. I don’t think Fr. Jenkins is a guy who has developed much loyalty to himself and it was impressive how Fr. Miscamble was so team oriented, praising several professors and deans in his talk. Fr. Miscamble REALLY knows the University of Notre Dame.inside and out and appears to have a much better vision of what a Catholic university should stand for and be.

  2. John A. McNamara '86 June 1, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you Bill Dempsey for posting a clip of Fr. Wilson Miscamble on line. It was the first time I had had the benefit and pleasure of hearing him speak. He does seem quite knowledgeable about the challenges of maintaining Catholicism at a Catholic university and he probably knows where most of Notre Dame’s anti-Catholic skeletons/professors/anti-Catholic hiring committee members are hidden at Notre Dame and he has had the courage to say something, which is a HUGE plus. It is sad to read and hear how far Notre Dame has slid religiously and ethically under Fr. Jenkins. I do STILL WORRY that there is a shortage of Holy Cross priests able to step into a high ranking position at Notre Dame as president (excluding Fr. Miscamble, he appears qualified). I think Fr. Jenkins’ hiring was evidence of a dearth of Holy Cross priest intellectuals and priests committed to Catholicism (again excluding Fr. Miscamble who represents the Catholic faith passionately). I had never heard of Fr. Jenkins before he was hired as university president and at that time it was hard to think of any star Holy Cross priests and the hiring of layman Affleck-Graves as VP underscores the dearth of Holy Cross priests for high ranking administration. (I was not aware of Fr, Miscamble at the time). Very sorry if I am underestimating some Holy Cross priests today, I just don’t hear a thing about them and the crop of Holy Cross priests and brothers I saw in the mid-80’s were not particularly special in their ability to communicate to students about the Catholic faith. They were isolated loners who weren’t people people, and that is not an observation limited to the Holy Cross Order, that description fits a fair amount of diocesan priests too. When you find a priest who is a good speaker and a people person like Fr. Mike Schmitz or Fr. Raymond O’Brien at Catholic University, and probably Fr. Miscamble, they really stand out like a super nova, Notre Dame desperately needs a passionate and compassionate Catholic supernova right now, a man who can stand up for what he believes in in a strong admirable respectable way, even if he is in isolation or criticized for a time, until people see his wisdom, who, as Fr. Miscamble pointed out, puts primary importance on the Catholic mission of a Catholic university, not getting slapped on the back for joining the anti-religious crowd by university presidents at all the liberal schools out there. or approval from liberal politicians like Mario Cuomo, Barrack Obama or Joe Biden. Definitely not a guy who wants to challenge pillars of Catholic faith, like the sanctity of life, or start his own liberal reformation at Notre Dame.

    Thank you again for providing such good information!

  3. John A. McNamara '86 June 1, 2018 at 2:32 am

    I would ask those who read these news bulletins to watch a video by Fr. Mike Schmitz, a diocesan priest at the University of Minnesota- Duluth, called “Is it OK to spend the night”. Ask yourself after watching the video whether most ND students would pay attention to the message and if so, why isn’t anyone at Notre Dame saying this? Fr. Mike’s videos can also be found at a website called “Ascension Presents”. A priest like this is needed at Notre Dame. His Independence Day Special is very timely and you’d be surprised how good his messages are on young people subjects like superhero movies and NFL Players kneeling. Don’t worry, he tackles true Catholic subjects frequently, thoroughly, knowledgeably and quite persuasively.

    By the way, a respectful Irish tip of the hat to Mr. Martinek!

  4. STEVEN MARTINEK (ND 1971, NDL 1974) May 31, 2018 at 9:33 am

    God bless John McNamara ’86 ( a relative youngster ;-). His was a comprehensive, cogent comment with call-to-action alternatives. I find such comments rare in matters of Faith (or politics). He posits valid responses to pertinent, dispositive queries. What are the Jenkins’ heresies? What are the Jenkins’ scandals to the Faith? What are some corrective alternatives? Now someone should draft one or two motions to be presented to the Board. Perhaps one of censure or lack of confidence and a separate one to commence a search for a replacement for Jenkins. Are there any right-thinking members of the Board willing to introduce and advocate such Motions?

  5. John A. McNamara '86 May 30, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    Fr. Jenkins is a Catholic heretic- someone who has been baptized a Catholic, but does not believe all the articles of the faith.
    Fr. Jenkins appears to be participating in the heresy of indifferentism- that all religions are equally pleasing to God and that there is no right and no wrong.
    Fr. Jenkins appears not to believe in the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility by challenging that Catechism of the Catholic Church, approved by Pope St. John Paul II, on the sanctity of human life and disagreeing with Pope Paul the VI on his encyclical, Humanae Vitae.

    I think Fr, Jenkins disgraces the Catholic Church by providing abortion materials/drugs, if not services.
    I think Fr. Jenkins disgraced the University of Notre Dame when the NCAA disbelieved Notre Dame and imposed sanctions on the University for football players committing academic fraud, earlier this year.
    I think that Fr, Jenkins is doing a very poor job handling the information from a 2015 survey regarding sexual assault on Notre Dame, which alleged that 10 assaults a month were occurring, One St. Mary’s College student committed suicide after she reported she was assaulted at Notre Dame. See the July 2016 Sycamore Trust newsletter, ND’s Necessary Climate Change.
    I think Fr. Jenkins shamed the University by misrepresenting the University’s commitment to Catholic Doctrine in a lawsuit filed in federal court.

    I would support Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, formerly from Chicago, as the new president of the University of Notre Dame. I am glad he is not a Holy Cross priest, these days that seems more and more like a liability than a positive. Anyone who has seen or heard his “Word on Fire” lectures on the internet knows he is a rock solid Catholic and is a gifted teacher/professor. He has experience teaching at a seminary and has probably got some administrative experience handling employment and doctrinal/policy issues at a larger organization like the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

    I would support Fr. Mike Schmitz of the University of Minnesota-Duluth as the new president of the University of Notre Dame. I don’t care whether he is a Holy Cross priest or not, that is appearing more and more like a liability. Anyone who watches him preach/lecture on “Ascension Presents” on the internet knows he could work miracles to bring many young Catholics at Notre Dame back to the faith, because he is nice, he cares, he’s funny, he genuinely understands young people and he is a rock solid Catholic.

    I support Fr. Wilson Miscamble as the new president of the University of Notre Dame. He is an experienced professor, a former teacher at a seminary and most importantly, he appears to be the only Catholic priest at Notre Dame who has tried to fight the good fight to preserve Notre Dame’s Catholic identity when it was under fire by secular forces in the faculty and weak, heretical, arrogant forces like Fr. John Jenkins. Fr, Miscamble deserves the St, John the Baptist award for being the voice in the wilderness that annoys the ruling elite. Big plusses for courage and integrity.

    God bless Steve Martinek, Nancy D and Daniel Boland for what they wrote and particularly the Dempseys and the Sycamore Trust for the info you provide, that can be found no where else.

  6. STEVEN MARTINEK (ND 1971, NDL 1974) May 30, 2018 at 6:31 am

    The shame, pungent and potent, temporal and eternal, is not only upon the shoulders and souls of Jenkins and his supporters and apologists–it is shared by each and all of us “loyal sons of Notre Dame.” I have become convinced the only true purgative power is prayer–fervent and unceasing, and humbly confident as pledged in the Memorare. We must pray to expiate our venal vicarious complicity in the sin we see and cannot deny–on our beloved campus and in our revered Catholic Church, and in the hidden recesses of our sinful souls. We share the sin of Jenkins heresy, and of papal ambiguity, and of the gay pedophile priests. Ours is the concupiscence that has fully and foully sexualized our women, our girls, our culture–to the point of legalized and justified infanticide in the womb for sake of convenience. Assuredly, Our Lady, Notre Dame, sheds copious tears daily–and relatively few of them stem from “Jenkins’ follies.” It may actually be somewhat presumptuous of us to pray for the needed redemption of Jenkins’ views and values without first praying for our own! We are all sinners; yet much beloved of Mary and her Son.

  7. Daniel Boland, PhD May 29, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    > On May 29, 2018, at 2:45 PM, Daniel Boland, Ph.D. wrote:
    > The canned computerized responses (evasive and demeaning in tone and substance) which are forthcoming from Fr. Jenkins’ office about his support for abortifacients are precisely the sort of response we do not want.
    > Given the moral gravity of this issue; > given the critical nature of this decision; > given its impact on Catholicism; and
    > given the apparent complicity of the University at its highest official levels in blatant immorality, his dismissive cover letter response is insulting to faithful Catholics.
    > If the Sycamore report is true, then the massive damage Fr. Jenkins has done to the University, to its students and to the unborn, and as well as to the Church are utterly incalculable. His canned response is an abhorrent and irresponsible example of why the Catholic Church and Catholicism Itself are now cast in such disrepute in our culture, even among far too many faithful Catholics who, far too often, no longer trust their recalcitrant clergy and hesitant Bishops — and for good reason.

    If we cannot any more look to the clergy for moral fidelity and courageous leadership, then where does one go, given the hierarchical Church which Christ established.

    Shame on Fr. Jenkins and his supporters — especially amongst the priests of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

  8. Nancy D (@AnnDanielD) May 29, 2018 at 10:09 am

    I will Pray that The Most Reverend Bishop Rhoades, out of Love for Christ, His Church, all who will come to believe, and the multitude of prodigal beloved sons and daughters, who, hopefully, will soon return to Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, outside which there is no Salvation, will inform all to whom it may concern, of the peril of automatic excommunication:

    ” Any Catholic accomplice in the act of procuring an abortion, even though not specifically mentioned in Canon #1398, receives the same penalty of automatic excommunication.”

    “It is not possible for there to be Sacramental Communion without Ecclesial Communion.”

    “Can. 755 §1. It is above all for the entire college of bishops and the Apostolic See to foster and direct among Catholics the ecumenical movement whose purpose is the restoration among all Christians of the unity which the Church is bound to promote by the Will of Christ.” (Filioque)

  9. STEVEN MARTINEK (ND 1971, NDL 1974) May 29, 2018 at 9:58 am

    What is sin? What is wrong? What actions, comments, policies must be deemed contrary to “respect for life?” What words, views, opinions, decisions can only be fairly characterized as disingenuous or obfuscatory or abdicatory? What is deviance? Where is the line between tolerance and enabling, between acceptance and extolling? Are there any professors or administrators at ND who recognize such inquiries as valid and significant. Can anyone in philosophy, theology, or ethics make any cogent attempt to answer? Sadly, I think not…