Jenkins Praises Alumnus For Same-Sex Marriage High Court Win

.@NotreDame gay alumnus reveals longstanding support of university president in his memoir on his "legal battle for marriage, equality, and inclusion," published by @NotreDamePress #GoCatholicND Click To Tweet

Notre Dame Press has just published a memoir by a homosexual Notre Dame alumnus who was one of the plaintiffs in the litigation that resulted in the Supreme Court’s declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right. The publication and promotion by an arm of the University of this denunciation of the Church’s “discrimination” and its teaching is lamentable. More, the author’s recounting of his interchanges with Father Jenkins that disclose Father’s evident satisfaction with the Supreme Court decision is both distressing and instructive. 

Here are the details: 

“Catholic, Gay, and American” by Greg Bourke

Source: Greg Bourke’s Facebook Cover Photo

We note at the outset an unusual, if not almost unique, feature of Mr. Bourke’s book, namely, his dedication “to God, who inspired it.” 

He elaborated in an interview with Notre Dame Press:

I have to say the Holy Spirit was been the biggest influence on my writing. Whenever I would sit down to write I would first pray for the Holy Spirit to come and bring me the words that I needed to best deliver the message I felt called to convey. As a result, I never suffered from a writer’s block or a lack of something to write. It helped immensely to have that support.

Evidently Mr. Bourke, though a professed Catholic, was untroubled by the Holy Spirit’s having brought a contrary message to popes and bishops for two millennia. Did God change His mind and tell only Mr. Bourke? 

But never mind. To the book:

In it, Mr. Bourke (ND ’82), recounts his experience as a Catholic homosexual activist during his long relationship with his “husband,” including in particular the same-sex marriage Supreme Court litigation.

As to the Church, Bourke and his “husband” found a pro-gay Catholic parish in Louisville with a pastor evidently untroubled and untrammeled by Church teaching, but the Archbishop was not so accommodating and vetoed Bourke as a Boy Scout leader. 

The Archbishop was exercising what Bourke calls a “license to discriminate” accorded by the Boy Scouts of American to church-affiliated troops by permitting them to continue to exclude homosexuals from leadership roles after the BSA reversed the national ban in 2015. 

Archbishop Kurtz acted, Bourke says, because of his same-sex marriage.  The secular reason for the BSA’s manifestly ineffective  ban became clear several years later when an avalanche of claims of sexual abuse of boys drove it into bankruptcy. (The Catholic Church’s analogous sexual abuse scourge, in which some 80% of the offenses were man-boy, underpins the Church’s ban on homosexuals becoming priests, a disqualification established by Saint Pope John Paul II and reaffirmed by Pope Francis.)

Bourke’s other specific complaint against the Church has to do with  the archdiocese’s refusal to approve a burial marker in a Catholic cemetery that depicted interlocked wedding rings and an image of the Supreme Court. He calls this “shameful discrimination,” pointing to interlocking rings on headstones of sacramentally married couples and comparing a headstone image of a Kentucky wildcat mascot to that of the Supreme Court.

He follows with general broadsides against “Church-sponsored discrimination,” “discriminatory policies of the Church toward LGBTQ people,” the Church’s “crusade against LGBTQ people,” and Church teaching that “reeks of oppression and discrimination. ”

And he calls for a change in that teaching that would recognize that same-sex unions are “actually consistent with Church values and teaching.”

All this is unsurprising. What is surprising is that Notre Dame Press would publish this assault on the Church and its teaching.

And what is even more surprising is that Notre Dame Press would praise the book as a “compelling and deeply affecting narrative” by an “unapologetically Catholic” Bourke, whose “faith provides the framework for this inspiring story” of his “struggle to overcome antigay discrimination by both the BSA [Boy Scouts] and the Catholic Church.”

But what is truly eye-popping is the praise Father Jenkins accorded Bourke. 

Father Jenkins’s first tribute came in his response to a letter from Bourke a month after his Supreme Court victory — a letter, Bourke relates, in which “I poured my heart out passionately requesting GALA [Gay & Lesbian Alumni Association of Notre Dame] recognition.”

Father Jenkins opened his response with:

It was very gratifying to hear of your current life, your spouse and children, and your wonderful family.

Then, after expressing appreciation for Bourke’s comments and assuring him he and his associates “will continue to work on these and other [LG BTQ] initiatives,” Jenkins declared, quite gratuitously,

We are proud to call you a graduate of Notre Dame.

A month after, recall, the Supreme Court decision.

Then, in a meeting with Bourke later that same year, Father Jenkins doubled down on his tribute to Bourke for his role in establishing same-sex marriage as a constitutional right.

Father Jenkins was again gracious about congratulating me on the historic decision that changed forever the way the country would define marriage.

Bourke continued by relating how Father Jenkins told him that recognition of GALA was under review and “proudly offered reports on various other areas where the university had made some progress.” One was the recognition of an LGBTQ student organization, and another was “same-sex partner health benefits at Notre Dame,”

much to the consternation of South Bend’s conservative bishop.

Bourke concluded:

I had the feeling that we had just met with one true disciple and authentic presence of Jesus on this earth.

The Reliability and Significance of the Jenkins Passages

As a matter of form, we invited Father Jenkins to disavow what Bourke wrote and to comment on Notre Dame Press’s publication of his book, but we expected the silence that ensued.

It would be strange if Mr. Bourke had not checked this part of the manuscript with Father Jenkins, and even stranger if Notre Dame Press had not done so. Indeed, given Mr. Bourke’s harsh criticism of the Church and its teaching and the passages indicating Father Jenkins’s support of same-sex marriage, it would have been bold, to put it conservatively, of Notre Dame Press to publish without Father Jenkins’s go-ahead.

However that may be, the passages in the book disclosing Father Jenkins’s attitude toward same-sex marriage go a long way toward explaining jarring episodes such as Notre Dame’s recognition of Pride Month and other actions we have described in past bulletins that are in tension with the Church’s teaching on sex, gender, and marriage.

In particular, Father Jenkins’s assurance to Mr. Bourke that the “NDAA and the university” were considering GALA as a possible NDAA “affinity group” links Father Jenkins to that subsequent action, to which we now turn.

The Irish Rover on the New NDAA LGBTQ “Affinity Group”

In a recent bulletin, we described how the NDAA’s establishment of ARC, an LGBT “affinity group,” amounts to official recognition of the Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association under a more euphonious name. This change of labels is a transparent effort to cloak the University’s approval of a group with a long history of public hostility to the Church’s teaching on sex, gender, and marriage. 

In the lead article of this fall’s first issue of the Irish Rover, staff writer Josh Gilchrist(’23) came to the same conclusion. 

ARC, he reported, “will replace the unofficial Gay & Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame & St. Mary’s (GALA).”

He continued: 

This development signals the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the university’s engagement with gay and lesbian groups, as it adopts and rebrands GALA, which publicly supports gay marriage. Since its inception in 1992, GALA has sought official recognition by the university, but, until this summer, its appeals have been rejected or have not received formal response. GALA’s most recent appeal for official recognition was rejected in 2016.

Noting that “[t]he majority of GALA’s officers and several trustees are persons in same-sex marriages, and the organization openly opposes Church teaching,” Gilchrist reported:

In past years, GALA has sent Notre Dame students to Camp Pride, a pro-gay marriage program, hosted the late openly gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson for a talk on the compatibility of Christian faith and homosexual sex, and celebrated the 2015 Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, among other activities which run counter to the Church’s teaching on marriage. 

As to reaction by alumni, Mr. Gilchrist wrote, “The decision has already created rifts in at least some quarters of the alumni community.” He cited this comment by an alumnus on Sycamore Trusts website:

The Notre Dame Club of OKC [Oklahoma City] has essentially disbanded as a result of the announced organization of ‘ARC’…. The result of [the club’s] stated support for ARC was the resignation of three Board members and the eventual resignation of the Club President.

Mr. Gilchrist closed with an assurance that he had asked the director of UNDAA and the president of GALA, who is the designated president of ARC, to comment, but that neither had responded. 


While Notre Dame still has formidable Catholic resources in its faculty and student body, the pro-LGBT forces on campus hostile to Church teaching seem rapidly to have gained strength and boldness, much of it under cover of the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity banner. While Notre Dame Press’s publication and praise of Mr. Bourke’s book is a scandal, the book itself contributes to an understanding of this burgeoning threat to Notre Dame’s Catholic identity by disclosing Father Jenkins’s benign view of same-sex marriage.


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13 Responses to “Jenkins Praises Alumnus For Same-Sex Marriage High Court Win”

  1. All: Based on the letter in today’s NY Times which may not be too popular with Sycamore Trust boosters I would like to call your attention to Pope Francis’ letter published in the editorial section of the Times. It was in response to a letter from Michael J. O’Loughlin an L.G.B.T. Catholic reporter for American Media, a Catholic news organization. It will be hard for anyone to declare that Pope Francis does support Fr Jenkins. Perhaps it is time for Sycamore Trust to revisit their mission or find another faith. An examination of ND diversity could be interesting.

    • “For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might make known new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the Revelation, the Deposit of Faith, delivered through the Apostles. ”

      What did the the letter say in regards to The Sacrament Of Marriage?

  2. George Shelton Class of 1974 October 10, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    People from this University refers to it an the pre-eminent Catholic University. I beg to differ the pre-eminent Catholic University is the Catholic University of America, Washington DC. Chartered by the Vatican and its adheres to Catholic teaching. Father Jenkins you are leading the wat to become a secular college.

  3. Steve Martinek '71, '74 (earlier times and values) October 10, 2021 at 7:55 am

    Some say “ignore evil.” Then they advise and admonish “accept and extol deviance and sin” in the misplaced exercise of “compassion for others.” But for the acceptance and legalization of evils of abortion and “gay marriage” the actual numbers of such sins, in our society and culture, would not have blossomed as they have. Once we, as a people, issued the message that it was acceptable, legally permitted, then endorsed and extolled, to choose to kill children in the womb, or to accept and honor, publicly and formally, deviant relationships as the equivalent of marriage and family, we have now seen the fruition and harvest and we are reaping what we have sown. (Also, the tragic sexual abuse of boys and young men by priests and bishops is a direct result of the acceptance and admission of gays to the priesthood–full stop.) Steve

  4. Michael Abbatemarco October 9, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Well said Edward.
    My sentiments exactly of what Jenkins has been doing all along.

    Just call it the University of South Bend, and then you can cut the tuition by 2/3rds. You can then be as secular as you want.
    God have mercy on Jenkins’ soul.

    Michael Abbatemarco
    Alumni Parent

  5. Per the words of Thomas above as well as Mr. Knauf, I Encourage those that hold leadership roles at Catholic universities/ministries to have the Courage to hold fast to faithful Catholic teaching.
    The Commandments given by God are clear.

  6. Stephen H Fralish October 8, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    The only way to get rid of this filth is to use the spiritual weapon that the Church has had for centuries. Pray the Rosary! – specifically for Mary to cast out the devil and his fellow demons.

  7. G.Kevin Donovan, MD,MA (class of "70) October 8, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    This is shameful from any priest, but especially the purported leader of the University of Notre Dame.
    St. Augustine said “In essentials, unity, in nonessentials, diversity, in all things, charity”. Fr. Jenkins appears to have ignored essential Catholic doctrine and morals in favor of an interpretation of diversity, which dangerously attacks our unity as faithful Catholics.

  8. I don’t see the big issue here. Its a simple fact that gay people exist and the non-religious government of the USA should 100% be allowing that. If we as catholics don’t support gay marriage, we can simply not get gay married ourselves and we already don’t let them get married in our churches anyway so it doesn’t seem to affect us in anyway. Plus we have no issue with divorced people getting remarried in the church so often and that is far more sacrilegious compared to the traditional catholic teachings. Also there was never this sort of uproar when the catholic church was found to have covered up the abuse of millions of altar boys (because lets be honest, its not homosexuality that was driving the percentage to be 80% boys, it was the fact that nearly all children the priests have direct contact with privately have been altar BOYS). Im all for letting the gays do their gay thing because I don’t think its my role to discriminate and demonize them, because that feels far less moral than being a compassionate gay catholic.

  9. G.Kevin Donovan, MD,MA, (class of '70) October 8, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    This is so shameful from any priest, but especially the purported leader of the University of Notre Dame. Diversity has its place, but not in the undermining of Catholic doctrine and morals. As St. Augustine said: “In essentials, unity, in nonessentials, diversity, in all things, charity”. We see even Fr. Jenkins forsaking the essentials for diversity, and destroying our Catholic unity.

  10. Steven Martinek '71, '74 October 8, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Words fail me. Was it a comment directed to Shoeless Joe Jackson about MLB fraud that comes to mind “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” Sadly, tragically, at our beloved Alma Mater, and largely in the hierarchy and clergy of our beloved Catholic Church, “It is so!”

  11. Thomas Longeway October 8, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    When will we get rid of Fr jenkins as the leader of Notre Dame ? If Gay marriage is OK then why do we continue to be a Catholic School when we do not follow Catholic teachings. When did it become OK to pick and choose which commandments we choose to obey and which ones we choose to consider “unacceptable to our choice” Where does it say we can pick and choose what to believe ? I was taught that we were to follow ALL 10 commandments not just the ones that we wanted to obey. Either we are God’s school or we are for “Free choice of church law” What if I want to choose to kill somebody or rap somebody why would that be unacceptable to God ? There are still 10 commandments, OBEY THEM ALL.

  12. Father Jenkins is not a young man. If I were to preside over, indeed ENCOURAGE, the loss of as many souls as this man has, I would be on my knees begging God’s mercy, before that day I must stand before the judgment seat. He has been entrusted with the Blessed Mother’s university, and has, time and time again, broken that trust.

    For a man so well educated, for a University so impressed with itself, their complete lack of understanding of human sexuality as designed by God is remarkable.

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