Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender, and “Questioning” Alumni Given Their Own Official Notre Dame Alumni Group


.@NotreDame continues its rapid ethical and cultural shift with @NDAA's establishment of an LGBTQ alumni "affinity group.” #GoCatholicND Click To Tweet

We opened our last bulletin by observing that, ever since Father Jenkins scuttled long-standing University policy in 2012 by approving a student LGBTQ club, the risk has been that the aim of treating homosexuals with “respect, compassion and sensitivity,” as the Church enjoins, would morph into acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexual sex, “acts of grave depravity,” as the Church teaches. 

We followed with a description of how that risk had been realized by the administration’s embrace of Pride Month and related actions. 

In this bulletin, we continue our analysis of this rapid ethical and cultural shift at Notre Dame with an account of the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s establishment of an LGBTQ alumni “affinity group.”

The Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s (GALA) wins its campaign for official recognition.

On June 25, the Notre Dame Alumni Association (NDAA) announced the forthcoming January 2022 establishment of “the Alumni Rainbow Community of Notre Dame (ARC ND), a group dedicated to bringing together its LGBTQ alumni and allies.”

The key to appreciating the significance of this action lies in recognizing that it marks the triumph of the Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s (GALA) in its long quest for official recognition. 

When GALA’s application for recognition was denied a couple of years ago, we assumed the reason was GALA’s promotion of same-sex marriage. But it turns out this action simply cleared the deck for continued discussion between GALA and NDAA about recognition.

What has emerged is ARC, which, the NDAA announcement makes clear, will simply be GALA under a different name. ARC is “to replace GALA” under a plan formulated after “many months collaborating with the GALA-ND/SMC organization.“ And the current chair of GALA, Paul Burke (’98), will be the “inaugural chair” of ARC. 

As GALA announced to its members: 

We have a new organization to build, ARC ND.

ARC/GALA Leadership – Same Sex Marriage

The designation of Paul Burke, the chair of GALA, as the chair of the new organization is a sign that ARC will continue GALA’s promotion of same sex marriage and that NDAA knows it. Mr. Burke, according to the ND alumni directory, is married to Kevin O’Callaghan. They are pictured together here on Mr. Burke’s Facebook page over the caption “We are ND.”

He has a good deal of company among GALA leaders. The spouse of John McDonald O’Lear, Vice Chairman-Membership, is Joel Sundstrom; the spouse of Mike Gorman, GALA’s Secretary, is James Fay; the spouse of GALA trustee Jack Bergen is David Fontaine; the spouse of trustee Tom O’Brien is Greg O’Neil; and trustee Liam Dacey, a GALA past president, works for Lambda Legal, an organization dedicated to the full range of LGBTQ legal demands and to overriding religious conscience objections. (Mr. Lacey was founder of The Queer Film Festival at Notre Dame.) 

GALA’s History of Hostility to Church Teachings

We have described in detail the multiple actions that have evidenced GALA’s opposition to Church teaching in our previous bulletins, The Camel, The Tent, and The NosePromoting Gay Marriage at Notre Dame, and Mayor Pete at ND — “Friends in High Places.” In brief (and partial) summary (with links to sources in the prior bulletins):

  • GALA brought to campus the late openly gay Episcopal bishop Eugene Robinson for a session with students. Robinson, who divorced his wife to marry his male companion (whom he subsequently divorced), was a leading advocate of the compatibility of same-sex marriage and Christianity. 
  • GALA sent ND students to the leadership program of Camp Pride, “the premier national training ground for LGBT youth activism” on LGBT agenda issues including “marriage equality.” The students are taught “successful campus organizing practices” to advance the LGBT program.
  • The GALA Winter 2015 newsletter celebrated the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision and criticized the Vatican Family Synod’s reaffirmation of the Church’s doctrine respecting the immorality of homosexual sex and its opposition to same-sex marriage.

Finally, if there were any doubt about GALA’s antipathy to Church teaching, it would be erased by its selection of recipients for its Thomas Dooley Awards, which are conferred each year at GALA’s annual banquet.

As we have reported, those awardees have included expelled and disciplined priests and nuns as well as co-habiting and married lesbians and homosexuals. For example, in addition to Bishop Robinson, GALA has honored:

  • Virginia Apuzzo, a former nun who married her lesbian partner after leaving the convent and became one of the nation’s most prominent lesbian political activists in education and government.
  • Sister Jeannine Grammick, a same-sex marriage advocate whom the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons” because her statements about homosexual sex, continued despite repeated warnings, “do not faithfully convey the clear and constant teaching of the Catholic Church” and have “caused confusion” and “harmed the community of the Church.” 
  • John J. McNeil, who was expelled from the Society of Jesus after refusing to obey a Vatican order to cease writing in opposition to Church teaching on homosexual sex. When as a priest he “came out” publicly in 1976 he claimed to be celibate, but in fact he had been living with his gay partner for eleven years. 
  • Most recently, Pete Buttigieg, who, with his “husband” Chasten, has become one of the nation’s foremost advertisements for the normalization of same-sex marriage in his rise from Mayor of South Bend to Secretary of Transportation in the Biden administration.
Print Edition of The Observer for Monday, April 1, 2019 


Plainly, ARC will be run and peopled by homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgender alumni opposed to Church teaching on marriage, sex and gender who will work to undermine those teachings in the Notre Dame community. What gay alumnus/ae faithful to Church teaching would want to join them? And, as an official Notre Dame organization, ARC’s communications weaponry and access to students and alumni will be vastly greater than was GALA’s. 

One predictable result will be the embrace of Pride Month by alumni clubs from coast to coast. With the University’s example this year and the pressure from ARC next year, who will be able to resist?

It is deeply troubling to think that the responsible administrators in the NDAA and the university knew all of this perfectly well, as they almost surely did. 


Gender Studies Poster

The photo of this Gender Studies poster was taken in O’Shaughnessy Hall on July 27. It invites students not only to “Study Gender” but to “Do Anything,” with the angle of inquiry and the “anything” to be done illumined by the poster’s litany of trigger words, e.g., “transgender,” “bisexual,” “repression,” “virgin,” “homophobic,” “heteronormative,” “masculinity.”

The Blessed Virgin as “God’s Warrior Queen”

For confidence in praying to Mary for Notre Dame, watch Bishop Robert Baron’s “God’s Warrior Queen” homily on Sunday’s Feast of the Assumption.

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