LGBT & Pro-Life Week on Campus


An April week brought to campus an LGBT protest of Vice President Pence, acknowledgment that the Gender Studies Program contradicts Catholic teaching, and celebrations of both same-sex marriage and pro-life champions.

NOTRE DAME, IN — A lot went on at Notre Dame just a few weeks ago.

On the LGBT front, Notre Dame student and alumni proponents of LGBT rights conducted a rainbow flag anti-Pence protest; the director of the Gender Studies Program acknowledged that the Program collides with Catholic doctrine; and the GALA presentation of awards to proponents of gay marriage was held on campus for the first time.

Simultaneously and as if by design as a counterpoint, the Center for Ethics and Culture held its annual Evangelium Vitae pro-life celebration.

For starters. There is more.

We begin with the most startling and consequential of these events: the acknowledgment by the director of the Gender Studies Program that the Program as conducted contradicts Church teaching.

The Gender Studies Program versus the Church

On April 29, the Gender Relations Program and GALA (the Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s) sponsored a panel discussion on the gay rights campaign in conjunction with GALA’s annual awards celebration. (More on that later.)

Mary Celeste Kearney, the director of the Program, was a panelist. As recounted in the National Catholic Reporter, she “shared the challenges she’s faced on a high profile Catholic campus.” “Raised as a Catholic,” NCR reported, professor Kearney “ told her audience that a fundamental principle of gender studies flies in the face of traditional Catholic teaching.”

“Gender studies,” she said, “defines gender as a social formation that impacts all of our various identities, relationships, opportunities, employment and points of agency – for everyone.” But the Church, she said, “argues that gender is biologically determined or ordained by God.” Academic freedom protects faculty teaching concepts in the gender studies department that might contradict Catholic teaching.

To be sure, this may come as no surprise even to outsiders who have been attentive. Take the Gender Studies program for high school students that caught the eye of the National Review. It reported that students are asked “to explain how they know for sure whether they are male or female.”

Are you male or female? How do you know? When you were a baby, did your parents dress you in pink or blue? Who dressed you, fed you, changed your diapers – your mother or father?

We have heard what one irate parent thought of this. Surely she was not alone.

Then we noted an Observer article about a panel on bisexual and transsexual issues that included an account of Dr. Abigal Palko’s ahead-of-its-time advocacy of “bathroom activism” for transsexuals. Dr. Palko was then director of undergraduate studies in the Gender Studies Program.

Whatever might be said for the eccentric notion that academic freedom licenses Notre Dame professors to undermine fundamental Church teachings in the classroom, surely nothing can be said for the university’s sponsorship of a program that fosters this dissent.

GALA Redux

In an earlier bulletin we described GALA’s support of gay marriage, its efforts and successes in promoting its agenda on campus, and its petition (still pending) to be recognized by the Alumni Association as an official alumni organization. We report now on a new GALA success: For the first time, GALA held its Thomas Dooley awards dinner on campus.

What was not new was its celebration of gay marriage.

The principal awardee, St. Mary’s alumna Kristen Matha, “is married to her wife Kendra, who together raise their son Micah.” And GALA’s award for Distinguished Academic Achievement went to Joseph Pequigney (ND ’44), who dragged Shakespeare out of the closet by purportedly demonstrating that his sonnets were homoerotic and, indeed, that there was a “consummated sexual relationship” between Shakespeare and a male lover. Mr. Pequigney “and photographer Steven Mays have been together for 48 years and were married in 2008.”

LGBT Pence Protest

As we’ve reported, a number of student organizations have protested Vice President Trump’s selection as Commencement speaker. As one group put it, he is “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, offensive, or ostracizing to members of our community,” and students “feel unsafe with the presence of Mike Pence on our campus.”

During this third week in April, student LGBT supporters renewed the protest by distributing some 500 rainbow flags on the campus and hanging them from windows in dormitories, the Hesburgh Library, Nieuwland Science Hall, Geddes Hall with its theology faculty quarters, and perhaps other buildings.

They did this, according to the president of the student LGBT club and other demonstrators, to protest Pence’s opposition to same-sex marriage, his support of the religious liberty of organizations and individuals to decline to collaborate in actions they consider immoral, and his support for reparative therapy for homosexuals who desire it.

That is to say, they object to Vice President’s appearance at Notre Dame because he joins the Catholic Church in its teaching respecting marriage and its position respecting the religious liberty of individuals and institutions like Notre Dame.

The president of the LGBT club (PRISM), a graduating senior and popular student who was also president of the student body, was the 2017 recipient of the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C. Award, one of seven Leadership awards to graduating seniors. He is an advocate of same sex marriage who attributes the Church’s doctrine on homosexual sex to “centuries of homophobia.”

The flag demonstration also served to welcome GALA to the campus. GALA in turn raised money for the project and urged “as many alums as possible to attend the Dooley Award Weekend and to see firsthand all the rainbow flags to be hung from dozens of buildings around campus.”

Update: The Washington Post reported yesterday that protesting students plan to walk out of the commencement when Pence speaks; that they “expect scores of students and many more family and friend to participate”; and that “the university is OK with that.”


Simultaneously, on April 29 elsewhere on the campus, the Catholic face of the university shone in the Evangelium Vitae celebration sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Culture.

The Center rightly describes the Evangelium Vitae Medal as “the nation’s most important lifetime achievement award for heroes of the pro-life movement.” This year the medal and the $10,000 prize went to the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation for its and its founder’s groundbreaking work with Down syndrome children and others with genetic disorders.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes celebrated, and 25 Holy Cross priests concelebrated, the opening Mass (which you can view here); Pope Francis sent a greeting; and there were a number of notables among the 400 dinner guests. The guests included Father Bill Lies, C.S.C., Vice President for Mission Engagement, but not Father Jenkins, who has never attended.

All this in a week in April on the Notre Dame campus, contested territory.


As if by way of preface, a month earlier in the online Notre Dame Magazine a priest who is associate director of Campus Ministry observed that “the landscape of sexual orientation and of gender identity is changing” and that “the Church must listen to and read the signs of the times,” as it had respecting, for instance, slavery. “There are many ways to love and to give our selves to one another,” he said. “That we love may be more important than how we love.”

Annual Breakfast Reminder

If you’ll be at Notre Dame for Reunion Weekend (or you’re in the vicinity) plan to attend Sycamore Trust’s annual breakfast meeting on Saturday morning June 3. Our principal speaker will be Professor Gerard Bradley of the Law School, who will discuss the presidential election as it may affect the interests of the Church and Notre Dame. Click on the link below for tickets or to register for a live broadcast of the event.

Information & Registration

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5 Responses to “LGBT & Pro-Life Week on Campus”

  1. “God’s Truth is mighty, and it shall prevail.”

    “It is about the marriage”, in Heaven and on Earth.

    It is Through, With, and In Christ, in the Unity of The Holy Ghost, that Holy Mother Church exists.

    One bridegroom, one bride, on earth.

    One Bridegroom, One Bride, (One Holy Mother Church), in Heaven.

    To deny the sanctity of the marital act, which is Life-affirming, and Life-sustaining, and can only be consummated between a man and woman, united in marriage as husband and wife, is to deny that God, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage. To deny that God Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage, is to deny Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy, and thus deny The Divinity of The Most Holy And Undivded Blessed Trinity.

    The denial of The Unity Of The Holy Ghost (Filioque), is the source of all heresy; There Is only One Word of God, One Truth of Love Made Flesh, One Lamb of God Who Taketh Away The Sins of The World, Our Savior, Jesus The Christ, thus there can only be One Spirit of Perfect Love Between The Father and The Son, Who Proceeds from both The Father and The Son, in The Ordered Communion of Perfect Complementary Love, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity.

    “Our Lady was the one who prevailed on her Son to work His first miracle at Cana in Galilee. She is still the one, through whose intercession He wants to perform miracles now, on earth, in our day. But there is one condition: We who have the faith, must believe. And we who have the grace, must use it to live lives of heroic virtue.” Father John Hardon

    “And he said to me: Write: Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith to me: These words of God are true.”

  2. WOW!

    Having graduated as an undergrad in 1979 does not make one old in our society.

    Many friends and associates deeply interested, even professionally involved, in issues of life and family don’t consider ourselves “old fashioned;” conservtive or traditional in some respects, perhaps, but not “old fashioned.”

    Having led Right to Life on campus in my time, spent a few young years professionally involved in the life issues, and spent 40+ years actively involved in both life and family issues as a volunteer at every level from local communities to seats at the table for statewide and national organizations and issues, the LGBT issues and Catholic concerns relative to those issues are quite familiar.

    Has Notre Dame’s administration today not simply allowed positions overtly contrary to Church teaching to be legitimately raised and questionably promoted in the classrooms and academic elements of the institution, but also joined with enemies of the Church to condone and support those who make the case with all the energy they can muster, intellectual and physical, that those who support the Church’s teachings MUST NOT be allowed to express themselves in the public square or the halls of the academy?

    Different times and different issues, but there’s a comparison based in principles to “Fr. Hesburgh’s Notre Dame” in the 1960s and early 1970s. Issues of the day were certainly debated robustly in the academic confines of the institution, but Notre Dame’s administration controlled protests in the public square and tightly. Fast forward to 2009 and pro-life people from the Notre Dame community, led by Bishop Darcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, were severely limited in their protests of a U.S. President openly attacking the teachings of the Catholic Church on several issues at every turn, most prominently abortion, and some pro-lifers including alumni and students protesting that event at the edges of the campus did so under threat of arrest and what turned out to be lengthy court proceedings due to Notre Dame’s intransigence for those arrested for the slightest transgressions.

    Yet, on April 29th guests from near and far for the the Evangelium Vitae Mass and dinner were allowed to be greeted by rainbow flags flying from numerous buildings on the campus including academic buildings where the administration ought have no problem what-so-ever controlling what is displayed hanging on the exterior of the building! Even if less identifiable, would Notre Dame Right to Life have been allowed to hang a flag or banner (even without event-specific verbage) in protest of the university’s celebration last fall of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life’s work attacking the positions of the Catholic Church?

    . . . while academics acknowledge that the agenda of a whole academic department is at odds with Mother Church!

    . . . and while campus ministry suggests that “the Church must listen to and read the signs of the times” with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity!

    Has Notre Dame utterly abandoned the Catholic Church’s 2000 year old tradition of pursuing truth in favor of the politically correct tendencies of the modern academy and American philanthropy and culture? Has her leadership declared those of us even remotely tied to the community who question this abandonment irrelevant to her future?


    John Ryan ’79

  3. Francis Foley May 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I appreciate being kept informed. Perhaps Our Lady’s University should be called the university of pagan “ignorants” and ignorance.

  4. R. Thomas Forr May 20, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Thank you for the information. Thank heaven for Bishop Rhodes and the twenty five Holy Cross priests who concelebrated the Mass and the honor bestowed on the Jerome Lejeune Foundation. From what remember, male and female He created them. May God bless you for your faithfulness to the teachings of our Church and to our Lady’s university.

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