Much Ado About Nothing?
In this bulletin, we reprint with permission an Irish Rover editorial by its editor-in-chief, Joe DeReuil, in which he discusses two developments:
- The opening of graduate student co-ed housing to undergraduates, and
- The casting of Hamlet and Cyrano de Bergerac in campus productions as lesbians and the university-approved poster of two Shakespearean male characters kissing.
Irish Rover reporter Madeline Murphy describes the co-ed housing initiative and reporters Elizabeth Hale and Daniel Martin the rewriting of Shakespeare and the homosexual-themed poster in their articles Hamlet: Princess of Denmark? and FTT Adaptation Takes Center-Stage.
We offer some brief introductory comments drawn from these articles as background for Mr. DeReuil’s editorial.
The Rover reported that, beginning in the fall 2023 semester, approximately 80 undergraduate men and women will reside in two-bedroom apartments located in the Fischer Graduate Residences alongside approximately 320 graduate students.
Until now, the likelihood of co-ed dorms at Notre Dame has seemed far-fetched to most alumni. It was very clearly not the way forward for Father Hesburgh. As Rev. Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C., notes in his masterful biography of Hesburgh, this architect of a co-ed Notre Dame “strongly resisted, both then [when Notre Dame admitted women] and thereafter, any suggestion that co-ed residence halls be established.” (American Priest, p. 150.)
This reflected Father Hesburgh’s intense concern for the moral and spiritual welfare of students entrusted to Notre Dame’s care.
[Hesburgh] believed deeply not only that Notre Dame held a responsibility for the moral and spiritual formation of its students, but also that the good character and religious convictions of its graduates spoke eloquently to the success of the university’s approach. (Ibid. p. 93)
The university has “declined to comment about the reasoning” for this departure from Notre Dame’s long-standing policy, but there is speculation that it is intended as a “provision for transgender students.”
As to that, we have discovered an ND Reddit comment by an undergraduate student who identifies as transgender and is presently living in Fisher in which he advises an incoming student who also identifies as transgender, “If you contact ResLife, you’ll be allowed to live off campus or in the Fisher Graduate Apartments.”
The Homosexualization of Shakespeare
Just a few weeks ago a student-led acting company at Notre Dame, The Not So Royal Shakespeare Co., staged Hamlet portraying “Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia as a lesbian romance, changing Hamlet to be a woman.”
And last spring Notre Dame’s Film, Television and Theatre Department produced a musical “Cyrano” in which Cyrano was recast as a woman “in romantic pursuit of the female character Roxanne.”
Finally, the student troupe “is again changing the gender of a romantic lead in its upcoming production of Much Ado About Nothing,” and a promotional poster approved by the Student Activities Office and “hung in academic buildings around campus” shows two men kissing.
The Student Activities Office first agreed to a Rover interview but then begged off, saying it was “gathering data.”
Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) Department – “Diversity and Inclusion”
It is instructive to consider how these episodes may reflect the values and goals of the FTT Department expressed in its remarkable Diversity and Inclusion statement, which we urge you to examine.
The department declares its “responsibility toward awareness … of histories of colonization and imperialization, of cultural domination and subjugation.” It views the performing arts as “conduits for social change,” and It pledges, inter alia, “to expose and dismantle white supremacy,” “identify implicit and explicit biases, “address institutional and systemic racism” at Notre Dame and elsewhere, and “escalate efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion.”
To that end, every student majoring in FTT must take at least one course “primarily concerned with the exploration of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, class, age, and/or nationality.”
We turn now to Joe DeReuil’s editorial:
Much Ado About Nothing?
This issue of the Rover raises concerns about an advertisement for a Shakespeare audition and the opening of a new undergraduate residence hall. The seemingly banal circumstances of these events invites the question: Why create tension where there apparently is none? Why make Much Ado About Nothing?
The advertisements welcome students to audition for the Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company (NSR)’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. One rendition of the poster features two men—apparently playing the parts of Benedick and Beatrice—kissing. Two of the other three posters also portray same-sex couples as the lead, with only one keeping Benedick and Beatrice in their proper gender.
The head of NSR’s marketing Christina Randazzo told the Rover, “My inspiration behind the poster designs stemmed from a conversation I had with the director of the show. She said, ‘The show is about love.’ So, I made four different posters with pictures with people in love.”
This marks the third time in the past year that performing arts groups at Notre Dame have changed the casting of classic plays—the other two being Cyrano and most recently Hamlet—to make traditional male-female romantic leads homosexual. The frequency of this shift over the past year raises the question whether the directors are really taking “creative liberties” or simply submitting to cultural conformity.
Breaking apart gender dichotomies has not, however, been confined to Shakespeare at Notre Dame.
As announced on February 1, a significant portion Fischer Graduate Residence is being transformed into “Undergraduate Community at Fischer ” (UCF ). About 80 students can now opt to move off campus into UCF early, seemingly walking back on the recently instituted three-year on campus residence policy.
The impetus for the decision seems to be a compromise to societal norms. Notre Dame is unique among top-20 universities in its sex-segregated dorm system. This has led to a strong yet, until recently, unforeseen pressure: to which dorms should Notre Dame assign transgender students?
This compromise allows students of any sexuality to live in an gender-unspecified space. It seems like a brilliant tactical play by the administration—they appease orthodox Catholics by maintaining single-sex dorms while creating a space for transgender men and women to live with individuals with whom they do not share biological sex. Why is this an issue?
Most apparently, conceding ground to the secular culture without setting limits to how far the concessions will go leads one down a slippery slope.
Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, for any flaws he had, was able to maintain the University of Notre Dame as a recognizably Catholic institution while all similar Catholic universities caved completely to secularization during his era. He did this by setting limits while at the same time granting some room to secular forces to build prestige.
While choosing to hire an increasing number of non-Catholic faculty, under his jurisdiction, he insisted that the Notre Dame faculty retain a majority number of Catholic professors. Also, when he included lay persons on the board of trustees, he also guaranteed that half the board and the university president still must be a C.S.C priest.
Whether you like his compromises or not, they were true compromises—a quid pro quo rather than a surrender.
The recent assimilation of secular gender norms at Notre Dame has not come with any reinforcement of Catholic values.
Not only was posting images of physical homosexuality permitted on campus, but permission came with no reaffirmation of Church teaching or explanation of when or why such depictions are permissible. In opening the first co-ed undergraduate residential community in university history, no one in the administration reaffirmed that the single-sex residences—and the moral formation they strive to provide—is integral to the university moving forward.
Incremental erosion of the Catholic character of the university will rapidly escalate if, when relaxing policy, the administration will not even justify, explain, or add counterweight to their capitulation.
Eliminating single-sex dorms and treating men and women as interchangeable would not “diversify” Notre Dame. It would rather homogenize it with the other top twenty American universities and “elite” schools everywhere. As the administration sets Ivy League schools as “aspirational peers,” they should recognize that similarity to UPenn or Stanford is both unlikely and undesirable.
Notre Dame is only a choiceworthy institution so long as she is ostensibly Catholic.
Publicly portraying physical homosexual affection through re-written Shakespeare and allowing a university-affiliated space to house men and women in the same building perhaps does not mark the definitive fall from grace. But the administration ought to remember: without Catholicism, Notre Dame is merely another research facility with a large endowment and pretty buildings, fighting over the same set of students as WashU, the Ivies, and all similar institutions.
Joseph DeReuil is a junior from St. Paul, Minnesota who is enjoying the early South Bend thaw. Forgive his naivete in believing in the fake spring, and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.Please consider supporting The Irish Rover’s mission to preserve Notre Dame’s Catholic identity by subscribing to receive the publication’s print or pdf edition at https://irishrover.net/subscriptions
The homosexualization of some of the most prominent characters in literature is obviously designed to normalize homosexual sexual relations. That is, to contradict Church teaching.
And the scrapping of the single-sex dormitory tradition, no matter how limited, takes with it the “lead us not into temptation” rationale for the tradition and accordingly puts the single-sex tradition at risk.
More, this development would subvert a religious liberty defense by the University against claims that are certain to come by students demanding access to same-sex dormitories, dressing rooms, showers, rest rooms, and athletic teams. This is a looming threat that we will discuss in a future bulletin
Let Us Pray
Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. (1 Cor 3:18-19)
O God our Father, Eternal Wisdom and Love, You have created us in Your own image and likeness, and called us to live in humble obedience to You and according to the order which You have established to govern the universe. You sent Your Son, Wisdom Incarnate, to save us from sin and to reconcile us to You and to one another. He established the Church to be a saving witness of Wisdom and Love, Goodness and Truth to a rebellious world. We implore You to dispel the darkness that surrounds us. May all who have rejected the truths of creation, seeking to replace Your design for the human race with one of their own, be awakened to the destructive folly which passes for wisdom in this age. Enlighten us all by the Truth which sets us free and grant that we may courageously embrace the scorn and contempt of the wise of the world so that we may joyfully share in the Wisdom of God. Through the intercession of Notre Dame, our Mother, we make our prayer in the Name of Jesus, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.
The above prayer is by Sycamore Trustee Father John Raphael (’89). To join us in regular prayer projects such as our Novena for Catholic Education and our Meditation on the 12-Days of Christmas, please join our Apostolate.
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We express our thoughts through our words and our deeds.
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Our Call To Holiness has always been a Call to the perfection of Charity, in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds, as we strive to overcome our disordered inclinations and become transformed through Salvational Love, God’s Gift Of Grace And Mercy.
When we know longer respect the inherent Dignity of the essence of being, in essence, a beloved son or daughter, brother or sister, husband or wife, father or mother, no one should be surprised that it follows, as the night, the day, that we know longer uphold respect for the desire that our children grow up to be young ladies and young gentlemen, seeking in all things, The Good, The Beautiful, and That Which Is True.
ND sold its soul a long time ago. Short of a change from Jenkins and bot, it will remain so.
Unfortunately, our American culture is now dominated by a totally secular media and Democratic party political philosophy. Bring a personal Roman Catholic does not fit into this culture. Thus a Catholic Notre Dame University can not fit easily into this Culture. Catholic Notre Dame philosophy and church tradition for 2,000 years is not even close to the dominant cultural philosophy for life today in America. In other words the current socially correct poison being breathed by most Americans must not be allowed to drift into the air of Notre Dame period.
I believe; that is all, everything.
Do you desire Salvation for yourself and your beloved or do you desire you and your beloved remain in sin, and not overcome our disordered inclinations towards sin by our denial of Salvational Love, God’s Gift Of Grace And Mercy?
Do you believe in those Words to believed by Divine and Catholic Faith that have been “Written or handed down by Tradition, that is in the single Deposit Of Faith Entrusted by Christ to His One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic Church, Through The Unity Of The Holy Ghost”?
Do you believe, “unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more”?
Father “believed deeply not only that Notre Dame held a responsibility for the moral and spiritual formation of its students, but also that the good character and religious convictions of its graduates spoke eloquently to the success of the university’s approach. (Ibid. p. 93)”
Our Blessed Mother’s University cannot be a force for Good, while accommodating thoughts, words, or deeds that promote that which does not serve that which is True, Beautiful, and thus Good.
Our Call To Holiness has always been a Call to the perfection of Charity, in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds, as we strive to overcome our disordered inclinations and become transformed through Salvational Love, God’s Gift Of Grace And Mercy available to all those who desire to repent, and partake in the fullness of Christian Life with Christ, while recognizing it is a sin to “accommodate an occasion of sin, and cooperate with with that which promotes evil.
To deny The Unity Of The Holy Ghost (Filioque), Is to deny The Divinity Of The Ordered Communion Of Perfect Complementary Love, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, and thus deny The Sacramental Nature Of Perfect Complementary Love.
“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, In The Unity Of The Holy Ghost. (Filioque)
27No man can enter into the house of a strong man and rob him of his goods, unless he first bind the strong man, and then shall he plunder his house.“
Thus, Our Lady’s University has been entrusted by Her founders to hold fast to The Deposit Of Faith Entrusted To Our Blessed Mother’s University, Through, With, And In Christ, In The Unity Of The Holy Ghost.
Perfect Love does not divide, it multiplies, (Filioque), as in the Miracle Of The Loaves and Fishes
“And calling the multitude together with his disciples, he said to them: If any man will follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: ““and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel shall save it. 36For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul? 37Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul: 38For he that shall be ashamed of me and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
“28Amen I say to you that all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith they shall blaspheme: 29But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin. 30Because they said: He hath an unclean spirit.”
It has always been about The Marriage In Heaven and on Earth. The Sacrifice Of The Cross Is The Sacrifice Of The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Through The Unity Of The Holy Ghost (Filioque), “ For God so Loved us that He Sent His Only Son…”
“Seek first, The Kingdom Of God”, The Ordered Communion Of Perfect Complementary Love, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Through The Unity Of The Holy Ghost (Filioque), The Author Of Love, Of Life, And Of Marriage.
4For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated, have tasted also the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5Have moreover tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come…”, to not believe that Christ’s Sacrifice On The Cross will lead us to Salvation, but we must desire forgiveness for our sins, and accept Salvational Love, God’s Gift Of Grace And Mercy; believe in The Power And The Glory Of Salvation Love, and rejoice in the fact that No Greater Love Is There Than This, To Desire Salvation For One’s Beloved.
“Hail The Cross, Our Only Hope.”
“Blessed are they who are Called to The Marriage Supper Of The Lamb.”
I agree – I do not want my grandchildren growing up thinking it is “ok” for a man to sleep with another man or to kiss another man in a sexual way! The minds of our children are so confused and propaganda like the poster and the play are simply a way to shove homosexuality down our throats without our permission!
No disrespect for Jeanette’s sincere comment, consider this alternative. Try to view the devolution of values at Notre Dame with some whimsy, with a long view, as the “New Eve” Our Immaculate “Mom of all” might hold. Perhaps Her tears are balanced with a long-suffering Mom’s sense of the struggles and limitations of Her “enfants?” How often in the last century has She seen the leaders, staff, faculty and students of her beloved University be tempted off the “true path of FAith and Truth” by some “next new shiny object,” some “false god” or “secular idol.” Perhaps she summons an indulgent or sardonic smile as she watches the unfolding history and future of Notre Dame? (“Let’s see how many errors little Johnnie Jenkins makes this day, eh?” “How far will he chase unicorns down the rainbow path?” “Will he ever recognize the moments of epiphany placed before him?” “It is so gratifying to see the core, the remnant, faithful students who maintain true values amidst all the temptation spread before them on campus–the few who are pro-life.” “I wonder if My Spouse, My Son, and good old Peter have enough millstones in stock for those who mislead so many of our students?” Huge sigh…;-) Perhaps we need to hear God and Our Lady “laughing?” Steve
To make a mockery of what Catholicism stands for is a gross injustice. Our Lady must be shedding many tears. I do not know how they can continue to say that they are a Catholic University. They should be God centered and not adhere to the secular world.