NOTRE DAME, IN — We are obliged to inform our subscribers that Rev. Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C., is no longer associated with the website NDCatholic.com, which we established to house Father’s recommendations of Notre Dame faculty whom students could count on for an authentic Catholic education. The radical reduction of Catholic presence on the Notre Dame faculty makes such information essential. Nevertheless, two days after the inauguration of the website Father sent us this message: “I regret that I can say only that I am required to end my involvement with the NDCatholic site and am not at liberty to say why.”
In more detail, the facts are these:
On November 9, 2015, we unveiled the NDCatholic.com website, which is designed to assist students seeking a Catholic education at Notre Dame. They need this sort of help because of the alarming reduction over recent decades in Catholic representation on the faculty. The faculty no longer comes close to meeting the University’s own Mission Statement test of Catholic identity: a majority of committed Catholics on the faculty. Perhaps 25% to 30% of the faculty fit this description, as we will show again in a coming bulletin using the most recent data available.
The consequences of this steep decline in Catholic faculty have been described in concrete terms by Professor Emeritus Walter Nicgorski, who retired recently after more than forty years as one of Notre Dame’s most highly regarded teachers and scholars:
It is increasingly the case today that a young person going through the critical and formative years of a Catholic education at Notre Dame might not encounter a practicing Catholic informed and engaged by the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Father Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C., prepared the instructive recommendations of faculty and courses that appear on this website to assist students in making the choices necessary to insure that they receive an authentic Catholic education. As a long time Notre Dame professor and a nationally recognized historian who has served as chairman of the History Department and rector of Moreau Seminary, Father Miscamble was admirably suited to this task.
The website has been eagerly received and warmly praised. It crashed the first day under heavy demand; our bulletin announcing the website was picked up by a number of news sources; and subscribers have reacted enthusiastically.
The website opened with a video of Father Miscamble describing the content of the website and his longer written introduction. Father Miscamble has requested that we remove both, and we have done so. This episode unfolded this way:
- The day after the website was launched, Father Miscamble advised Bill Dempsey, the chairman of Sycamore Trust, that he had been directed to disassociate himself from the website.
- In an email to Father Miscamble the next day Bill expressed his “surprise and deep disappointment” and his concern that this would “reflect adversely on the university” in the absence of a persuasive explanation. He asked “what reason we should assign.”
- Father responded: “Dear Bill, I regret that I can say only that I am required to end my involvement with the NDCatholic site and am not at liberty to say why.
For our part, we deeply regret this development, which we think a disservice to students and parents and, indeed, to the university.
Even though Father Miscamble must withdraw, we will build upon what he has given us in continuing this project. All who treasure Notre Dame as a place where young men and women can be inspired through teachers steeped in the riches of the Catholic intellectual tradition are in debt to Father Miscamble.
You may visit the site and sign up for updates at www.NDCatholic.com.
The Edith Stein Conference, February 5-6, 2016
An important part of our mission is to provide support to Catholic-centered student organizations. They are especially important to the school’s Catholic mission in light of the attenuation of Catholic faculty representation. We also encourage our subscribers to provide their individual support by prayer and, if possible, by contributions. Here are requests from two organizations respecting two important annual events:
This conference was started in 2004 by Notre Dame women in response to the student production of The Vagina Monologues, a graphic paean to lesbian sex. It has become a major annual event. Hailey Vrdolyak, co-chairman of the conference (and co-recipient of last year’s Sycamore Trust student award) writes that the annual conference “addresses various issues of gender, sexuality, and human dignity by exploring what it means to be authentic women and men.” She continues: “Our goal is to promote fruitful dialogue on issues of human dignity, with an emphasis on the dignity of women. We foster a spirit of openness while remaining rooted in the Catholic Church’s teachings on authentic personhood.”
How refreshing in these days of as many genders as Heintz has varieties of catsup. Donors can send checks payable to “The University of Notre Dame- The Identity Project of Notre Dame” to: University of Notre Dame (The Identity Project of Notre Dame), Department of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Contact Hailey Vrdolyak at Hailey.M.Vrdolyak.firstname.lastname@example.org