The Obama affair, The Queer Film Festival, ND Watch…and the list goes on.
Our reports have described many signs of the secularization of the University during the Jenkins administration besides the weakening of Catholic faculty representation and of the curriculum and the Vagina Monologues affair. They include the honoring of President Obama, the most formidable foe of the Church on abortion and religious liberty; the prosecution of the pro-life protesters of that action; the appointment to the board of a long-time contributor to a major pro-abortion organizations; the appointment to the board of trustees of a pro-abortion alumna who opposes Notre Dame’s lawsuit against the contraception/abortifacient mandate; the approval of the Queer Film Festival; the voluntary establishment of a student health plan that results in free contraceptives and abortifacients being put in the hands of students; the recognition of a gay student organization in a break with long-standing policy; affording then-married homosexual bishop Gene Robinson an on-campus forum for his assault on the Church; the provision of Internet support to a women’s faculty group that promotes pro-abortion organizations; the according of spousal benefits to “married” homosexuals and lesbians; and many more. Because of its prominence, we add a few words here about the calamitous Obama episode. Notre Dame’s conferring an honorary degree upon President Obama and featuring him as the 2009 Commencement Speaker despite his unrelenting and extreme pro-abortion policies is far the most prominent incident in recent years reflecting the weakening of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. It opened a major breach between University and Church when 83 cardinals, archbishops, and bishops joined Notre Dame’s own bishop, the Most Rev. John M. D’Arcy, in condemning Notre Dame’s action, which violated a unanimous 2004 policy statement by United States Conference of Catholic bishops. As the U.S. News & World Report put it: “It’s hard to recall another time when as many U.S. bishops publicly denounced a domestic political development as spoke out against Obama’s May appearance at the University of Notre Dame. Catholic laity overwhelmingly agreed with the bishops. In a Rasmussen poll, “By a 60% to 25% margin, U.S. Catholics say the university should not award an honorary degree to the president.” In contrast, on campus, the great majority of the faculty applauded Father Jenkins’s action. Thus, both Administration and faculty joined in this action that seriously undermined Notre Dame’s hard-earned reputation as a Catholic university. Their evident purpose – to enhance the secular reputation of the University no matter the impact on Catholic identity – is identical to the ambitions that have led to the transformation of the faculty.