Update on the ND 88 & The Gay Rights March


SOUTH BEND, IN – The ND 88 and The Gay Rights March: Rationalizations and Silence.

In this bulletin, we ask again that you consider a year-end donation to Sycamore Trust and  we update our reports on two matters, the trespass prosecutions against the Commencement Day demonstrators (the “ND 88”) and the University’s support of student participation in a gay rights demonstration promoting homosexual/lesbian marriage.


The response to our recent request for donations has been heartening, but we remain short of our goal. We hope that, if you value Sycamore’s work and have not contributed, you will consider doing so.  As we have said, no gift is too small.

Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.


As we have reported previously, Father Jenkins has steadfastly declined to tell the prosecutor that Notre Dame is wiling for him to drop the trespass charges against those who demonstrated against the University’s action in honoring President Obama.

He has also steadfastly declined to explain why.  His and the University’s standard response has been that Notre Dame does not have the legal right to dismiss the cases. That is quite true and also quite irrelevant, as we wrote in our letter to Father Jenkins, as pro-life advocates have emphasized, and as Father Jenkins surely realizes.

The question is not whether Notre Dame can require dismissal. It is, rather, why Father Jenkins does not suggest it. It is up to the prosecutor, not Father Jenkins, to decide whether the public interest requires prosecution.  The University’s purpose of preventing disruption was served by the arrests.  It is hard to see any remaining purpose other than retaliation, at least in the absence of any other proffered explanation.

The most recent development is the trial court’s grant of the defendants’ appeal of her decision not to withdraw from the case. Defendants had asked her to withdraw on grounds of appearance of bias.  With the consent of the prosecutor, she has now agreed to have the appellate court decide the question. The result is that trials will not begin for some time.

The result also is that this refusal of Father Jenkins to use his good offices on behalf of these pro-life advocates may well be an embarrassment to the Notre Dame delegation at the January 22nd March for Life if Father Jenkins leads the group, as he has pledged to do. The widespread criticism of Father Jenkins by pro-life forces, which we noted in our prior bulletin, has mounted to the point that an airplane trailing a “Father Jenkins Free the 88” banner overflew the campus recently.

For detailed information and ways to help, visit the Thomas More Society site. To contact Father Jenkins by e-mail, visit the Notre Dame site. His mailing address is 317 Main Building, Notre Dame IN 46556


As we have reported, the University recently approved the use of student activities funds under its control for the payment of expenses of student members of the Progressive Student Alliance who wanted to  participate in a Washington Gay Rights March. A principal purpose of the March was to promote homosexual marriage.

After our bulletin, The Irish Rover published an article that puts the University’s action in a still more unfavorable light

The Rover reporter asked the University spokesperson how the University’s action in facilitating this promotion of gay marriage could be reconciled with this University policy:

No organization, or member of any organization on behalf of the organization, may encourage or participate in any activity which contravenes the mission of the University or the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.

The spokesperson responded with the breathtaking assertion that support by a Notre Dame student organization of this event designed to “protect civil rights, ” “taken as a whole does not contravene the mission of the University or the [moral teaching of’] the Church.

The spokesperson then went on a diversionary excursion by explaining that the money in question came from the student activities fees collected from students, not from the general fund. As we pointed out in our prior bulletin, this is simply a transparent effort to avoid the issue. The point is that University approval was required and was given.

As to that, the spokesperson “refused to comment.”

So, too, did the Vice President for Student Affairs, Father Mark Poorman, C.S.C., and Mary Kate Havlik, the Student Affairs Coordinator who handled this matter in the first instance.

We suggest that this collective taking of cover is simply an embarrassment in an institution claiming dedication to open discussion in a search for truth.

(We repeat our recommendation that you subscribe to the Rover. The students deserve support and you will benefit.)


For anyone interested in Notre Dame, a gift of Dr. Charles Rice’s book, “What Happened to Notre Dame,” which we have discussed before, should be welcome. If you order from the publisher, St. Augustine Press, and enter “SYCAMORE” as the code, you will receive a 15% discount (and a like amount will be contributed to Sycamore Trust).

We close with our thanks for your interest and support and with warm wishes for a Christmas blessed with peace and joy.

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