Fr. Jenkins … 2nd term

I received word that Fr. Jenkins was appointed to a second 5 year term as President of Notre Shame.

Fr. Jenkins has supported filthy plays at this Catholic university.

He completely ignores Ex corde Ecclesiae.

He sits on the board of a group that supports abortion services.

He blew off the American bishops and the local bishop in the midst of the controversy.

He willingly bestowed an honorary doctorate of law of all things on the most pro-abortion politician America has ever seen.

Good work Trustees!

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44 Responses to Fr. Jenkins … 2nd term

  1. Jordanes says:

    Notre Dame, we hardly knew ye.

  2. Phil says:

    Perhaps now Notre Shame will finally be forced to relinquish its status as a Catholic University. But I am a “sour grape” after all, lol! I feel your pain, Fr. Z!

  3. The Astronomer says:

    Sad but not surprising, when prominent members of AmChurch treat anything coming from the Holy See & our holy father BXVI as ‘suggestions,’ and bothersome ones at that.

  4. Phil says:

    Even more sadly, its not just the AmChurch. Read the article about the Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica!

  5. DavidJ says:

    I’m reminded of a certain scene from Spaceballs….

  6. Jack Hughes says:

    shame shame on you notre dame

  7. Michael in NoVA says:

    In case you want to be fully nauseated, here is Notre Dame’s press release:
    http://newsinfo.nd.edu/news/13647-board-of-trustees-elects-father-jenkins-to-second-term

    I especially love this one:

    ++++They expressed their “appreciation for the commitment” of Father Jenkins to the “Catholic character of the University.”++++

    I guess they mean “Catholic character” in the cafeteria Catholic sense of the phrase. Or one could also read into it that they appreciate the laxity of Fr. Jenkins’ commitment.

  8. seanl says:

    Many prayers go out to the students of Notre Dame

  9. fathermichael says:

    Fr Z., which board does he sit on? Thanks.

  10. Jason Keener says:

    Also, the Cardinal Newman Society recently reported that the University of Notre Dame just gave financial assistance to five students to participate in a national gay rights demonstration on Sunday, October 11th, in Washington D.C. The rally was sponsored by Equality Across America, which aims to build a national grassroots network asserting homosexual couples’ “right to marry” as well as other demands.

  11. fathermichael says:

    I heard that that Observer news article misspoke.

  12. Copernicus says:

    Fr Z, has it occurred to you that you may share some responsibility for his reappointment? You may wish to reflect on that. [One of the flakiest things I have read in these pages in a long time.]

  13. The Astronomer says:

    “Fr Z, has it occurred to you that you may share some responsibility for his reappointment? You may wish to reflect on that.

    Comment by Copernicus”

    This comment is a thinly-veiled ad hominen attack about what the good Fr. Z blog accomplishes with WDTPRS. Not too charitable, methinks. Blog on, Fr Z, blog on!!!

  14. paladin says:

    Copernicus wrote:

    Fr Z, has it occurred to you that you may share some responsibility for his reappointment? You may wish to reflect on that.

    (*wry look*) Mm-hmm. And Our Lord Jesus “shared some responsibility” for the damnation of those who reject Him out of pure spite, right? Do you really mean to suggest, in general, that those who admonish/rebuke/inform sinners, the errant, and malcontents are somehow “at fault”? Have some sense, will you?

  15. wanda says:

    But Father Z.! The good Father Jenkins is going to go to the National March for Life in D.C. this year! (?) Perhaps he will stop in to visit his new bff, President Obama, and have some meaningful dialog, perhaps they will find the elusive ‘common ground’ on abortion. I won’t be holding my breath.

    The thing that made me the sickest about the whole Obama graduation thing was that the gown the President wore had the crest (I won’t get the latin right) but, it was in honor of our Blessed Mother and it conatined the words, our life, our sweetness, our hope.

  16. Clinton says:

    When the fiasco at ND was unfolding, around 80 Bishops in this country spoke out publicly. Perhaps many more communicated privately
    with Fr. Jenkins and the trustees at ND. One Bishop wrote:

    “May 17th will mark not just a bad decision by university officials, it will mark a day of shame and blemish for the Catholic record and
    reputation of N. D. U. Its relationship to the Catholic hierarchy and to the fundamental principles of the Church has been fractured and
    will take new leadership to rebuild”

    This statement, given on 12 May 2009, was from none other than Bp. Donald Trautman of Erie. I am thrilled to have an occasion to say
    that His Excellency is spot-on. It is a pity that the fools running the once-great university of Notre Dame do not agree.

  17. chonak says:

    Jenkins’ re-appointment isn’t surprising. After all, the board of trustees now is probably the same as in June.

    In contrast to the practice of many universities, the trustees are not elected by alumni; they’re chosen by a self-perpetuating panel of twelve “Fellows of the University”, half of whom are always CSC priests. So ultimately the responsibility for ND goes back to the Holy Cross order.

    I conclude that Jenkins is pursuing the sort of policies that the Trustees and the Fellows and the superiors of the order want.

  18. Tominellay says:

    chonak (at 3:15 pm) is right. This decision by the trustees was made months ago; ND’s policies have been set, and Fr. Jenkins executes those policies.

  19. lucy says:

    Very sad. However, we should take heart. There are some good things happening there. I know one of the young men responsible for helping to get the Latin Mass going there and it’s well-attended!

  20. Peggy R says:

    Jenkins, you’re doing a heckuva job!

  21. DarkKnight says:

    “Jenkins, you’re doing a heckuva job!

    Comment by Peggy R — 19 October 2009 @ 3:33 pm”

    … and heck really appreciates the job his doing for them at Notre Dame, too.

  22. MikeM says:

    For what it’s worth, Fr. Jenkins has actually made certain movements in the right direction.

    It doesn’t look like things will get significantly better, but I think the alternatives would have made things a lot worse.

    At least ND remains a place open to Catholic thought.

  23. NLucas says:

    IMO, I think Fr Z’s analysis is entirely correct. Taking into account the authority of the Church, error, and scandal, the actions of the board are themselves scandalous. Like most folks who post here, I give far more weight to the teaching of the Church regarding abortion and obedience to Ex Corde Ecclesiae than considerations of where we’re supposed to “fit” in society.

    There is, though, another set of conflicts going on here that have a long history among Catholics in the US, conflicts in the social status of the Catholic Church and the role that Catholics play in public society and discourse. From the beginnings of the Catholic Church here, there has been tension between those who thought the Catholics should assimilate and those who thought that Catholics should stand apart from society. With 19th century popes condemning Americanism, the “stand apart” point of view prevailed among most American Catholics (with a lot of help from anti-Catholic sentiment among a large segment of the population)until the mid 20th-century. However, it seems to me that, especially since the JFK election in 1960, Catholics (as a segment of society) have largely supported assimiliation. It is easy to see Land O’ Lakes and the ND scandal as tactics to ensure “the gains of Catholic assimilation” and to cooperate with the current Administration in the hopes of retaining what is perceived by its proponents as the gains in influence made by Catholics since 1950.

    If your priority is influence within society (on society’s terms), then the ND graduation, the Georgetown speech where the Holy Name was covered, the Land O’ Lakes declaration, the “wink wink” to contraception, and a whole host of similar approaches make sense. And it helps one, at least in one’s own mind, to rationalize a whole menu of compromises with society, especially when you think you can influence our culture towards the Gospel after the compromises are made.

    Do ND’s priorities favor assimilation or do they favor being counter-cultural? Do Catholics need to stand apart from society as we did up into the 20th century, or can we do more if a big-name university with big-time sports and big-time donors retains a nominal “Catholic” name in the hopes that some in our culutre may be positively influenced?

    IMO, perhaps assimiliation may have been a morally acceptable tactic when society shared at least a number of moral laws with the Church, but it seems almost suicidal in a society that worships license and confuses compassion with tolerance.

    In Christ,

  24. Trad Tom says:

    “At least ND remains a place open to Catholic thought.” What, MikeM? There should be NO question about its remaining open to Catholic thought — there should be NO thoughts other than Catholic ones emanating from ND. And the world shouldn’t have to be wondering if, indeed, ND is a truly Catholic university — it certainly hasn’t looked like one during the past five years. Has it remained open to Catholic thought these past five years? Not so much.

  25. ndmom says:

    And the person who should have been named to replace Fr. Jenkins is —- ?
    Anyone have a nominee?

  26. MikeM says:

    Trad Tom,

    I would certainly like to see things move more our way at Notre Dame. But, there are many worse possibilities than the way things are now. There are areas in which Fr. Jenkins improved on precedents set by Fr. Malloy and Fr. Hesbugh.

    At this point, there are still good Catholic aspects about Notre Dame, and even if he’s not a perfect champion of Catholic principles, Fr. Jenkins also isn’t an entrenched opponent of those aspects of the University. I support Bishop D’Arcy in his attempts to bring ND in line with Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and I simultaneously wish Fr. Jenkins the best in his next term. I hope that ND is able to grow in faith in the years to come, and believe that with Grace, this can happen under Fr. Jenkins (and was by no means assured under any alternative).

  27. MichaelJ says:

    Mike,

    You seem to have written a perfect example of “damning with faint praise”.

  28. EXCHIEF says:

    Simply confirms that NDU is no longer Catholic, is not led by Catholics, and is not deserving of support from Catholics.

  29. wmeyer says:

    I think we must contemplate how many bricks are negated by so shameful a public message.

  30. ndmom says:

    One man’s “damning with faint praise” is another man’s “let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
    Fr. Jenkins didn’t start with a blank slate five years ago. Decades of indifference or even downright hostility to the university’s Catholic identity and mission cannot be remedied overnight, and it is simply unreasonable to expect Fr. Jenkins to turn Notre Dame into a bastion of orthodox Catholicism in just a few years. Notwithstanding the whining by some outside observers, he is committed to increasing the number of Catholic faculty, and has taken a great deal of grief from the largely liberal faculty in the process. But in the last few years, there has been steady and significant process in Catholic hiring, with some outstanding Catholic faculty recruited from top secular universities. The university has also had success in hiring junior faculty who are committed to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission. There are more than 100 Masses celebrated on campus every week, with students lined up for confession every day in the Basilica. A new generation of JP II-inspired Holy Cross priests are gradually replacing the aging liberals who don’t like to wear their collars, and there is increasing student support for such traditional devotions as regular Adoration and the rosary. There is a sizable cohort of well-formed Catholics among the student body, many of whom participated in the ND Response initiatives last spring.
    Christendom it is not, but it’s not Georgetown either. Not by a long shot. But you’d never know it to read some of the comments here and elsewhere.

  31. ndmom: You wrote some things that caught my eye.

    One man’s “damning with faint praise” is another man’s “let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

    You are asking us to accept a premise.

    Fr. Jenkins didn’t start with a blank slate five years ago. Decades of indifference or even downright hostility to the university’s Catholic identity and mission cannot be remedied overnight, and it is simply unreasonable to expect Fr. Jenkins to turn Notre Dame into a bastion of orthodox Catholicism in just a few years.

    Okay… we all need to know a lot more about what he is doing. I have heard from people that Fr. Jenkins is personally conservative… but…

    Frankly, I don’t think any earthly power could have compelled me to have certain plays on campus or to have put that doctoral hood on that particular politician.

    Notwithstanding the whining by some outside observers,

    whining? You jest.

    he is committed to increasing the number of Catholic faculty, and has taken a great deal of grief from the largely liberal faculty in the process.

    Who’s whining now?

    But in the last few years, there has been steady and significant process in Catholic hiring, with some outstanding Catholic faculty recruited from top secular universities. The university has also had success in hiring junior faculty who are committed to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.

    Okay… a Catholic school is hiring Catholics.

    There are more than 100 Masses celebrated on campus every week, with students lined up for confession every day in the Basilica.

    Shouldn’t it be that way anyway?

    A new generation of JP II-inspired Holy Cross priests are gradually replacing the aging liberals who don’t like to wear their collars, and there is increasing student support for such traditional devotions as regular Adoration and the rosary.

    Shouldn’t it be that way anyway? And, btw… Fr. Jenkins has nothing to do with that.

    There is a sizable cohort of well-formed Catholics among the student body, many of whom participated in the ND Response initiatives last spring.

    Shouldn’t it be that way anyway? And, btw… Fr. Jenkins has nothing to do with that.

  32. ndmom says:

    Sorry I lack the formatting skills of our host:

    “he is committed to increasing the number of Catholic faculty, and has taken a great deal of grief from the largely liberal faculty in the process.

    Who’s whining now?”

    The faculty members who are either nominal Catholics or hostile to the faith. They are whining, but they are not winning. Those outside academia often underestimate the damage that can be caused by tenured, lazy faculty with lots of time on their hands and an ax to grind.

    “But in the last few years, there has been steady and significant process in Catholic hiring, with some outstanding Catholic faculty recruited from top secular universities. The university has also had success in hiring junior faculty who are committed to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.
    Okay… a Catholic school is hiring Catholics.”

    But for many years, it simply wasn’t happening at Notre Dame. The percentage of Catholic faculty members had been sliding for years, but, for whatever reason, nobody seemed to care about it. Now the university has taken some serious steps to identify, recruit, and hire solid Catholic scholars, and that effort is continuing with the full and enthusiastic support of Fr. Jenkins.

    “There are more than 100 Masses celebrated on campus every week, with students lined up for confession every day in the Basilica.
    Shouldn’t it be that way anyway?”

    Indeed, it should, but it isn’t at many nominally Catholic schools. And it certainly wouldn’t be happening at Notre Dame if the university were as cynical and hostile to the faith as some continue to insist that it must be.

    And I’m still waiting for those who keep calling for Fr. Jenkins’ head to identify a more acceptable candidate.

  33. As I would put it, “sine ecclesia, sine vita” (without church, without life). But still, I just can’t get over the fact that he got a 2nd term! Come on, “maintaining the Catholic faith and tradition”? That’s just nuts! Who would in their right, objective minds think that?

    Let’s just hope that Fr. Jenkins learns from the patterns of doctrinal heterodoxy in the past and shape up to the future. He shouldn’t let other people get in the way of God’s truth, that’s for sure. Because for all I know, he has more than the Obama incident to claim for his allowances of heterodoxy, despite his personal conservatism that he holds in his heart: The Notre Dame Queer Film Festival (est. 2005).

    How’s that for “maintaining the Catholic faith and intellectual tradition”?

  34. bookworm says:

    Any word on how many trustees voted for and how many against?

    Have any trustees come out and said which way they voted?

  35. Charivari Rob says:

    Father Z. – “Fr. Jenkins has supported filthy plays at [ND]…
    …completely ignores Ex corde Ecclesiae.
    …board of a group that supports abortion services.
    …blew off the American bishops and the local bishop…
    …bestowed an honorary doctorate of law of all things on the most pro-abortion…”

    BUT – The football team has a winning record!

    Isn’t that still one of the three key criteria for success in the upper echelons of major higher education, along with “being published” and “attracting donor/grant money”?

  36. Irenaeus says:

    NdMom,

    I’m not an alumnus of ND, but I have close friends and acquaintances who are alumni/ae and who teach at ND at present. I also have a ND tie I wear on Fridays, for the Fighting Irish have been my team since junior high. First and foremost, let me say that (as much as I detest Jenkins’ leadership in recent years, as do some of my alumni/ae friends) I understand your desire to defend the university and see the good in Fr Jenkins’ leadership. (I also appreciate the comment by MikeM in this regard.) It’s too easy to bitch and piss and moan on the internet. I know, because I do it often. So thanks for keeping us honest — or at least trying to. Your success is not in your hands in that department.

    That said, I think I could propose several good candidates for the ND presidency off the top of my head (although none would be CSC priests): Fr Brian Daley, SJ, theology; John Cavadini, theology; Nathan Hatch, currently president of Wake Forest (iirc), former provost at Notre Dame. There’s three. And I gotta think that within the CSC with the fortitude to forbid the Vagina Monologues and to have the sensitivity — the common sense — to avoid formally honoring someone with such a pro-abortion commitment. Abortion in Catholic thinking is an intrinsic evil, like any other intrinsic evil we could name. Just because American culture and jurisprudence says otherwise at this sorry time in history does not mean the Church and the institutions which bear her name can fudge on the issue.

    And that said, I think we need to see who the new bishop of South Bend will be and how he’ll interact with Jenkins; we can certainly pray for those conversations. First and foremost, that they take place. How about a “rosary tax” on our web use — for every negative comment we leave about somebody (which I don’t think is wrong per se), we say a rosary for them?

    Finally, an honest question: Why do you feel good about sending your kid(s) to ND? Certainly you’ve raised them well, so when the Vagina Monologues or something similar come along, they can handle it…on the other hand, half their profs may be way off the reservation, so to speak, and profs do have an influence on students. (I know, because I teach at a broadly Christian lib arts place.) I have younger children, so I’m curious how parents think about these things in these confusing and often dark days.

  37. Dave N. says:

    I’d say it’s now pretty clear that Fr. Jenkins has overwhelming support from the board, faculty and student body, despite everything that has transpired.

    Draw your own conclusion–they are pretty obvious.

  38. TNCath says:

    This is beyond disgraceful. Notre Dame has once again thumbed its nose at the Church. It’s time for the Church to declare that Notre Dame is no longer a Catholic university, followed by Georgetown, DePaul, Fordham, and any other college or university that is defiant.

  39. ndmom says:

    Iraneus,
    As you note, none of the three candidates you proposed is CSC. Further, Fr. Daley is well into his 70’s, John Cavadini is a layman, and I’m not certain that Nathan Hatch (who is also close to retirement age) is even Catholic. And only Hatch has the requisite administrative experience.
    Running a large university is not an easy task, and when you add in the requirements that the President be CSC, with a PhD, and meaningful administrative experience, the list of viable candidates shrinks.

    I do believe that a lot of good is and will be coming out of the Obama debacle, beginning with the long-overdue presence of Fr. Jenkins at the March for Life. Yet even that announcement was greeted with disdain by many who have given up on Notre Dame.

    As for your question about sending children to this university…you’re right, they need to be well-formed. And they need to find like-minded classmates and faculty members who can help them choose their courses and professors wisely. It’s not as hard as it sounds, for there are several networks of solidly orthodox folks here who are EAGER to help. Your son or daughter will not be the only one attending Mass or stopping by the Grotto (though no one will push them to do either if they’re not so inclined). They will be living in single-sex dorms with rules regarding opposite-sex visits that most colleges dropped many years ago. Every dorm has a chapel with Masses celebrated regularly through the week; in fact, there is a TLM celebrated at Alumni Hall every Sunday morning. For students who want or need it, there are Opus Dei centers just off campus offering recollections and spiritual direction. A student who “loses” his faith here would probably lose it anywhere.

  40. mvhcpa says:

    This was just what I was afraid of….it looks like Notre Shame might have “got away with it.”

    Even as considered and slow-paced as Church action has to be, I feel like anything short of padlocking ND the day after the commencement sends the message that there is no control by the hierarchy over anything purporting to be Catholic. Perhaps there is still time for a proper smackdown to be delivered, but time grows short and with every tick of the clock (or turn of the calendar) the action required to prove authority becomes more and more severe.

    Michael Val

  41. Michael in NoVA says:

    ndmom,

    I hear what you are saying, and I agree, there could certainly be worse Presidents than Fr. Jenkins. I had not heard about a few of the good things that he had re-instituted (like hiring Catholic professors- as Fr. Z said, ND should have done this all along, but she had gone away from this direction). However, it is inexplicable why ND continues to support Gay/Lesbian film festivals, Vagina Monologues, etc., especially if it is trying to re-orient her Catholic identity. Remember, the film festival was not inherited by Jenkins- it has sprouted since he arrived there.

    As for rapidly turning around a university, it can be done. Belmont Abbey’s president, Dr. Thierfelder, has been very instrumental in changing Belmont Abbey into a very pro-faith campus in just a few years. I know that ND is on a much larger scale than Belmont Abbey, but it can be done.

  42. ndmom says:

    Michael in NoVA,
    There was no gay/lesbian film series this year. You can read the whining of the person who originated the “festival” here. http://media.www.ndsmcobserver.com/media/storage/paper660/news/2009/02/16/Viewpoint/How-Notre.Dame.Sneakily.Killed.Off.The.Queer.Film.Festival-3630931-page3.shtml

    LIkewise, the Monologues were not presented on campus this past spring. The organizers gave various vague reasons for their decision, but the real reason was that they were unable to find a university department willing to sponsor them.

  43. Seattle Slough says:

    Thank you Father Z, ndmom and Irenaeus for a most excellent exchange of thoughts and commentary. I thoroughly enjoyed the volley.