Pope Francis receives Univ. of Notre Shame officials in audience

A delegation from Notre Dame Shame University had an audience with Pope Francis.

Yes, yes.  Not everything at Notre Dame is evil.  However, we do associate the school with leading the way in the destruction of Catholic education in these USA, the harboring of heretical teachers, the honoring of the most aggressively pro-abortion and anti-Catholic president in history.  But I digress…

According to the Cardinal Newman Society (always check their RSS feed on my sidebar) Pope Francis told them:

In a powerful statement encouraging fidelity and strong Catholic identity in Catholic higher education, Pope Francis today urged the University of Notre Dame to be an “uncompromising witness… to the Church’s moral teaching” and to resist “efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness,” according to a translation by Vatican Radio.

The Holy Father’s words came today as he met with a Notre Dame delegation celebrating the University’s new Rome Center.  Although Vatican Radio does not report whether Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., was present, a photo of Father Jenkins with Pope Francis accompanying the Vatican Radio translation suggests that he was.

Recalling the University’s founding Catholic mission in “service to the Church and American society,” Pope Francis said, “And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning.  To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!”

In my Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel, I stressed the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship, which needs to be evident in the lives of individuals and in the workings of each of the Church’s institutions.  This commitment to “missionary discipleship” ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 132-134), which by their very nature are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life.  Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors.  It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness.


I would preferred that His Holiness cite Ex corde Ecclesiae, which is still in force.

The Holy Father’s full statement is at the Vatican Radio website here.

I would like to see the New Evangelization working at the University of Notre Dame, beginning with an apology for this:

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  1. jameeka says:


  2. cpttom says:

    Oh my, that had to sting! It would be nice if the Holy Father continues to direct his energy at similar big fish (I’m looking at you LCWR and Jesuits), instead of those who aren’t any trouble (like the FFI). Addressing Public Scandal publicly is always a good thing.

  3. OrthodoxChick says:

    And the chances that anyone in the liberal mainstream media will cover this are??!!

    Yep. ‘Bout the time that happens, ol’ Satan will be knitting himself a sweater for the coming frost.

  4. Sonshine135 says:

    If there is anything that I am beginning to understand about Pope Francis, it is that he doesn’t get very rattled or riled up about anything- at least in view of the public. That being said, I think that the Pope is being gracious to the delegation, as he should, while firing a warning shot over the bow. “Uncompromising Witness” is a gentle way of saying, “Look Notre Shame, you are the premiere Catholic University in the United States….Start acting like it!” We know he is capable of taking action (Former Father Reynolds), and it is always the calm and quiet disciplinarians who are usually the most powerful.

  5. benedetta says:

    Why doesn’t Notre Shame and their political allies work their connection with Obama in order to carve out an exemption from HHS for religious liberty? Is it because then that would imply that they actually agree that children who result from sex quite normally do matter and that we are responsible for them and that free sex whenever and however disconnected from the gift of children is not an attainable nor admirable secular humanist goal?

  6. davidjhickey says:

    Pope to Notre Dame: “Who am I to judge?”

  7. John of Chicago says:

    For the record, here in Chicago Notre Dame alums (men and women) in truly staggering numbers teach in and lead many, many of our city’s Catholic schools–and not for just a few years after graduation, but they dedicate decades of their lives to the Church and its children. They sure aren’t doing this work for a big paycheck or acclaim. And their fellow graduates (“Domers”) invariably have rallied to the support of these struggling kids and schools as stunningly generous donors of scholarships and as skilled, enthusiastic volunteers.
    Notre Dame and the Holy Cross Fathers must be doing something very right. Wish I knew their secret. As the saying goes, “By their fruits you shall know them.”

  8. SpesUnica says:

    This must be a little disappointing to you, Father. But the fact is that the tide is slowly turning for the better at Notre Dame. [I always hope for conversions.] Just look at the on-campus seminary. It will take time, and the biological solution will still have its role to play, but think what good momentum this gives ND as it goes into the rest of the litigation against the HHS mandate. They did bungle, nearly fatally, parts of this suit, but its still rolling on. How about asking for some PRAYERS for ND rather than merely cursing it? [Go ahead and pray. I give my readers the benefit of the doubt and assume that they do.]

    Also significant is the allusion the Holy Father makes to the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program, which is bringing zealous, skilled young teachers to needs Catholic schools. See this article from an ACE administrator: http://usccbmedia.blogspot.com/2014/01/access-to-catholic-schools-by.html …and no, I don’t know why he’s wearing khakis…there’s always SOMETHING.

    I think you would also like much of what is going on at the Institute for Church Life: http://icl.nd.edu/ , I am especially a fan of what is going on at the Center for Liturgy. There are A LOT of bricks to place and re-place, but for the most part, sometimes with two steps forward and one back, things are improving. The Obama commencement fiasco was, in my opinion, deeply humbling to the ND administration, and reading Obama’s speech now, about accommodating conscience protection, is laughably false to all but the most unblinking supporters. That has pulled the carpet out from under some of the dangerous naivety, not all, but some, which is at least a move in the right direction. Give credit where credit is due, an don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.
    Moderate away, and as always, may God bless you and this project of yours, which I enjoy as often a place of illumination and even spirited debate.

  9. McCall1981 says:

    This is great. I hope the Catholic school in Seattle (that’s getting protested for firing it’s homosexual teacher) takes heart from this.

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    “I would like to see the New Evangelization working at the University of Notre Dame, beginning with an apology for this:”

    Fr. Z., I wouldn’t hold my breathe if I were you. I know you know that’s not going to happen (the apology), but I guess we can always hope, can’t we? On the other hand, I think I shall continue to pray that more apologetics take root in all our Catholic institutions of learning. From elementary school level right through University level. We need more unwavering voices for the Truth teaching our young people and society in general.

  11. Fr AJ says:

    Probably in one ear and out the other. Watch them return and say that Pope Francis endorsed everything they do at the school.

  12. NBW says:

    It’s a good start. I hope the Notre Shame delegation understood it. It is my fear that the Pope’s speech might be misinterpreted. If Fr. Jenkins and his delegation are mistaken on the Church’s teachings, they aren’t going to get it.

  13. AVL says:

    Is it just me or does the picture at the bottom almost look, at first glance, like Obama is being crowned??

  14. Bosco says:

    I doubt Pope Francis’ remarks will make so much as a ripple or generate any serious introspection among the main stream media, whose collective theological training and interest ended in 1965 when “The Gospel According to Peanuts” was published and became a runaway best-seller.
    By the way, Charlie Brown and Co. made the cover of Time magazine on April 9, 1965

  15. tcreek says:

    A good place to start if one is interested in judging Notre Dame’s respect for the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. — Fr. Richard McBrien is the Crowley-O’Brien Professor of Theology.

  16. rainman919 says:

    I am curious to know if His Holiness knew about ND’s recent announcement of a $400M expansion of their football stadium. If so, one might think he’d have a different opinion to offer.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  17. Priam1184 says:

    Forgive me. I don’t know how the process works between the Vatican and wayward ‘catholic’ universities in the United States BUT it seems to me that the exhortation that the Holy Father delivered here is an exhortation that should have been delivered 40 years ago. The time for words is now many decades past. Now is the time for action. Yesterday was the time for action. The day before yesterday was the time for action. If not at Notre Dame then somewhere. Given what they teach (or allow to be taught) on their campuses these universities do not deserve to have “Catholic” in their title or to in any way associate themselves with the Catholic Church and they should be denied the right and ability to do so. But, that said, I am not going to hold my breath.

  18. Woody79 says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah meeting with the Pope and whatever he said. BUT, did you see the new plans for the football stadium? Wow, cool huh?!

  19. JKnott says:

    The Holy Father said: “This commitment to “missionary discipleship” ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 132-134), which by their very nature are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life.”

    The school is doing missionary work….. for the LGBT and similarly corrupt missions. And they are bragging about it.
    To put that same passion into spreading the truth of the Faith and the culture of life would be a contradiction.

  20. Geoffrey says:

    “It is my fear that the Pope’s speech might be misinterpreted.”

    Oh, come on! What are the chances THAT will happen? ;-)

  21. Dave N. says:

    Biological solution or no, it’s extremely difficult to change the ideology of an educational institution. For example, instead of being strengthened the Department of Theology continues to weaken with each passing decade. Younger professors are ever more interested in being the center of controversy for the sake of gaining notoriety, rather than extolling faithfulness to Catholic identity. Of course, miracles can happen, but I don’t think it will be in the lifetimes of anyone reading this.

    It’s kind of like owning a car with a bad engine; difficult to know what to do with it.

  22. Traductora says:

    @ spes_unica: Interesting to learn that the Obama coronation debacle was a moment of truth for ND and was “deeply humbling.” It is good to know that people can still learn from their errors. ND is not the only Catholic institution that is so deeply sunk into the Democratic Party that it believes the party’s causes are its causes, and perhaps the ridicule from Catholics, on the one hand, and the praise by people from whom no Catholic wants praise, on the other, made some of them rethink this.

    That said, I thought this remark by Pope Francis was particularly significant because it doesn’t seem off the cuff and is obviously something that had been carefully thought out in advance (which most of his quoted statements are not). I think two things are happening: one, he’s becoming a little more savvy, because I honestly don’t think he knew how even his most casual statement would be manipulated; and, two, he’s realizing that he has to stand up to government.

    He’s somewhat leftwing by nature, I suspect, and people like that always see the government as the true source of all good things (although it’s hard to understand how he could have seen the Argentinian government that way). But at any rate, bishops like that, even if they don’t agree, often keep their heads down and go along to get along. So this is significant in that he is actually making a statement that clearly points to a (leftist) government as the threat to the Church’s teachings.

  23. acardnal says:

    “Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors.”


    There are some outstanding Catholic professors and students at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, I am concerned that what Pope Francis said to Notre Dame officials fell on deaf ears . . . ears which heard what they wanted to hear. In other words, “Yes, Holy Father, we are doing that now.”

    No. You are not.

  24. Dundonianski says:

    As Francis quotes “in my Exhortation—it is my hope—–” Gosh, that’s really put the Notre Dame delegation in their place, so will they be quaking in their respective liberal boots? Well, not for me to judge but if I were to hazard an ‘evaluation’ of the likely effect of this exhortation upon the delegation I would not hold my breath for a positive result.

  25. DetJohn says:

    I agree with Fr AJ

  26. SpesUnica says:

    @JKnott, exactly which parts of this statement (http://friendsandallies.nd.edu/), or its attendant Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes, do you take issue with? I am not asking for rhetorical effect, though this may not be the proper place to have this conversation. I haven’t read it since it first came out, but I remember being pretty happy with it.

    @Woody79, That whole…thing…is as poorly timed as anything ND has ever done, and most of what they do seems to be poorly timed. There are a lot of big, shiny buildings that cost a lot of money on that campus, and it won’t be JUST a football center. I think the Masters of Sacred Music dept will move in there, too?? It’s weird, and I wish they would just build luxury boxes and three academic buildings rather than luxury skybox/academic/hideous monstrosity, but I’m sure the departments concerned will appreciate the new accommodations.

    @ Traductora, That Catholic=Democrat culture runs deep at a lot of places. I am really too young to understand it completely, but from what I gather it goes back to the labor unions fighting for safe working conditions for Catholic immigrants back when unions were usually the good guys. Also JFK making Catholicism something to be proud of as an American after there being so much persecution. I also don’t think the correct response would be to lunge into a Prolife=Republican reaction, because neither party really cares about Catholics, just to stroke them enough to get their votes. Most young, active Catholics I know are Independents.

  27. rgarcia149 says:

    While at first face the pope’s comments seem positive, I ask the question: what value and what teaching? In effect the statement is vague and it could be interpreted by Notre Shame people as a signal to continue to defend their “values” as they see them. When the pope says that they should “continue” to defend these values, is he being rhetorical? As you said, the pope should have mentioned Ex corde Ecclesiae or a more specific example of the “values” that need to be defended in morality.

  28. SpesUnica says:

    @tcreek Fr. McBrien, God save him, has one foot in the grave, dying of cancer. Pray for him in his illness.

    I would refer you to Fr. Brian E. Daley, SJ, 2012 winner of the Ratzinger Prize in Theology, Fr. John Meier, who Pope Benedict quotes in Jesus of Nazareth, and Dr. John Cavadini, who was appointed by Benedict to the ITC and was awarded papal knighthood in the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  29. Mike says:

    On 28 January 2014 at 1:04 pm, yours truly bellyached:

    What makes it painful [to be Catholic] is that a university that encourages . . . diseased thinking is allowed to continue to call itself Catholic without so much as the raise of a Magisterial eyebrow.

    With this pronouncement by the Holy Father I humbly acknowledge that the most Magisterial of eyebrows has been raised. Deo gratias.

  30. cdet1997 says:

    Fr. Ted Hesburgh’s going to be awfully grumpy when he hears about the Pope’s comments. Few things draw his ire more than the successor to St. Peter mocking his precious Land O’ Lakes conference. And Fr. McBrien (who I’m convinced remains a prose only because it ensures CNN will invite him as a guest) will throw a spittle-flecked nutty that’ll be heard in Milwaukee.

  31. Theo-Philo SWO says:

    “For example, instead of being strengthened the Department of Theology continues to weaken with each passing decade.”

    Dave N., you clearly don’t know the first thing about what has happened to the Theology Department at Notre Dame over recent decades. Yes, Dr. Candida Moss pops up from time to time with an airhead comment and Fr. McBrien still technically calls ND home (though he hardly teaches at all). However, there are many exceptionally strong and orthodox Theology professors, including program directors, that never receive publicity for the great work they do. Even after a professor is awarded the pope’s namesake award in Theology (Fr. Brian Daley received the Ratzinger Prize in Theology from His Holiness in 2012), ND’s department is still proclaimed as full of heretics up to no good. Can and should more be done? Absolutely. But next time maybe you should get a little perspective from someone who has studied there in the last several decades before making comments that make you look foolish.

  32. moon1234 says:

    I can honestly say that I have told all my children to not even consider Notre Dame as a college choice (I have eight children). They have become the focal point, at least in our household, of what BAD Catholic education looks like.

    Secular schools are easier to dismiss the in your lace liberalism as it stick all it’s warts out and is easy to see. My sister went to Franciscan University in Steubenville and, while not as traditional as I would like, is light years better than Notre Shame.

  33. SpesUnica says:

    @moon1234, Yeah, I’m sure your kids wouldn’t have benefited from any of these courses ( http://theology.nd.edu/undergraduate-programs/courses/ ) or from any of the immanent and world-renowned scholars already mentioned, nor from my personal favorites: Dr. David Fagerberg (liturgical theology), Dr. Gabriel Reynolds (Christianity and Islam, often writes for First Things), Dr. Gary Anderson (Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures, Google his phenomenal articles about Sin or Death and Resurrection), or from (Drs.) Lawrence Cunningham, Cyril O’Regan, or Margie Pfeil, Fr. Dan Groody, CSC, and Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, OP, three of the best scholars of the Church’s social doctrine on the planet. Thank God they weren’t influenced by any of those people! They might have learned something.

  34. Theo-Philo SWO says:


    Exactly! Not to mention Msgr. Michael Heintz (director of the M.Div program and rector of the cathedral under Bishops D’Arcy and Rhoades), Dr. Gary Anderson, Dr. David Fagerberg, and many others.

  35. Theo-Philo SWO says:

    Darn it, SpesUnica. Always one step behind you in the moderation queue. Nice points, once again.

  36. tcreek says:

    SpesUnica & Theo-Philo SWO,

    It is surely good news to hear of all the outstanding orthodox scholars at Notre Dame.
    The problem is that most Catholics have never heard of them or their views while Fr. McBrien was the main stream media’s omnipresent voice on Catholic issues.

  37. Woody79 says:

    So according to those that know the ND Theology Dept, there are 8 really good professors out of 28. That’s what, about 29% of the undergraduate theology dept. How about we go to the philosophy dept? How many orthodox Catholic professors there? And what about the physics dept? I will cut you some slack there and ask you for only some nominally christian professors? Any orthodox Catholic family would have to be concerned about what would happen to their child if they sent them to ND. How many practicing homosexuals are on staff at ND? Yes, count them all. And what about the number of PRO-LIFE professors verse the number of PRO-ABORTION professors are there at ND? These stats are not listed but ask the students, they’ll tell you. Here’s what I see as the biggest problem at ND regarding the great majority of faculty, staff and the board:
    They all want to know “HOW CATHOLIC DO WE HAVE TO BE?” In their own little minds, including many CSC, Indiana province, priests, 75% seems to be enough. That’s why you do see some othodox Catholic professors but that’s the minority. And for those staff who are orthodox Catholics, you must be very careful what you say.

  38. SpesUnica says:

    @tcreek, with respect (and not knowing your age), I think the operative word you used is “was;” McBrien WAS that voice, and now he isn’t. At what age does knowledge of him or his views peter out to no impact…I would guess that people younger than…25 have almost never heard of him at all. And that is the ENTIRE undergraduate population. Who is that voice now? Fr. Barron, maybe, or Cardinal Dolan, and maybe even moreso, Pope Francis himself.

    My parents’ generations’ battles are not my generation’s battles. Some of the issues are very much the same, but the front-lines have moved (some positively, like, I feel, on abortion) and some very negatively (on homosexuality, pornography, and sexuality in general). I work with young people, and they have never heard of Fr. McBrien. They won’t have him in class. The folks I (and Theo-Philo) named, they will have in class. Even current professor Gutting’s clock is ticking quite loudly…he was old when I had him ten years ago. The Notre Dame of Fr. Ted and Fr. McBrien is not Notre Dame now, it is its offspring, and the debate has shifted. We need to keep up. Or, to put it another way, Land o’ Lakes may be the Fall that should never have happened, but the cat is out of the bag now. Will we gripe about putting Humpty Dumpty together again, or see if we can build the best school(s) possible out of this fallen situation? The next generation of Catholic leaders are/will be much more orthodox than the present one, because most of our cohort who isn’t orthodox has ceased coming to church. I’m not happy about that, but it’s a fact. I hope to help staff the lighthouses that will invite them to consider what they are giving up, and lead them home to Jesus. Lord have mercy on us.

  39. Absit invidia says:

    Every time I see the picture of Obama’s haughty pose as he is aggrandized with an honorary degree from ND, I see two fools rewarding a nuisance brat for bad behavior while also giving Obama the American Secular Catholic Association’s solemn benediction to take on the Roman Catholic Church.

  40. Fr. Pius, OP says:

    Their new facility is just down the street from our Church of San Clemente on the via Ostilia. I had a chance to visit it the other day. It is an extraordinary facility–beautifully done. It’s mostly designed for their architecture school, which has had a 40 year presence in Rome. Someone commented to me–and I was thinking the exact same thing when I saw it–that it also seemed remarkable American. I’m not sure how to explain it, just that there’s more of an American feel to the building than most places in Rome.

  41. tcreek says:

    SpesUnica —
    “@tcreek, with respect (and not knowing your age), I think the operative word you used is “was;” McBrien WAS that voice, and now he isn’t. At what age does knowledge of him or his views peter out to no impact…”

    Not quite forgotten.
    Colleagues celebrate career of Fr. Richard McBrien. McBrien will be honored April 27, 2012 at the University of Notre Dame where he has taught for 30 years. …

    “No Catholic theologian in the United States has made a larger contribution to the reception of Vatican II than Richard P. McBrien,” said Catholic theologian Fr. Charles E. Curran, … a longtime McBrien colleague and friend. “McBrien has made this contribution by carrying out to the nth degree his role as a Catholic theologian.” Curran will be a featured speaker at the Notre Dame McBrien symposium …

  42. Theo-Philo SWO says:

    “So according to those that know the ND Theology Dept, there are 8 really good professors out of 28. That’s what, about 29% of the undergraduate theology dept.”

    No, Woody79, there are numerous others. I only named ones from whom I personally took classes (through 2009). I have several good friends (all of whom are strong, orthodox Catholics) who continued at ND to get their Master’s degree and PhD (not to mention those who will be receiving their MDiv there after joining the Moreau Seminary after graduation) and they continue to have outstanding things to say about the department (including new profs I never had) and where it is heading. Many of them hope to be part of the change by joining the faculty in the not too distant future.

    It may also interest you to know that, every 3 years since 2006, R.R. Reno of First Things has ranked the top Theology graduate programs in the country. His rankings are heavily based on academic reputation and doctrinal orthodoxy (among a few other factors). Each ranking he has placed ND either #2 or #1 (most recently moving to #1 in 2012). There are almost no Theology professors that only teach at the graduate level in the department, so undergrads have access to all these excellent professors as well. Whether or not the wider Catholic world wants to cast off their misinformed 1980s impressions of ND’s Theology department or not, things have changed and only continue to advance.

  43. SpesUnica says:

    @ tcreek, I will grant that the philosophy department leaves a lot to be desired in terms of solid Catholic faculty. That is a pity and I hope that they start to reverse that trend. That is going to be difficult, but maybe not impossible.

    And of course it is not the case that by singling out the stellar faculty I thereby imply that the rest somehow aren’t good or worthy of taking. I really only named Catholic faculty members, and I would add to them some of the best professors I had were Protestant scholars, who again, almost always were respectful of the Catholic view. Some of them were more “catholic” in their views than many Catholics I know. There are problematic departments in the university, among them I think I would name the English dept, Film Theater and Television, and Sociology. Those would be hard nuts to crack, with what tenure and hiring committees have come to be. That’s no excuse to not clean house, but it takes a lot of will to basically start a whole department from scratch. Maybe that is what they should do nevertheless. I was not a math or science guy, so this is mainly hearsay, but I think you would be surprised at how Catholic some of THOSE departments are. Our Engineering school has one of the most beautiful chapels on campus, and the Dean is a fantastic, faithful role model for the students in that school. I have also heard good things about the Econ dept.

    I don’t know where you’re making up these “75%” numbers, unless you’re privy to the inner-life of the Board of Trustees or something, which I am definitely not, but I think ND did pass a turning-point when they realized that they couldn’t just hire “some” Catholic faculty and expect the institutional momentum to carry the place through. Now many departments are actively “head-hunting” good Catholic scholars and trying to get them there. Is it too little, too late? For some department, for now, yeah, sadly it probably is. But it IS having a positive effect, and some departments are really turning around.

    And finally, I heard about Fr. McBrien’s “big send off,”… And while I am sure I wouldn’t interpret it with the rose-colored glasses of the handful of doting admirers…what a sad little party it was. That legacy, like the religious orders who fully embraced the vision of Vatican II he embodied, leaves no heirs. You do sort of feel sorry for them, except that it was their own fault. I can’t seem to find a website for any on-going McBrien Symposium. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  44. JPK says:

    Napoleon once said, “”You call these baubles, well, it is with baubles that men are led…” The “cognitive class” (as Charles Murray calls the elites in this nation) love distinction, advanced degrees, honorary degrees, and other professional baubles. And in some circles bestowing the baubles carries as much cachet are receiving them. The ink wasn’t dry on the 2008 election returns when Notre Dame offered the President an honorary degree; shortly thereafter the Nobel Prize Committee awarded the President the Peace Prize. This all occured before the First Family had the drapes picked out for the Lincoln Bedroom.

    Notre Dame went a Bridge too Far in offering the President a degree. Fathers Hessburgh and Jenkins knew the controversey this would entail; but, they mistakenly believed that the Zeitgeist had changed, and it was 1968 all over again. The President’s position on abortion as a lawmaker was well known despite his lofty rhetoric to the contrary. To say, Notre Dame’s reputation suffered as a result is an under statement. The sad fact remains that people know now the university Father Sorin built can be bought. And no amount of good works can remove that fact. Yes, Notre Dame alum and faculty do good works. But, it is clear (at least to me) that many who run the university do not see abortion in the same light as the Catholic Church. Notre Dame provided political cover to a law that clearly subsidizes abortions and forces all to subsidize artificial birth control. And it was Notre Dame that provided the extra pressure on then Catholic Rep Joe Donnelly to vote for ObamaCare. It was Donnelly’s vote along with 4 other Catholic lawmakers that allowed ObamaCare to pass the House in 2010. It is said that retired Notre Dame President, Father Hessburgh was on the phone with Donnelly late into the evening in order to secure his vote.

    I live near Notre Dame. My grandfather graduated there in 1926; my late uncle gradutated from ND in 1962. I know many people who work there. Local parishes have ND priests say masses and hear confessions. Yet, I sense a large shift in how Notre Dame is viewed by the rank file. It no longer enjoys the mystique it once had – either locally or nationally. Most people never heard of the Land O’Lakes statement and Notre Dame’s rather checkered past supporting Leftist causes. But, most believed that Notre Dame was a solidly orthodox Christian institution. After 2010, that impression was shattered. Notre Dame has evolved into just another insitution of “Higher Learning” looking out to protect its interests and its brand name.

    When one dies, one must leave all Baubles behind.

  45. SpesUnica says:

    @ JPK – I think there is a lot of truth in much of what you say. Those academic and social “Baubles” have seduced a lot of people at ND. I also agree that it showed, in some ways, the university’s support can be bought. I would be curious to know what your experience of Holy Cross priests in the South Bend area has been. I had never heard the rumor that Fr. Hesburgh had been on the phone with Joe Donnelly, and frankly, I would be a little surprised to think that he would have been medically capable of such an act at that time. His health has been failing for quite a while.

    One wrinkle to add to the ObamaDrama(tm) debacle is that I don’t think from the ND administration the issue was at all as much about abortion as it was to the legions of hurt and angry Catholics (and bishops!) who rightly voiced their anger at the awarding of the honorary doctorate. I doubt there is much of a secret pro-abortion coven in the administration…maybe I am naive in that regard. What I would be more likely to think is that many in the administration WERE deeply naive and misled about what that award would mean to people, because the specter of Fr. Ted looms so large. For them it was about social (racial) justice.

    There is a huge photograph of Fr. Hesburgh linked arm-in-arm with Dr. MLK Jr. in the entryway of Lafortune Student Center. Think about what that kind of image means to liberal progressive Catholics, but also what it SHOULD mean for all Catholics. Think about how the Democratic party has exploited the desire for justice that people, especially people of color, in this country have and continue to long for. From that mindset, noble in many respects, the image of Fr. Jenkins placing that medal on President Obama is the culmination of that project, the achieving of what Fr. Ted marched for next to MLK. THAT, I think, is what drives a lot of this, and also what blinds many to what is so painfully obvious to most of the readers of this site: you are being used and your feelings manipulated for the sake of political capital. I think there is still a dangerous dream of one day being able to put that picture of Obama up next to the picture of MLK, with the respective president of ND at each of their sides, not because of abortion, but in order to fulfill a liberal pipe dream that is so fevered that it is willing to ignore even something as vile as Obama’s record on abortion. That is indeed a dangerous kind of blindness, but it is more subtle, I feel, than imagining an out-right pro-abortion enclave in the ND administration. That generation, I hope, will mostly be retiring soon. Again, maybe I am the one being naive, but that is the way I see it.

  46. Nancy D. says:

    The problem with The Big Tent Mentality is it can only be defended with doublespeak.

  47. Ichabod says:

    Let’s not forget that Pope Francis also thanked the University of Notre Dame:

    “From its founding, Notre Dame University has made an outstanding contribution to the Church in your country through its commitment to the religious education of the young and to serious scholarship inspired by confidence in the harmony of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth and virtue. Conscious of the critical importance of this apostolate for the new evangelization, I express my gratitude for the commitment which Notre Dame University has shown over the years to supporting and strengthening Catholic elementary and secondary school education throughout the United States.”

    Spin this any way you want, but the facts are he is obviously appreciative of the University while at the same time hopeful they continue to offer unambiguous testimony of the Catholic magisterium. I see it as more of a pep talk to keep Notre Dame true to its Fighting Irish spirit. After all, they are one of only 6 Catholic universities/colleges that are suing to overturn Obama’s HHS Mandate.

    Where are the other 243 Catholic universities and colleges in this fight?

  48. Nancy D. says:

    That being said, in regards to The University of Notre Dame, “to whom much has been given, much will be expected.”

    I am not surprised that the veil was lifted at Our Lady’s University, exposing The Great Falling Away.
    As someone who has great respect for Father Jenkins and the mission of all Catholic Universities etc., let us Pray for the “Courage to be Catholic”, for the sake of Christ, His Church, all who will come to believe, and those prodigal sons and daughters, who, hopefully, will return to The Fold.

    Father Jenkins has participated in The March for Life these past four years. I look forward to the day when, in their “What are we fighting for” ads, The University proclaims load and clear, for The Sanctity of Human Life from the moment of conception, and for The Sanctity of Marriage and
    The Family.


  49. Ichabod says:

    Addition by subtraction for Notre Dame … not a good move for Boston College: HERE

  50. MisterH says:

    For those of you on Facebook, there is a group, “Pro-life Alumni, Students, and Friends of the University of Notre Dame”, which may be of interest to you.

    The group serves as a discussion forum for life issues and Catholic identity concerns at the university.

    Those who wish to join the group can do so at the following link:

  51. frbkelly says:

    While it is true that over the years the University has been a potent force for Good in the Church in America, Since the Land o’ Lakes statement and subsequent property Grab in 1968, she has been working toward the abandonment of her role as a Catholic University under the authority of the magisterium of the Church. This has accelerated in more recent years, notably with her approval of (and support with activity funds of) the new LGBTQ club, Fr. Jenkins attending of the Gay Pride March in Washington, and most recently, her providing of contraceptive and abortifacient services through the campus health plan.
    _Ex Corde Ecclesiae_ refers to the Local ordinary as an intrinsic authority in the University. Notre Dame has repeatedly taken the stance that he is an extrinsic authority. There seems to be no exception in the way the University is spinning the recent meeting with Pope Francis. On front page of the ND website (nd.edu) in the article about their meeting, we find this pull quote from Francis :

    He said it is essential for Catholic universities to bear “uncompromising witness … to the Church’s moral teaching and the defense of her freedom.”

    “It is my hope,” Pope Francis said, “that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness.”

    The same text from the Vatican Website says:
    Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness.

    Note the careful elision in the Notre Dame piece. She emphatically omits the reference to the requirement to uphold the teaching of the Church as proclaimed by the magisterium of the bishops.

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