Catholic pro-marriage speech repressed at Notre Dame

More news from the school that gave the most aggressive anti-Catholic pro-abortion politician we have probably ever seen an honorary doctorate in law (of all things).

From the TFP site:

Young Catholics Not Welcome at the University of Notre Dame
By Peter Miller
April 29, 2014
Officials at the University of Notre Dame revoke permission for pro-marriage table, tell young Catholics to “cease and desist” promoting natural marriage on campus.

Sound Bend, Indiana: April 29, 2014 — Young volunteers with Tradition Family Property Student Action were ordered to “cease and desist” promoting traditional marriage at the University of Notre Dame on Friday, April 25.

“Permission to have a table had been granted through an officially recognized on-campus student group,” said TFP Student Action director John Ritchie. “But that permission was revoked for some odd reason. Police officers arrived soon after we started giving out pro-family literature and cut the event short, informing us that we were no longer welcome to talk to students about the importance of preserving the sanctity of marriage between 1 man and 1 woman, which fully agrees with 2,000 years of Catholic teaching,” Ritchie explained.

The TFP handout, 10 Reasons Why Same-Sex “Marriage” is Harmful and Must Be Opposed, was being warmly received by students and faculty members alike. However, several pro-homosexual students ripped up the flier, shouted obscenities, and expressed their desire to deprive the pro-true marriage volunteers of their right to free speech.


Read the rest there and find links.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. That picture says it all about Notre Dame: while crowning Obama with accolades, they crowned Our Lord with thorns.

  2. Andrew D says:

    Notre Dame alumni, please withhold and/or cancel all funding to your alma mater. Donate it instead to a real Catholic institution that isn’t afraid to stand up and defend the Church and all of Her teachings. Any order who fosters the Traditional Latin Mass would be a great alternative. Those orders have vocations but need funds to maintain and grow operations.

  3. incredulous says:

    Notre Dame = Judas Iscariot of Catholic Universities. “Must you betray Me with a degree?”

  4. LeeF says:

    Perhaps this had more to do with TFP rather than its message there. TFP and its sister organization America Needs Fatima are in the same camp as radtrads. TFP started in Brazil and followers split in multiple camps and have been suppressed by various bishops. Its followers said prayers to the founders mother in a manner similar to those to the Blessed Virgin. While I might agree with them on many ills of modern society and church, they give off a whiff of a cult.

    Abbey Roads blog post on them:

  5. Pingback: Shock! | The American Catholic

  6. Legisperitus says:

    I suspect this was about the message, not the messenger. This kind of repression is always a desperate attempt to silence the voice of conscience.

  7. Gail F says:

    Sorry, but I find the post disingenuous (“for some reason they didn’t let us do this!!”). FTP may do some good things but it’s aggressive and comes across as a rather bizarre. It also issues frequent posts claiming that it is persecuted and attacked.

    The piece clearly says they did not have permission to man the tables — unless you know what the tables were for, whether other tables were manned, and what the rules were, there is no reason to conclude that ND wanted to silence their view or prevent Catholic teaching from being promulgated. Yes, ND has a bad track record on some things Catholic, but it also has a good record on other things Catholic. I would take this with a huge grain of salt until I knew a LOT more about this situation, and I would recommend the same for others. There are plenty of places and people who really are trying to silence Catholics. When we claim repression wrongly, we cast doubt on all the real represssion.

  8. Priam1184 says:

    I don’t know who the TFP is, and it is entirely possible that the ban may have more to do with them than with their organization than with their message. Now that I think of it the combination of the words “tradition,” family,” and “property” all slung together in the title do seem kind of odd. Perhaps further research is in order here Father?

    That said, there is no doubt that opinion among the vast majority (if not the entirety) of faculty and students at Notre Dame and other grandee Catholic universities in the United States has long since fallen completely in lockstep with our depraved, decayed, and dying culture in the West. That is an old story I have to say that it ain’t really news anymore Father. The bishops have let them get away with this for a couple of generations now and by doing so have shown their unspoken consent to the depravity of our culture. If you want to direct a complaint it should be lodged with these men, if for no other reason than for the awful fate that awaits their souls if they die in this state.

  9. JustaSinner says:

    Notre Dame is a Catholic University? Since when!

  10. SpesUnica says:

    Priam, that is a slanderous accusation, and not in keeping with the very reasonable (imo) intuition of your first paragraph. You think the “ENTIRETY” of the faculty and students at ND are in lockstep with the Culture of Death? C’mon, that is ridiculous and offensive. I’d be offended if I was the sort of person who got offended. I know it is tempting to play Sunday-Afternoon-Quarterback and lob accusations at situations with truly troubling symptoms, and please forgive me if you actually ARE involved at ND and I am not giving you credit for being closer to the reality than your response has led me to infer.

    Anyone who has been to the March for Life in the past decade (maybe longer, that’s as long as I’ve been going) knows the TFPs from their nice, formal attire, and scarlet sashes and banners with a regal, heraldric look. I don’t know much about them, and the ones I have engaged in conversation were almost all of these things: polite, pious, meticulously dressed and manicured, and single-minded to the extent that you couldn’t talk/argue with them outside the little box of their talking points. Honestly, I found them a little bit creepy, and I read their pamphlets, and the theology was one-sided and struck me as “cherry-picking.” Ok, we all can be guilty of that from time to time, but this is on an institutional level.

    ND, in practice, doesn’t let outside groups demonstrate on campus. My read of the situation so far, and I am open to correction, is that a ND student group, the Orestes Brownson Council, got permission to have a table, but by either design or omission let TFP bring in their kit and kin to man it. From the pictures it looked like a smaller version of what they bring to the March, but with a more pointed message. Now, I may agree with that message, but if those folks aren’t ND students, then they shouldn’t expect to be able to demonstrate on campus. ND has been trying to gently steer a (non-shouted) campus conversation about homosexuality, and they don’t need anyone throwing firecrackers into their pantry while doing that. If you want to see what they’re trying to do, go here: Maybe you don’t like what they’re trying to do. Maybe you prefer shouting. Well good for you. It isn’t your house, and the bishop, who I’m sure knows all about this plan, can intervene if he sees fit. I think its a good start, and this wound in our culture’s soul calls for careful tending, especially with impressionable young people, rather than amputation at this point. This new project looks promising, too:

    @JustaSinner – Since 1842.

  11. LionsDenn84 says:

    Thanks for posting this, Father Z! I am a TFP member, and had the honor of being part our Student Action group’s demonstration at Notre Dame. I consider it a badge of honor to have been expelled from this “Catholic” university for spreading Catholic Truth. That being said, I pray that Notre Dame returns to it’s glorious past and becomes once again a beacon of truth in higher learning.

    By the way, those things mentioned by LeeF come from old rumors about TFP – anonymous, unsubstantiated lies that have already been refuted. Furthermore, TFP has never been suppressed by any bishop anywhere. In fact, there are many members of the hierarchy (priests as well as bishops and cardinals) that have praised our work. For example, the book we were promoting on Notre Dame is called, “Defending A Higher Law” – it’s basically a defense of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and homosexual “marriage.” It received praise from Cardinal Medina (who announced “Habemus Papam!” on the election of Pope Benedict XVI): “The work you are distributing is a valuable contribution to inform the public on a topic that becomes increasingly relevant since many are expressing support for it [homosexuality] thus corroding the principles of social life founded on the Christian faith and on morals founded in natural law. May the Lord bless this effort of clarification and truth for the good of Christian consciences and those of men of good will who believe that human nature and its requirements stem from a loving design of God, Who seeks nothing but man’s happiness.”

  12. chantgirl says:

    I am not a member, but the TFP stands for tradition, family, and property. This makes sense as the founder of the organization was fighting communism. I can’t comment much on this particular incident, as I was not there, but I find it concerning that colleges have found more and more ways to muzzle free speech on campus. Who’s afraid of a little debate?

  13. wanda says:

    The TFP is made up of fine up-standing young men. They go right into the teeth of the fight. I’ve been on hand when they stood on the street during our local March for Life. They were there to defend the most innocent and helpless among us, the un-born children. They go on streets in defense of Traditional Marriage all across the country. They deserve our respect, support and prayers.

  14. Deirdre Mundy says:

    It looks like TFP may be sketchy:

    I’m guessing that, after letting LC/RC onto campus and then having to kick them off, ND is a bit skittish about groups w/ cult-like tendencies..esp if their home-bishops have condemned them….

    I mean, was any other group kicked out? The KoC is welcome at ND and LOUDLY promotes traditional marriage.

  15. Priam1184 says:

    @SpesUnica “If not the entirety” were the words I used, and I used them precisely because I do not know for certain whether or not it is the entirety; there is almost always the exception that proves the rule after all. So please try reading and thinking about the ENTIRETY of someone’s comments before throwing around words like ‘slander.’ Thank you.

    And as for the rest of my comment I will stand by it 100%: “by their fruits you shall know them.”

  16. LeeF says:

    Additional resources on the true nature of TFP and its front organization ANF:

    Angelus Online (promotes TLM):

    Unity Publishing (great resource on cults and false apparitions):

  17. chantgirl says:

    LeeF- Thanks for the links. Surely a group could be started to protect tradition, faith, and property without a weird, cultish beginning.

  18. SpesUnica says:

    @Priam I realize that I misinterpreted your phrase. “If not the entirety” is usually used, I see now probably incorrectly, as implying that it really IS or might be the entirety. But its plain meaning is that many or most are, but NOT the entirety. I had not noticed that trickiness about that phrase before, so I apologize for reading it the wrong way.

    But (there’s always a but), I think people usually find the sort of “fruit” that they set out to look for. Fr. Z et al only report on one theme of Notre Dame new and ignore all the good things that are happening. I wish that ONLY good things were happening, but then that’s not very realistic, is it?

  19. I hate to disparage a group that opposes abortion and supports the TLM, but TFP has all the makings of a cult. I was a frosh in college when they tried to recruit me. The local leader bought me lunch and seemed to show genuine interest in me. But the more time I spent talking to him, the more he wouldn’t leave me alone and insisted on discussing only hand-picked topics without variance. I’m sure there are some (many?) good people in TFP and I know they support some good things, but the TFP is a little too forceful in their recruitment methods to be a good model for Catholic youth.

    I was always taught that it is possible to set a good movement/idea back by being too radical (see Sarah Palin re: terrorism for a prime example). TFP is that way and I believe they would probably set any support for traditional marriage back with their radical ways.

  20. Ichabod says:

    I find the captions disingenuous – “Young Catholics not welcome at Notre Dame” and “Catholic Pro-Marriage Speech Repressed at Notre Dame.” That is simply not true, given the ample forums that students have on campus, from masses to the Rover to the Sycamore Society, to Campus Ministry, that always welcome traditional, Catholic pro-marriage speech.

    As others have noted, this has everything to do with an OUTSIDE group (not students) manning the table. Notre Dame is smart enough not to allow third party groups to man tables throughout campus because if you allow TFP, then why not Catholics for Choice, or some other pseudo Catholic group espousing heretical doctrines like gay marriage, women priests, etc.

  21. Scott W. says:

    Yeah, as a “Taliban Catholic” even I think there is more to this story than the article lets on. Let’s sit on this one before breaking out the daggers.

  22. RE: “the TFP is sketchy”…

    When I was in college in the early 80s (er, that’s 1980s…), we had various Bible-thumping preachers come to preach in the spring and fall. They were rude, often comic, even offensive at times, when they’d point to someone walking by and talk about dressing like a fornicator. People would listen, ignore, laugh, yell, engage, etc.

    They weren’t, as far as I know, students or sponsored by anyone.

    My, isn’t this quaint?

    It’s something called free speech.

    Now, ND may have the legal right to keep outsiders off campus. I don’t dispute that.

    But the notion that students need to be protected is ludicrous. And while I don’t wish to disparage the group (because I see no reason for me to do so), even if TFP is goofy all kinds of ways — so what?

    The young men shown in the photos didn’t look like a threat to anyone.

    Colleges would do better to stop trying to constrain free speech. And that goes double — triple — when it’s a Catholic college that simultaneously defends its “right” to undermine Catholic teaching.

  23. Supertradmum says:

    I do not think people know what a cult is…this recent post might help.

    I know several TFP lads and they are really independent minded guys who do not seem overwhelmed by any authority in their group.

    Some people in our modern age might think some monasteries or lay communities are cults.

  24. Maria says:

    I follow TFP in my facebook. We discussed in this blog issues taken by liberal/cafeteria/lukewarm/schismatic/SSPX Catholics. There are evangelical protestants and I consider TFP as evangelical Catholics. I have not heard nor read anything that TFP was against our magisterium, tradition and our Holy Father (maybe I have not encounter yet). I like Catholic men who are courageous enough to be on the battle front fighting for what we fight for. Thus, I support them not monetarily but by just posting their videos and pictures. They do get verbal beatings, sometimes physical.

    Ohio –
    Brown University –
    George Washington University –

  25. GypsyMom says:

    The second link given by LeeF, from Unity Publishing, is a very clear and concise explanation of the dangers of the TFP. I can attest from personal experience that the claims made there are accurate. I believe it is a cult that satan uses to destroy vocations to the priesthood. My family knew of a wonderful adolescent boy whom everyone was convinced was headed for the priesthood (he was, as well). He was very intelligent, funny, and completely devoted to the Faith–the cream of young Catholic manhood, as the Unity Publishing article says is the target of this insidious group. He was recruited to attend their boarding school in Pennsylvania. We warned the family that there were serious concerns about the TFP, but instead of simply thanking us for our concern and going on with their plans, they turned on all of us and even turned their back on a very close and long-standing friendship with another woman who tried to warn them. After about 5 or so years at this boarding school, the young man was removed by his parents and was an entirely different person. He rebelled in every way, growing his hair long, getting tattoos and piercings, dropping out of school, turning his back on his faith, moving in with a girlfriend (non-Catholic) and eventually marrying her in a civil ceremony. The marriage lasted a very short time. Any thought that he might become a priest was totally destroyed, as were the formative years of his life. The family never really wanted to talk about what happened to him during his time in Pennsylvania, but something had to be very wrong to make such a wonderful young man change in such a dramatic way.
    The cliche “When there’s smoke, there’s fire” applies to this group. There are many devout and educated Catholics who have raised serious warnings about the TFP, and one would be remiss to dismiss these easily. Although some people associated with them seem absolutely fine, there is great danger here for others.

  26. Nancy D. says:

    The question is, why is The University of Notre Dame debating The Word of God ? We are called to witness to The Truth of Love, not debate Him.

  27. StWinefride says:

    Supertradmum, in the post you link to on your blog, under “cultic thinking at TLM groups” at No. 4 you say:

    4) an insistence of ignoring all teaching post-Vatican II and the ignoring of the reading of the encyclicals and Catechism of the Catholic Church;

    In the following article by the then Cardinal Ratzinger to the Zenit Agency, the Cardinal says that “The faith, as such, is always the same”, so the Catholic Church hasn’t introduced any new teaching post-Vatican II. Having said that, the Religious Liberty issue is a bit dubious.

    Also, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not the only Catechism. In the same interview, the then-Cardinal Ratzinger has high praises for the St Pius X catechism (as he does for the Catechism of the Council of Trent and as did many Popes): He says:

    “The faith, as such, is always the same. Therefore, St. Pius X’s catechism always retains its value. However, the way of transmitting the contents of the faith can change.

    Consequently, one can ask if St. Pius X’s catechism can in this respect be regarded as still valid today. I think that the compendium we are preparing can respond better to today’s needs. But this does not exclude the fact that there can be persons or groups that feel more comfortable with St. Pius X’s catechism.

    It should not be forgotten that that Catechism stemmed from a text that was prepared by the Pope himself [Pius X] when he was bishop of Mantua. The text was the fruit of the personal catechetical experience of Giuseppe Sarto, whose characteristics were simplicity of exposition and depth of content. Also because of this, St. Pius X’s catechism might have friends in the future”.

    “Friends in the future”. What a nice way of putting it. (Although it’s currently out of print, the Kindle edition is available at Amazon:

  28. nykash says:

    There appears to be a danger here of rash judgement… substantive evidence would have to be provided re: TFP.

    And as far as pseudo catholic groups (lower-case intentional), I believe Notre Dame has done enough on its own to damage the faith without having to call in ‘Catholics for Choice’ or the nuns on the bus.

  29. LionsDenn84 says:

    LeeF – Angelus Press is SSPX, so it’s not surprising they would attack a group that is faithful to the Holy Father.
    The UnityPublishing article is unsigned and totally unsubstantiated. Why doesn’t the author provide any links or proof?

    Here is what EWTN has to say about TFP/America Needs Fatima, in a question answered by Fr. Bob Levis:
    “The group, Tradition, Family, and Property, is not specifically under formal Catholic guidance and direction and administration, but is thoroughly Catholic in inspiration and loyalty. It began in Brazil, but its Founder contested some of the Cardinal’s position. The group has enemies but, to my knowledge, it is most sound, most Catholic, more loyal to the Vatican. Fr. Gruner has nothing to do with this group, TFP. He is doing his own thing quite independently of the Church. America Needs Famtima was inspired and organized and led by TFP. I thoroughly endorce my dear friend’s recommendation of TFP, i.e. Fr. John Trigilio.” – Fr. Bob Levis

    I wish faithful Catholics would focus on defending the Church, rather than attacking those who are doing their best to defend Church teaching.

  30. Supertradmum says:

    LionsDenn84 Amen and seems to be a growing problem…I wrote about this a week ago. Sometimes I think that some Catholics do not understand that the Age of the Laity means strong lay men and women out there in the market place as the obvious Church Militant.

  31. Priam1184 says:

    @SpesUnica I confess that I am not a giant fan of how Father Z reports stories such as these, usually a great deal of context seems to be lacking. But I am almost 40 years old now and I have not ever seen anything good come out of any of the major Catholic universities in this country. It breaks my heart but it is the truth. The same goes for the bishops whom I spoke of earlier. I have yet to see a courageous bishop at first attempt to publicly stand up for the entirety of the Truth of the Holy Catholic Faith only to be shouted down and cowed into silence by the laity. Maybe this happens behind the scenes I don’t know, but it is their job to stand up for the Truth of the Faith and thereby give us all the support that we need to do likewise. They have the grace of their Ordination and Consecration and they absolutely refuse to do it in 90% of cases. This needs to stop and it needs to stop yesterday. When the bishops do their job they will find support from the laity, maybe not all of the laity but enough of it to make doing so worthwhile. When the bishops do their job then Catholic universities will stop pumping out garbage. When the bishops do their job maybe people out there will start to believe again. A bishop doing his job is like St. Peter arriving at Ostia and heading in to found the church of a city that would be the Fountainhead of the Faith for all nations. A bishop doing his job is like a trickle of water that starts a flood. Or am I missing something?

  32. SpesUnica says:

    I almost completely agree with you. We need bishops with courage, with the strength of warriors and the precision of surgeons. We need (more) successors of the Apostles who believe that the Holy Spirit is just as alive today as in the first days of the Church. Some are, many more could be. I join my prayers with yours for our bishops, religious superiors, and shepherds.

  33. Gratias says:

    American Catholic universities are an enormous waste of capital invested by the faithful over decades. If they could be regained to the Faith it would be a great advance. The Jesuits must be crazy. Of course, I do not include in this lot Thomas Aquinas College which is a great blessing for us in Southern California.

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