I’ve been a Notre Dame fan my whole life. And by that I mean as my friends here in Indiana were divided in loyalties between IU and Purdue, I disassociated with their petty debates over the second most renowned school in the state. Oh sure, IU had more basketball championships, but Notre Dame had more NCAA tourney invitations. And football? No contest.
But that said, it’s getting harder and harder to admit to people how fond of the school I am given that its leadership keeps making boneheaded decisions like this:
The University of Notre Dame stopped being a Catholic institution ever since the reign of President Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, who allowed full-blown heretics like Father Richard McBrien to transform the theology department into a bastion of card-carrying leftists that believed the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude was Him getting a bunch of hungry peasants to share loaves and fishes with each other.
The reign of President Rev. John Jenkins has not fared much better, having awarded then-President Obama an honorary degree despite the man's opposition to every doctrine on life the Church holds sacred and now caving into the Obamacare mandate "requiring employer health care plans to cover the cost of contraceptives and abortifacient drugs," according to The Wall Street Journal. What is most distressing about Rev. Jenkins' decision to defy Catholic teaching is that he did not have to under the rubrics of the Trump administration's religious exemption.
This might explain why Jenkins and Notre Dame were so uncomfortably at peace with the Obama administration despite its flagrant opposition to doctrine that ostensibly the University was supposed to care about. As long as Obama held office, the school could follow the spirit of the age and simply say they had to obey earthly authorities whether they liked it or not. Now, with President Trump allowing the school to not have to violate its supposed standards of faith and conscience, Notre Dame’s brazen hostility to Catholic teaching is laid bare.
Writing at the Wall Street Journal, Alexandra DeSanctis reveals just how unnecessary and offensive Notre Dame’s move is from a Catholic perspective:
“Father Jenkins’s decision also does a disservice to Notre Dame’s faculty and students. They have always been free to exercise personal conscience in their moral lives, but Notre Dame has a responsibility to assist in forming those consciences. By essentially endorsing contraceptive use, Notre Dame leaves many of its children not in the bliss of freedom but in a harmful state of sin.”
Bingo. Notre Dame has surrendered their moral authority for the sake of keeping up with the culture. Though I’m not Catholic, this all strikes me as particularly dishonest given the fact that the university attempts to display to prospective students. If you’re passing on being “set apart,” admit it and sell yourself as a worldly institution with worldly guideposts, that has a great football tradition.
Honesty matters, and you’d think a place like Notre Dame would know that.