April 22, 2013 | 4 comments
January 17, 2013 | 19 comments
January 3, 2013 | 30 comments
December 21, 2012 | 68 comments
September 5, 2012 | 75 comments
Does the Catholic mission of a Catholic institution still have meaning?
(Page 2 of 2)
Ms. Martino has served Notre Dame in many ways over the years and is highly regarded as someone who is absolutely dedicated in every way to the Catholic mission of this University.… She has lived her life and faith in an exemplary way, including the counsel and support she has provided to Notre Dame, many other Catholic institutions and Thresholds, an organization that provides programs for thousands of people with severe mental illness.
In recommending to the full Board the election of Ms. Martino as a trustee, Chairman Notebaert and Father Jenkins did not apply the recommendations made in the investigation of Declan Sullivan’s death. Either they did not obtain information about Ms. Martino’s donations or, although they obtained the information, they did not share it with the Board members. And when the storm arose, they compounded their breach of duty by flailing around and making the stupidest of arguments: Ms. Martino supports Church teaching on the sanctity of life and she did not know the organizations were pro-abortion.
One would expect that the chairman of a board of trustees and president of a university would act as towers to the students, providing a vision over the field of life. But these two men have fallen — at least twice now. In 2009, they honored pro-abortion President Obama at the commencement. They compounded this error by allowing the arrest of 88 people on that occasion, including an elderly priest, in clerical garb, kneeling, reciting the prayers of the rosary. (Rather impossible to determine if he was demonstrating but for the fact he was out of place.) And now they have striven to bring a pro-abortion supporter to the University they believed to be someone highly capable of being entrusted with its Catholic mission now and well into the future.
One would also expect that the faculty of a Catholic institution would be protective of the institution’s Catholic mission. But not the faculty of the University of Notre Dame. Three times in recent years now, the faculty has dissed Catholicism and its efforts to protect human life:
• On April 16, 2008, one day before Pope Benedict’s address on April 17 at the Catholic University of America to presidents of Catholic universities (an event Father Jenkins attended), the University Faculty Senate issued a “Faculty Response to University Initiative on Hiring Faculty.” It resolved “The University should not compromise its academic aspirations in its efforts to maintain its Catholic identity” and no numerical goal in hiring Catholic faculty should be permitted. The faculty is willing to “compromise aspirations” (affirmative action) in order to achieve gender, racial, and ethnic diversity, but not Catholic identity, among the faculty. (If then South Bend-Fort Wayne Bishop D’Arcy’s characterization of the invitation to President Obama in 2009 as the university’s choice of “prestige over truth” is correct, and it is, then the election of Ms. Martino reflected the university’s choice of “gender and diversity over truth.”)
• In 2009, the faculty senate roundly supported the decision to honor President Obama.
• On March 1, 2011, the faculty senate, by a vote of 22 to 8, disapproved of a resolution that would have supported two of the pro-life initiatives undertaken by Father Jenkins after he had dishonored himself and the University with the honor given Obama: his appearances at the 2010 and 2011 Marches for Life in Washington, D.C., and the establishment of a Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life.
Notre Dame has a saying that “their blood is in the bricks,” meaning that the founders and early faculty’s lifeblood was spent to start and sustain the place as a Catholic institution. (My forebears attended the school beginning in the 1860s.) If the current faculty cannot bring themselves to support Notre Dame’s Catholic mission, they should do the honorable thing and leave.
Last fall, Notre Dame did everything it could to prevent the perception that it had acted in reckless disregard of the physical safety of one of its students, especially in order to promote football. Can it permit itself to be perceived to act in reckless disregard of its fiduciary duty to students, parents, benefactors and alumni/ae to maintain its raison d’être, its exceptionalism, as a Catholic institution?
Postscript for readers who are not Catholic. Do you have a dog in this fight? Yes, on two bases. First, the American people are well-served by having institutions of every sort — educational, charitable, medical, etc. — run by organizations of every sort, including religious denominations. If Notre Dame becomes yet another formerly religious elite college (with a veneer of Catholicism), that is, if the bell tolls for Notre Dame, do not “send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” (John Donne)
Second, the American people, young and old, need to see promises being kept across generations. Their hope is founded not in change, but in continuity. The founders and benefactors and administrators of our institutions make commitments and set expectations. These commitments and expectations must be kept. This is why the Bass family brought a suit against Yale and the Robertson family brought a suit against Princeton. When Notre Dame changed hands from the Congregation of the Holy Cross to lay trustees in 1967, solemn commitments were made to continue the University as a Catholic institution. The lay trustees, and the members of the Holy Cross Order who are also trustees, have vows. Paraphrasing Robert Frost, “The secular woods may be lovely, dark and deep. But Notre Dame has promises to keep.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?