Fr. John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, released his “closing statement” on the Vagina Monologues performance today. Though he still finds that it is opposed to the Catholic understanding of human sexuality, he will not prohibit its performance on campus: “I am very determined that we not suppress free speech on campus.”
How disappointing. It appears Fr. Jenkins has been convinced by the campus multicultis that free speech must enjoy an official forum. Students and faculty are free to discuss even the most corrupt ideas in the classroom, in the residence halls, in the pages of the Observor, and really anywhere else. That doesn’t mean Notre Dame should afford them space to spread such pollution.
Jenkins had a better sense of this when he began his “discussion” about the Monologues. He used the example of anti-Semetic Passion plays to demonstrate that some expressions of speech would be unacceptable on the Notre Dame campus because they would so grievously offend Catholic principles. The difference, it seems, is that such a performance would be politically incorrect, whereas the Monologues are quite hip.
When I wrote about this in January, I gave Fr. Jenkins the benefit of the doubt and assumed that he was building consensus for his eventual decision to shut down the play. He proved me wrong. One has to be part of the cultural malaise or against it. In this case, Notre Dame missed a chance to join the latter group.
Fortunately, there’s still some hope: my alma mater Providence College banned the malaise outright.