Tuesday, January 24


The times, they are a'changin'...

As those of you who have been following the discussion know, Fr. Jenkins addressed the Notre Dame faculty yesterday, and the student body today, regarding academic freedom on campus, especially as it pertains to the V-Monologues and other such events. The full text of the speech can be found here, and is well worth reading.

The gist of it was that, while it is within the purvew of a Catholic university to entertain discussion on such issues, repeated performances with backing from academic departments, implies that the university as a whole endorses such events, and the set of values they hold. Notre Dame would not sponsor events that are overwhelmingly pro-euthanasia or anti-Semitic, although there is, of course, ample room for discussion and dialogue on these issues. In the same way, events that promote a wrong view of sexuality without also presenting a coherent Catholic position, cannot be endorsed by Notre Dame.

The official policy on such matters has not yet been set, and will not until all sides have a chance to weigh in with their opinions, but for the time being, the Monologues will only be allowed to be performed in a classroom discussion setting, and ticket sales and fundraising will not be allowed. Also, the Queer Film Festival will be required to undergo a name change and major content revamping.

One disappointment came not from the speech itself, but from the town hall-style comments afterward. Several proponents of the events in question rushed forward to the microphones with their pre-prepared statements, which meant that by the time comments were cut off, only one supporter of Fr. Jenkins' remarks had been able to comment, even though several were on deck.

In the end, though, I couldn't have asked for much more from the event. Fr. Jenkins was firm and clear, but also very diplomatic, showing genuine concern and interest for those on both sides of the debate. In the end, this debate is going to be won at a grassroots level, soul by soul. Policy changes are important; Notre Dame is regarded by many to be at the heart of Catholic America, and in this position, her official policy has great potential either for edification or for scandal. As Fr. Spitzer has noted, however, true change occurs not only on thise level, but in converting the culture. If policy changes, but those opposed to it are merely left to sit and seethe over it, without coming to an understanding of the beauty of Catholic Truth, we haven't succeeded in our true goal, the salvation of souls.

So, while I am thrilled at the coming policy shift, and heartily applaud Fr. Jenkins for his courage to stand up to wide-spread adversity from students, faculty, and the academic community at large, I would also ask you to pray for those of us "on the ground," for whom much of the dirty work is still underway.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?