Thursday, April 20


A response to Father Jenkins

by Fr. John Coughlin, OFM of the Law School
"Apart from the decision about whether or not to sponsor a particular play on campus, I share Bishop John D'Arcy's 'deep sadness' about the Closing Statement. In my view, the statement espouses a conception of the Catholic University based upon a divorce between reason and faith. This divorce will hardly settle the matter about the relation between academic freedom and the Catholic identity of Notre Dame. Moreover, Jenkins' raising of the issue may have unwittingly polarized the University community and damaged Catholicism at Notre Dame. ...

For those of us who are committed Catholics, and Jenkins no doubt belongs to this group, we should be doing all in our power to create a culture that fosters the Catholic truth about the gift of human sexuality and its proper place in the order of creation. My opinion is that there is, to quote the late Pope John Paul II, a "new Spring" of Catholic life blossoming at Notre Dame. I base my opinion on my grace-filled experience here with our wonderful Catholic students. It is also the case that some of our students are nominally Catholic as a result of inadequate catechetical formation through no fault of their own. Evangelization is needed to invite them into the "new Spring" of Catholic life. I agree with Jenkins that plays such as the Vagina Monologues stand in opposition to Catholic life and culture. For this reason, I doubt that his Closing Statement will nourish the "new Spring."...

"Jenkins may be correct that I am in a distinct minority of faculty members who feel this way. Although none of us are indispensable, I think that the "minority" is a sine quo non to the health of this great Catholic university. The Closing Statement notwithstanding, there seems to me to be a splendid opportunity to foster Catholic intellectual life and culture at Notre Dame. Some features of the wider American culture are gravely ill and badly need the medicine of Catholic truth. I continue to believe that Notre Dame can be a big part of the cure and not the problem."
(Full article)

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