I have long taken issue with your methods of protest, believing them to be uninformed and generally polemical. However, I have stood by and been merely annoyed at the methods by which you attempt to effect change on Catholic college campuses, until now. Your latest actions, and in particular the description on your website, compels me to express my thoughts. Given the public nature of your actions and the reports of them, I believe it is best to respond in kind, in order to set the record straight.
First, a bit on my background, lest my credentials or knowledge of the situation be in question. My years at Notre Dame (2002-2006), were spent tirelessly fighting for her Catholic identity. I can claim a hand in the huge strides were made during that time, including the expansion of Eucharistic Adoration, the establishment of the campus-wide Eucharistic Procession, and the increased regularity of Masses said in Latin (Masses which paved the way for the current Sunday Extraordinary Form Mass). I personally organized several counter-initiatives to the Monologues, efforts which included meeting with both the local ordinary and the V-Day organizers. As a woman and a Catholic, I have never and will never be soft on this play or make light of the damage it has done to the culture at large and campus cultures in particular.
I also realize that the consequences of what happens at a University, especially one so prominent and influential as Notre Dame, are not isolated within the bounds of campus, but rather have a far-reaching influence for good or ill. However, the reality is that such situations on a college campus are never as simple as they seem from the outside, and thus that the best course of action is rarely obvious without good information and much deliberation. Those with only an outside perspective can far too easily misinterpret the situation and cause more damage, burning tenuous bridges that may have been erected between the sides.
Outsiders, having no personal interactions with the opposition, too often see them as a shallow caricature of themselves. Such critiques generally consist of little knowledge of or sympathy for their legitimate grievances, and a lack of regard for the benefit of the doubt that we, as men of good will (and more importantly as Catholic Christians growing in charity), are required to give. Naturally, it is their temptation to view us in the same regard. In contrast, students "on the ground" can (as I have witnessed first-hand time and again) actually take the effort to know, and even build friendships with, those with whom they have strong ideological differences. Only on this interpersonal basis can we begin to build understanding between opposing ideologies, which can ultimately open hearts and bring about conversion.
An example of just such caricaturing by outside writers is what has compelled me to write today. In your website's report on the protests, several paragraphs are spent on William Kirk's reaction to your protest. You end by stating, "As Mr. Franco read the notice, he wondered if university officials would have acted with equal sternness towards someone passing out fliers promoting the immoral play." It may interest you to know that, on the contrary, Mr. Kirk has been extremely helpful toward student efforts to counter the play and surrounding events. In fact, last year, protesters in favor of gay rights were not only issued warnings by campus security, but ultimately arrested
. It is also worth noting that his wife, Elizabeth, is the adviser for both Notre Dame Right to Life
and the Edith Stein Project. Your equation of his efforts to restrict your protest on campus (which, I might note, is private property) with support of the Monologues is fallacious, uncharitable, and unbefitting a Catholic organization, and I would ask that you withdraw it, while being more careful who you thusly malign in the future.
There is a place for all sorts of action, including letters to the editor and authorities, leaflets, prayer, and even peaceful protests; however, in order to have any measure of success, these efforts must take the form of a well-coordinated, well-informed front, with those who know the situation best--students, working in concert with faculty and staff, who are able to provide the benefit of wisdom and perspective--leading the efforts.
I am only glad that the coverage
of your protest in the campus newspaper made abundantly clear the fact that your efforts were in no way connected to those of student organizations. Hopefully this public acknowledgement has minimized the damage to students' relationship with both the administration, and those peers to whom they wish to speak the truth in charity.