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April 05, 2006

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Yvonne

Weren't the Jesuits "Catholic" once?

Was really hoping for some strong leadership.. Evidently NOT..

Tina

I thought he had come out against the performance of this play at Notre Dame? If that's the case, it makes me sad to hear that he's backpedaled. I get the sense that pressure was applied in the right places from the right people, and he caved. :(

I hope Notre Dame alumni will speak out against this!

ohevin

"Nothing impure shall enter Heaven."
"Fear not those who can harm your body, but, rather, fear Him who has control over your eternal soul." - Jesus Christ

These are some of the immediate words that come to my mind when I read of so called priest who allow such filth to be part of a Catholic(?)University. They have lost their "salt" and are concerned only with the approval of men. I would like to say they have lost their way, but, in light of this incredible deviation from our Lord's explict directives, could it be said so many were never properly formed in our Lord's authentic teachings?! O Would that these so called Catholic leaders spoke in terms of our Lord and Saviour; unfortunately, how they speak is spiritually unappealing. In addition, you will not find in the writings of the Saints any of this type of compromising talk.
My brothers and sisters, we are living in very dire darkness. Our Lord said that in the "end times" good will be percieved as evil and evil as good." The V Monologues on catholic campuses is more ample proof that we are living in dark times. St. Joseph and Blessed Mother Mary pray for us!

SLU Student

N.D. is run by the CSC (Congregation of the Holy Cross), if you think N.D. is bad you should go to a Jesuit (SJ) school sometime where campus ministry helps support the V-monologues.

Glenn Juday

On the basis of the logical contradictions in his position, alone, Father Jenkins has demonstrated that the University of Notre Dame would be better served by a more qualified individual as president.

His endorsement (yes, endorsement - "good for our students to be exposed to") of a play that is focused on an anti-Catholic, anti-family, anti-sexual, and ultimately an anti-human message are matters for self-reflection on his vocation, counseling by a good bishop, and the strengthening available in the sacraments.

Apparently wishing to be perceived as mentally strong, he has done something intellectually weak and lazy.

Apparently wishing to be perceived as open, he has cut himself off from the constituency that actually cares about the essential mission he was entrusted with.

Apparently wishing to deal with the issue and move on, he has insured continuing conflict and that justifiable criticism will come his way and never stop.

Apparently wishing to be on the winning side he has joined a joined a side that it is increasingly clear is loosing.

What a sorry performance. We don't expect much from top administrators, but we should at least hold them to the standard that they should be prevented from running their institution into the ground.

Gerald Augustinus

Well, at least the ad hoc committee spent 10 weeks pondering the talking vaginas, before they decided to 'contextualize' the play. ;)

Donald R. McClarey

Score: Talking genitals: one. Our Lady: zero.

walter

Has the local bishop had anything to say about all this? Or is that irrelevant? (I'm nowhere near South Bend, and haven't been following this story)

walter

Sorry!....I hadn't first read the quotes at the botton of the CNS statement. Bishop D'Arcy has indeed made his position known.

Yvonne

Walter,

Here is the link to Bishop D'Arcy's full text and also his previous statements. Why he hasn't come down more forecefully? I don't know.

http://www.diocesefwsb.org/COMMUNICATIONS/statements.htm

Scherza

Where once academics feared censorship for the use of four-lettered words, now they fear censorship for the use of two five-lettered words: Right and Wrong.

At a college across the street from Notre Dame, I learned the difference between responsible freedom and license. Must our minds be so open that our brains fall out? Is anything acceptable for inquiry under this notion of academic freedom, no matter how foul or false, so long as there is some reference to Catholic teaching tacked on at the end? (And I would submit that a panel discussion on Catholic teaching of sexuality occuring post-performance, even if everyone stayed to participate, lacks the emotional impact of a piece of theatre.)

Father Jenkins' argument seems to boil down to the end justifying the means -- that any evil is permissable as long as it serves a higher goal. While I applaud ND for at long last opening a dialogue about the sexual abuse of women and the abuse of women's sexuality (walk around campus on a Friday or Saturday night around 11 or so for a patent illustration), this play is simply not an effective or appropriate vehicle to furthering a positive view of women's sexuality nor an end to sexual violence against women.

Dave

I know that many are disappointed by Fr, Jenkins' decsion. I sat through several discussions involving the Jenkins and the faculty on the this matter, and, frankly, it is a surprise to me as well. But, it seems the majority of those who are now crowing loudly about ND going down the toliet or calling Jenkins a "so-called" priest, are really missing the substance of what he has done. I teach at ND in the Writing program, a program that asks students to fine-tune their ability to argue persuasivley, intelligently and rigorously, using their intellect while allowing their faith to guide their reason. HIs decision is consistent with this model of Catholic education.

If you read carefully, you see that Jenkins is setting an important precedent for any and all plays, panels, programs, what-have-you that present a position contrary to Catholic teaching. For example, immediately after each performance of the V Monologues a panel discussion was held--actually, where the performers had only moments ago stood--in which the Catholic position toward sexuality was upheld. Let me reiterate: that happened after each performance. This seems to me a significant and extremely restrictive move. What it communicates to me is that no performance of a play or program such as the VM will be allowed the so-called "artistic integrity" that other plays or performances are afforded. Jenkins is, in effect, insisting that departments sponsoring such controversial events clearly articulate the educational goals of the event, and, in so doing, adhere to Catholic mission of the university.

Gone are the days when moral teaching is compromised of a text book and a lecture. In these times where students are constantly being bombarded with competing cultural values from the "secular" sector, a Catholic university must aggressively take on these messages instead of running from them. To me, Father Jenkins is dealing a blow to those teachers and students who feel that their academic freedom should be absolutely unfettered. In short, he is making an example of the V Monologues, an example that suggests what the Catholic educational model might lool like in the 21st century--aggressive engagement instead of self-righteous indignation.

Dave

I meant "comprised" not "compromised" in that last graf.

Rich Leonardi

What a sorry performance. We don't expect much from top administrators, but we should at least hold them to the standard that they should be prevented from running their institution into the ground.

The problem is exacerbated because Fr. Jenkins seemed to court the faithful with the expectation that he'd be giving this issue a new look. And there's not much D'Arcy can do, short of stripping the university of its status of a Catholic institution. That strikes me as entirely unwarranted.

John Sheridan

Jenkins IS in a difficult position, but I wonder if he will have the same response if someone wants to put on a play or presentation that is racist, sexist, homophobic, or advocating violence?

Matthew

Dave, I respectfully disagree. Let's say you get an audience of 200 for the VM. When this 'panel discussion' starts how many will walk out? Will those exposed to the filth of VM be made to sit through an authentic presentation of Catholic sexuality? I doubt it - after all we wouldn't want to force our views on them. Perhaps I am pessimistic but you seem to believe that supporters of VM actually want to hear the other side.
Matthew Class of '87

Becky

I think Jenkins attended the play and then his mind was filled with all sorts of doubts about everything. He attended one showing of the thing and even stood for the standing ovation at the end. Word is that he even complemented one of the performers on her imitation of an orgasm. Very cute.

The ad hoc committee he formed is full of every disfunctional woman on campus + maybe one good student (one of the leaders of the Edith Stein project). One of the members is the head of the Gender Relations Center at ND, and she goes around to all the dorms telling students that they have a "heterosexual privilege." One of the professors on the committee consistently hosts undercover meetings by the unrecognized Gay Straight Alliance on campus. Almost all the professors on the committee give their full support to the Monologues production.

My only hope is that Jenkins is going to start chipping away at the faculty slowly, although this decision makes that hope a little faint. The only way that his system (if there even is a system here) will work is if there are actually professors who can present the Catholic viewpoint truthfully. Right now there is a serious lack of those kinds of professors on campus.

Sad. I am sorely disappointed in Jenkins. He made a very grave error in judgment.

John Heavrin

One wonders what if anything Fr. Jenkins would ban from Notre Dame? Dave, there is a place for condemnation. A Klan rally at the Grotto, to be followed by an in-depth presentation of the teaching of the Catholic Church against racism, would provide a wonderful teachable moment as well, but something tells me this would be summarily disallowed (as well it should be).

Under the logic expressed by Fr. Jenkins, a campus strip club could perhaps be justified, as long as there were nightly presentations on the Catholic position that such places are dens of exploitation and immorality.

I think Fr. Jenkins had a chance to do something good and blew it. Perhaps his faculty intimidated him into acting contrary to his better judgment in this matter; not a good sign at, as he ends his statement, "the University of Our Lady."

Dave

Matthew,

This is a valid point, but I think that you'd be very surprised by the number of students who stick around. I think it's a mistake to underestimate the average ND student's desire for dialogue on this matter. Sure, there are those students who are so full of anger that they storm out, but that's not the average ND student. What I've been hearing from students is "We want a discussion not just someone citing a page from the Cathechism." And I agree. Maybe that's what some want who post on this site, and I understand and respect why they would feel that way. But the fact that, like my students, PJP2 was the only Pope I have any memory of, makes me inclined toward, as I said in my previous post, passionate engagement rather than self-righteous indignation.

To quote a favorite hymn of mine: They will know we are Christians by our love.

Dave

John Heavrin,

A Klan rally??!! Are you serious? Come on, man. That is not a valid comparison at all. You're really going to place what I assume you see as "The Feminists" in the same league as the fricking KKK?

Brigid

"Gone are the days when moral teaching is compromised of a text book and a lecture."

Thank you, Dave. I am now hopeful that I could send my son to ND some day.

I think Jenkins has decided that the boys and girls who attend ND are old enough now to have an adult conversation about (hush)... sex!

Sandra Miesel

My husband is an ND grad and he's enraged over Fr. Jenkins' craven cowardice.The panel dicussion afterwards is a gambit used by high schools that perform TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD over black opposition.

I'm glad our children had no interest in attending ND.

But I also have a suggestion of a controversial play for ND to perform. Not a dramatized PROTOCOLS OF ZION, but a German play that was once quite a hit:DIE TOTENFRESSER (DEVOURERS OF THE DEAD). It's a Reformation work about the evils of priests.

Ohevin

"Get thee behind me Satan!" --Jesus Christ

My brothers and sisters, it really boils down to what our Blessed Lord said in this statement of truth. What Fr. Jenkins and others have failed to "see" in these V Monologues is simply the presence of Satan. Their not being able to identify Satan's presence in these works is most disturbing.

Christine

"But the fact that, like my students, PJP2 was the only Pope I have any memory of, makes me inclined toward, as I said in my previous post, passionate engagement rather than self-righteous indignation.

To quote a favorite hymn of mine: They will know we are Christians by our love."

I doubt very much whether JPII would have approved of the vagina monologues.

The scriptures say that to love God means to keep His commandments. Love of God is first, love of neighbor second. Love in our secular culture has come to mean mere, flighty sentimentality.

Human sexuality is a holy gift that is degraded by the vagina monologues.

Should we allow children to experience child pornography in order to shield them from it?

"Guard the thoughts of your heart, for out of them come the issues of life" warns sacred scripture.

Wise advice.

John E

Let's please quit saying self-righteous indignation and call it what it really is: Righteous indignation. Or are you saying there is no such thing as righteous indignation?

John E

"The Feminist's" agenda has been responsibly for 1.5 million legal abortions per year in our country alone.

You're right. There's no comparison to the KKK.

Greg Popcak

Dave,

Your emotional reaction aside, please lay out thelogical criteria by which--using Jenkins' argument--a Klan rally would not be permitted at the ND campus.

If an unofficial, neo-Nazi student group proposed sponsoring such a rally (which, let's say, they referred to as "an enactment") so that students would have the opportunity to "conduct a qualitative analysis of the contemporary politicization of so-called hate-speech legislation in light of the European Church's collaboration with national socialism during WWII" how would that event not be permitted? The academic goals are stated, and the Catholic connection is made. Based on Jenkins criteria, on what grounds would you, as a responsible faculty member dedicated to academic freedom deny the right of that group to put on the demonstration?

John E

"The Feminist's" agenda has been responsibly for 1.5 million legal abortions per year in our country alone.

You're right. There's no comparison to the KKK.

Dave

Sandra,

Again, like John's comparison of the VM to the KKK rally at the Grotto, your example is not a valid comparison.

To call a public discussion about the controversial issues in a play that has, for better or worse, captured the imagination of a generation of women merely a "gambit" is to show contempt for any art or issue that is perceived as dissenting from your own experience. Your view of To Kill a Mockingbird is a case in point. Why shouldn't people be upset about such a powerful book? Jenkins is saying we should talk openly about those issues that are dividing and plaguing the culture. I hold no love for the Monologues, but if we did things your way the university would be turning out students with no ability to defend their faith, argue persuasively for it, or, even more "craven", students who condemn instead of love.

Philip Bocock

I have to put my two cents in as a college student (graduate school). I am 26 years old, married with one child and one on the way. In my parents generation, I would be on schedule or maybe a little behind when it comes to marriage and children. With my generation, I am way ahead, even in many Christian circles. Lets face it, times are different now.

A major sin our nation was dealing with during my parents generation was racism. The 50's and 60's were times when large numbers of seemingly normal, respectable white people belonged to racist organizations like the KKK and White Citizens Councils. That is not an issue now. Even "devout" non-christians in my generation understand racism is wrong. KKK rallies are not good comparisons to the VMs.

My generation's major sin/struggle is with hedonism and sexuality. It no longer works to simply tell my generation homosexuality is wrong, extra-marital sex is wrong, contraception is wrong, and then try and censor what kids/young adults are exposed to. Ban the VM, but we are still exposed to the same stuff EVERYWHERE. Our culture is saturated with sex.

People that get married in or fresh out of college are ridiculed. If you marry someone without living with them first, you are considered foolish. Not to mention having children. The major instigator for marriage amongst people my age and younger now is accidental pregnancy. I am living in a generation that treats sex in dating like it is no bigger deal than going out to dinner together. College students now look forward to graduating so they can finally move in with their boyfriends, if they haven't already done so.

Folks, its only getting worse. I have noticed middle and high school girls are now getting as sexually charged as the boys were when I was that age.

When the world sees the Church as ignorant and backwards when it comes to sex and marriage, and this view is even shared by many IN the Church, you know you have a problem.

Saying NO, this is wrong no longer works. The Church needs to confront this issue head on and explain that the Church's alternative is actually much better and freer than what today's society says. Banning VM will not help!!! College students are already saturated with that stuff anyway. People need to stop being scared of the VM and take that thinking head on. Host the play, then afterwards tear it apart. Explain to the viewers what is wrong with that thinking, how it leads to destruction and misery, and propose a better alternative. Stop pretending that by banning VM that the students will be protected and never hear the VM's crap. Students already have been exposed to it. Healthy alternatives are getting harder and harder to find.

Mike Petrik

Dave,
Newsflash: The reason ND students (like American Catholics generally) have "no ability to defend their faith" is because they do not know it. And they do not know it precisely because "[g]one are the days when moral teaching is compromised of a text book and a lecture." Today one need not first learn and understand the scholarship and thinking of centuries before you develop your own critique; you just start with the critique. It is so much easier and satisfying to the ego.

Dave

Amen, Phillip.

Philip

Mike,

I don't think you understand today's problem. Everybody (non-Catholics, too) knows the Church's stance on marriage, and contraception. My generation is a hedonistic generation. We don't pay much attention to books anymore, we need experiences, or stories of people's experiences to truly understand something. I know that's lame, but it is just the way it is now. The hedonistic lifestyle promulgated by things such as VMs is incredibly attractive. The alternative (marriage, children, etc) seems like a ball and chain in comparison. Text books won't help. Young people already know the Church's stance on many sexual issues, we just either don't understand it, or don't want to follow it because it seems boring and unfulfilling. People need to engage young adults and somehow start getting across that hedonistic lifestyles are unfulfilling and damaging. I guarantee that personal experiences and stories will have a profound impact that a textbook won't. If somebody came up with a modern play that presented today's hedonistic lifestyle realistically and showed how it destroys and enslaves and then somehow showed the freedom that is taught in Theology of the Body, young people would be affected. Guaranteed. Textbook won't help. Unfortunately.

Greg Popcak

Philip and Dave,

I agree that the contemporary struggle is sexuality and hedonism. Discussions related to that debate are worth having. But is putting on the V-Monolgues really the best way to facillitate discussion of the issues at hand? The fact is that no one protesting the V-Monologues has suggested that students shouldn't be allowed to contemplate the socio-sexual-political meaning of having a vagina. If ND wanted to add a course on that subject along with their offerings on Muherista theology and include a section that examines this question in the light of the Theology of the Body and Mulieris Dignitatem in addition to what post-modern feminists have to say on the subject, no one would be protesting that legitimate academic exercise. The question is really, does the V-Monologues serve the dialog it claims to promote. Clearly not. All it does is polarize any reasonable discussion of the issues at hand while simultaneously distracting from the real substance of the debate. And Ensler laughs all the way to the bank.

Christine

"When the world sees the Church as ignorant and backwards when it comes to sex and marriage, and this view is even shared by many IN the Church, you know you have a problem."

That the world would hold that attitude is not surprising. Didn't Jesus warn us that those who truly followed him would be opposed by the world? The servant is not greater than his master, no?

As far as the ignorance in the Church goes, that's a problem that should have been addressed long ago. In order to keep the faith one must know it.

I feel very sorry for your generation, Philip. You've got more degrees, gadgets, input and output than any prior generation and yet you've been left to fend for yourselves spiritually.

There's so much work to be done. Our response should never be based on what the "world" acknowledges but what Christ asks of us.

James Kabala

What black person could possibly object to a performance of To Kill a Mockingbird? Does the book, like that other great anti-racist novel Huckleberry Finn, have the "n word" in it? (I've read the book but I can't remember.)

Dave

Greg, I think Phillip answered your question about allowing a KKK rally on campus, but I would add that any student group recognized or not must gain 1.) approval from Student Affairs and/or 2.) sponsorship from an academic department. Now if you can please tell me which academic department at the University of Notre Dame would go for such an assinine proposal?

Also, Mike P: I'm totally with you on the lack of knowledge many Catholics have of their faith. However, you misconstrued my point about text books and lectures. I should have qualified that by saying those methods ALONE, as Phillip points out in his testimony, do not cut it in today's cultural climate.

As for critique satisfying the ego: That's why critique must be rigorously informed by reason and reason by faith. Panel discussions after the VM provide us access to very knowledgable Catholics demonstrating how faith and reason work together. I see this as a rare, if unfortunate, opportunity to learn how to effectively embody one's faith.

Lily

Bring back the books Dave.
I don't need or want innovation.

John Heavrin

Of course, I'm not advocating a Klan Rally at the Grotto, quite the contrary. But when it's requested, with this affair as a precedent, don't be surprised.

"Passionate engagement" with clear challenges to and mockeries of Catholic teaching on the campus of a Catholic University could debatably be a good thing, depending of course on the nature of the specific situation. But as it isn't necessary to host a Klan rally to point out the evil of racism, it isn't necessary to put on this play --- or to have a campus strip club, or adult bookstore, or whorehouse --- to point out the Catholic teaching on sexuality and why it is correct, and superior even on the practical level, to the sexual ethos exhibited by this play.

He blew it.

I ask again, if he won't ban this play, what, and on what basis, would he ban?

Sandra Miesel

Blacks routinely protest TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD solely on the point that the clearly delineated villain says the "N-word." The copyright holder doesn't permit this to be deleted. Personally I wouldn't give these ignorant protesters the time of day but many school disticts do cave in, as happened in Columbus IN last year. This spring there was a protest of the musical RAGTIME but the school district wouldn't cancel it. A good time was had by all (including blacks on stage) except for a pathetic group of protesters.

Panel discussions won't have the impact of a play, as someone said above. And as for art that de-glamorizes the hedonistic lifestyle, how about the '60s movies ALFIE and DARLING? But I suppose our wunnerful youth would just laugh and laugh.

Fr. Jenkins' original statement allowed the MONOLOGUES to be read and studied. That would suffice for academic purposes but not for ideological ones.

Watch for new pressure on Fr. Jenkins to permit an official, university funded GLBT group. Anyone willing to bet that he won't cave?

fr. frank

Fr. Jenkins statement is the latest development of a discussion that has been going on in Catholic Academia since the 1950’s. It’s the “University is a free-market place of ideas” and therefore all ideas are open for discussion. Cardinal Ottaviani took exception to this notion but he lost in his struggle against Notre Dame during Fr. Hesburgh’s tenure. Ottaviana held that “error has no rights” and John Courtney Murray replied “error is just an abstraction.” It is my hunch that Ottaviani, and JPII for that matter with his Apo. Const. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, would not allow the Queer Film Festival or the Monologues, but Murray, Hesburgh, Malloy, and Jenkins would. So the argument finally boils down to this: can the Church teach authoritatively and without error on faith and morals? The Church responds yes to that question.

Next question: how should the Catholic University respond to the teachings of the Magisterium? That’s the $64,000 question. A handful of Catholic colleges and universities in this country give whole hearted “religious submission of intellect and will” to the Magisterium, but unfortunately, most do not.

The struggle continues.

Donald R. McClarey

"Now if you can please tell me which academic department at the University of Notre Dame would go for such an assinine proposal?"

Of course they wouldn't. The ND administration would call in a naplam strike before they would allow students to have a KKK rally. So much for the cant defending the VM on the grounds of academic freedom. So long as a group or a presentation conforms to the prejudices fashionable in academia it will receive a warm welcome at ND, no matter if it directly contradicts Church teaching. This really isn't mysterious.

John E

Well said Phillip. However, my fear with universities such as ND, is that the Catholic view is not heard or heard very little these days. Or in reference to what Fr. Jenkins said, it is just a UNIVERSITY. Period. Gone is the CATHOLIC qualifier.

As you mentioned, are culture is saturated with values that oppose Catholicism. It doesn't need an additional platform in a Catholic university to be heard. It's everywhere already. The anti-Catholic views can be discussed without having to view a vulgar play.

Should a Catholic nursing school be allowed to invite an abortion doctor on campus to perform an abortion for the students to view, perhaps explaining why he feels his work is so necessary, and then have a panel discussion afterwards? Couldn't that same discussion be had without having that "performance"? And what is accomplished if half of those students leave before the panel discussion?

A CATHOLIC university needs to promote what it believes, because it believes it is true and it is crucially important. There's a difference between allowing anti-Catholic views to be heard and discussed vs. being promoted. VM is on the side of promotion, not academic discussion.

Donald R. McClarey

"Napalm" rather than "naplam" in my last post.

Amy Cavender, CSC

I'm not ready to comment on the substance of this issue yet, because I haven't done all the necessary reading. At the moment, I'll just note that the link Amy provides doesn't take readers to the full text of Fr. Jenkins' statement. That can be found at http://president.nd.edu/closingstatement/.

He and the chairs of the College of Arts and Letters have also arrived at a "common proposal" about how to handle issues of sponsorship. That's availalbe at http://president.nd.edu/closingstatement/commonproposal/.

I want to read those in full before I make any substantive comments. I quick glance at the Common Proposal, though, seems to indicate that this decision isn't the simple *carte blanche* that some seem to think it is.

Oh, to the reader hoping that alumni would speak out against this--alumni were *consulted* as part of the decision-making process.

And I do wish that we could refrain from *personal* attacks on Fr. Jenkins (e.g., "so-called priest"), regardless of what we think of his decision.

Amy Cavender

Tom

The question is really, does the V-Monologues serve the dialog it claims to promote. Clearly not.

That "Clearly not" is awfully categorical. Did you attend every post-performance discussion?

Kimberly '02

Dave, thanks for posting your thoughts. I've been going back and forth on my reaction to this latest statement and your explanations have helped me feel somewhat more reassured about it.

JTFS

I really appreciate the witness here of Dave and Phillip...you have both said it better than I could.

"...aggressive engagement instead of self-righteous indignation."

Yes. The message of the Gospel is never so convincing as when it is offered in direct contrast to the message of the world. If we are truly to be roaring lambs, we cannot hide from these issues, but rather confront them head on an with out our characteristic self-righteousness. Especially when it comes to women's issues.

After all, why do you think that things like the DaVinci code get so much traction? Not because of excellent writing or historical accuracy (obviously), but because people see the Church as male-dominated, power-orientated, coverup prone, and closed to dialogue.

The model of engagement that ND has offered here is, IMVHO, the best way to communicate Gospel truth to a world that is not otherwise inclined to listen.

Grace and Peace,
Joe

Fr Martin Fox (Septimus)

I am trying to see both sides; I have to say, I am getting weary waiting for Catholic institutions to draw the line.

Form your mouth in an "o"; place your tongue on the roof of your mouth; now force air past your tongue, and out: "N-n-n-O-O-O-O!"

There! You did it!

Greg Popcak

Dave,

No, in point of fact, Philip--though I appreciated his point about the relevance of hedonism and sexuality-- didn't respond to my question which was, by what logical criteria would such an event as the one I described be disallowed. And neither did you. Other than calling the proposal assinine (which it is, but no more so than allowing the V-monologue proposal to pass), what is the logical criteria by which you would disallow such an "enactment" on campus?

Second, my other question, underscored by John above, also still stands. Even if the issues of the day are hedonism and sexuality, is staging te V-monologues really the best vehicle to facilitate that discussion, or is the polarizing nature of the play more of a distraction than it is worth? If you want to have a serious discussion about the socio-political-sexual consequences of being a woman, then by all means have a class where you discuss the theology of the body., Mulieris Dignitatem and post-modern feminist theory on the topic. Discuss away! But the V-monologues is not about discussion, it is about promotion. And moreover, it is about a knee-jerk "you're not the boss of me" pseudo-intellectualism masquerading as academic freedom. I don't know what's worse, that the faculty at ND isn't rooted enough in its Catholic identity to not see the wisdom of preventing the V-monologues or that they aren't intellectually mature enough to see that the play doesn't do anything to advance the discussion of the plight of women, unless you count making Eve Ensler's wallet fatter as she rides the wave of success spawned by the left's championing of yet another vehicle that does little to advance the causes it claims to support as advancing the discussion of women's issues.

Back to you.

Dave

Donald,

Usually, I don't agree with you...but here you are absolutely correct. However, we should take into consideration the fact that the VM was brought to campus by students, not faculty. I think this is crucial to understanding why Jenkins will not strike it down. It seems that he understands the importance of allowing students the experience of proposing, planning and executing activities and performances. What he is doing is wisely stepping in and saying that with this responsibiliity comes a serious set of questions and guidelines regarding the educational aims of the project and how it will fit in with the Catholic character of the university. This seems a very valuable experience for developing habits of mind borne out of an understanding and respect for Church teaching.

Philip

Christine,

My intent with that statement wasn't to express surprise that the world is at odds with the Church, but to point out that today's world is at odds with a different part of the Church's teaching than what the world was at odds with 40, 50 years ago. That doesn't validate the worlds viewpoint, it just delineates the battle field.

I think Father Frank asks a key question, how does a Catholic University respond to the Magisterium. I don't know how to answer, and as someone in the process of converting to Catholicism, I must say I have no experience with Catholic Universities. However, I will say as a father, young adult, recent college graduate, graduate student that simply banning something controversial with one's views or even Truth is not necessarily constructive. Not that banning doesn't have a place, but sometimes entering a battle field can have tremendous benefits for the Kingdom.

Sandra Miesel

So Dave, what's important is having students propose, plan, and execute activities, not the nature of those activities? Why not abort a student live on stage as a learning experience? No doubt volunteers could be found among campus feminists. Fr. Jenkins has left no room to forbid events, no matter how distasteful (or at least distasteful to orthodox Catholics).

Christine

"I think Father Frank asks a key question, how does a Catholic University respond to the Magisterium. I don't know how to answer, and as someone in the process of converting to Catholicism, I must say I have no experience with Catholic Universities."

Ah, you are in the process of converting. As someone who was raised Lutheran in a family of Catholics and Lutherans I made the same jump in 1997.

I really am sympathetic to what you and your generation are going through. At the age of 56, having come of age in the crazy 60's and 70's I am still young enough to remember the culture wars of those days as well as to be able to relate to my parents' generation which was much more *traditional* on issues such as marriage, etc. Having been married almost 30 years myself I am often mystified by the radical change the institution has undergone in recent decades and the puzzled response I get from some young folks who, as has been pointed out, view marriage as boring and stultifying.

I have absolutely no argument that the Church needs to engage the culture wars. But it should always be, in my humble opinion, with the mind of Christ. I don't know that one has to actually *attend* a production of the VM in order to engage it. The world into which Christianity was born was very similar in some ways to today. The witness of the early Christians was very countercultural.

It's a very sad but obvious fact that some Catholic Universities today have no intention of responding to the Magisterium whatsoever. They should be honest enough to shed the label "Catholic."

Will Barrett

Yahoo headline: "Notre Dame OKs campus 'Vagina Monologues.'" Depressing.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060406/ap_on_re_us/notre_dame_vagina_monologues

I think Reilly's statement in that article is a tad too much however. I think in charity we can say that Father Jenkins misapplies and misunderstands what a Catholic University is. But to say as Reilly does that "he has total disregard for Notre Dame's Catholic identity," is uncharitable.

Todd

Seems like we have catechism-toting Catholics who need to read it for themselves. Check out section 2478, then reconsider the name-calling.

Discuss, class.

Kevin Jones

Last I heard, Fellowship of Catholic University Students isn't allowed to set up a ministry at ND, by the same criterion that lets ND keep Mormons and JWs off campus. Foolish consistencies aplenty, there.

Marc

"The nation's largest Catholic university has started offering a minor in gay studies. Starting last month, students at DePaul University in Illinois may now choose a minor in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies."

So much for honoring the magisterium at De Paul.


Christine

"After all, why do you think that things like the DaVinci code get so much traction? Not because of excellent writing or historical accuracy (obviously), but because people see the Church as male-dominated, power-orientated, coverup prone, and closed to dialogue."

Joe, it isn't just the DaVinci Code. American ignorance of history is at an all-time high. Revisionism is rampant.

That's why the DaVinci Code is such a success. My father, who had a solid Catholic education, would have laughed it off the block.

Maclin Horton

I hope everybody reads Fr. Jenkins' actual statement, which is very reasonable. I have to say, though, that it still seems like a cave-in to me.

Dave and Phillip above make very reasonable points, and I don't think most of us would argue with the principles they articulate. Whether those principles are served by a performance of the Monologues is in my opinion doubtful.

I have to note that I have not read the play, so I could be misjudging it, but everything that everybody on both sides has said about it has left me with the impression that it's the work of what is popularly called a sick puppy. And it seems preposterous to suggest that there's no better way of raising the issue of violence against women.

There a couple of short pieces about the play that might be of interest here and here, the first by me, the second by Robin Shea whom I invited to post at Caelum et Terra after some interesting things she said in a comment.

Aside to Amy: yes, I know your name is mis-spelled there--I will correct it. I used to spell it with one "l" and could have sworn you corrected someone doing that, saying it was "ll." Just a brain glitch on my part, obviously.

Christine

Interesting thoughts, especially as regards issues of feminism and its subsequent waves.

As proof of the cultural shift, I send letters to the editor of my local paper on a fairly regular basis and they are usually always published.

I always sign them "Mrs." not "Ms." Yesterday I received rapid feedback on some comments I had sent to a columnist in the paper. I very clearly signed myself as "Mrs." but he would not honor that and addressed me as "Ms." which I promptly pointed out to him as his own cultural bias.

Women who are decidedly comfortable with their gender are almost considered an anacronism in some quarters today. They just don't fit into the anger of something like VM.

Michael Hugo

Can I now insist that my play, "The Penis Soliloquy" be performed on ND's campus?

Or does it have to meet some qualitative standard? And can one imagine what that standard might be?

Jenkins is a weenie.

Michael Hugo

"False hope" for Notre Dame is right. I actually toyed with the idea of sending my kids there in a few years, hoping that Jenkins would start to turn things around.

Looks like Thomas Aquinas or Steubenville.

Dave

Greg,

You're preaching to the choir when it comes to the artistc merit of the VM. I do not see it as worthy of performance if we consider the other plays that could be produced in its stead. However, your estimation of the play's artistic integrity is, I'm sorry to say, besides the point. The play is being produced, and is going to continue to be produced, because it has, in the estimation of students, faculty and administrators raised an issue important to students and has raised it in a manner that speaks to students. Again, we could sit around a bemoan the fact that the students don't have the "taste" or good sense to see through Ensler's nefarious scheme and select a different play. That kind of work takes place in the classroom, as profs put forth work that the students would not come to one their own. Ideally this experience helps set standards for the students. Most of the time it doesn't. Out of class students are part of the popular culture in a way that us older folks are not, and part of being young is to see what's out there and judge its failings and merits. This why Jenkins is stepping in on the VM. He believes that students need to be cautioned about its ideas. This seems consistent with the idea of a Catholic university--a place of intellectual AND spiritual discernment.

Let's not forget that the students are the ones for whom the university exists. As a result, issues such as sexual behavior, sexual violence, etc. are discussed not necessarily because the faculty wants to talk about them, but because the students want to. It is the faculty and administrations job, then, to make sure that conversation is intellectually and spiritually rigorous and in keeping with Catholic teaching.

By this logic we see that the KKK is not something that students feel is a pressing issue. The point is that in this case students are taking ownership of their education and Jenkins has been put in a situation where he has decided that the VM and the ideas it espouses are not simply going away, so it's best to create an environment in which the students are actually given the information they need to see its ideas for what they are.

jess

Usually I'm a big fan of Sandra's, but likening a performance of the VMs to killing someone on stage? And then, pulling the "orthodox" card--as in "if you people were REALLY orthodox, you'd certainly object"!? As a desperately-seeking-orthodoxy PJP2 Catholic, this is precisely the sort of bombast that makes me want to turn and run. I'm on the fence with this issue, and concede good points to both sides. But from reading all these posts, it seems Fr. Jenkins, Dave and Phillip have a better grasp of how "orthodox" Catholics will be formed in my generation.

KH

If this is true:

"He attended one showing of the thing and even stood for the standing ovation at the end. Word is that he even complemented one of the performers on her imitation of an orgasm."

then that about sums it up for me. There is where his heart lies.

Christine

"As a desperately-seeking-orthodoxy PJP2 Catholic, this is precisely the sort of bombast that makes me want to turn and run."

Jess, that's pretty scary. As if the teachings of John Paul II were the only referent in 2 millenia of Catholic teaching.

Please do try to mine the wealth of Catholic spiritual riches out there, not only those of the last 40 years. Students may "own" their education but if a Catholic institution of higher learning is going to serve the Church it should be shaping, not shaped by, the culture.

Difficult these days, to be sure.

Lily

From the local Bishop:

Pope John Paul II, a longtime professor in a Catholic university, explains that freedom must always be linked to the truth and the common good. The same principles apply to artistic freedom. As a university professor, the future pope presented a series of lectures on human love and sexuality in which he reflected how artistic freedom must always be linked to the whole truth about human love and sexuality. …Let us all turn to Mary, the patroness of Notre Dame and of our diocese, asking her to help Father Jenkins and her university through this difficult and historic moment, towards the light that is Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” I regret the sponsorship of this play by Notre Dame again this year, and pray it will be the last time.

Most Rev. John D’Arcy
Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend
Statement released Feb. 2006
www.diocesefwsb.org/COMMUNICATIONS/vm2006.htm

Ohevin

Folks,
When Peter tried to remonstrate with our Blessed Jesus about the Christ not having to undergo crucifixion, what did he say? Did our Lord not say, "Get thee behind me Satan!? Our Blessed Saviour was not concerned with Peter's speech being "suppressed or lack of dialogue" being allowed. Our Lord was unwavering in his committment to His Mission of Truth and Salvation.

I'm 51 one years, a cradle catholic, educated by the BVM nuns, and even spent a spell with the Jesuits. I have been married 26 years and blessed with six children. It's very obvious to me that this whole scenario is awash with Satan's lies, deceit and to "dialogue" with these situations are excercises in total futility.

Suffice it to say, even though our Blessed Lord mercifully spent a great deal with sinners and looking for the lost sheep, I cannot imagine Him condoning this type of crap simply because He did not want to suppress some sort of free expression! Free expression, come on, we all know how are Lord felt about free expression: if is sins, cut it off for our very eternal souls are at stake!

Philip

Christine,
Not to put words in Jess' mouth, but I don't think she? was trying to say that PJP2 is the only person she reads/adheres to. I think the point is that she is orthodox even to the point of agreeing with PJP2 teaching on human sexuality, among all other Catholic teachings.

Another point I thought of. Many people seem to be saying that the likelihood of students staying for a panel discussion after the play is slim to none. If play viewers were required to attend the panel, would that make a difference?

Believe it or not, for all the stupid things college students say and do, for the most part they do take education and life seriously, they may just not be brave enough to admit it. Because of all the hoopla surrounding this event (assuming this is a big deal at Notre Dame) my experiences in universities tell me that there will be more people attending the play than otherwise (just to see what the deal is), and that at least 95% of the attendees will remain for the following panel and be joined by many faculty and other students that didn't want to see the play, but participate in a panel discussion. Then there will be many young minds ripe for the sowing of Church Teaching that should literally shred every negative point brought up in VM and therefore teaching these students about life and equipping them to be able to go out and defend the Church and evangelize our culture.

Philip Howard

I applaud Fr. Jenkins' decision. Allowing something to said and endorsing what is said are two different things. In higher education settings, free speech must triumph - so long as what is said is not 'hate speech.' Ensler's VM cannot properly be classified as hate speech.

chris K

I suspected that this would happen all along from Fr. Jenkins' original fear-filled approach that just couldn't draw the line and merely introduced "discussion" as some washing of the the hands...offering his new contemporary kind of scourging of Christ to try to prevent the inevitable outcome to which he kept the door open.

This is evil's old ploy and seduction itself of convincing the duped that there really cannot be any knowledge of good and evil without having actually participated in the evil. Discussion AFTER participation in the sin is nothing more than some kind of attempt at rationalization of the disobedience. No wonder they call them ivory towers...such attempts at "realism" do absolutely nothing to prepare the inexperienced for the real world. In fact such tactics only add more time on to the emotional and intellectual immaturity.

And JPII ever being open to such?? The Theology of the Body was written to expel just such fixation on the false "parts approach" take to the human person.

This only results in a whole new category of personality types such as those that, for instance, "anal retentive", might describe!

At this particular school, the sad part is, that whenever this VM is spoken about, it is necessary to include Her title of "Our Lady" in the same paragraph. Desecration of the sacred...again.

More was said in this statement I think, than the commentor knew:

HIs decision is consistent with this model of Catholic education.

Sandra Miesel

I was employing a reductio ad absurdum: the criteria Fr. Jenkins uses would have to allow the presentation of a live sex show or the live performance of an abortion if the students wanted to see this. They're letting them see porn movies as a campus activity already.(And you've heard of snuff films, haven't you)

And as for alumni contacted, I suppose they were major contributors, certainly not the thousands and thousands of alumni generally.

Remembering a long history of campus controversies at ND, I recall that one of the excuses for going co-ed was to "civilize" the all-male campus. The same excuse was trotted out for allowing drinking on campus. Hasn't worked in either case, has it? You dear darling Best & Brightest Catholic students are merely typical members of degenerate youth culture after all.

Christine

"Then there will be many young minds ripe for the sowing of Church Teaching that should literally shred every negative point brought up in VM and therefore teaching these students about life and equipping them to be able to go out and defend the Church and evangelize our culture."

Philip, because I'm a bit older I've seen the shifting in emphases that has occurred over the past 30 or so years. I was proud to be one of the first female students to be admitted to Jesuit John Carroll University, and at that time I had not yet converted to Catholicism. There was a decidedly stronger adherence to Catholic values in those days by the University. The fact that today a *play* such as VM is considered a good venue to teach Catholic thinking shows how far some Catholic education has veered and how badly the faith has been transmitted to younger generations as of late.

Christine

"They're letting them see porn movies as a campus activity already.(And you've heard of snuff films, haven't you)"

You betcha. Of course, pornography is merely harmless entertainment, you know -- er, at least it was until child molesters began to troll the internet.

It makes me squirm to have the holy name of our Lady associated with the likes of Ensler.

Old Zhou

From the President's Statement, with emphasis in the original (although I don't know how to get this comment to underline, as in the original):

Some of the individuals I’ve talked with are adamantly opposed to the performance or expression on campus of a work, play, book, or speech that contradicts Catholic teaching. To them, we must say, with all respect: "This is a Catholic university." We are committed to a wide-open, unconstrained search for truth, and we are convinced that Catholic teaching has nothing to fear from engaging the wider culture.

Others I talked to were appalled that we would raise any question about the content, message, or implications of a work of art, drama, or literature here on campus. To them, we have to say, with the same respect: "This is a Catholic university." It is founded upon our belief that love of God and neighbor are eternal teachings that give context and meaning to our search for truth. As I said, Catholic teaching has nothing to fear from engaging the wider culture, but we all have something to fear if the wider culture never engages Catholic teaching. That is why the Catholic tradition must not only inspire our worship and our service on campus; it should help shape the intellectual life of the university. Our goal is not to limit discussion or inquiry, but to enrich it; it is not to insulate that faith tradition from criticism, but to foster constructive engagement with critics.

...

For these reasons, I am very determined that we not suppress speech on this campus. I am also determined that we never suppress or neglect the Gospel that inspired this University. As long as the Gospel message and the Catholic intellectual tradition are appropriately represented, we can welcome any serious debate on any thoughtful position here at Notre Dame.

...

Thanks to the efforts of some faculty members, this year's performance of The Vagina Monologues was brought into dialogue with Catholic tradition through panels that followed each performance. Panelists presented the Catholic teaching on human sexuality, and students and faculty engaged one another and these issues in serious and informed discussion. These panels taught me and perhaps taught others that the creative contextualization of a play like The Vagina Monologues can bring certain perspectives on important issues into a constructive and fruitful dialogue with the Catholic tradition. This is a good model for the future. Accordingly, I see no reason to prohibit performances of The Vagina Monologues on campus, and do not intend to do so.

The President has taken a standard "centrist" position, so common in the American Catholic Church of the last 40 years, of trying to be "both-and," and nice and polite.

Yes, we will have Vagina Monologures.
Yes, we will have panel discussion after the performance to talk about the Catholic Church's teaching on sexuality (how oppressive!) and the need to prevent violence against women (stimulated, in part, by the all-male Catholic hierarchy, no doubt).

Of course, if the President has visions of Notre Dame being a player in big league American higher education, he has no choice. Notre Dame (as in the majority of the alumni, donors, funding agencies, faculty and students) does not want to be Steubenville. They would rather be Yale.

Michael Hugo

REQUEST:

Please write an email to Bishop D'Arcy, thanking him for his response to Fr. Jenkins.

I wrote to his secretaries:

Please communicate to Bishop D’Arcy my heartfelt thanks for his strong and clear statement regarding UND and Fr. Jenkins’ decision to endorse the performance of “V-Monologues”. I am disappointed by Fr. Jenkins, and much heartened by Bishop D’Arcy’s response.

In Christ,

-----

We need to support, any way we can, any Bishop that does the right thing. Even if it's just once in a blue moon.

Bishop's Office:
Maureen Schott, secretary - [email protected]
Josephine Koch, secretary - [email protected]

Alfredo

Let me preface my remarks by saying that I know of no one on the Notre Dame campus who is more pessimistic than I am about the long-term future of Notre Dame as a Catholic University. So I cannot justifiably be accused of sugarcoating anything. To be sure, Fr. Jenkins is my friend and colleague -- according to some of you, this seems to be a matter for Confession :-) -- but that does not make me reluctant to disagree with him in public. (However, I will refrain from vilifying him -- mainly because he is a priest and not just because he is my friend.)

Like many of you, I was disappointed by his final decision regarding the Vagina Monologues. There were two aspects of the statement I especially take issue with.

The first is the implied claim that everyone who wanted to kick the VM off campus wanted to do so simply because the VM is opposed to Catholic beliefs and values. I myself have students read Descartes, Hume, Mill, and (gasp!) Nietzsche in my Intro to Philosophy courses. But, of course, they read them after having read Plato and St. Thomas and before reading the first nine books of St. Augustine's Confessions. Context, including the teacher's perspective, is crucial here.

This leads to my second point of disagreement. The VM are simply not appropriate for framing a "dialogue" about sexuality that is supposed to include the presentation of Catholic views. The VM are the equivalent of spitting in the face of faithful Catholics, and it's not usually a good idea to spit in the fact of someone you "sincerely" want to "dialogue" with. Plato deliberately included in his dialogues many instances of defective intellectual inquiry, and in many of these cases the impediments to successful inquiry were moral, rather than intellectual, weaknesses on the part of interlocuters. As others have pointed out above, the VM poison the context from the beginning -- not to mention the fact that faithful Catholics are highly unlikely to be part of the audience for a "dialogue" that occurs only after a performance of the VM.

Still, read the whole statement. Some of the changes in the way sponsorship by departments is handled may lead to improvements in the future.

Also, note that Fr. Jenkins is encouraging a new student iniative that would have students writing about their own stories of abuse rather than relying on the VM. Maybe he hopes that dramas written by students will soon supplant the VM on what I have come to call the "alternative liturgical calendar" on campus. (Last year we had the "Unholy Triduum" of the VM, the Queer Film Festival, and a "Gender-Diversity" Celebration coming one right after the other during the middle of Catholic Lent. Good mortification, eh?)

However, the debate over the VM and the Film Festival formerly known as Queer is in reality a side issue as far as the future of Notre Dame is concerned. The real problem is that the hiring policies of the last thirty years have given us a faculty, especially in the humanities and sciences, that is more and more devoid of Catholic sensibilities. This is, from a natural perspective, an insurmountable problem. Fr. Jenkins sincerely wants to do something about it. The question is whether he will be able to. There is no group of people harder to deal with than entrenched university faculty. Yes, they're even worse than teenagers -- in fact, they're like grown-up teenagers. I know. I gave up trying with my own department several years ago. Unless Our Lady intervenes big time to save her university, this is a hopeless situation. And this is the situation that my friend Fr. Jenkins has inherited. Please pray for him, as I do.

By the way, some of you might not believe this, but it is at present still possible to get a first-rate Catholic education at Notre Dame. Four of my children are attending or have attended Notre Dame, and all of them have fared well in this regard. Of course, they were all classics or philosophy majors, and I was there to help them. But it is possible ..... for now at least. The way things are going, however, it will not be possible ten years from now, after a number of older Catholic professors have left the scene.

Michael Hugo

To those who "reluctantly" support Fr. Jenkins, and smugly find themselves on the "politically correct" side of the issue:

It doesn't matter if you only join the NAZI party because you want the trains to run on time. You are still a Nazi.

If your arguments put you on the side of those advocating VM, or the myriad other profanities and absurdities coursing through ND's Ivory Towers, you are still responsible for the poison. Regardless of you "reasons".

Academic Freedom is not, I repeat NOT a Catholic doctrine. Or a virtue. It is a cynical, amoral policy. If you place academic freedom before logic and 2000 years of moral teaching, you are not Catholic. You are a typical secularist, and part of the problem.

Yes, I'm being judgemental. Deal with it.

You are either with HIM, or you are against HIM.

Time to decide, people.

Yvonne

Thank heavens ND has a very strong presence of Opus Dei on Campus.
If I'd ever send my boys to ND, thats where I'd make sure they are hangin'...

Michael Hugo

Yvonne,

Vote with your $$$. Don't send your kids there.

Dulac

I realize this is not wholly on point, but it seems to me that many will bend over backwards to promote the presentation of a full range of modern thought, but have reservations about the relevance of centuries of tradition.

Christine

Thanks, Old Zhou. And of course we all know what happened to the Christian roots of the Ivy League institutions.

Gone south high.

DJP

For a while I thought that Notre dame could be a possible choice for my daughter to attend; not anymore. I'd rather send her to secular Yale or Harvard before I send her to the confused Catholic University of Notre Dame where priests and religious don't even know what sensible and responsible mean anymore.

Dave

Sandra,

I hate to stoop this level, but I can't help myself considering the ignornant and antagonist remarks you're making toward ND students. Below is an excerpt from an interview you gave in response to the question: Is Sci-Fi and Fantasy compatible with Christianity?

Part of your response was this:

...To limit oneself to 100% Catholic materials would wall off much of the great literature of the human race, from Homer to the Norse sagas to The Tale of the Genji–pagan creations all–much less nearly all of what’s been written in English since the Reformation. And on a less exalted level, it’s not a bad idea to keep tabs on factors influencing modern society–cultural engagement, anyone?

Ok, I know this is out of context, but this is exactly what I'm talking about--cultural engagement. Culture is not just Great Books. Culture is a messy place filled with wonderful and enriching things, as well as harmful and vile things. And I'm not talking vile and harmful ideas, I'm talking harmful and vile behavior, behavior that scars and spiritually maims.

I believe there is a reticence to deal with the issue of sexual behavior, abuse and deviance head on. And I beleive it is one of the realties driving the popularity of the VM, especially within a Catholic university because it talks explicitly about vile and harmful and tragic behavior that we like to pretend doesn't exist. So, like it or not, the VM is being perceived as a way of examining these issues.

So, Sandra, I agree, we must be engaged with the culture, with what is happening beneath the surface of things, or else we are guilty of allowing this behavior fester and become entrenched. Like I've said, the VM isn't my numero uno choice to act as a pedagogical tool, but I really, earnestly believe that we must go to where the battle front is, survey it and then find a way to attack.

chris K

These panels taught me and perhaps taught others that the creative contextualization of a play like The Vagina Monologues can bring certain perspectives on important issues into a constructive and fruitful dialogue with the Catholic tradition.

Now there's a problem right there. If I were a student at ND I'd be turning beet red at reading something like that from the head man. Sounds very naive to me...like does this guy really know what goes down in the hood?? Or...for that matter, on campus? It's kinda like the famous expression in Out of Africa when confronting a completely new type of predator: "shoo"!

And perhaps the bishop showed a bit of disagreement with this particular slant on another quote of the Lord he didn't mention - "lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil" in his hopes that such terrible Catholic stuff (after spoiling this "historical moment"'s ND crop) will hopefully not do so in the future years under his continued watch. Sounds a bit like a lenient father who knows his innocent daughter is going out with a notorious womanizer and just "prays" that her guardian angel will sit between the two for the evening. Well, papa has a bit more responsibility than that.

Kimberly '02

Professor Freddoso -- I know a couple of your kids, and I think they turned out pretty well :) I also know several of the students there now, including my siblings, who are actively involved in the Catholic discussion at school (my brother is majoring in theology), and they give a lot of reason to be more optimistic than you seem to be. Although the nature of the faculty problem is different, I agree.

And as for alumni contacted, I suppose they were major contributors, certainly not the thousands and thousands of alumni generally.

Sandra, actually all alums received two email invitations from the alumni association to submit comments on the website. It wasn't a selective consult.

Remembering a long history of campus controversies at ND, I recall that one of the excuses for going co-ed was to "civilize" the all-male campus. The same excuse was trotted out for allowing drinking on campus. Hasn't worked in either case, has it? You dear darling Best & Brightest Catholic students are merely typical members of degenerate youth culture after all.

This strikes me as terribly unfair. I wasn't around in '73, but I do believe most Notre Dame women have contributed significantly to the culture on campus. Of course there are the radical feminists (hence the current problem), but to imply that the rest of us women have contributed to ND becoming less "civilized" is not right. Furthermore, to impugn the many, many of us serious Catholic students who love the faith and still love Notre Dame as "typical members of degenerate youth culture" is wholly uncharitable.

Julia

John E said: "A CATHOLIC university needs to promote what it believes, because it believes it is true and it is crucially important. There's a difference between allowing anti-Catholic views to be heard and discussed vs. being promoted. VM is on the side of promotion, not academic discussion."

This is a crucial point. The VM is not just a play; it's a movement. And they have taken over Valentine's Day on campuses. The play and it's agenda are bally-hoo'd all over campus and you don't even need to see the play to be inundated with V-Day stuff.

I had an on-line debate with a Jesuit at the theater department of SLU a few years ago that was getting somewhere. He even asked me to come and "dialogue" with his theater students, but then that was abruptly cancelled. The next year, the play was taken over by the sociology department in conjunction with all sorts of social justice groups - who conduct panels that they control. It is now presented in the auditorium of the sociology department and not at the school's theater.

Check out the official V-Day site for yourself. http://www.vday.org/main.html

I have read bits and pieces of the play and have read descriptions of it from promoters and those agin, but never the whole thing. Does anybody have a site where the whole play is available?

Amy Cavender, CSC

"Alfredo": Good to "see" you again! And many thanks for your thoughtful words, and fine example of how to disagree with Fr. Jenkins without villifying the man or calling his motives into question.

An earlier poster wrote:
"And as for alumni contacted, I suppose they were major contributors, certainly not the thousands and thousands of alumni generally."

This is simply incorrect. *All* alumni with current contact information were informed of the issue and invited to contribute their thoughts on the matter, whether by letter or via the website. I know--I'm one of those alumni.

ND3L

"He attended one showing of the thing and even stood for the standing ovation at the end. Word is that he even complemented one of the performers on her imitation of an orgasm."

then that about sums it up for me. There is where his heart lies.

But for the assertion that he attended one showing, that post is entirely untrue. He applauded and did congratulate the entire cast on their acting skill and his attendance at a performance gives him credibility -- not the opposite.

I was pleased by the decision. Obviously he took great pains to consider the positions of faculty and students before issuing the statement. As a law student who is grossly dissatisfied with the University for resons completely unrelated to academic freedom or orthodoxy, this was the first time in a long time I was in any way proud to go to Notre Dame.

Christine

"I believe there is a reticence to deal with the issue of sexual behavior, abuse and deviance head on."

Heavens, there was a time when this was the purview of doctors and therapists. Since when did it become the job of the University to solve those kinds of situations? I'm grateful I had at least some exposure to a classical liberal Jesuit education in my day, and sexual issues wasn't part of it!

As far as Sandra's comment on today's depraved youth goes, well ... I wish you'd be in my sister's house during the year. The rental house around the corner is occupied by John Carroll students during the academic year. The drinking binges, foul language and frequent overnight female guests at the rental house around the corner -- now, THERE'S something that could be addressed from a perspective of Catholic values. In my day it would not have been tolerated by the University. When my sister complained to the landlord her reward was having parts of her front yard trashed.

My sister received her undergradute degree from Gannon University. I wonder how far they've veered from their Catholic idenity these days.

Christine

And let me add in retrospect that it was the loud and disturbing noisemaking that my sister objected to. She did, after all, have to get up and go to work in the morning.

Dave

Christine,

With all due respect, we're not talking about you or John Carrol. We're talking about what it's like NOW for young Catholics. specifically at Notre Dame, so unless you have some insight that pertains to these two things as they actually are and not just what your sister told you or what you experienced back in the day, you should sit back and listen and ponder and pray.

Scherza

The current tone of the "pro" argument seems to be that it is good for Catholic thinkers to engage secular culture and expose it for what it is.

But herein lies the danger -- continuing Dave's battlefront analogy -- when we're discussing young men and women who generally are NOT strongly armed with clear and uncompromised knowledge of their faith and teachings of their church, might sending these out into the dark places of secular culture not be akin to throwing poorly trained and under-equipped soldiers out into the front lines of a vicious battle?

Time enough to engage the culture-at-large outside of the confines of Catholic education. We have a few precious years with our young men and women to equip them with the knowledge of Truth, the ability to think clearly and argue logically, and the power to see that Right and Wrong exist and to choose well between them. Why squander them?

Christine

"you should sit back and listen and ponder and pray."

Oh I don't think so, Dave. What's happening at ND is happening at John Carroll and other places. I'm European, my roots go back far in the Church and compared to the faith formation my grandparents had what young Catholics in the U.S. receiving is far, far short of what it should be.

And forgive me if I don't seek your permission to speak.

Dave

Scherza,

This is a good point. I go back and forth on it. I think ideally each person approaches these issues at their own pace. However, I also hear criticism from both "orthodox" Catholics and "liberal" Catholics that ND shelters its students too much.

The war analogy ultimately falls apart, as you've shown. But, going to the well once more, I don't see this as squandering Christian soldiers as much as it is perhaps "war games."

Alfredo

Kimberly,

If your brother is a theology major, then he is in good hands. The theology department is the one unit in the humanities in which the "faculty-situation" is improving. This may come as a surprise to some people.

Philip

Christine,

Your sister's struggles just verifies what I have been trying to say about youth culture now. That behavior is normal. It is fun. It is full of pleasure. It is leading people unknowingly to their deaths. Just complaining and saying stop has two problems. 1)It doesn't work (my generation unfortunately has no respect for others) 2)It doesn't cause those people to realize the self destructive nature of that lifestyle. Christians are in the business of saving lives, not making comfortable situations for ourselves.

The way to reach young people now is through conversation and expressing somehow that sinful lifestyles are not really fun, they are enslaving, and that lifestyles according to Church Teaching are fulfulling and desirable. Telling them "no" doesn't work.

Dave

Christine,

This isn't a "who's more Catholic" contest, so while it's great that you're European and have deep roots, I find it a little besides the point. This is a conversation that absolutely depends on understanding what young Catholics are thinking and why, how they are behaving and why, and what should be done in order to help them navigate the difficulties of being a young Catholic in 2006. I'm sorry that I came off as so abrupt, but it just doesn't help things to stereotype the behavior of Catholic school kids based on what's happening at John Carroll.

Lily

Lessons learned by ND students from Fr. Jenkins:
1. It's okay to disregard the moral advice of your local bishop
2. As long as you sound reasonable you can get what you want
4. actors can be used without concern for their immortal souls as long as you pay them
5. if you form a committee and get their input, you won't have to be responsible for the decision; just refer back to the committee when questioned
6. when having your picture taken, fold your arms and look hip; that way you won't look like a grumpy old bishop
7. football and prestige hold sway over the affections of Our Lady; she doesn't care if we watch and pay for smut
8. never, never, never look or sound like an Apostle. It might make people uncomfortable.


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