Today in my email I received the President of the University of Notre Dame’s statement on Academic Freedom and Catholic Character. This statement is a long-awaited response to the debate about the staging of The Vagina Monologues on campus, among other things.
As an alumni, I was asked to weigh in on the issue months ago, and did so. I don’t support such a performance on a Catholic campus. And the reasoning behind Father Jenkins’ allowing it this year and into the future boils down to so-called “academic freedom.” We won’t know it’s wrong until we try it and find out–and then we will “weigh it against Catholic teachings.” Does that mean we don’t know stealing is wrong until we try it? No! We have very clear directions from God (remember those Ten Commandments, Father?) that tell us that stealing is wrong. I’d bet my N.D. degree that there are plenty of very clear directions in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church that tell us that a good deal of what is presented in The Vagina Monologues is wrong.
Maybe I’ll have to restrict my Fightin’ Irish pride to the football season. I think the athletes’ behavior is being held to a higher standard. As for encouraging my kids to follow in my footsteps? I’ll be holding off on that, perhaps until Father Jenkins is retired from his post as President. Since I was present for the 1987 installation of the last President (Father Malloy), it’s not looking good, even for Little Brother.