Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Father John Jenkins, Moral Coward

From the Chicago Tribune:
Notre Dame to Continue to Allow "Vagina Monologues" on Campus

Associated Press Writer
Published April 5, 2006, 11:47 AM CDT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The University of Notre Dame will allow "The Vagina Monologues" and other events that may go against Roman Catholic teachings on campus because universities should be places where debate is promoted, the school's president said Wednesday.

"To be a university means that we engage in diversity of viewpoints that are vigorously debated, some of which will challenge Catholic understanding," the Rev. John I. Jenkins said. "I don't think we should be afraid of that. That's what it is to be a university."

"The Vagina Monologues," a play by Eve Ensler, is based on discussions with 200 girls and women about their feelings for their anatomy. Catholic schools throughout the country have debated whether to allow it, pitting issues of academic freedom against religion.

Jenkins' predecessor, the Rev. Edward A. Malloy, first allowed the play to be performed on campus five years ago. Jenkins continued the tradition this year but limited the performance to a classroom setting and barred ticket sales while he reviewed the matter.

Critics say the play, which includes sections about homosexuality, orgasms and rape, goes against Notre Dame's Catholic character.

Bishop John D'Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese said he was "deeply saddened" by Jenkins' decision.
[ED.: Then why don't you do something about it?]

Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, a conservative group that wants the play off Catholic campuses, called the decision "hypocritical."

"The fact that he has studied this issue so carefully and attended the play and considered all of the implications and come to this conclusion suggests to me that he has total disregard for Notre Dame's Catholic identity," Reilly said.

(emphasis added)

My Comments:
My 4-year-old son wants to attend Notre Dame. Unless the University does some serious soul-searching and recovers its Catholic identity (how about starting with implementing Ex Corde Ecclesiae?) between now and then, I just don't see that happening. At least not with my money.

UPDATE (8 April 2006):
Amy Welborn hosted an excellent discussion of this issue over at her blog. After reading some of the comments from ND students and professors, I might be willing to let my son attend one day. But I still think Jenkins is a moral coward.

Here's the First Things blog On the Square's take on the situation at Notre Dame:
As Fr. Jenkins himself suggests, this issue was a great test for the University. It was a point at which the University of Notre Dame defined its own self-understanding. As such, it may have been a point of no return. Fr. Jenkins’ decision is tragic enough for Notre Dame, but far worse in the long run are the muddled arguments with which he attempts to justify it. His words can now be used at Catholic universities and colleges everywhere to undermine their Catholic character. He has not only surrendered, he has drawn up a blueprint for surrender everywhere.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
More of the Same at Our Lady's University?

Providence College Says "Hell No!" to Vagina Monologues


At 4/05/2006 5:01 PM, Blogger Jeff Miller said...

Though the article is somewhat misleading. Fr. Jenkins is his letter did not mention the gay film festival at all.

The letter isn't as bad as portrayed, but it is still nothing to cheer about either. Earlier today I also mentioned that if we are going to take Fr. Jenkins seriously on what he wrote about the truth of the Catholic faith that we would soon see them requiring mandates for theologican as per Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Not holding my breath on that one.

At 4/06/2006 6:59 AM, Blogger Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

Extremely disappointing.
Though I kind of thought in the beginning of the "alumni can weigh in" process that if he was so busy asking for our "input" then he wasn't going to stand up for what's right.

At 2/11/2008 5:44 PM, Blogger Fr. J. said...

Please register your protest with those purveying this pornography at Our Lady's University:

Mark Schurr,
Chairman, Anthropology Department
647 Flanner Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
574 631 7638

Rory McVeigh,
Chairman, Sociology Department
739 Flanner Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
574 631 0386

Arguments directly challenging the capacity of this crude and degrading script to reverse the objectification of women and violence against them are particularly appreciated. Those promoting this material care little for the Catholic identity of Notre Dame and will be unswayed by appeals to such.

God Bless,

Fr. J.

For more information please see my post on the Per Christum blog:


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