Friday, November 14, 2014

Fr. Jenkins, lesbian leprechauns, and the gayification of Notre Dame

Notre Dame "is a Catholic university and endorses a Catholic view of marriage," [but] "it will follow the relevant civil law and begin to implement this change immediately." -Father John Jenkins from his startling statement that Notre Dame will now provide health care and other financial benefits to gay as well as traditional, opposite-sex married student couples
The haste with which it was done and its being announced without serious consideration of the legal implications is not only deeply troubling but also revelatory of the direction of the current Notre Dame administration. Notre Dame has made no effort to stand for the truth about marriage but has supinely conformed to a deeply flawed understanding of this crucial institution. -Father Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C.  
My father and me on Father's Day, 6-15-14.
My father, James O'Toole, died on October 15, ending our time of rooting for the Fighting Irish and fighting to save Notre Dame together, at least here on earth. I hope and pray (especially in light of Notre Dame president John Jenkins' recent dastardly decision to financially support Notre Dame's gay marriages) that he is still fighting this fight in heaven. Lord knows the school needs it.

The latest chapter in the continuing sickening saga of Jenkins leading Notre Dame away from the Catholic faith is aptly summed up for Her loyal sons and daughters by Notre Dame law school's professor, Gerard V. Bradley. A leading expert on religious liberty law, Bradley joined this indictment, stating that the University "has not identified the 'relevant civil law,' much less has it explained its decision to comply with it," and that there are "ample legal and constitutional rights" Notre Dame could invoke "to give witness to the truth about marriage." Bradley continues:

Sadly, Notre Dame seems to have forgotten, or ignored, the solemn warning of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which wrote (with Pope John Paul II's express approval) in 2003: "In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized ... clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application...

It is especially tragic that Notre Dame, which occupies a unique place as a flagship of American Catholicism, should ... without a whisper of resistance or even protest, rush to comply with such an unjust law. Notre Dame's easy compliance will scandalize many Catholics and demoralize even more. Those who are fighting to evict the truth about marriage from our country's laws are no doubt celebrating Notre Dame's action this morning.  

Jenkins' cave-in would be like the Fighting Irish football team going to Florida State and saying, "In times past we might try to beat the top team in the nation with five of our top players suspended, but this, after all, is 2014, so we'll just put on a little show with our cool uniforms and pretty gold helmets and call it the Seminoles' night." The fact that the Irish did beat the Seminoles, until perhaps the most blatant hometown call in twenty some years took the game away from Notre Dame, proves that there is still some remnant Catholic identity to the team, and that many Southern fans (and refs) still hate them for it.

Of course, the five academic suspensions (not to mention a Notre Dame wide receiver taking a risque selfie with a porn star, an "angle" I'll consider in a later article) shows that all is not right with the Notre Dame football team—a situation Jenkins must take some credit for as well. For when your actions proclaim "the Catholic faith is (at this writing) still the University's religion and contains some very good teachings, but only a saint could live all its laws so I can't expect anyone to follow all of its rules," some players will no doubt apply this philosophy to themselves, concluding, "forcing football players to take legitimate academic courses looks good on paper, but he can't expect us to pass them all without a little ... extra help." Much to their surprise, in this case (if not that of the player dating the porn star, who remains unpunished) the hypocritical president who had no trouble cheating on his obligations as a priest, had no trouble punishing the players who cheated on their obligations as students.

As it turned out, Jenkins' lack of moral credibility was even further eroded when another Catholic college, St. Francis University, stated it found no "relevant civil law" that forced Father's gay hand, and challenged him to find one. Instead, Jenkins the Justify-er now sagely explains it doesn't matter whether or not such a law exists, since providing this support contributes to a "community of love." "Our abiding goal," states the University president-priest who has yet to find a Catholic dogma he couldn't dodge, "is to build a less imperfect community of love." In his pomposity, Jenkins once again fails to realize that "love" without Truth is like parenting without discipline or coaching without correction, and his "community of love" is nothing more than a twenty-first century, gay version of the 1960s "free love" commune, which in the end brought neither love nor freedom to its inhabitants.

Having formally welcomed gay lovers to the academic community at Notre Dame, Jenkins will now turn his attention to the team. Knowing that sports, especially Fighting Irish football, is still an important symbol of his "community of love" (which us old-schoolers still nostalgically refer to as "Notre Dame") Jenkins appears ready to apply his gay touch to the team. Despite the objections of several thousand "traditionalists," Jenkins changed admission to the band's Irish Guard, making the iconic group that for seventy-five years consisted only of those students that stood at least 6'2", open to anyone. A "small" gesture to be sure, but one wonders if this is only the beginning. For if the present trend away from Church teaching and toward gay celebration continues at Notre Dame, we will soon see a "couple" of gay Guards leading out the band, their once stoic walk replaced by a sprightly, holding-hands skip. Meanwhile, leading the team out of the tunnel will be none other than a lesbian Leprechaun, dancing a decadent Irish jig while sporting a beard that looks all too real. And, believe you me, that is a sight my dad is glad he did not live to see.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fr. John Jenkins and the politics of Notre Dame (and) Fighting Irish Football

fr-john-jenkins-katie-washington
University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.,
with 2010 valedictorian Katie Washington.
On the surface, it seems to be the height of absurdity to hire a board member (Katie Washington) to your Catholic university who vehemently disagrees with Catholic teaching on abortion and contraception at the precise time you are suing a government that shares the same vehement disagreement with this Catholic teaching because you claim it is forcing you to abandon your Christian conscience. Similarly, it seems ridiculous to deny University status to a student group (SCOP, or Students for Child Oriented Policy) that seeks to fight for policies supporting the traditional family at the precise time gay marriage and adoption needs to be fought. Well, welcome to the world of Fr. John I. Jenkins, a priest whose decisions are based not on Catholic theology or philosophy but politics and public opinionprecisely what the Church warns against.

Certainly, Jenkins' appointment of Washington flatly contradicts his claim that Notre Dame's paying for abortions or contraceptives bothers his conscience (if indeed he has one) but her hire must be great as a fundraising tool with the wealthy cafeteria-Catholics or outright agnostics for whom contraception is a way of life, and abortion nothing more than emergency contraception. Of course, Jenkins and Notre Dame changed course and allowed SCOP to operate (how freely, we shall see) within the University, but again it was all politics, correcting a miscalculation on how much they thought the rich orthodox Catholic alumni would objectand monetarily hold back. So while Jenkins' teaching is a bit...suspect, his politics, or ability to appease both sides, is often brilliant. And nowhere is this better seen than on the commercials about Notre Dame on NBC during the Fighting Irish football games.

To the casual fan, Notre Dame's award-winning,"We are the Fighting Irish!" commercials, which feature Domers roaming the remote corners of the world to bring the destitute villagers everything from heath care to computer hook-ups, seems noble enough. But notice they never promote alumni who are doing any good that could be specifically labeled Catholic, such as pro-life pregnancy clinics or missionaries that actually teach the Catholic faith. Similarly, the generic Notre Dame commercials (which never fail to mention the school's research accomplishments) are big on showing ND's religious landmarks like the Dome or the Basilica, but short of mentioning the significance of Lady and Man on top.

In other words, by often showing the statues and religious monuments in the media but never speaking of them, Jenkins at the same time appeases the religious alumni without offending those who aren't. While perhaps politically smart in the short run, Jenkins eventually has to answer to conservatives for his fast and loose adherence to Church doctrine, and his responses (as was his justification for inviting Obama to be honored at ND ) which have been all but laughable. In fact, Jenkins has looked so bad in his justifications to bypass Church teaching that lately (as when questioned about the appointment of the unorthodox Washington) he, like most politicians, merely dodges the question or changes the subject, almost daring the school's statues to contradict him.

It may be one thing to mock monuments in Washington, but far more dangerous to do so at Notre Dame. Jenkins' "let the statues speak" stance reminds me of a pentecostal preacher who not only repeated the tired lie that Catholics worshiped the Virgin, but used to publicly deface statues of Mary, invoking Her to stop him if She could. Still, this man was not Catholic, and thus he cannot be held as accountable as men like fallen Domer, Father Thomas Euteneuer. While Euteneuer was molesting a woman (during the rite of exorcism no less!) in Church before the Blessed Sacrament, she started to question whether this was right. Father Tom merely looked at her, then the Eucharist, and said, "Well, He hasn't stopped me yet."

James Anthony O'Toole on Father's Day, 6-15-14, with his son, Thomas Augustine (aka Fighting Irish Thomas).
Update: James Anthony O'Toole, ND '54, died Oct. 15, 2014.
Priests seducing bright young minds may not be as bad as those who sexually seduce troubled young women, but surely both bring God's wrath and Mary's tears. Know that no one would like Mary to leap off the Dome and confront Jenkins about his misdeeds more than I, or would love the orthodox ghosts who once spoke in Washington Hall (G.K. Chesterton comes to mind) to haunt Ms. Washington until she resigns. Until then, getting a Fighting Irish football hero to invoke Our Lady before Saturday's game, or better yet, after an upset of #1 Florida State on the 18th, would be a great start. For if that were to happen, I guarantee that my dad, no matter how much pain he was in, would die with a smile on his face.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Barring the door for Katie Washington: Who will lead Notre Dame Back?

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, women won't have to pay out-of-pocket costs for contraception. -Katie Washington
This appointment is inexplicable, insupportable, and incriminating. -The Sycamore Trust
In my last blog, I touched briefly upon Fr. John Jenkin's appointment of Katie Washington, the 2010 Notre Dame Valedictorian, to the university's board of trustees. Given her blatant pro-choice stances, it's difficult to argue with The Sycamore Trust's (the pro-Notre Dame organization that calls itself "the Guardian of the Grotto") assertion that she, according to ST, "surely cannot be thought committed to Notre Dame's mission as a Catholic university nor a reliable counselor on issues relating to the school's Catholic identity. Futhermore, it seems to be common sense that her appointment undermines Notre Dame's position in its lawsuit against the mandate," and, in light of her appointment, unlike Hobby Lobby, the courts would doubt Notre Dame  is sincere in its claim of conscience as regard to its contraception object to Obamacare--which is exactly what happened.

Once again, the outsider (or orthodox insider) looks at yet another distressing sign of the demise of Our Lady's University, wonders how in the heck did we get here? In the end it's hard to blame Ms. Washington (who is not even Catholic) for accepting the appointment any more than it is to blame Obama for accepting an honorary degree from Notre Dame. Again, it falls squarely onto the lap (and into the soul) of Notre Dame's damned President Fr. Jenkins, the Frankenstein-like creation of "Land-o-(fiery) Lakes" creator Fr. Theodore Hesburgh. In the end, by rewarding folks like Obama and Washington, Jenkins is merely surrounding himself with those lost souls who are a lot like himself; smartest-man (or woman) in-the-room types who claim to be loyal sons and daughters of Notre Dame (or God or country) but are false prophets at best and anti-Christs at worst.

And what do we have on the other side to fight such a vast army of the Culture of Death? Just a few loyal souls like "Sycamore" and a handful of players on a surprisingly determined underdog Irish football team who still get what "playin' for Our Lady" means. That is not to belittle the efforts of Sycamore; they were instrumental in getting another pro-choice appointee (Roxanne Martino) to resign from ND's board, not to mention getting the pivotal pro-family student organization SCOP (Students for Child Oriented Policy) accepted on Campus after Notre Dame initially turned them down.

Likewise, you can never underestimate pep-rally speeches like those of senior Fighting Irish safety Austin Collinsworth, whose declaration "With you [the fans and students] out there, my teammates by my side, and Our Lady watching up above, how can we lose?" Such simple faith has galvanized all three groups before, and there's no reason (if we have but similar faith) to not believe that it could happen again. With nearly all the powerful people at Notre Dame bent on her destruction, it would be accurate to say, using football jargon, that the truly loyal sons and daughters of Our Lady's University are down by four, facing a 4th and 11 with barely a minute left. But what's so funny (in an Irish sort of way) is that both players like Everett Golson and Suffering Irish, like my dad, are completely unfazed by that fact.