Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Alito Confirmed

Yay for a Catholic majority on the Supreme Court. :)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Great Monologue Article in the Tribune

Today's South Bend Tribune has a great article about the Monologue controversy on campus, along with a history of the Monologues' and Queer Film Festival's presence at ND and St. Mary's. I'm happy that those who oppose the Monologues being performed at ND finally got a voice.

I wrote my thank you and response to Fr. Jenkins last night. I encourage other students to do the same. Email your responses and suggestions to studrsvp@nd.edu.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Deus Caritas Est

I haven't been able to read more than the first page of the first encyclical issued by Pope Benedict the XVI, but so far it's very good.

I love how the NYT manages to twist even those things that defy being corrupted. The headline of the piece on the encyclical is this: Benedict's First Encyclical Shuns Strictures of Orthodoxy. Hmmm...does anyone else see the problem here? The NYT lauds Benedict for not mentioning aboriton, euthanasia, contraception - issues that divide Catholics. What they don't realize is the call to love like God loves us through the gift of his Son Jesus, INCLUDES the rejection of these things. LOVE IS ORTHODOXY! It is because we follow Benedict's call to love in this encyclical, that we don't abort, contracept or euthanize. Love is the beginning and the end of all the doctrines of the Church. It is because Christ loves us that he commands us never to destroy married love by contracepting. And it is because of our love for him in return that we order our marriages (and our lives) according to the Church's teaching.

This is the reason Benedict starts with Deus Caritas Est. God or love is the alpha and the omega. True love is orthodoxy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Alito Gets Past Senate Judiciary Committee

With all the fuss on campus, I forgot to mention that Alito was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today. The vote was 10-8, and apparently it was divided along party lines. Unfortunate for those Democrats, I guess, that they can't see what a stellar candidate Alito really is. Oh well - soon it's not going to matter. On to confirmation! Story here.

Why this Result is Perfect

The genius of Fr. Jenkins' response to the Monologues controversy is apparent in this single statement:

"My concern is not with censorship, but with sponsorship."

Indeed. That is the concern. When the Monologues are relegated to the classroom, they become academic fodder for discussion, something totally appropriate at a thriving Catholic institution. Jenkins is right, things in opposition to the Church need to be discussed and presented in the classroom setting so that the Catholic faith is strengthened. Endorsement of such things is an entirely different matter, and ND's production of the Monologues crossed that line 4 years ago. There will be no ticket sales, and there will be no fundraising. In other words, it will not be Notre Dame presenting an antithetical work with the impression of sponsorship. This is the result that is the most in line with Catholicism. It is the result that is most in line with what academic freedom should be at a Catholic institution.

Remember, it is Catholicism itself that much of the faculty has a problem with, not Jenkins' view on academic freedom. Jenkins took the time to present Catholicism (not just academic freedom) to the faculty and students at Notre Dame. Real, authentic, orthodox Catholicism was presented to hundreds by the President of the university. I believe that is the first time since before Hesburgh that something like this has happened.

Again, I encourage you to read his address in full. It is a sign of wonderful things to come, and a true renewal of Notre Dame's vibrancy as a Catholic institution. More later on the students' reactions.

Monologues relegated to a classroom

I am very, very pleased with this. In fact, I'd say this is a real and tangible victory for those who oppose the Monologues. Story in the Observer. Note this line:

""The reason that this play is here on this campus is because it was chosen by the students ... To take that away from them and to say it can only be in an academic setting which cuts down on the audience … it takes away a voice of students," Phillips said, responding to Jenkins' decision that this year's "Monologues" production will be held in a classroom rather than on stage. "And that, for lack of a better phrase, isn't right."" (boldface mine)

There is a big difference between the Monologues on stage and the Monologues in a classroom. I don't believe that the official "V-Day" campaign can be involved if it's just a production in the class.

This is one of the best days of my time at Notre Dame. Seriously.

Here's the text of Jenkins' speech from yesterday. Good stuff - if you want to understand what academic freedom means from a Catholic perspective, this is essential reading.

Last Post on the Election

I'm going to do some Fed Tax homework and go to bed. I'm happy that the Conservatives have secured a victory. I was hoping for 130 seats, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Oh well - this was a major breakthrough for the Conservatives and a major shift in the future of Canada. I can't wait to see how this minority government works out. Canadians need a change, and I think we got it.

Oh yeah - Paul Martin already stepped down as leader of the Liberals. Ha. The sooner I forget his name, the better.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Conservatives projected to win

As of 10pm, the Conservatives have already elected or are leading in 99 seats in the House of Commons, whereas the Liberals are at 89. There are still the western provinces to go, which are dominated by Conservative strongholds. It is looking really, really good for the Conservatives.

CBC updates here. Continuing coverage here.

Update: The big story is the Conservative gain in Quebec. While the Liberals have lost a bunch of ridings, the Conservatives have picked up the slack in a province they've never won seats in before.

Update 2: Elected seats - Conservatives 50, Liberals 33. (For those of you who aren't familiar with the system, there are 308 seats in the House of Commons to be won.)

Update 3: Elected seats - Conservatives 80, Liberals 48

Update 4: Elected seats - Conservatives 101, Liberals 78
(Just a note, that the Conservatives have won 7 seats in Quebec (7 more than they ever have before)

Hey! The person I voted for in my riding was reelected! Conservative Party candidate Cheryl Gallant won over 56% of the vote, and she's vocally pro-life and pro-marriage.

Update 5: Total seats in Alberta - 28. Total seats won by Conservatives in Alberta - 28. Heh. I love Alberta.

UPDATE 6: Elected seats - Conservatives 119, Liberals 98 (Only 13 more ridings to be decided and I think there are a couple of recounts).

Status of the "Vile"logues at ND

Fr. Jenkins met with the faculty today to discuss academic freedom and Catholic character. I've been informed that he told the faculty that anything that takes place at ND is perceived as being sponsored or endorsed by ND and that events that are antithetical to Church teaching should not be presented. He also said that the Monologues make sexual objects out of women.

This is looking really good. And boy will I celebrate if cancellation actually takes place.

March for Life

Today is the annual March for Life in D.C. "After Abortion" is live blogging, and it looks like ND Right to Life was introduced by the event coordinators to the whole crowd (they took 3 buses down - impressive). This is the first time in 3 years I haven't attended. Wish I could be there.

Bush gave his usual radio feed - I wish he'd just show up to the thing. Could he possibly be worrying about his image now???

I don't have a count of people yet, but it looks like Steubenville cancelled classes for the day so that everyone could go, so they took 10 buses full of people. Just so everyone knows, that's 3/4 of the school. Sweet.

Election Today

Today's the big day. Polls opened this morning and will be open until 10:30pm EST tonight. CBC coverage starts at 10pm. Latest poll results here. I'll be updating tonight as things progress.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Monologues stuff

I know, I know - I'm obsessed. Well, with keeping the Monologues of Notre Dame's campus, anyway. Here's Amy Welborn on her distaste for "V-Day" stuff. She says it so well.

Here's the link to the V-Monologues website, but for those not used to women degrading women while masquarading as liberators, be forewarned, it's disgusting.

Oh yeah...and the English Department at ND received this email yesterday, urging them to attend Fr. Jenkins' talk, stating that this address might be a "defining moment" on Notre Dame's campus:

Dear English Colleagues,

You've no doubt seen the announcement about the upcoming speech by our University President to be presented Monday 1/23 at 4:30pm at the DPAC. I want to urge as many faculty as possible to attend the talk, especially given our departmental discussion of sponsorship of The Vagina Monologues held back in December. I think it is safe to say that this has the potential to be a defining moment in the development of our University, and that the relationship between "Academic Freedom and Our Catholic Character" (to use the title of Jenkins's talk) will be crucial to that development. It's worth mentioning that Jenkins is presenting another lecture, this one to the students and titled "Academic Freedom and Catholic Character." It is scheduled for the following day, 12:30-1:45pm, in Washington Hall. (I don't have a reading of the significance of the omission of the "our" in the students' talk). If you're teaching at that time, you might consider giving students who are interested permission to leave class to attend. I'd also like to call attention to some relevant documents that are available for your perusal on the Web. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has been centrally concerned with questions and standards of academic freedom since at least 1940. Their main site on the issue is: http://www.aaup.org/com-a/index.htm Many of the organization's statements are focused specifically on faculty, and in particular on tenure issues. My sense of the situation here at Notre Dame is that individual faculty members' academic freedom is not in question. And I don't think there is likely to be a challenge to the idea that students have academic freedom in the classroom (I very much hope not to be proven wrong on these points by anything in the speeches next week). What is less often discussed is students' academic freedom, especially insofar as that concept applies outside the classroom. As you'll see from the quotations I'm pasting below, the AAUP believes that the protection of academic freedom extends to students, and that it includes activities beyond the classroom, including "films, exhibitions, and performances." As Undergraduate Director, I want to call your attention to this issue. We should care about it simply for the sake of our students, but it also has some bearing on our own, collective academic freedom, as evinced by our departmental vote to sponsor the Vagina Monologues. The AAUP has since at least 1967 emphasized the connection between student academic freedom and the larger issue of academic freedom, as in the statement you will find at: http://www.aaup.org/statements/Redbook/Studentrights.htm

Perhaps most pertinently, paragraph 2(b) under "Student Affairs" reads: "Students should be allowed to invite and to hear any person of their own choosing. Those routine procedures required by an institution before a guest speaker is invited to appear on campus should be designed only to ensure that there is orderly scheduling of facilities and adequate preparation for the event, and that the occasion is conducted in a manner appropriate to an academic community. The institutional control of campus facilities should not be used as a device of censorship. It should be made clear to the academic and larger community that sponsorship of guest speakers does not necessarily imply approval or endorsement of the views expressed, either by the sponsoring group or by the institution."

And the footnote to that paragraph reads: "The events referred to in this section should be understood to include the full range of student-sponsored activities, such as films, exhibitions, and performances."

Browsing the AAUP site, you will find not just the organization's official statements about these issues, but also a range of articles about them, from a wide range of perspectives. These also include some discussions of academic freedom at Catholic colleges and universities. I hope to see many colleagues at the President's speech, and that it and the ensuing discussion are lively and productive.

I was struck, first of all, at how this director doesn't realize how irrelevant the AAUP's opinions are in relation to academic freedom at a Catholic institution. Catholicism changes the nature of academic freedom, for the simple reason that the Catholic Church and its institutions must search for the truth while already being secure in possessing the Truth. It's a different sort of dynamic, if you will.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Canadian Federal Election on January 23rd

For all of my American friends - an important event will take place next Monday, and it will have nothing to do with the USA! Most of you, I'm sure, did not know that there will be a federal election in Canada on January 23rd, determining who will be the new party in power, and subsequently, the new Prime Minister.

For once, the election is kind of thrilling for me, since because of the pervasive corruption of the Liberal party, the Conservative party actually has a chance to form a majority government! At this point, Canadians are so desperate for change, that they'll take anyone but the Liberals. And that's just fine with me.

For information on the Conservative Party of Canada, go here. For polling results, go here, and here.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Fr. Jenkins to Give Address on Academic Freedom

The email suggests that Fr. Jenkins (President of Notre Dame) will focus on the Vagina Monologues and the Queer Film Festival in his address. I'm very excited for this talk. Although there are rumors that the Monologues are still taking place this year, I think this sort of openness about the serious misgivings Catholic administrators should have about this performance is a good thing.

For those on campus or near campus, the talk will take place at Washington Hall on January 24th from 12:30-1:45pm.

For a sample letter urging Fr. Jenkins to halt the production of the Monologues on Notre Dame's campus, go here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Little Rock

This is my first time in Arkansas, and I must say, I'm enjoying it. Little Rock is a cute little city with a river running through it. What I didn't realize, upon first arriving here, is that Little Rock is the home of the Peabody Hotel, famous for its elevator-riding ducks. I can't wait to go and see it for myself.

I'll have more on the Alito hearings later - I haven't been that attentive to them, but I know he's doing a marvelous job with the Senators' questions.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a happy New Year.