Tuesday, January 24, 2006

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.

13 Comments:

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like this is shaping up to be a bad month for the libs at Notre Dame. Now the Cardinal Newman Society has requested that Fr. Jenkins launch a formal investigation into possible plaigerism committed by ND's own Fr. McBrien.

http://www.southbendtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060124/News01/601240303/CAT=News01

 
At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Becky said...

Yup. And I have a feeling it's going to get worse (better?), as Fr. Jenkins has yet to address the specifics about what a "classroom setting" means for academic freedom. I wouldn't be surprised if he cracks down on advertising, the fact that ND students actually perform in the event, and the size of the venue itself.

 
At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Looks like this is shaping up to be a bad month for the libs at Notre Dame."

To clarify, a liberal at ND is conservative at a normal university.

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger Brendan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger Brendan said...

"a liberal at ND is conservative at a normal university."

I don't think that's true at all. Granted, ND has an unusually high share of conservatives, particularly religious conservatives. But its liberals are just as liberal (and its moderates are just as moderate... and its moderate liberals are just as moderately liberal... etc.) as at any other college campus. There are just fewer of them, percentage-wise.

That's my impression, anyway. Admittedly, it may be warped if the law school is more liberal than the rest of campus. But what I say is certainly true of the law-school liberals -- they're hardly some sort of watered-down version of liberal. They just don't dominate the campus dialogue like liberals do at many universities.

 
At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Becky said...

I would agree with Brendan, but I would say that the law school student climate is different than the undergraduate climate. The liberals at the law school are very much more "liberal" than those in the undergraduate community. That's just my impression though.

The best example is probably the abortion issue. There are hardly any undergraduates on this campus that actually think abortion is a good thing. There is a minority at NDLS that actually thinks abortion is a liberating experience for women or something. This sort of attitude is less prevelant among the undergraduates. If they are pro-choice (which is also very rare), then they believe abortion should be a rare occurrence, etc. The undergraduate population is also more willing to say that abortion is murder, at least from what I've experienced.

What explains this difference? Well, many of the law students are coming from secular undergraduate institutions where they never even heard the Catholic position on things. Usually there was a push at these schools for the feminist agenda, gay rights, women's "reproductive rights," etc., and these things were hardly ever questioned, or at least put out as normal aspects of American culture. Not so for the undergraduates, most of whom have just come out of private, Catholic education and the homes of their parents who often attended ND themselves.

 
At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is inaccurate to characterize liberal NDLS students as thinking that abortion is a liberating experience for women. I have mostly liberal friends and have never met someone who thinks that.

I find it hard to believe that anyone had not heard the Catholic position before coming to NDLS. Abortion has been a major political issue in recent years, and the pope is a public figure. I think you're probably right that some NDLS students may not accept the Catholic position on abortion, but probably not for lack of hearing about it. Also, I disagree with your implication that all these secular undergraduate institutions have somehow pushed a pro-abortion agenda onto students. Personally, I encountered pro-life, pro-choice and ambivalent people as an undergrad; I would imagine many other people do.

Finally, from my experience, the NDLS students who are pro-choice that I know do want abortion to be rare. Just because they aren't fighting for abortion to become illegal, it doesn't follow that they think abortion should be a common occurrence or is a good thing.

 
At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Becky said...

I didn't say "Catholic position on abortion," but rather, "Catholic position on things." I think that people coming from secular institutions don't really understand the concept of academic freedom, for instance, at a Catholic university, nor what the Catholic position is on homosexuality exactly, nor why a Catholic school would have same sex dorms, or why the school refuses to recognize student groups that run contrary to its mission. These are the kinds of things that I see law students from secular undergrads getting very confused about. There seems to be a desensitization that occurs at secular universities that causes students new to ND to wonder why the administrator would make such a big deal about not sponsoring the Monologues, for instance. I have seen and heard this many times. In any case, it's just my observation, and I can understand that you might have encountered something different.

All I'm saying is that the law students who come from secular universities who are liberal tend to be more liberal than the most liberal undergrads at ND. This has been my experience.

About the abortion thing, I know that there are many law students who think that abortion is a bad thing but don't necessarily think it should be illegal. I have spoken with many of these people, and I believe Brendan is one of them. But there are others (and I have spoken to these as well) that think abortion is GOOD. They are a minority, but they exist.

 
At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All I'm saying is that the law students who come from secular universities who are liberal tend to be more liberal than the most liberal undergrads at ND. This has been my experience."

Your experience, then, is rather limited -- indeed, *my* experience at ND (four years in the dorms) counsels that you'll find any number of very outspokenly conservative undergrads at ND who would never say it outright but who think abortion is a fine thing and have benefited from its availability.

 
At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Becky said...

Ah yes. It appears my experience has been limited. I only know what I hear from both law students and undergrads. Obviously if these women who have "benefited" from abortion are "outspokenly conservative" I would have little chance to discover that really they think abortion is a good thing. My apologies for the generalization.

My final position on this rather trivial topic is this: the percentage of far left-leaning students at the law school is bigger than that of the undergrad population.

 
At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"you'll find any number of very outspokenly conservative undergrads at ND who would never say it outright but who think abortion is a fine thing and have benefited from its availability."

Benefited from its avaiability?! Show me someone who as "benefited" from an abortion and I'll show you a baby that has been ripped apart from limb to limb. I'm going to be sick. God have mercy on us all!

 
At 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, I was being sarcastic. That's not to say, though, that I don't need both hands to count the number of young Republicans I knew at ND who drove their girlfriends to the clinic and within weeks were protesting outside the Vagina Monologues or nodding along to the Irish Rover.

My experience? While there might be more "far-left" students at the law school the law school on the whole is *far* more conservative than the rest of campus.

I don't know what it has to do with any damn thing, but good thing there's always the punt of I'm-done-wasting-my-time-on-this-trivial-matter.

 
At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Becky said...

I assume that by saying the law school is more conservative, you are referring to the faculty. I would very much agree. The law school is the most Catholic and most conservative part of Notre Dame. There are some liberal professors, but everyone at least is trying to be Catholic. I can't say that much about the undergrad faculty.

I didn't mean for the "trivial matter" thing to be a punt. I still enjoy talking about "trivial matters." :)

 

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