Caving into the Monologues

Caving into the Monologues

Just a few months ago, it seemed that Notre Dame’s new president was on the verge of recognizing that the production of a play that promotes extreme sexual immorality has no place on a Catholic campus. At the time, his language seemed exceptionally strong. Looks like he’s had a change of heart.

Now Fr. Jenkins is saying that there can be a place for it at Notre Dame. The Cardinal Newman Society contrasts Jenkins earlier statements with his latest which gives permission for the play. As they ask, what went wrong?

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  • Meanwhile he finds the Oberammergau Passion Play unfit for Notre Dame consumption.

    From the South Bend Tribune:

    Whatever their motives for performing this play, however, I do not believe that such a per-formance could be permitted at Notre Dame. Its anti-Semitic elements are clearly and egregiously opposed to the values of a Catholic university. Even if those wishing to stage the performance had pure intentions, the staging of the play at Notre Dame would appear to endorse or at least acquiesce in a tolerance of an anti-Semitism whose consequences are only too clear to us.

    Apparently in the name of academic freedom Jenkins sees nothing wrong with offending Catholics, but in the name of that same academic freedom he is not about to risk political incorrectness.  Priorities, priorities, priorities…

  • Guess all the non-Catholic and GLBT alumni donations are the big worry here.

    Remember, it is always the money.

  • What likely happened was one affluent alumni donor with a history of tossing big coin “convinced” the good Father (a la Tony Soprano) that the V-Monologues was consistent with the great intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education.

    Just goes to show that a man with a briefcase can do more harm than a man with a gun. I think Don Henley said that once and it rings true today.

    Just when I thought that ND was reclaiming its Catholic identity.

  • Fr.Jenkins arguments for his about face are laughable.  The sad fact is that the Catholic Faith is not the bottom line for Fr. Jenkins.  His religion and orthodoxy is the ideology of political correctness.  A shame. Rome should intervene and do what the American bishops refuse to do.

  • The only rebuke I read about from the bishop, Bishop D’Arcy was that he was saddened.  That’s not much of a rebuke if that’s all he said.  We need strong action.

  • Joe: I disapprove of all obscenities. Although if you want me to remove it you should just email me. Now if I remove it, I have to remove your comment as well.

    In any case, this seems to be a relatively minor obscenity. I’d rather people not use such language. Stronger language gets deleted.

  • Bishop D’Arcy did weigh in strongly against the V-Monologues.  I mistakenly relied on a NY Times account of his reaction which only mentioned his sadness. Fr. Jenkins’ stance and action is a disgrace. It’s okay with him for allegedly Catholic girls to chant the obsence word for female pudenda and speak about is foul smell etc. but it’s absolutely against Fr. Jenkins’ assessment of Catholicity to permit the Oberammergau Play to be peformed at ND should the occasion arise.  Talk about alternative universes.  Rome needs to intervene to stop allegedly Catholic universities a) from sponsoring pornography; b)the reification of women, reducing them to genitalia; and c)in the light of the scandals a play which approvingly portrays the homosexual seduction of an adolescent.  Where is the Congregation for Catholic Education?  Where is SCDF?  It’s time to have this fight and frankly kick some posteriors.  Charity and truth demand it.

  • What happened?  Apparently, Fr. Jenkins has become morally depraved in the past ten weeks. 

    I say that because by his own words (“graphic descriptions of…”) he indicted the play as objectively evil, and again by his own words (“suggest that the university endorses”) declared himself the de facto producer, if it be allowed to continue.  Now he is willingly the de facto producer of sexually immoral content: a pornographer. 

    What could have caused such a change?  Again in Fr. Jenkins’s own words:

    In the ten weeks since my faculty address, I have seen The Vagina Monologues performed by our students, and I have discussed the play with its performers and supporters.

    He dialogues with the young Notre Dame co-eds who speak the sex talk lines, and their sexual activist sugar mommies, and he literally lowers his moral standards in response. 

    The staging of The Vagina Monologues at Notre Dame has led a staunch defensor fidei to become a depraved pornographer in ten short weeks. 

    If that isn’t proof positive of the need to ban this filth and its ilk from Catholic campuses everywhere, what will it take?

    If it has this effect on the professors, priests and presidents, what will it do to the poor young people?

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan,

    As usual, I agree with you completely, and you said it better than I could.  Darn!


    Write a letter or email of thanks to Bishop D’Arcy.

    Whether you think it is strong enough, he did speak out.  Any Bishop that does that right thing, even slightly, has to be supported.

    I sent my email to his secretaries:

    Bishop’s Office:
    Maureen Schott, secretary – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Josephine Koch, secretary – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  • Father Jenkins’ attempt to “walk the line” reminds me of St. John’s admonition to the Church in Laodicea in the Book of Revelation: “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot.  So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

    Bishop D’Arcy is in a position to declare that Notre Dame is not a Catholic institution.  I think it’s high time.

  • What is going on as well is a strong and serious change in course regarding values and identity of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. ND not, I say, interested in being the bastion of Catholic Intellectual Tradition and thought.

    Instead, it is interested in being the Harvard (or insert other D-1 ivy league school here) of Indiana.

    It has chosen its side. To the regret of all.

    I suggest that the Bishop could remove the faculties to preach, absolve and celebrate Mass to the 80+ priests on campus. While he does not own or control the campus as it is a private entity, can not hire or fire the professors, he does have a big say in who can celebrate the sacraments under his domain as bishop.

    If the Bishop of South Bend suspended the faculties of Fr. Jenkins, THAT would send a message and you do not need to cross the big pond to get the Holy Father’s approval.

    Just close your eyes and ask yourself, “What would Bishop Bruskewitz do?”

  • The bishop could do plenty. He wouldn’t even need to impose a canonical punishment. It would be enough for him to make a statement: “Good Catholics. You’ve donated countless sums of money to Notre Dame in the hopes of fostering the Catholic faith. Unfortunately, it appears today that Notre Dame may no longer be a suitable candidate for your donations.”

    My point is that the bishop can talk canon law, but he can also talk cold hard cash. And unfortunately, it appears the latter speaks louder in South Bend.

  • I am in the faculty of a Catholic High School. I openly suggest my seniors not to apply to Notre Dame, Boston College, Georgetown and any other S.J. university. Only exceptio,with some reservations, is Holy Cross. Why do they call themselves “Catholic”?

  • “The Pope’s statements carry enormous weight; he has the world’s biggest bully pulpit.  He should use it, and forthrightly condemn what is going on at Notre Dame.”

    You keep talking about the Pope intervening in the Notre Dame problem. I know this is probably just high flown, hyperbolic rhetoric, but it aggravates me because it lacks a sense of global perspective that I see in so many comments by Catholics in the US.

    There are presently approximately 67 million Catholics in the US, representing 6 percent of the global Catholic population of 1.1 billion. There are 224 Catholic colleges and universities in the US alone formally recognized by the US bishops as Catholic. I couldn’t find a figure for how many Catholic colleges and universities there are in the world.

    To say that the Pope should personally intervene in a case like this lacks a sense of the Church’s ecclesial structure. This kind of matter is necessarily in the hands of the local bishop, in part, because it is simply impractical for one man to oversee all the details of everything everywhere. (This is why Moses’ wise father-in-law counceled him to appoint elders to oversee smaller matters: one man can’t do it all.)

    I don’t mean to minimize the importance of Notre Dame or of this particular incident. And I don’t mean to gloss over the problems we have with individual bishops who do not exercise their authority. But we do have a tendency—as probably most people do—to think that the concerns foremost in our consciousness should also be foremost for everyone else. And sometimes we lose a sense of perspective. And I think that for the sake of our own sanity we should strive to remember occasionally the size of the bigger picture.

  • (Some of your figures are off.)

    You missed Melanie’s point. The Pope can’t do the job. You’re asking for something that isn’t humanly possible. He can’t micromanage every diocese, every college, every parish, even through the bureaucracy of the Vatican. Not only is there just not enough bureaucracy to do it, but it’s not how the Church is set up.

    What the Pope can do is appoint new and better bishops where necessary and when they retire.

    It seems, however, that Bishop D’Arcy is on the case and if you think Pope Benedict would handle this any differently than D’Arcy is, you haven’t been paying attention.

  • As a practical matter the Pope cannot micromanage every diocese etc, but he can intervene since he is bishop of the Catholic Church as well as bishop of Rome.  This is an open continuing defiance of Church morals and teachings and the Pope could use this to send a message just as by discplining certain bishops he could send a message.  The continuing refusal to govern on the part of the Holy See has had disastrous consequences because governance is one of the obligations of Holy Orders.  For example like Ex Corde Ecclesiae the Holy See is allowing the document on Homescxuality and Candidates for the Priesthood to be nullified by bishops and others who are putting a spin on the document which neutralizes it.  The Jesuits of America Magazine have been quite bold in contradicting that document and Ex Corde.  We Need Strong Medicine.  Exhortations, diplomacy, etc. are not cutting it.  Heads need to roll metaphorically of course.

  • James: The Pope can’t just fire bishops. If it were that easy, don’t think he would have done it already?

    The fact is that bishops have the tools to do something about these problems, they just don’t use them.

    But recall Melanie’s point and the one you’re making. The problems in the Church are huge. Don’t expect the Pope to get into the nitty-gritty of what one particular school is doing. He’s got to deal with the big picture and the problems of a global Church of 1.1 billion people.

  • Yes, there is the big-picture but souls are being lost and that is the supreme law of the Church. The Faith is being ravaged by bad bishops. I have heard so often about romanita`; Rome thinks in centuries etc., but this is a new ballgame given instant and mass communication.  Cardinal Mahoney is open defiance of Redemptionis Sacramentum.  The only one who can do something about that is the Pope.  Recall that Pius XI took away the Red Hat from a French archbishop over the Acition Francaise affair. The Pope has to make some examples out of people.

  • I meant of course to say that the salvation of souls is the supreme law of the Church.

  • A couple of thoughts…

    **When the Pope wants to act, he gets attention.  Consider the previous editor of “America” Magazine.  A pope has even less authority over a magazine than he has over a Catholic college, yet he was able to get a change of editors.  One would think that a magazine is of less importance than a large American Catholic university.

    **The Pope has authority over the Jesuits.  These are Jesuits.

    **Using the same technique that worked with “America”, namely pressure and publicity, consider the result if the Pope issued a formal statement that Catholics should not financially support dissenting Catholic colleges and should not send their children to them under pain of sin.

    **A formal statement could be made by the Pope about Monologues being inappropriate for any Catholic college, and that parents who note that their children’s colleges are having productions of this play should seriously consider removing those children from that school.

    **The Catholic Church in America is in a meltdown.  If it is allowed to continue, will American Catholics continue to make large contributions to the Church in the rest of the world?  If that contribution dries up, will the Church in the rest of the world—especially the Third World—suffer?  I think the answer is yes, and I think that is a large enough problem to get the Pope’s attention.

    **We have suffered 40 years of Roman inability to act.  How many more can we endure and still survive?  Governance under the last pontificate was abysmal, and causes me to have grave doubts about the potential sainthood of John Paul II.

  • I didn’t say the Pope can’t remove a bishop from office. I’m saying that it’s not as simple as you make it out to be. There are laws in place, procedures that must be followed.

    Bishops are not simply branch managers of a worldwide corporation. They are sovereign in their own dioceses, subject to the Pontiff, yes, but retaining certain rights, responsibilities, and privileges.

    The Pope can ask a bishop to present his resignation. If the bishop refuses, then it’s a very complicated procedure.

    And say the Pope did remove half of the US bishops from office. What then? Who will take their places? Do you know of hundreds of priests who are ready, willing, and capable of being diocesan bishops? Holiness and orthodox alone are not enough. They must be good leaders as well.

    It’s all well and good to sound off in a comment box, but reality is a different beast.

  • But how about if he went to, maybe not Notre Dame, but Boston College let’s say and told Fr. Leahy to his face, in front of every TV camera in the world, “You are failing your Church and your students.  You are not Catholic and you are to stop calling yourself a Catholic institution at once.”?

    Because it is not the Pope’s job. It is Cardinal O’Malley’s job. How much authority do you think O’Malley would have after Benedict did that?

    I’m done going around in theoretical circles over this. What you’re asking is not realistic and not going to happen.

  • With respect to America magazine unfortunately the change in editors did not do the trick, the magazine is actually worse than before: it has thrown down the gauntlet on the document re Homosexuality and Candidates for the Priesthood claiming that homosexuality has nothing to do with the scandals and it recently presented a dishonest assessment of Ex Corde Ecclesiae according to which Fr. Jenkins is actually a promotor of Catholic identity at ND.  No stronger medicine is needed with ecclesiastical penalties imposed: suspensions, interdicts, excommunications, removals.

  • Dom, James, et al.

    The Roman Pontiff is the universal bishop.  He doesn’t have to fire bishops.  The Pope can take whatever action the bishop of South Bend should have, because the Pope is the bishop of South Bend, like he is bishop everywhere.  (Cans. 331, 333).

    Nonetheless, I think that what we are doing here, myself included, is complain.  And that’s fine, but we’re complaining to the wrong people.  When the feminazis take over a campus, we complain to the rector.  When the rector takes no action, we complain to the bishop.  When the bishop takes no action, we complain to the Pope.  When the Pope takes no action, Who do we complain to? 

    Why don’t we just start at the top next time?  Not only does He have a perfectly efficient curia, but we’ve also all got His private cell number and He’s our best friend and will always take the time to listen to us and will always respond to our requests.

  • I’m astounded at how completely my actual point was ignored.

    It must be nice, James, to live in such a simplistic world where with a few waves of your hand you can solve all the world’s problems. But in the real world things are much more complex. The pope has literally thousands of fires just as important if not more important than what is going on at Notre Dame and BC and my local parish and your local parish. There are only so many hours in the day, so many days in the week.

    JPII, as a very conscientious bishop, tried to visit one of his local parish churches a month and still didn’t make it to all of them throughout the course of his 26 year long pontificate. 

    I don’t know what the local problems of the Church in Nairobi and Manilla are, but I’m sure they are just as burning to people there as our problems our to us. And I’m sure people there wonder why the Pope can’t personally intervene in their problems too. And so it goes for every diocese in every country in the world. Grow up and get a sense of perspective.

  • Melanie, I can easily acknowledge your point; but where does that leave us?

    Our bishops, for the most part, are spineless when it comes to defending the faith; and malfeasant in some cases.  Can Roman Catholicism afford to sacrifice the American church?  Europe is already almost lost if the news media can be believed. 

    What you are saying amounts almost to a position of hopelessness.  I’d rather argue that the Pope needs to intervene than argue that there is nothing we can do, which is how I perceive your position.

  • I’ve made that same observation myself, Dom.  True, Arianism lasted longer.  But at the time, I believe that the majority of Catholics were not literate.  Communication was nowhere near as widespread as it is today, so the Catholic in the pew was probably not aware of the extent of the controversy.  Neither did a pew pilgrim have to deal with the subtleties of Canon Law, since there was none.

    There has been a great deal of trouble down through the history of the Church, but the Book of Revelation tells us that a time will come when the Great Apostasy will be worse than anything before it, and we are told to observe the signs of the times.  Observing the current signs makes me think about that rather a lot.

    I’ve been researching Discordians.  Their current chief apologist is Robert Anton Wilson, co-author with Robert Shea of the best known Discordian book called THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY.  Shea’s widow teaches at DePaul and writes books on Paganism.  She speaks at Starwood Festivals, a Pagan event.  There is a black mass in the book, said by a homosexual “Father Pederasti,” who cannot complete the sexual rite in the ritual and uses a stand-in.

    It appears the Discordians have roots in the Satanic French Hellfire Clubs through another famous Discordian, Timothy Leary.  One Discordian group claims to be affiliated with Catholic St. Mary’s University in Halifax—unofficially I would hope.

  • Whether or not the bishops act, or the pope has the time, information, or inclination to act, good Catholics must act.  Good Catholics need to form relationships, stand together, get vocal, get political, use whatever influence (including witholding money) that they have as a group, to communicate our reasoned opinion on moral issues; in the public square, in our parishes and to our church hierarchy. 

    We are too quiet, peaceful, humble, and inactive.  We are too afraid (myself included).  It’s not just the Bishops and the Pope.  Each of us is responsible.  We each have a duty to identify evil and help to minimize or eliminate it.  Take, for example, the action-oriented Christe Fideles group that has helped to bring light to Mumbles Menino in Boston being honored by Catholic Charities and his teaching falsehoods about our faith through the Boston Globe without correction by Cardinal O’Malley. 

    DO NOT send your children to ND, BC, or any other Catholic non-catholic institution.  DO NOT let the fake “Catholic” politicians remain in the “KNIGHTS” of Columbus when they contradict with every vote Catholic values.  DO NOT let EWTN withhold programming on Homosexuality because it might violate Canadian law.  STAND UP.  They are trying to take mom and dad out of the language in California school system. 

    It is time for good Catholics to take constant and relentless action to prevent evil.  We do not have time to complain.

  • All,

    “Yet I hold this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, who teaches and misleads my servants to play the harlot and to eat food sacrificed to idols.  I have given her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her harlotry.  So I will cast her on a sickbed and plunge those who commit adultery with her into intense suffering unless they repent of her works.  I will also put her children to death.  Thus shall all the churches come to know that I am the searcher of hearts and minds and that I will give each of you what your works deserve. 

    “But I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not uphold this teaching and know nothing of the so-called deep secrets of Satan: on you I will place no further burden, except that you must hold fast to what you have until I come.”  Rev. 3:20-25


    Christ is a sheep.


    Contemplating evil will eventually and certainly lead to the possession of one’s soul by Satan.  That’s one of the reasons Satan attacks us, to get us to think about him.

  • Catholics have been complaining for the last 40 years.  See what it got us?

    Catholics are complaining loudly on the web.  That is the best tool that has ever been available to the faithful.  See what it’s getting us?

    Faithful Catholics in the pew have no voice.

    Past heresies have been addressed by having a leader take charge.  Until a leader makes an appearance, nothing will change.  I had wished Benedict would be that leader.  It’s not looking like he will be.

    St. Irenaeus, pray for us!

  • James,

    Christ is the Good Shepherd, implying that He has a flock of sheep.  But He is also a sheep:

    “Like a sheep led to its shearers, He opened not His mouth.”

    “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world…”

    Please don’t ridicule sheep.  That is what Satan says about Christians.

  • Perhaps Benedict could bring that image of Soldiers of Christ to the forefront of believing Catholics through his audiences and his writings.  That might be a way to gather up an army, if he did it often enough.  He would have to be very specific in outlining where his soldiers were to do battle, of course.  Imagine what would happen if he called the laity to attack with letters of protest and other verbal expressions all of those college presidents who oppose the Catholic faith. Given sanction from the top, I think such a letter campaign would be more effective than anything we can do without him.

    What, though, would that do to Islam?  Polarize it?

    Depending upon Benedict to outfinesse the corruptors by himself sounds to me like the last battle station before the army collapses.

  • James,

    I’m not arguing with you about the Church, the Pope or Notre Dame. 

    I find your words against sheep heretical and iconoclastic, and if you persist in them obstinately it cannot be to your benefit. 

    Christ is most certainly a Lamb.  As soldiers of Christ, we are to fight with the Lamb who will conquer (Rev. 17:14). 

    The word “lamb” in the Old Testament applies both to young sheep and young goats.  We know that Christ is not a goat.  We don’t want to be goats.  So don’t deny that He is a sheep, and that we are called to be His sheep.

  • James,

    I just said a prayer for your fighter.  God Bless your whole family.