...By “The Fighting Irish,” And Other “Cafeteria Catholics” In Wayward Catholic Academia
Contributor Doug writes: “What’s going on at Notre Dame?” is my first reaction, but perhaps the bigger questions are “What is going on with the Congregation of Holy Cross?” and “What is going on with our Church?”
I won’t mince words here, Father John J. Jenkins, C.S.C, is an utter disgrace to his vocation and Holy Mother Church. He should be removed from his post as President of Notre Dame University, and his duties and privileges as a functioning priest should be suspended at the very least.
Father Jenkins has tolerated and even justified a “Queer Film Festival” at Notre Dame University, and only restricted the continued showing of the play, “The Vagina Monologues” on campus. Now he has pushed the envelope even farther, not just by inviting radically anti-life President, Barack Obama to speak at the university’s upcoming commencement ceremonies, but also for considering conferring an honorary degree on Obama. Kudos to South Bend, Indiana Diocese Bishop John D’Arcy for refusing to attend the event, but that still isn’t enough. Jenkins needs to go, and his rebuking should be as public as the scandals he has created and allowed. (See # 1868 of the Catholic Catechism regarding the various ways, both passive as well as intentional, that evil and sin are committed.) It is incidents such as this that give me serious pause and cause to reflect upon our Lady’s words to the children of Garabandal, Spain on June 18, 1965, when she appeared to them and warned that many priests and bishops in the coming days would go to perdition and take many souls with them. (Note the date’s proximity to Vatican II!)
Furthermore, the Congregation of Holy Cross needs to clean up its act in general. While I believe that within its ranks are many priests and brothers who are devout and faithful, the garden is still full of many weeds as demonstrated by the deplorable actions of Father Jenkins, and my own observations from attending a Catholic high school of the Holy Cross order in the 1970’s.
I recall apathetic, inept, and even volatile teachers, both lay and religious, and one English teacher in particular who sounded grammatically inarticulate, if not illiterate. I recall one lay religious teacher who was consistently filthy, unkempt, and was an unabashed and avowed atheist, and who often drifted from the subject matter or somehow often managed to incorporate it into his seemingly two favorite topics: sex and devil worship. Several of the male teachers seemed overtly effeminate. Two male lay teachers, one of whom supposedly left the order, cohabitated off campus. One very devout lay teacher whom I greatly respected and admired once commented to me in confidence that he and his wife stopped attending parties with his fellow teachers, ambiguously decrying the lewd and unchecked behavior that he struggled not to specify, other than to comment that when those parties go on, those wooden crosses the brothers wear around their necks soon disappear under their shirts. I would be remiss to not mention that I also had many fine teachers, both lay and religious at this high school as well, but after four years of observations, I would never send my child to any school associated with the Holy Cross order.
The Jesuits are not without their flaws, either. It was the late Jesuit Father and former Congressman Robert Drinan who not only radically championed abortion rights and later defied Pope John Paul II, but along with several other Jesuit priests first met with the Kennedy’s in their Hyannisport, MA compound on Cape Cod in July of 1964 to help ease legalized, less restrictive abortion into our culture. At Boston College, the Jesuits have again recently caused controversy, as some teachers have expressed umbrage that crucifixes and other articles of Catholic religious art are now appearing in the apparently otherwise previously secularized classrooms. The articles are being brought in by students, not by the faculty. Before cheering for the Jesuits for allowing these religious artifacts into the classrooms, one should first ask ranking members of the order why these objects were banned, or at least not present from this Catholic institution in the first place. It is of little wonder, and not without chagrin, that we now need the Cardinal Newman Society, formed in 1993 as an educational guide to prospective students and their parents, and as a means of reform to our nation’s 224 Catholic colleges and universities, a great many of which simply don’t make the grade, religiously speaking.
While I cite the orders of the Holy Cross and the Jesuits specifically, the problem is widespread in our Church, but the tide is now slowly beginning to turn toward notable reform. The damage was entrenched long before, beginning in our liberalized seminaries back in the 60’s and 70’s, overrun by radical dissenters and homosexuals, many of these seminaries have been dubbed “pink palaces” by some. Michael S. Rose wrote of the sex scandals in “Goodbye, Good Men” just shortly before they became widely known. He also penned another book called, “Ugly As Sin,” which exposed how radicals and dissenters adversarial to Holy Mother Church used outlandish architecture in the same period to subtly desecrate our churches, further alienate the congregations and remove much of the spirituality and symbolism. That is why many of our churches of today, built in the 60’s and 70’s more resemble barns, space ships and gigantic hockey pucks, and all other secular objects conceivable but churches.
Forget about asking whether the chicken or the egg came first. It doesn’t matter. The fuse of this crisis is lit from both ends and rapidly burning toward the middle. We, the laity are equally to blame. Much of the 25% of Catholics who regularly attend mass every Sunday shouldn’t pat themselves on the back any time soon. Many do nothing beyond that. Those who do attend are in many cases, inattentive, if not irreverent while there, in many cases, through sheer ignorance of their own faith. The slobs who dress like they just left a company softball game (or worse yet, the beach), and who approach and accept the Eucharist like it’s just a morsel at a station in a buffet line, and who arrive late, leave early, and don’t shut up for most of the mass in between are hardly yet ready for sainthood, either. Given the ignorant, if not apathetic, or even rebellious attitude of many so-called practicing Catholics on such moral and core traditional tenets regarding abortion, contraception, divorce, cohabitation, pre-marital sex, the presence of our Lord in the Eucharist, the virginity of Mary, the forgiveness of sins and by and the crucial necessity of the Sacrament of Confession, etc, it isn’t hard to fathom how our nation’s most radical proponent of abortion was elected President by more than 50% of so-called “Catholics” alone. If American Catholics obsessed even 10% as much on our faith, our government, and current events as we do with sports, we would be far better off.
When I see the uproar recently displayed by outraged Catholics at the thankfully now defunct state bill, S.B. 1098, which would have insidiously denied control of pastoral councils to pastors and given more intrusive power to over-reaching government, I am elated, but we need to be as diligent in the small skirmishes much earlier on to curtail them from becoming larger battles in the future that we might lose, and with them, possibly our salvation as well. Edmund Burke profoundly warned that all that is necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. We are all in this together, clergy and laity, both. This is our Church, and her future isn’t rocket science; we can either keep her or lose her. Nobody can ever take our Church and our traditions from us without our consent. The problem is, however, we are gradually losing our Church, our traditions and our very souls by our consent, in other words, by our gradually increasing inaction. In the Gospels, Jesus gave us our marching orders to be the salt and the light of this world while not being of this world. We are currently disobeying those orders and marching straight into Hell. Lest we not heed our Lord, we should at least embrace the repeatedly expressed bold and sage attitude of His faithful servant, EWTN’s Father John Corapi when he proclaims, “I’m not going to Hell for anybody!”
(To leave a message for Father Jenkins at Notre Dame University: email: President@nd.edu, or call: (574) 631-5000, or (574) 631-3903.)