I’m not an alum, just a fan of the great Notre Dame University, and thus am very disappointed that the school’s president has cleared the way for the Vagina Monologues to be performed on campus.
The play is everywhere. Anyone who wants to see it can. But a Catholic university that seeks to uphold Catholic moral teaching undermines that mission by providing a platform for a play that stands for anything but traditional Catholic moral teaching.
On a day when there is awful news about the toll of modern sexual mores on the health of young women, this announcement by Father Jenkins seems almost designed to announce surrender or worse, collapse. I wonder what the nuns of America think about this –at least those of the generations that taught me. Sister Noreen, Sister Mary Jean, and many thousands of others dedicated their entire lives to the idea that Catholic moral education mattered enough to devote their entire careers to it. Now the lighthouse institution of Catholic education in America throws in with the wreckers. Simply unbelievable.
UPDATE: Many ND alum have written to tell me that this is old news, and that the VM was performed on campus in years past, always attended by controversy. That is true, but the idea that “once performed-always performed” is the heart of the problem, the way the assault on traditional moral teaching wins final victories, by proclaiming as “resolved” every recurring controversy by reference to the terrible decision of years past.
Just because the wall was breached in the past doesn’t mean it isn’t Father Jenkins’ and the faculty’s responsibility to repair it today. Each new Freshman class arrives on a campus and begins to assemble an understanding of what the university stands for, and because of this year’s decision, this freshman class sees the spectacle unfold and sees the Administration collapse –a sort of Groundhog’s Day of moral surrender. It is crucial to remember that it is possible to repair the wall and to say that past decisions were wrong and that the play and those like it will have to find venues other than ND.