Originally Published: July 6, 2010
March 20, 2009 rocked my world. When my beloved Notre Dame announced it would honor the Commander-in-Chief of the Culture of Death, I was shocked and scandalized. I immediately knew my life-long idealistic image of this university was seriously lacking. I knew this type of inexcusable decision did not happen overnight. Since that moment, I've been doing research. What I found was shocking and painful, then depressing, before finally finding peace. Why peace? As painful as it was, discovering the truth is always better than blind ignorance. The truth sets us free.
A few people have asked for a summary of my findings, so here it is. At over 4,000 words, it might seem long. But it could have been 20,000. Sadly, this represents only the highlights; but I think it leaves little doubt that the transformation of the Golden Dome into the golden calf is complete.
1954 Hesburgh's First Clash with the Vatican
Two years after being elected President of the University of Notre Dame, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh showed his true colors. He hosted a symposium on the Catholic Church in world affairs. The main attraction was Jesuit John Courtney Murray, who did not believe Catholic theologians should be silenced because they happen to disagree with the teachings of the Church. "Religious convictions for everyone, Murray contended, were a matter of conscience and faith."1 The Vatican ordered Hesburgh to pull the plug on publishing the documents from the symposium. He refused.
1963-67 The Beginning of the End: ND Sells-Out to Rockefeller & Planned Parenthood
Hesburgh and Notre Dame hosted a series of annual meetings called the Conference on Population Problems. This was sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. These meetings on population policy were held in conjunction with - are you ready for this? - Planned Parenthood! Yes, that Planned Parenthood. John D. Rockefeller III sought a resolution to what he called "the Catholic Problem." For the Catholic Church represented the last remaining obstacle to universal acceptance of contraception. The birth control movement needed to undermine the Church's authority on the issue, and Hesburgh was their man. He was after much-needed financial support from the Foundation and obviously had no problem rebelling against the Church. Notre Dame got much more than thirty pieces of silver, and Hesburgh was appointed to the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees. Later he would become its Chairman, during a time in which the Foundation was heavily involved in the inherent evil fruit of the contraception root - abortion.
This infamous conference resulted in a Notre Dame Statement supporting artificial birth control - contrary to 19 centuries of infallible Church teaching, of course. The powerful Statement played no small role in greasing the wheels for an unprecedented rejection of Church teaching by Catholics when Pope Paul VI released his encyclical on contraception (Humanae Vitae ) one year later. It is estimated that as many as 70% of American Catholics have rejected this teaching, which has had devastating consequences. However, this number is dropping quickly thanks to the revolutionary teachings of Pope John Paul the Great on the meaning of human existence (Theology of the Body).
One hilarious side note: Fr. Hesburgh arranged a meeting between Rockefeller and Pope Paul VI in the summer of '65. During his unsuccessful attempt to sell the Pope on the value of his newly designed IUD, Rockefeller actually offered to write the Pope's new encyclical on contraception. Pope Paul politely declined. Shocker.
1967 More Selling-Out
In March of '67, the Congregation of Holy Cross sold the University to a lay Board of Trustees. Ultimate power was given to a group of 12 Fellows (6 of whom must be Holy Cross priests) charged with the task of protecting the "essential character of the University as a Catholic institution." A few months later, Hesburgh would proclaim a counterfeit notion of "Catholic character."
1967 The Official Break from the Church: The "Land O'Lakes Statement"
In July of '67, the President of the North American region of the International Federation of Catholic Universities, Fr. Hesburgh, took a group to a conference center owned by Notre Dame in Land O'Lakes, Wisconsin. The resulting Land O'Lakes Statement boldly declared:
"The Catholic university today must be a university in the full modern sense of the word, with a strong commitment to and concern for academic excellence. To perform its teaching and research functions effectively, the Catholic university must have true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself. To say this is simply to assert that institutional autonomy and academic freedom are essential conditions of life and growth, and indeed of survival, for Catholic universities as for all universities."
Translation: In order to survive (i.e., get millions of dollars in federal grants), the Catholic university must be free from the authority of the Vatican and its local Bishop. For its "Catholic" mission should not get in the way of secular glory (i.e., academic rankings on par with Harvard, Stanford, and Vanderbilt).
It is unclear whether Fr. Hesburgh nailed the Land O'Lakes Statement to the Cathedral door in Fort Wayne. Yes, that was a reference to Martin Luther. I know most Domers would consider it blasphemous to call Hesburgh "the Martin Luther of Catholic Higher Education," but I stand by the comparison.
As for complete autonomy from authority "of whatever kind," this is quite a fantasy. Try telling that to one of the dozens of government agencies to which ND is subject, or how about the NCAA! Let's be honest, this "autonomy" was directed at one institution only: the Catholic Church.
We have a word to describe a Christian organization separated from Rome: Protestant. At least most "protestants, however, have the consistency not to claim to be Catholic."2
1969 ND Honors Front-Line Enemy of the Church
One of the signers of the Notre Dame Statement on contraception was Thomas P. Carney. In 1967 Carney was appointed to the ND Board of Trustees. In '69 he was given on honorary degree, and two years later he was given the Sorin Award, the highest honor granted by the Alumni Association.3
Who is Thomas Carney? He was VP in charge of research and development for G.D. Searle. What is G.D. Searle? Now part of Pfizer, Searle was a leading producer of... birth control pills.
1970 Notre Dame Joins the Alinsky Cult
A little background is necessary to explain this one. Saul Alinsky is the godfather of post-modern Marxism/Communism (pick your poison). In the late 30s and 40s Alinsky built up a powerful network of revolutionaries armed with his tactics of confrontation and low-key infiltration. Suffice it to say that Alinsky was anti-Christian. He dedicated his second book,Rules for Radicals, "to Lucifer - the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom." However, he still openly admitted that his strategy would include marrying the Catholic Church with the Labor Movement, which he did so effectively based out of Chicago. In fact, the epicenter of Alinsky's so-called "community organizing" was the Office of Urban Affairs within the Archdiocese of Chicago. It was run by devout Alinsky disciple Msgr. Jack Egan, who was dubbed by the Chicago media as "Alinsky's Intern Priest." In 1965, Cardinal John Patrick Cody was appointed Archbishop of Chicago, and he quickly figured out that the Catholic Church was certainly no place for Alinsky's revolution. By 1969, he closed up shop on the Office of Urban Affairs and told Msgr. Jack to hit the road.
What does this have to do with Notre Dame? Well, Msgr. Egan wasn't finished. He received a phone call from none other than Fr. Ted Hesburgh. Notre Dame would provide a place for Egan to push the Alinsky anti-Catholic revolution! They called it a sabbatical. It lasted 14 years! He directed ND's Institute for Pastoral and Social Ministry, and he founded the CCHD. TheCatholic Campaign for Human Development claimed to represent a "crusade against poverty." It claimed to be in line with "Catholic Social Teaching." It pulled the wool over the eyes of well-intentioned Catholics for 40 years, raising a mind-boggling $280 million. Within the last year, the CCHD's chickens are finally coming home to roost. As the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus said, "The CCHD has nothing to do with Catholicism, except that Catholics are asked to pay for it."
The CCHD money trail has been revealed, and guess where it goes. To dozens of radical left-wing Alinsky spin-offs pushing the usual: contraception, abortion, and gay "marriage." For example, ACORN got $8M. Ever heard of them?
Cardinal Cody was eventually replaced by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. Sympathetic to the Alinsky cause, Bernardin invited Egan back to Chicago to head the Office of Human Relations & Ecumenism. Different name, same drill. Egan spent the last years of his life doing more of the same at DePaul University.
1973 ND Hosts Planned Parenthood (Again)
In June of '73, Notre Dame hosted a regional meeting of Planned Parenthood/World Population. One of the symposium's speakers was Dr. Alan F. Guttmacher, VP of the American Eugenics Society and President of Planned Parenthood.3
Not much else to say about this one.
1976 Land O'Lakes Gains Power
Notre Dame's landmark Land O'Lakes Statement, which separates Catholic schools from the Catholic Church, is adopted by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).
1977 ND Scientist Experiments on Aborted Babies3
In September of '77, Dr. Subash Chandra Basu submitted an experiment proposal involving Tay Sachs disease. Sounds innocent enough until you learn that at least four human beings had to die for the experiment to take place. Cell cultures were to be taken from babies aborted at 20 weeks gestation. ND's Committee on the Protection of Human Subjects naturally expressed hesitation; however, most of their concerns involved funding rather than morals. The committee studied Indiana state law and NIH guidelines, but not the teachings of the Catholic Church. They approved the experiment by November.
Dissenting committee member John Connaughton then went above the group and asked for Fr. Hesburgh's intervention. Lacking the moral compass of Connaughton, Hesburgh deferred to theology professor Fr. Edward Malloy (who would later replace Hesburgh as ND's president). Malloy let the experiments on aborted babies continue!
Given their stature as a "Catholic" institution, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare looked to ND for some moral standards on this sensitive unchartered territory. Sadly, ND failed miserably and led the scientific community further down a path of dehumanizing the unborn. The secretive experiments appeared to continue for the next decade.3 I can't find my source, but I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that after becoming President, Malloy was praised for putting an end to these heinous experiments. Never mind the fact that he approved them in the first place.
1981 Professor McBrien's Distorted Catholicism
A timeline of ND's fall from the Church would not be complete without mentioning their most famous theologian, Fr. Richard McBrien. Where to even start? McBrien has met very few Catholic doctrines he likes. His latest shock wave bordered on denying the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He was a paid consultant for The Da Vinci Code movie, and the New York Times evidently has him on speed dial for whenever they want a so-called "credible" voice to oppose the Church.
McBrien's popular treatise Catholicism was censured twice by the U.S. Bishops. After two "toned-down" revisions, the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices still ruled the book "erroneous." It has not received an imprimatur ("let it be printed") authorization from the Church. Yet Notre Dame still considers him worthy to be the anchor of its Theology Department. In fact, Fr. Hesburgh said that he "read every word of Catholicism, and I can say without hesitation that it is a thoroughly balanced and orthodox synthesis of the Catholic tradition."3 Big surprise.
1983 Revised Code of Canon Law Addresses Rebellious Catholic Institutions
Hesburgh lost a nine-year battle with the Vatican. The new Code of Canon Law was ratified with the inclusion of certain laws to which Hesburgh objected based on a so-called violation of "academic freedom." These "offensive" canons included apparently shocking mandates such as "bishops concerned have the duty and right of being watchful so that the principles of Catholic doctrine are observed faithfully" (Canon 810). In other words, Catholic schools should actually teach Catholicism! Apparently too much to ask for Notre Dame.
1984 A New "Catholic" Politician is Born: "Personally Opposed to Abortion, but..."
The Catholic Church's politically pro-life position had just become crystal clear. Vice-Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro attempted to reconcile her pro-abortion position with her Catholic faith. Cardinal John O'Connor of New York emphatically corrected her in public fashion. The country knew that claiming to be both Catholic and pro-"choice" at the same time was simply not an option. Until Notre Dame stepped in, that is.
In September of '84, "Catholic" New York Governor Mario Cuomo was brought to Notre Dame to give a landmark speech undermining the Church's pro-life witness in politics. The nonsensical "personally opposed, but don't want to impose" Catholic cop-out was born... from right under Our Lady on the Dome. Just as Notre Dame had presented a supposedly authoritative voice opposite the Bishop of Rome 17 years earlier, now they attempted to explain why the Archbishop of New York was wrong too. The license for politicians supporting the murder of innocent children to call themselves "Catholic" was rubber-stamped by the "leading Catholic university in America." Twenty-six years later, 94% of so-called "Catholic" Congressmen have the alternative Church Magisterium known as the University of Notre Dame to thank for their careers.
To show their true commitment to balanced "academic freedom," Notre Dame invited another Catholic politician to counter Cuomo's address. While Cuomo's nationally-publicized address was held in the large venue of Washington Hall, Congressman Henry Hyde's authentically Catholic perspective was delivered 11 days later in the basement student lounge of the Notre Dame Law School with no public fanfare.2 I wonder why.
1985-1988 More Curious CCHD Funding
With ND's Msgr. Egan back in Chicago under the watch of Cardinal Bernardin, his CCHD funds another Alinsky-style group called Developing Communities Project. It is run by a young "community organizing" upstart armed with the complete Alinsky playbook and full of promise for radicals. His name is Barack Obama.
1986-1987 A Safehaven for Catholic Rejects
After his involvement with the so-called Catholics for Free Choice group, disgraced former priest Daniel Maguire's career as a Catholic Theologian needed a resurrection. Notre Dame provided it by inviting him to a campus debate about the Catholic position on abortion. Apparently someone forgot to tell Fr. Hesburgh and his heretic Theology Department Chair, Fr. Richard McBrien, that this issue was not actually up for debate. Also, after suspended Jesuit priest Wayne Fehr married a divorced Episcopalian priestess, he was fired by Marquette... and promptly hired by Notre Dame. Finally, Fr. Charles Curran of Catholic University of America was stripped of his canonical mandate to teach theology and declared by the Vatican neither "suitable nor eligible to exercise the function of a professor of Catholic theology." Notre Dame hired him anyway. Hesburgh's excuse was that he was hired before the ban was issued and "we believe in honoring contracts." So apparently, if "Hesburgh had hired someone to drive a busload of students to Indianapolis and in the interim that person had lost his license because of drunk driving,"3 ...you get the picture.
Later, in his book Hesburgh told us how he really felt about the Curran situation: "The president of the university... could have said, 'We agree that what Father Curran is teaching is in apparent conflict with Catholic doctrine, but even though we disagree with him, we feel that the right of a respected, bona fide theologian to teach according to his own convictions and the right of the university to permit him to do so are more important than strict fidelity to the prevailing orthodoxy.'"1
So a professor of Catholic theology can invent his own version of Catholicism. Got it.
1989 ND Sponsors Public Showing of Blasphemous Film
The University decided that "academic freedom" trumped the Second Commandment's law against blasphemy. The Department of Communication and Theatre advertised and sponsored four public showings of The Last Temptations of Christ at the campus Snite Museum. The film is filled with gross lies about the Son of God (e.g., it depicts Jesus watching Mary Magdalene on the job). In addition, it smears all of Christ's followers, including Our Lady on the Dome.
1990 Pope John Paul II Issues Constitution for Catholic Higher Ed.
On the Solemnity of the Assumption, Pope John Paul addressed the secularization of Catholic higher education with his encyclical Ex Corde Ecclesiae. John Paul recognized that the Church does not have juridical control over most Catholic universities, nor does it want it. "A Catholic University possesses the autonomy necessary to develop its distinctive identity and pursue its proper mission" (Part II, Article 2, Section 5). However, he also corrected Notre Dame's false notion of "academic freedom" by writing, "...the institutional fidelity of the University to the Christian message includes a recognition of and adherence to the teaching authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals" (Num. 27).
Nine years later the U.S. Bishops would issue guidelines for implementing Ex Corde Ecclesiaeand the relevant canons within the 1983 code. The guidelines reaffirmed the mandatum from the Church required of "all Catholics who teach Catholic theological disciplines in a Catholic university" to ensure professors are teaching "within the full communion of the Catholic Church." Of course, Notre Dame shows zero interest in complying with the Church on these issues.
1992 More "Population Control"
By this time, the eugenics movement (i.e., kill the weak for the betterment of the rest of civilization) had long taken names like the UN Global Committee of Parliamentarians on Population and Development. An appeal was made for "science and religion to join hands in a new ecological alliance." In other words, we need some religious to give credibility to our new save the earth/kill the weak combo campaign. A match made in hell.
Among those signing the appeal were Cardinal Bernardin and Fr. Hesburgh.
1995 A Disservice to Students
Under the direction of Fr. Malloy, ND initiates the Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students. Does this group offer authentic support in line with Church teaching? Not quite.
2001-2008 Pornography Hits the Big Stage
One of ND's most well-publicized hypocrisies involved the performance of the obscene play The Vagina Monologues. Eve Ensler's X-rated filth is at the forefront of destructive Culture of Death propaganda. The play glorifies a plethora of sexual disorders, including rape. This is also the same time period when the Queer Film Festival brought more sanctioned pornography and perversion to campus. The resulting public clash with Ft. Wayne-South Bend Bishop John D'Arcy left no doubt where ND President Fr. Jenkins ranked "academic freedom" in relation to authentic Catholicism.
2004 U.S. Bishops Attempt to Rein In Renegade Catholic Institutions
The USCCB released the statement Catholics in Political Life , in which they outline the moral duty of Catholic institutions to uphold the sanctity of human life. Among the mandates was the following: "Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."
ND's track record in this area had not exactly been stellar: cafeteria-Catholic John F. Kennedy in '61, birth-control pill producer Thomas Carney in '69 and '71, staunchly pro-abortion Senator Patrick Moynihan in '92. Would the 2004 mandate have any impact on University policy?
Let's see... outspoken Church critic Mary McAleese, President of Ireland in '06, embryonic-destructive stem cell research advocate Mary Sue Coleman in '07, pro-"choice" Martin Sheen in '08, and of course, abortion-obsessed Barack Obama in '09. Guess not.
2006 Jenkins Stands Up for Catholicity!
In the midst of the Vagina Monologues controversy, some interesting remarks about Catholic character were made. "In his address to the Notre Dame community on January 23, 2006, Fr. Jenkins said, of an anti-Semitic play, 'I do not believe that such a performance could be permitted at Notre Dame." He said: 'It's anti-Semitic elements are clearly and outrageously opposed to the values of a Catholic university."2
Oh! So there are limits to "academic freedom?" I guess the glorification of the lesbian rape of a minor is not "outrageously opposed to the values of a Catholic university." It's painfully obvious that "academic freedom" has one main application at ND: license to distort sexual ethics.
2008 Notre Dame Faculty Lays it on the Line
On April 9, 2008, the Faculty Senate said the following: "The University should not compromise its academic aspirations in its efforts to maintain its Catholic identity." Well then. Tell us how you really feel!
Not surprising given the percentage of faculty members even claiming to be Catholic fell from 85% to 53% in the last few decades.
2008 Fr. Jenkins Selectively Listens to Pope Benedict
A few weeks later, Pope Benedict XVI addressed Catholic educators in Washington, D.C. In part, he said,
"In regard to faculty members at Catholic colleges and universities, I wish to reaffirm the value of academic freedom. In virtue of this freedom you are called to search for the truth wherever careful analysis of evidence leads you. Yet it is also the case that any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission; a mission at the heart of the Church's munus docendi [duty to teach] and not somehow autonomous or independent of it... Divergence from this vision weakens Catholic identity and, far from advancing freedom, inevitably leads to confusion, whether moral, intellectual or spiritual."2
After attending the address, Fr. Jenkins said, "It was a great affirmation of our central mission."
Apparently he fell asleep after the first two sentences.
2009 The Culmination: Honoring President Obortion
This one is well-documented, but perhaps after reading the above history you see this fiasco in a different light. Any attempt to paint the Obama honoring as a mistake from an otherwise devoutly Catholic institution shows serious ignorance. During his floundering attempt at defending the decision, Fr. Jenkins informed the Bishops what they really meant by their 2004 mandate against honoring enemies such as Obama. In the end, 83 Bishops (including theVatican's Chief Justice) publicly denounced Notre Dame, and the U.S. Bishops Conference signed a joint statement of support for Bishop D'Arcy's boycott of the event.
A deeper look at the history reveals a painful conclusion. This was not just ND selling its soul, exchanging truth for prestige. This was a victory lap for the Marxist Saul Alinsky machine that got Obama elected!
Connect the dots. Notre Dame jumps in bed with Planned Parenthood/Rockefeller which seriously weakens the Catholic Church. (Mario Cuomo joins later.) Alinsky infiltrates the Church in Chicago with his intern priest Jack Egan. Egan founds the CCHD and organizes Alinsky's machine from inside the Golden Dome. The CCHD funds dozens of socialist Alinsky spin-offs pushing contraception, murder, and sexual hedonism. Obama got his start leading one of these groups under the watch of Cardinal Bernardin. Out of the Alinsky machine is born the most pro-abortion politician in history to become President of the United States. Like his mentor, Obama surrounds himself with dozens of counterfeit Catholics. The powers that be come together at Notre Dame to celebrate the historic victory. Obama preaches to Notre Dame graduates about theology - theories he learned from an atheist (Alinsky). And who does he gush over throughout the speech? Cardinal Bernardin and Fr. Hesburgh. Now you know why.
2009-Pres. Pro-Lifers Arrested on Campus
I've already chronicled the sad plight of the "ND 88" here. The university's "truly vulgar lust" (as described by the late Professor McInerny) to be accepted by the secular world has never reared its ugly head more prominently than during this ongoing episode.
2009 New South Bend Bishop Needs Prayers
Newly appointed Ft. Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades said that he expects full compliance of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Pray for him.
2010 Church Teaching Censored from Student Newspaper
In March, the student newspaper The Observer refused to print a column by professor emeritus Dr. Charles Rice. Why? Rice defends the Catholic Church's teachings on homosexuality.
So much for academic freedom. Think ND's hypocrisy has led to "moral, intellectual, and spiritual confusion" among the students yet?
As Professor Alfred Freddoso points out in the introduction to Dr. Rice's book, those who followed this secularization every step of the way were in no way shocked or scandalized by the Obama Commencement. While it's easy to be fooled by the aura of Touchdown Jesus and the Grotto, Freddoso was among those well aware of the fact that Notre Dame had become "something like a public school in a Catholic neighborhood."2
So where do we go from here? We must come to terms with the two tyrants of our day causing both physical and spiritual destruction within the Church and our country as a whole: the "Culture of Death" (coined by JPII) and the "Dictatorship of Relativism" (coined by Benedict XVI). Satan is no dummy. He is spreading the lie that truth is relative, especially regarding human sexuality. There is plenty of blame to go around, but is it possible to deny that the University of Notre Dame has played a central role in fueling these webs of evil? Is it really possible, in good conscience, to "cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame?"
While 85% of so-called "Catholic" universities have been lost, there is good news. A couple dozen schools do indeed deserve to be called Catholic. Most of these schools boast a campus culture with a peer pressure geared toward holiness, with small pockets of rebellion. For Notre Dame, Georgetown, Boston College, etc... it's the other way around. When do we (ahem...) abort attempts to save these formerly Catholic institutions and focus our efforts on supporting "the new evangelization" (another JPII phrase)?
Professor Freddoso dreams of a future ND president "walking in sack cloth and ashes down the 'God quad'... reciting the most egregious sins of past university administrators, striking his breast and begging for forgiveness. Somehow that could be the beginning of the salvation of the place I love so much... A pretty picture, to be sure. But short of direct divine intervention, nothing resembling it will ever become a reality - especially now that Notre Dame... has been infused with the mentality of a frustratingly bureaucratic and soul-less corporation."2
I'll continue to pray for the coming of that breast-beating president, but until he does... I'm out. My children will go to CU-Boulder before attending Notre Dame. (And my students will be encouraged to do the same if an authentic Catholic school is not an option.) At a public school, at least they will face an honest opposition to the faith, rather than have it subtly attacked in disguise.
A wolf is much more dangerous in sheep's clothing.
1God, Country, Notre Dame by Rev. Theodore Hesburgh (see Chapter 13: "Academic Freedom")
2What Happened to Notre Dame? by Dr. Charles E. Rice
3Is Notre Dame Still Catholic? by E. Michael Jones