Three fundamental concerns are driving the formation of the new citizens organization:
I. The negative impact of special rights initiatives on all businesses and property owners, with a particularly negative impact on faith- based and faith-inspired businesses and property owners.
II. The negative impact of special rights initiatives on every citizen's constitutionally protected rights to freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.
III. The negative impact of the practice of homosexuality on the individuals who practice it and on the rest of the society.
The main multifaceted emphasis of the group is to defend Traditional Marriage as 'between one man and one woman', to respond to the controversy at the University of Notre Dame regarding homosexual activism at several levels, to respond to 'special rights for homosexuals' ordinances as they come forward in the Region and to facilitate help and ministry for those suffering from the ill effects of the homosexual lifestyle.
The Wall Street Journal
A President's Retreat "The Vagina Monologues" continue at Notre Dame.BY DAVID SOLOMON
Friday, April 14, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
At Notre Dame, the Lenten liturgical calendar is still observed. On Ash Wednesday, many foreheads are gray with ashes, no meat is served on Fridays in the dining halls and now, during Holy Week, hundreds of students drag an enormous cross around campus while observing the Stations of the Cross. Yet Notre Dame's Lenten season has taken on a different character during the past several years, since "The Vagina Monologues" and the Queer Film Festival have been added to the extracurricular calendar. Not surprisingly, many find these performances inappropriate at Notre Dame, given their explicit attacks on central Catholic teachings.
The previous president of Notre Dame, the Rev. Edward "Monk" Malloy, refused to interfere in these events. But Notre Dame's new president, the Rev. John Jenkins, expressed uneasiness with them after he took office last year. He did not ban them outright, though, saying that he would render his final decision after sufficient discussion had taken place. He convened campuswide meetings for that purpose. Most campus observers assumed that, given his stated concerns, Father Jenkins would place some restrictions on the play and the film festival. Both Providence College and the Catholic University of America had earlier this year banned "The Vagina Monologues." Father Jenkins's superior in the Holy Cross religious order, to which he belongs, had banned performances of the play at the University of Portland. Bishop John D'Arcy, much respected in the South Bend, Ind., community and much loved by Notre Dame students, had also spoken out against both the play and the festival. Thus there was a great deal of surprise when, in the days before Holy Week, Father Jenkins announced: "I see no reason to prohibit performances of 'The Vagina Monologues' on campus, and do not intend to do so." As for the film festival, that too will be allowed to continue. Those faculty members who, the week before, had been plotting Father Jenkins's removal from office for even discussing possible restrictions now congratulated him, and his former student critics praised him as a champion of personal freedom. Although Father Jenkins called his announcement the "Closing Statement," the debate is unlikely to go away. More is at stake than the fairly standard, indeed humdrum, questions about "censorship" and "free speech" on campus. To some of us--and I speak as a Notre Dame professor--Father Jenkins's decision is one more step in a long process of secularization: It has already radically changed the major Protestant universities in this country; it is now proceeding apace at the Catholic ones. At Notre Dame, this secularization is most evident in the composition of the faculty. While roughly 85% of Notre Dame students are Catholic, the percentage of Catholic faculty has dropped precipitously in the past few decades, reaching its current number of barely 50%, and there is no sign that this trend will be reversed. More important, the debate initiated by Father Jenkins exposed a great deal of hostility among faculty members toward traditional Catholic teachings as well as a confusion about the nature of Catholic higher education itself. The Rev. Bill Miscamble, a distinguished historian and former rector of the campus seminary, expressed the disappointment that many of us feel at Father Jenkins's decision. He suggested that it had "brought most joy to those who care least about Notre Dame's Catholic mission." He criticized Father Jenkins in an open letter to him: "You were called to be courageous and you settled for being popular." Such commotion comes 15 years after the promulgation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II's encyclical aimed at ensuring the orthodoxy of Catholic theology departments. It is not evident that the encyclical has been properly followed. Very few administrators at Catholic colleges and universities are willing publicly to discuss their conformity with its requirements.
Father Jenkins's retreat on "The Vagina Monologues" and the Queer Film Festival raises questions about whether Notre Dame has the will to retain its Catholic distinctiveness in the face of a hostile culture and whether it can do so with a faculty that seems largely out of sympathy with Catholic tradition. It is a good time to contemplate such questions, the holiest week of the calendar, when Christians celebrate ultimate victory emerging from apparent defeat. Mr. Solomon is the director of Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Culture and a member of the department of philosophy.
Jenkins' closing statement a serious misstepBy: Prof. Emeritus Rice
Issue date: 4/25/06 Section: Viewpoint
University President Father John Jenkins, in his April 5 closing statement, delivered the name of Notre Dame to validate "The Vagina Monologues" movement, including the book of that name, and the Queer Film Festival, with the movement of which it is a part. He distorted the meaning of a Catholic university. And he did it all with persistent incoherence.
Jenkins ignored the substantive defects of the Queer Film Festival and gave it a license as long as it goes by its new name. That is like dealing with a soiled diaper by changing the pins. That validation of the Queer Film Festival may be more significant, but "The Vagina Monologues" was the focus of his statement.
Jenkins fell for the lie that the "Monologues" oppose violence against women. "The Vagina Monologues" promotes that violence. First, the proceeds go to the YWCA, which informs pregnant women about abortion, in which about half of those murdered are women. Second, the "Monologues" encourage such violence by objectifying women. The human person, as Pope John Paul II put it, is a "unified totality" of body and soul. "The Vagina Monologues" fragments that unity by personifying a body part and equating the woman to that part.
The "Monologues" present the vagina as an entity with which the woman should establish a "conscious relationship." It includes such gems as, "If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?" and "If your vagina could talk, what would it say, in two words?" The "Monologues" recount the lesbian seduction of a 16-year-old by a 24-year-old, which the victim describes as "my ... salvation." Another monologue consists of the repetition of a four-letter expletive describing a body part. Other monologists recount conversations with their vaginas or vulvae. Others describe lesbian sexual acts. One monologue recounts a group masturbation, with the aid of hand mirrors, in a workshop run by "a woman who believes in vaginas." The decisive moment came when a participant thought, "I didn't have to find it. I had to be it. Be it. Be my clitoris. My vagina, my vagina, me." This moronic equation of a woman with her body part facilitates the violence the "Monologues" claim to oppose.
Jenkins would "suppress speech" only if it were "overt and insistent in its contempt for the values and sensibilities of this University, or of any of the diverse groups that form part of our community." Those, including Bishop John M. D'Arcy, who rightly see "The Vagina Monologues" as a "contempt for [their] values and sensibilities," do not count, in the Jenkins world, as one of those "diverse groups." Bishops, incidentally, "should be seen not as external agents but as participants in the life of the Catholic university" (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Application, III).
Jenkins' Jan. 23 address said, of an anti-Semitic play, "I do not believe that such a performance could be permitted at Notre Dame." He got that right: "Its anti-Semitic elements are clearly and outrageously opposed to the values of a Catholic university." But what about "The Vagina Monologues" and the Queer Film Festival? The Jenkins Statement says that "[The Monologues'] portrayals of sexuality [are] in opposition to Catholic teaching." So they should be banned, right? Guess again:
"It is essential," said Jenkins, "that we hear a full range of views. ...but ... we must ... bring these ... views into dialogue with the Catholic ... tradition. This demands balance ... and the inclusion of the Catholic perspective ... [T]his year's ["Monologues"] was brought into dialogue ... through panels which ... taught me ... that the creative contextualization of a play like ["The Vagina Monologues"] can bring certain perspectives on important issues into a constructive and fruitful dialogue with the Catholic tradition." Translating the jargon, his bottom line is, "I see no reason to prohibit ["The Vagina Monologues"]."
So Jenkins, correctly, would bar the anti-Semitic play, even with a panel. Such a play is a lie. But so are the "Monologues" and the Queer Film Festival. Jenkins would allow "The Vagina Monologues" if it is followed by a panel including the Catholic "perspective" as a debatable alternative. The Catholic university "guarantees academic freedom ... within the confines of the truth and the common good" (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, no. 12). That truth, a unity of faith and reason, includes the ennobling Catholic teaching on women and sexuality. It is objective and normative, not one of the "perspectives" that might be nonjudgmentally included in a panel at Michigan State.
Why do the "Monologues" and the Queer Film Festival get an easy pass at Notre Dame? In our politically correct culture, it is open season on Catholic sexual morality. That teaching can be advanced only as one "perspective" without any serious claim to objective validity. Jenkins, playing that game, confirms that political correctness is the operative official religion of Notre Dame. His statement patronized faculty and students with a self-centered concept of freedom, divorced from any duty to objective truth. That concept corresponds to the "relativism" which, in Pope Benedict XVI's words, "recognizes nothing as absolute and ... leaves the I and its whims as the ultimate measure."
Incidentally, Jenkins' encouragement of "Loyal Daughters," a proposed play of uncertain content, his creation of a diverse and predictably useless committee to discuss things and his announcement of porous guidelines for events, all amount to a fig leaf to cover an accommodation to the relativist, homosexual culture.
President Brian J. Shanley, O.P., got it right in banning "The Vagina Monologues" at Providence College. "A Catholic college" said Shanley, "cannot sanction the performance of works of art that are inimical to the teaching of the Church in an area as important as female sexuality and the dignity of women." Jenkins should have borrowed the Shanley statement.
The Closing Statement is well named. It closes the effective phase of the Jenkins presidency. It involves no animosity or disrespect toward Jenkins to conclude, with regret, that he should resign or be removed.
Prof. Emeritus Rice is on the Law School faculty. His column appears every other Thursday.
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