Catholics shocked by Notre Dame president’s turnaround on ‘Vagina Monologues’

.- Following his own strong words denouncing the play in January, many Catholics have responded with dismay to the decision of Notre Dame University president, Rev. John Jenkins to allow the controversial ‘Vagina Monologues’ to be performed at the school.

In a January 23rd address to university faculty, Fr. Jenkins said that the play contains “no hint of central elements of Catholic sexual morality,” but instead, “contains graphic descriptions of homosexual, extra-marital heterosexual, and auto-erotic experiences. There is even a depiction of the seduction of a sixteen year-old girl by an adult woman.”

He had stressed that the “portrayals stand apart from, and indeed in opposition to, the view that human sexuality finds its proper expression in the committed relationship of marriage between a man and a woman that is open to the gift of procreation.”

He even said that “the repeated performance of the play and the publicity surrounding it suggest that the university endorses certain themes in the play, or at least finds them compatible with its values.”
Despite this, on Wednesday, Fr. Jenkins surprised many by saying that he will now place “no restrictions” on the performance.

After hearing from hundreds of students, faculty and alumni over the last 10 weeks, Notre Dame’s president has now expressed his determination “that we not suppress speech on this campus.” “I am also determined”, he said, “that we never suppress or neglect the Gospel that inspired this university."

Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, said that "Either he has radically changed his perspective on 'The Vagina Monologues' or he is entirely ignoring the Catholic identity of Notre Dame. In either case, it smacks of hypocrisy when he made such strong statements weeks ago and is not imposing any restrictions at all now."

He added that his group believes that Fr. Jenkins’ “original instincts about ‘The Vagina Monologues’ were correct and sincere, but he fell into the trap that has paralyzed so many other Catholic colleges and universities in the United States—he has insisted on defining ‘The Vagina Monologues’…within the context of “academic freedom.” 

“This” he said, “is a play, a piece of entertainment and one-sided advocacy.  It is not an academic event; it does not in itself offer substantial information or reasoned argument that would contribute to a discussion of sexual morality or violence.” 

Likewise, Bill Donahue, president of the New York based Catholic League said in an e-mail that Fr. Jenkins‘ "statement is a strained and ultimately failed attempt to reconcile free speech rights with the mission of a Catholic institution."

In a recent statement, South Bend’s Bishop John D’Arcy, appealed to the memory of the late John Paul II, a playwright himself and longtime professor in a Catholic university in his criticism of the performance.

The bishop recalled John Paul’s thinking “that freedom must always be linked to the truth and the common good. The same principles apply to artistic freedom. As a university professor, the future pope presented a series of lectures on human love and sexuality in which he reflected how artistic freedom must always be linked to the whole truth about human love and sexuality.”

He added: “I regret the sponsorship of this play by Notre Dame again this year, and pray it will be the last time.”

Very Rev. David O’Connell, president of Catholic University of America also recently spoke out against the performance at his own school saying, “I find the play crude, ugly, vulgar and unworthy of staging or performing at CUA in any manner whatsoever.”

He said that he believes the cause of “promoting the dignity of women deserves better than this play…” adding that “it has become a symbol each year of the desire of some folks to push Catholic campuses over the edge of good and decent judgment.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 25, 2014

Friday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 21:1-14


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Mark, the Evangelist »


Homily of the Day

Jn 21:1-14


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: