Notre Dame is probably one of the most popular Catholic universities in the United States--if not the world. But some people wonder about it's "Catholic" title. If you recall, last May Notre Dame invited President Obama to give the keynote speech at it's commencement. The university also gave the president an honorary degree. The problem with this is that President Obama is believed by some to be the biggest pro-abortion president in the history of the United States. The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a grave evil. Many, including many bishops, believed that by giving President Obama an honorary degree is scandalous because it would appear to some that the church is supporting what the president supports.
Well, Notre Dame is again causing scandal but this time not on a national scale like it did last May and this time not by something it did but by something that it did not do. Dr. Charles Rice is evidently a regular contributor to the school newspaper The Observer. Dr. Rice wrote an article for the newspaper about the church's teaching on homosexuality. The article was rejected because the article was considered to be too much of a hot potato. If you read the article, which can be found here you will see that the article is mostly all quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other church documents. Certainly not something that a newspaper for a Catholic university should shy away from.
A little research and you will find out that the reason that homosexuality is a hot topic right now is because in mid-January The Observer posted a crude and anti-homosexual cartoon in it's newspaper. The cartoon was bad and it was even edited down from the original cartoon. The cartoon has since been dropped and the paper has been apologizing to several LBGT groups as well as they should. In my opinion, the cartoon was vicious and goes against the basic commandments that we should love each other.
The paper messed up, there is no doubt. But what a perfect time to explain what the Catholic Church teaches. If you are a Catholic University then you should stand behind it. I understand it is a difficult teaching, especially in today's society. There is an interesting exchange of emails between Dr. Rice and the editor of the newspaper than can be found at the Defend Us in Battle blog. Dr. Rice says it better than I ever could have.
Notre Dame needs to take steps in order to return to it's Catholic roots. I have no doubt that there are plenty of good Catholics students and alumni who desire Notre Dame to have a Catholic identity in more than just words. Dr. Rice's column could have been a great start.
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