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Saturday, March 2, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame’s desire for secular acceptance

A little over a week ago, the University of Notre Dame stated that it will now provide contraceptives and abortifacients in University health insurance plans through a third-party insurer. No longer will the university limit the supplying of contraceptives to students and faculty who possess certain medical conditions. Rather, the supplying of contraceptives and abortifacients will now be broadly provided.

After the University’s expensive and lengthy lawsuit was resolved through expansions made by the Health and Human Services under President Trump, the university has cowardly surrendered its newly bestowed right to abide by its religious principles. This move displays that the University is willing to be complicit in gross violations of Church doctrine as long as such heretical acts come with the promise of acceptance into the surrounding secular culture.

Notre Dame is drifting further and further from its once assumed position as a principled bastion of religious conviction. This is because Notre Dame now intensely desires to be liked and accepted by the secular world. The University does not want to be fully indistinguishable from the secular world; policies such as parietals signal such; however, the University does not want to be so indistinguishable from the secular world as to significantly upset people.

I do not expect Notre Dame to be a religiously tyrannical school, enforcing every minutia of Church doctrine. However, one should reasonably expect a Catholic school to hold true to core Christian values. Notre Dame comes up short in this regard.

Being in conflict with the surrounding culture should be a goal of Notre Dame, not a fear. The University should not capitulate to the demands of angry secularism. Rather, the secular world being angry at Notre Dame should be a signal to the University that it is abiding by Christian values.

Surrendering to a culture of secularism and hedonism is not only cowardly; it is heretical. From awarding Joe Biden, an adamant supporter of pro-abortion legislation, with the highest honor for any American Catholic to now providing contraceptives and abortifacients to faculty and students, the university has proven that its current agenda is to appease the secular world. The University now cowers in the face of controversy, even when holding true to the Church’s core values necessitates acting boldly in the face of controversy. This recent cowardice is a repulsive trend by the University’s administration.

Notre Dame wants it both ways. It wants to say that it is a distinctly Catholic university while also not upsetting those who may be opposed to fundamental Catholic teaching. This is simply logistically impossible. Notre Dame must choose to be either distinctly Catholic or plainly secular.

To be distinctly Catholic is to be in conflict with the surrounding secular culture. This is a fact Notre Dame must confront. I pray that Fr. Jenkins and Notre Dame realize this and reverse their recent decision that appeases secularism at the expense of entirely disregarding the very religious convictions upon which this university was built.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.