Michael Bradley, who recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology, wrote at the Public Discourse that he believes the University is “failing to fulfill its pastoral duty to bear witness to the truth.”
Bradley is one of the founding members of the group Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP) which, although upholding Catholic teaching on marriage, was recently denied recognition by the University. In addition to hosting a conference on the issue of marriage, SCOP called on President Father John Jenkins and the administration to publicly defend marriage.
In response, a number of students circulated a counter-petition urging the administration to refuse to recognize SCOP as a student club. On April 30, the University’s Club Coordination Council rejected SCOP’s request to become an officially recognized student club, saying that other clubs on campus already fulfilled that same mission.
“Notre Dame’s decision to deny SCOP’s application is rooted in either culpable ignorance of SCOP’s mission and purpose,” wrote Bradley, “or barely veiled hostility toward SCOP’s true mission and purpose.”
Bradley points out that the counter-petition was supported by several members of PrismND —the “gay-straight alliance” group on campus that was called for in 2012 by Fr. Jenkins’ pastoral plan which stated that “the organization’s purpose arises directly from the University’s Catholic mission.”
But Bradley said that “Notre Dame’s gay-straight alliance has not taken long to go astray.”
Maureen Doyle, Notre Dame’s assistant director for LGBTQ Student Concerns, who serves as the official liaison between the group and the administration, indicated in an interview last year that her role is to facilitate the members in “the decisions that they make and the goals that they set for themselves.”
In that same interview, Christine Caron-Gebhardt, director of the Gender Relations Center (GRC), reportedly said , “It’s not like, ‘let’s discard [our Catholic identity],’ but let’s really put it in the place where it belongs. It doesn’t need to become our driving factor. The people need to become the driving factor.”
Bradley wrote that programs by the GRC “obscure rather than clarify the proper understanding of the human person.”
“The organization’s very constitution employs the pronouns ‘ze’ and ‘zer’—meant to indicate persons who reject identification as either male or female,” he wrote. “Contrast this with Catholicism’s emphasis on the beauty and harmony of man and woman’s identities as essentially different, deeply complementary, and inextricably intertwined with each person’s unique identity.”
Bradley pointed to an event earlier this year which saw the GRC hanging up rainbow-colored posters reading: “Gender What? A glimpse into the wonderful world of Gender Identity, and what it all means.” A line on the poster stated, “It is best simply to ask someone how they prefer to be identified in regards to gender.”
Bradley wrote, “The posters seek to normalize and familiarize various terms that assume and perpetuate a sexual anthropology antithetical to the Church’s teachings.”
Bradley said that several requests for meetings with Doyle as well as the University vice president for mission engagement and Church affairs were declined.
“When essential truths are at stake, administrators and GRC officials stand silently by as the student ‘peer educators’ tasked with facilitating informed, civil discussion of tough issues routinely oppose student efforts to affirm orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality,” said Bradley. “Notre Dame administrators then wield politically correct rhetoric as a weapon against students who are concerned that all the emphasis on campus ‘inclusion’ has caused important, loving truths about the human person to be lost.”
He concluded that, “Unfortunately, it seems that Notre Dame has firmly, if quietly, commenced its slow surrender to a sexual ideology that, once internalized, will ensure that students at Notre Dame wander as sheep without their shepherds.”
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