Is Notre Dame Still Catholic?

Fidelity Press
Paper $29
480 pages, 6" x 9"

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Is Notre Dame Still Catholic?

Second Revised Edition

Jones, E. Michael

On March 25, 2009, Notre Dame was embroiled in the biggest controversy to hit the campus since the performance of The Vagina Monologues. A few days earlier, Notre Dame president John Jenkins, C.S.C., had announced that the university planned to give President Barack Obama an honorary doctorate. Within hours of the announcement a storm of protest erupted which showed no sign of dying down any time soon. Citing the statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2004, “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions,” the ordinary of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, John M. D’Arcy, announced that, for the first time in 25 years, he would not be attending graduation ceremonies at Notre Dame, because “President Obama has recently affirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred.”

By April, 2009, over a third of a million people had signed a petition condemning Notre Dame’s actions, and Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead of the Phoenix, Arizona, diocese joined with his colleague Bishop D’Arcy in denouncing Jenkins’s decision, calling the decision to honor President Obama a “public act of disobedience” and a “grave mistake.” This story didn’t begin in 2009.

From June 1984 to January 1988, FidelityMagazinepublished a series of articles on Notre Dame that rocked the Catholic world. Beginning with a survey of the theology department and ending with an article on why the Chairman of the Liturgy Department was found shot to death in the basement of his home, this series of articles described the trajectory at mid-point that Father Hesburgh began when he stole Notre Dame from the Catholic Church in 1967.

What began as a series of articles in 1984 grew over the next 25 years into an extensive dossier of what went wrong at Notre Dame, what went wrong with Catholic higher education, and what went wrong with the Church in America. No one has examined the situation at Notre Dame over the past 25 years more closely than E. Michael Jones. Taken together these articles tell the compelling story of the demise of Catholic education in America. They also explain the demise of Catholic culture and Catholic political power during the same period of time.