When Pope Francis spoke about the “awakened” gender theory fueling today’s transgender craze as a “big lie” and “ideological colonization,” he certainly did not expect Notre Dame, America’s premier Catholic university, to become one of the colonizers would.
But it has.
As part of this year’s new student orientation, Notre Dame’s vice president of student affairs, Rev. Gerry Olinger, CSC, presented a video about gender and sexual orientation that flatly contradicted Catholic teaching.
The Church teaches that sex and gender are rooted in biological reality and that persons are either male or female in terms of both sex and sex. But revisionist gender theory holds that gender depends on “feelings.” And it spans a multitude of variations: “a-gender”, “bi-gender”, “cis-gender”, “gender-fluid”, “gender-queer”, “gender outlaw”, “omnigender”, “transgender”. “. ‘ and ‘two ghosts’. To name just a few.
This is the revisionist theory of gender that has taken hold through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs in colleges and universities across the county and has become almost commonplace elsewhere.
But not in the Catholic Church, where Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis went ahead and denounced “the profound falsity of this theory.” And the Vatican Congregation for Education warned that it had created an “educational crisis” (Male and female he created them).
An educational crisis, not least, as it turns out, at Notre Dame, where Father Olinger’s video message to new students fell decidedly on the side of gender theory. His presentation to the students that “the doctrine of the Church was at the heart” of what they were about to see was simply false advertising.
Here is what the students were told by the video announcer:
“Gender identity is a person’s inner sense of being male, female, or the opposite sex.”
“A person’s gender identity may not match a person’s biological sex.”
“Transgender,” the narrator explained, “refers to someone whose internal gender identity does not match their biological sex,” and “interrogating” means “someone in the process of discovering their sexual orientation or gender.”
The video’s message was reinforced by a questionnaire asking the new students, “What is your current gender identity?” And as options, “male”, “female”, “transgender from female to male (FTM)”, transgender from Male to Female (MTF), Genderqueer, and Other, suggesting endless possibilities of the type listed above.
The video also undermined the Church’s teaching on homosexual sex. It featured a student who described herself as a bisexual woman “who has had a same-sex partner in the past,” and called on students to “treat it like it’s no big deal.” It would be extremely imaginative to assume that by “same-sex partner” she meant “same-sex best friend,” or that the freshmen thought she meant that.
But for the church, homosexual sex is actually a “big deal.”
While the Catholic Catechism insists that men and women with homosexual inclinations “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity,” it declares that homosexual sexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” that “cannot be sanctioned under any circumstances.” .
The award-winning independent student newspaper The Irish Rover published a report on these troubling episodes and asked Father Olinger “whether the messages in the video are somehow considered by him or the Department of Student Affairs to be consistent with Catholic teaching.”
He didn’t answer.
For example, the Sycamore Trust, an organization of Notre-Dame alumni and others concerned with and about Notre-Dame’s Catholic identity, just published an open letter to Father Olinger expressing “deep disappointment” at his teaching for new students as well as his “stripping” expresses inquiries from students about what is being taught on important moral issues of the day.”
The “Open Letter”, which as mentioned above is available online for interested Catholic colleges, calls on Father Olinger to break his silence. It states: “The subversion of Church teaching on important moral issues by a Catholic institution charged with the moral education of its students constitutes a scandal of the first order.”
This abandonment of church doctrine by the Notre-Dame administration follows the alumni association’s capitulation to pressure from LGBTQ alumni for its own official organization. The new “affinity group” is the Alumni Rainbow Community of Notre Dame – or ARC.
This was a signal victory for the unofficial Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association of Notre Dame (“GALA”), which had campaigned unsuccessfully for many years for recognition. Standing in the way of such recognition was GALA’s repeated public celebration of advocates of same-sex marriage.
But not anymore.
The Alumni Association’s turnaround on gay marriage was quick and unequivocal. It appointed the same-sex married president of GALA to chair ARC, the new official group, and authorized ARC’s first event to be an awards ceremony honoring Greg Bourke – the same-sex married alumnus who was a plaintiff in a resulting Supreme Court case in establishing same-sex marriage as constitutional law.
Additionally, Notre Dame Press got on the Bourke LGBTQ train by publishing his autobiography, which focuses on his campaign for same-sex marriage. The press hailed it as a “compelling and deeply touching narrative” by an “unapologetically Catholic” man about his “fight to overcome the BSA’s anti-gay discrimination.” [Boy Scouts of America] and the Catholic Church”.
In his book, Bourke wrote of his warm relations with the President of Notre Dame, Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, citing Jenkins’ express satisfaction “to hear from your spouse and children” and his assurance: “We are proud of it.” To be able to call you a graduate of Notre Dame”—certainly an extraordinary compliment, to pay from within one of the Church’s most determined and successful opponents.
The Catholic Church’s teaching on sex and gender, which Notre Dame sunk in these episodes, has become increasingly unpopular in a remarkably short space of time. Colleges and universities have led the way, dismissing traditional Christian values as abominable and branding those who expressed them as hateful.
Apparently placing more emphasis on peer approval than allegiance to the church, the Notre-Dame administration has chosen peace and tranquility over fighting for the truth.
*Picture: Romans in their decadence by Thomas Couture, 1847 [Musée d’Orsay, Paris]
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