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Community responds to comments about Lenten food options

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, February 26, 2004

I am writing in response to the Feb. 26 article submitted by Chris Vierig. I was a student at Saint Mary’s from 1995 to 1997 and graduated from Notre Dame in 1999. In 2002, I received my J.D. from the law school. Each year over that span of time, someone lodged a complaint in some manner about not serving meat in the dining halls during Lent. Mr. Vierig suggests that this is the University’s “fascist” way of imposing Catholicism on non-Catholic students. He has, of course, also suggested some other ways in which the University is oppressing him because he is not Catholic. The last time I checked, Notre Dame is a private, Catholic institution; therefore, it is the school’s prerogative to follow the traditions of the Catholic faith in whatever manner it deems appropriate.

Mr. Vierig indicates that he was equally aware of Notre Dame’s Catholic affiliation when he accepted the University’s invitation to enter the class of 2007.

The dining hall staff is not forcing students to pray before their meals; students are not directed to fast during Lent; Burger King is not shut down for 40 days; and the University does not require attendance at Sunday Mass. It has bothered me for some years to hear students complain about the religious values that Notre Dame has so wrongly thrust upon them. The University does not force students to do anything in contravention of their own religious beliefs. However, the University merely asks you to respect the traditions of the faith upon which Notre Dame was founded. Limiting the students’ selection of food one day a week for 40 days hardly seems like religious persecution. I would suggest that Mr. Vierig’s outrage might be better directed at something more meaningful than missing dining hall meatloaf.

Nicole Bordaalumni Class of 1999, 2002Feb. 26