| Tuesday, February 15, 2005
This letter is in response to Bishop John D’Arcy’s Feb. 10 piece regarding the second annual Queer Film Festival. While we have tremendous respect for the bishop, his office and his opinion, we believe that there are a few inaccuracies in his statement that need to be addressed.
D’Arcy claims that “no place has been made at this seminar for the clear and accurate presentation of Catholic teaching.” In reality, the festival staff made numerous attempts to have members of the Catholic community speak on our panels and represent Church teaching. However, nobody was willing to do this.
Ultimately, we did find a layperson that agreed to present the Catholic viewpoint in our “future of gay marriage” panel. The Notre Dame Queer Film Festival welcomes people from all viewpoints to come together and engage in an academic discussion. Next year, the bishop is certainly invited to present the Church teachings in our panels, or he can appoint someone to do so for him.
Secondly, the four-time Tony award winning playwright that the bishop refers to, Terrence McNally, screened a film adaptation of his play, “LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!” The piece is about a group of friends who give each other love and support in the face of many of life’s challenges – including AIDS.
The compassion the men show each other is consistent with the catechism of the Catholic Church community to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity”.
The theme of the festival was one of tolerance and education, not a promotion of some sort of gay agenda. Our films were carefully selected to incorporate historical elements, award-winning filmmaking and religious issues. The purpose of a university education is to be presented with various viewpoints and to be able to have an honest open discussion about difficult issues.
For the bishop to claim otherwise or to state that something of this sort should not happen at the University of Notre Dame because the students need to in some way be shielded from such things subverts the true meaning of education.
This year we enjoyed a tremendous amount of success and it would not have been possible without the support of the entire South Bend community and the University. We especially commend the hard work of the Department of Film, Television and Theater for their tireless energy. Thanks to everyone who came out to see the films and we look forward to seeing you all next year!
Director of Operations
Notre Dame Queer Film Festival 2005