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Academic freedom’ not enough to permit Monologues

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pope John Paul II said, “Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought” (Oct. 8, 1995, at Orioles Park).

The removal of explicit or implicit University sponsorship of any activity that is contrary to the Catholic faith is surely not a violation of freedom as understood by Pope John Paul II, but is actually an exercise of such freedom, because it is what we ought to do. We must not misrepresent the Catholic faith. At a Catholic University like Notre Dame, sponsoring in any way what is at odds with our faith is confusing and indeed scandalous because it lies to the world about Catholicism, yet it has occurred for the sake of “freedom.”

In the United States, many things are being sacrificed for the sake of a flawed understanding of freedom. An example is the 42 million babies that have been tragically but lawfully killed in abortion since the 1970s. Many on this campus share this flawed understanding that freedom is a license to do whatever, whenever, wherever and it is this understanding that shapes their views of academic freedom.

Let us “do what we ought” in order to preserve Our Lady’s University and Catholicism from scandal and confusion and promote the freedom and responsibility we at the University have to seek out the truth, while remembering that we believe Christ is the fullness of truth. Concerning the presentation of the Vagina Monologues, our Bishop John D’Arcy said, “This play violates the truth about women, the truth about sexuality, the truth about male and female and the truth about the human body [and] … is in opposition to the highest understanding of academic freedom.”

What should we do? We must follow the guidance of D’Arcy and cancel the presentation of the Monologues if indeed we wish to call ourselves Catholic and aspire to discover truth as a great university should.

The Vagina Monologues is offensive to women; it is antithetical to Catholic teaching on the beautiful gift of human sexuality and also to the teachings of the church on the human body relative to its purpose and to its status as a temple of the Holy Spirit.

This play violates the truth about women; the truth about sexuality; the truth about male and female and the truth about the human body and is in opposition to the highest understanding of academic freedom.

Jonathan RoseseniorAlumni HallJan. 30