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University’s mission is to educate, not indoctrinate

Letters to the Editor | Tuesday, April 15, 2008

As a lifelong practicing Catholic, a Notre Dame alumnus and the parent of a current Notre Dame student and quite likely another one come September, I am, frankly, troubled by the continuing controversy over The Vagina Monologues as played out in this paper, and more recently, on the pages of The Wall Street Journal.

If the University was to ban that play, is it next to ban all films that convey a message that could be deemed inconsistent with Church teachings? Is it to scour the library and purge it of all books that could be similarly construed? It seems that the vocal opponents of The Vagina Monologues are advocating a kind of modern day bonfire of the vanities. I did not send my kids to Notre Dame to be inculcated in the faith. That has been my job and my wife’s for the past 18 years. I sent them to Notre Dame to receive an education both within the classroom and without. If that education is to serve them once they enter the wide world, then it must include exposure to all manner of thought, even those with which I and the Church might strongly disagree.

If I have done my job, if the seeds of faith have been properly sewn and cultivated, then that faith will stay rooted even when exposed to competing ideas. If I have not, then no amount of censorship, for that is what we are talking about here, will keep that faith from withering. I applaud Fr. Jenkins for his courageous stand on this issue.

Richard F. Ricci (L ’82)


law school class of 1982

April 15