The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



A Lenten proposal for all

Chuck Kohaut | Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In the aftermath of an undeniably ignorant act of racial hate, we as a campus must reflect on the efforts we make to ensure all students are treated with equality and respect. With that thought in mind, I ask this: Are we truly trying our best to be accepting of diversity by only adhering to our Catholic students’ points of view? While I have the utmost respect for Catholic tradition and I fully understand its place in our beloved institution, I believe that there are changes that must be made to foster a more accepting environment for all students to enjoy.

After years of Catholic school, my understanding of Lent is that it is a time to make sacrifices to remind us of those that Jesus made for us. Its purpose, therefore, would be to make us stronger by consciously and willingly giving up things we believe ourselves to be dependent upon. I pose this question to any Catholic student opposed to the dining hall serving meat on Fridays during Lent: How hard is it to make a sacrifice when the choice is already made for you? Yes, this is a Catholic institution, but where in Christian doctrine is it wrong to serve meat on a Friday in Lent? Without even questioning the doctrine itself, Catholic students must consider the difficulty of the sacrifices they are really making.

Here is what I propose: The dining hall should serve meat on Fridays during Lent in a small section set aside by itself. Simply serving the meat does absolutely nothing to infringe on the ideals of Catholic students, but goes leaps and bounds in showing the University’s acceptance of other students’ beliefs. The dining hall staff can remind forgetful (yet dedicated) Catholic students that they shouldn’t eat meat so that they have a truly conscious decision to make their own sacrifices (which in my opinion makes it all the more meaningful).

If we are as committed to equality as we’d like to believe, this is the perfect opportunity to right an injustice affecting all students and actually do something about it.

Chuck Kohaut


Alumni Hall

Feb. 27