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Protest questioned, reaction praised

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I write to support the University’s decision to disperse the Catholic Worker protesters on Monday. Their coming to Notre Dame and their accusations are truly troubling to me, and I think should raise questions as to the Catholic Worker movement’s appropriate place within the Church.

Clearly, the protesters are extraordinarily misled as to the implications the presence of the ROTC at Notre Dame has for our University. It is absurd to presume that simply because an ROTC program exists on our campus that the University also supports any war that the United States enters into. Were it the case that the University officially supported every position of every program on campus, it would have many conflicting views. The Catholic Workers conveniently did not mention the University’s strong Peace Studies program, nor did they mention the work the well-funded Kroc Institute does.

Further, who are they to protest a program at Notre Dame? They have no ties to the University, except for a shared faith, and they are not affected at all by there being an ROTC program here. The University’s policy regarding protests is a sound one – if we were to let every group wishing to protest come to Notre Dame, we would be bombarded by all sides with fringe groups like the Catholic Workers. Such a scenario would produce chaotic results and severely impact the capacity of our University to function.

All that said, the protest should never have occurred in the first place. The Catholic Worker movement does good work with the poor and the oppressed in our country, even in South Bend. I think that should be the need that the Catholic Workers fulfill within our Church. I encourage those involved with this movement to continue to do the good work it does in these areas, and to end such needless and unproductive protests.

Christian Hoeffel


St. Edward’s Hall

March 27