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A Catholic university

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tom O’Neil’s column in the Observer Monday (How Notre Dame Sneakily Killed off the Queer Film Festival, Feb. 16) provided another example of someone who is shocked and offended when Notre Dame, rather than accommodate the radical views of a few, sticks to its Catholic roots. Just how radical are his views? Well, Mr. O’Neil answered that himself when he asked rhetorically, “But why hasn’t anyone noticed? And why haven’t Notre Dame leaders been denounced for the shocking way they killed off the fest? Why hasn’t the Faculty or Student Senate issued new resolutions denouncing the University for this?” The reason O’Neil was only able to ask this question rhetorically is that, to put it simply, very few DO notice.

This play is not missed, despite all the wishes of disgruntled alums to the contrary. Notre Dame is a Catholic university that attempts to act in a way that is in accord with Catholic morality. Although there have been missteps in this endeavor along the way, including the initial acceptance of this play, that is no reason to further misstep in order to please a select few. Notre Dame’s mission as a Catholic university is to guide its students in pursuit of the truth. How, then, could Notre Dame possibly reconcile support for such activities the Church deems, categorically, inimical to truth? In O’Neil’s words, this amounts to “a gay bashing successfully pulled off by one of the most notoriously anti-gay universities in America.” There is nothing “anti-gay” about Notre Dame. The Catholic Church is clear, however, in Her position on homosexual activity: “Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2357). It should be clear, then, why, as O’Neil put it, “It was a miracle, frankly, that the Queer Film Festival was permitted to exist at such a conservative Catholic school.” This is because to allow such a production runs counter to the core of Catholic teaching.

O’Neil asks about the festival, “How could it go on without being able to identify itself?” I would ask Mr. O’Neil the same question about Notre Dame. You, sir, along with others, completely disregard the Catholic identity of the university and attempt to morph it to fit your specific worldview. Fortunately, there are many more people who wish to maintain this identity than those who wish to crush it. Notre Dame cannot allow its mission to be shaped by those determined to demoralize it. Mr. O’Neil, you should have made a different college choice if you had viewing homosexual productions on your college priority list. I’m sure there are plenty to choose from. As for Notre Dame, it is different, and that’s what makes it so wonderful.

Brad Duffy


class of 2008

Feb. 16