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Alumnus questions campus

| Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dear Notre Dame Community,

It’s rather odd that I decide to write an Observer article after 17 years have passed since I was a Notre Dame student. I know things have changed, but at the same time, I realize the beauty of Notre Dame is the constancy of the University in so many wonderful facets – the academia, spirituality, athletics and certainly, let us not forget, controversy and exchanges of ideas. Isn’t this what a university education is all about?

I write this letter from outside the University looking in, from someone who knows and loves Notre Dame well, but is not there to witness the current daily dynamics of our University. Please understand that I fully admit that my remarks are mere assumptions about today’s Notre Dame and merely ask to clarify the situation. I fully understand I may be missing the mark here completely. I am simply putting my thoughts onto paper as an alumnus perceiving activities on campus from afar.

Recently, I have read frustrations regarding Students for Child Oriented Policy (SCOP) – accusations of narrow-mindedness, possible hatred and lack of Christian charity in the group’s mission.

Certainly, human sexuality is an immensely complex issue, and I am no expert in the field. Rather, I am an economist in thought. I currently teach economics and understand the natural balance maintained in society and life, dare I say God’s natural law. With 30+ states allowing for the marriage of same-sex couples, it is impossible for Notre Dame to ignore (nor should the University ignore) the new forms of these issues in today’s society. As an institution staunchly grounded in the Christian foundation, it is Notre Dame’s duty to address any issues affecting society because it affects her students.

I commend the administration, and in particular my former Notre Dame classmate and friend, Erin Hoffmann Harding, who so eloquently addressed Notre Dame’s mission and the University’s responsibility in this heated debate with the establishment of “Beloved Friends and Allies,” a collaborative piece between university and Church that beautifully explains Notre Dame’s mission to the GLBTQ community in a distinctly Catholic context.

Of course, with any organization, especially one the size of Notre Dame, human error is never extinct. I am assuming that the execution of this plan and topic on campus is not perfect. And here I arrive at my perceptions and questions.

Are there organizations on campus in support of GLBTQ community walking a fine line on Church teaching? Are they doing just enough to not be antithetical to Church teaching, but somehow promoting ideas against the Church’s teachings? I do not know, as one not on campus currently, but from the responses I have seen, it seems that may be the case.

For two years now, students have been walking through rainbow doorways on campus to come out as whoever they want to be. This is a great concept displaying God’s individuality in creation, and it would seem that this movement is done in accordance with the Catholic message. It is here I wonder as well. Is there somewhere a hidden agenda existing that promotes a lifestyle that counters what the Church considers to be God’s natural law? Do the members of Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP) sense hidden agendas (whether or not they are actually present)? I would assume that SCOP does sense that a hidden agenda is in place for some groups and activities at Notre Dame.

Is this the natural balance that SCOP provides to the Notre Dame community, or is SCOP merely a right-wing extremist group? Personally, I believe SCOP is providing a needed balance to Notre Dame. I believe that students involved in SCOP love God, God’s Church, Notre Dame and all of you reading this. I believe that SCOP is not intending to be hateful, but inform those they care about what the Church preaches regarding sexual unions. Let us never forget that although a university, even a great university, Notre Dame goes beyond and is a great Catholic university.


Gregory Bergman

class of 1997

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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