A reader sent me a link to an open letter written by Fr. Miscable, C.S.C. to Fr. Jenkins of Notre Dame about the recent decision over the Vagina Monologues. This letter has also been linked by Amy Welborn and others. I think it makes some great points and the whole thing is well worth reading.
…You must know that in taking this decision you have brought most joy to those who care least about Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.
…John, let me commend you for your admirable goal of seeking to find "ways to prevent violence against women." Over my years of teaching and pastoral service at Notre Dame I have sought to encourage my female students to appreciate their innate dignity and to truly respect themselves. I have been blessed to come to know some amazing women whom I now count as dear friends. Drawing on conversations with such women about the circumstances that they find at Notre Dame leads me to suggest that your rather elaborate committee formed to pursue this goal has the whiff of a public relations exercise about it. The painful reality is that much of the violence against women in our society results from a sick view that separates sex from love and genuine relationship, from the commodification of sex, from the portrayal of women as objects, from the blatant refusal of some men to treat women with dignity and respect. Yet how will the committee be able seriously to address such issues when you have approved the continued production of a play that reduces women to body parts? Surely you see the contradiction here? Could I request that this be an early item for consideration by this committee?
Surely the way to prevent violence against women is not by objectifying them as a normally non-speaking body part. It is within the understanding of sexuality grounded in the truth of the Catholic faith and with Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body that this endemic problem should be addressed. Sometimes you would swear that there was a mole working within radical feminism to subvert it since so much of the results of their actions have only enabled and encouraged predatory male behavior.
Last week First Things blog also had some commentary on the "Closing Statement" with Stephen Barr criticizing it and a Notre Dame teacher defending it (originally from Amy Welborn’s comment section). The teacher mentions the fact that they are at least having a panel discussion after the VM performances. This at least is better than nothing, but some things should be seen as so antithetical to truth that balancing it by a panel discussion is surely not enough.