claim that a performance of the play followed by a panel will engage
the culture and that out of such a discussion the truth will emerge.
Sadly, Ex Corde Ecclesiae is even cited in defense of this position.
But what makes a Catholic university distinctive is the conviction that
in the search for truth, we do not start from scratch; we start from
the truth that has been revealed to us in the Word of God, the person
of Jesus Christ, and the teaching of his church. The notion that truth
will emerge from a discussion in which many points of view are
represented both disrespects revealed truth and separates the search
for truth from the certainty of faith; instead, as Pope John Paul II
stated in Ex Corde Ecclesiae: A Catholic universitys privileged
task is to unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of
reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though
they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of
already knowing the fount of truth. John Paul II, Discourse to the
Institut Catholique de Paris, June, 1, 1980, cited in Ex Corde
For these reasons, I believe that the performing of this play, even
with one or more persons willing to present Catholic teaching, is in
direct opposition to both the spirit and letter of Ex Corde
Ecclesiae. Also, because it depicts and endorses sinful sexual acts in
direct opposition to church teaching, I believe its performance to be
pornographic and spiritually harmful. This judgment is made after
prayer, reflection and dialogue and after preparing several statements
over many years.
Because of this pastoral finding, of which I am convinced, and keeping
in mind primarily the spiritual welfare of our young students, the good
name of Notre Dame and her well-earned position of academic and
Catholic leadership, and the blessed Easter week I remain hopeful
that Father Jenkins will reconsider his decision for this year and
future years. A decision not to sponsor the play is not only consistent
with academic freedom but is a right use of such freedom for it shows
respect for the truth, for the common good and the rights of others.
(ef. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 12)
Exactly, the Bishop nails it.
You can’t present spiritual poison and then have a panel
afterwards in the hope that the poison does not cause damage.
Now if only Fr. Jenkins would realize that he has the perfect
out. He can blame the bishop for stopping the performances.
Though I would surely wish that he would do this out of obedience.
[Via Jay Anderson]