I recently reviewed Dr. Rice’s excellent book “What Happened to Notre Dame” and now he has written a new letter to Fr. Jenkins. He starts off thanking Fr. Jenkins for his recent support of the pro-life cause in his recent letter. He then goes on with some advice and some critique and then gets to the main body of letter in regards to the pro-life protesters arrested at Notre Dame. He makes some strong points about some confusion in regards to this and to whether Notre Dame can drop the charges.
The full letter is at insight Scoop and I think it is charitable and not polemic in the criticism.
What gets me about the arrest of the pro-lifers is a couple of things. One Fr. Jenkins decided he could give his own interpretation on what the Bishops said regarding honoring pro-abortion politicians. He has not followed the provisions in Church documents such as Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Yet when it comes to a Notre Dame law in regards to protests – that is hard and fast dogma with no mercy or change possible. Dialog is so much talked about, but making allowances for pro-lifers to peacefully protest is another story. The way that these protesters were treated is sad beyond belief. Handcuffing a elderly priest for the crime of protesting what 80 some bishops said should never have allowed is a sad indictment. Really what should have happened is that the protests should have been given permission in the first place.
Dr. Rice is exactly right in that Fr. Jenkins going to the March for Life while prosecuting pro-lifers for peaceful protests will earn him the scorn of many at the march. Notre Dame is justly proud for the part it played in the Civil Rights movement where there was civil disobedience at times. So why not drop the trespassing charges to promote some healing in regards to the pro-life movement and the administration at Notre Dame. Then Fr. Jenkins can help lead Notre Dame in taking a more active role in the pro-life movement.