Are changes coming to Notre Dame? The new president of the university, Fr. John Jenkins, addressed the school on the topic of academic freedom this past week and specifically mentioned controversial events like the V-Monologues and the Queer Film Festival, according to St. Blog’s resident UND students at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping. He said that while it is compatible with the mission of a Catholic university to entertain discussion on controversial issues, repeated performances of events like those mentioned above, with the backing of academic departments, could imply endorsement of the entire university for points of view incompatible with Church teaching.
He said that an official policy will be set after all sides have been allowed to have their input. Until then the Monologues may only be performed in a classroom discussion setting with no ticket sales or marketing or fundraising and the festival must undergo a name change and revamp its content. I’m a little disappointed he didn’t just ban them outright until a policy could be set, but that he’s taking these steps at all is a good sign.
It doesn’t mean that everything is automatically hunky-dory. There still has to be follow through. Yet it looks like UND under Jenkins’ leadership could be better for the Church in the US.
The full text of Jenkins’ speech is available.