Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Rally sons of Notre Dame!*

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 25, 2012

I’m disappointed with 95 members of the faculty of the University of Notre Dame, who have demanded Bishop Daniel Jenky’s resignation from the Board of Fellows because of references to Obama, Hitler and Stalin in a recent homily. After all, the full text of the Bishop’s remarks is in our library, and I called positive attention to it in a recent Insights message.

I’m disappointed because these faculty members apparently cannot read. Bishop Jenky did not say, nor did he remotely imply, that Barack Obama is as bad as Hitler and Stalin. What he did was to intelligently survey the kinds of leaders who had denigrated the value of human life and turned the screws on religion in the history of the past hundred years or so. He found the likes of Bismarck, Hitler and Stalin among them, and he lamented that it seems that our President, with his undeniable pro-abortion and secularist agenda, was lamentably headed down that path as well.

I am also disappointed that so many professors are apparently unable to perceive, in their own culture, the same seeds of totalitarianism which they have been willing to condemn so roundly in several other modern societies. These tendencies have emerged since the European “Enlightenment” sought to put politics on a purely secular footing, leaving the State in sole possession of public authority. To note the trend is hardly the same as saying things are already as bad in the United States as they were in revolutionary France, Communist Russia, or Nazi Germany. But professors ought to be capable of discerning trends, of spotting warning signs. They should not need to see something full-blown before they raise the alarm.

On the other hand, what percentage is 95 out of the entire Notre Dame Faculty? It depends on whom you count, of course, and in what divisions of the University. But a common claim is that Notre Dame has about 8500 students and a student-faculty ratio of 12 to 1. This suggests there might be around 700 total faculty, making the 95 less than fourteen percent. Perhaps this is the proverbial silver lining in what is otherwise a dank, dark and dismal cloud.

* First line of the school’s fight song, the Notre Dame Victory March.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Apr. 26, 2012 8:01 AM ET USA

    A few years ago I served on a panel that selected undergraduates for a national scholarship. A fellow panelist was on the Notre Dame faculty. I told him that one of my research students had spent the summer at Notre Dame doing research. The student was not Catholic. She told me that a statue on the campus seemed out of place at a nominally religious institution. It depicted some sort of angel. When I asked the professor about a Catholic culture on campus, he told me that he could not discern it

  • Posted by: bnewman - Apr. 25, 2012 11:11 PM ET USA

    Yes. What % are the 95? Faculty in nearly all Universities are more-or-less knee-jerk enthusiasts for abortion on demand: and quietly anti-Catholic to boot. I would expect well over 90% of faculty to sign such a petition in most Universities. Perhaps the faculty organizers were not diligent: alternatively perhaps Notre Dame has not sold out as much as I had thought.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Apr. 25, 2012 7:18 PM ET USA

    "This suggests there might be around 700 total faculty, making the 95 less than fourteen percent" Unfortunately, Dr. Mirus, that is about the percent of an iceberg that shows itself above the water. JP