Charles Rice, a professor emeritus at Notre Dame Law School, writes a regular column that appears in the Notre Dame student newspaper, The Observer. Recently, Rice submitted a column on the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding homosexuality that was rejected by the paper’s new editor for failing to provide a balanced view of the issue:
In the future, if you would like to examine this topic, we thought it might be beneficial to do so in a point-counterpoint format, perhaps with an author of an opposing or differing viewpoint. That way, each “side,” to speak, would have the opportunity to present relevant facts, evidence and analysis to define its position.
While it is tempting to dismiss the incident as an overreaction by a well-meaning, though misguided, young journalist, it fits into a larger, disturbing pattern of behavior at Notre Dame. As Jay Anderson says,
But is anyone REALLY surprised by the fact that the Notre Dame student newspaper is taking such an approach? I mean, when the Church’s timeless Magisterial teachings regarding abortion are treated by the University administration as something open for “dialogue“, and the advocates of abortion on demand are honored with prominent speaking positions and honorary law degrees all in the name of “the exchange of ideas,” it is no wonder that the students under their charge are left with the impression that the teachings of the Catholic Church are up for debate.
The decline of a the America’s flagship Catholic university should be a concern to everyone who cares about religious higher education. But it is particularly distressing for evangelicals like me. For years we’ve looked to Notre Dame as an example of how to be a first-rate university and remain distinctively Christian. Several incidents over the last year, however, make me wonder if it’s time we look for a new model to emulate.