Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sadie Frown of the Week: Notre Dame University

I haven't done a "Sadie Frown" in a while, but Notre Dame is about to change that. Here's why:

David Soloman, a university philosophy professor who also happens to be the founder and director of the Nortre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, says the firing of Bill Kirk, who opposed Notre Dame's honoring of President Barack Obama, was a result of his opposition:

"At the time Bill took part in the NDResponse rally, many people commented on the courage it took for him to stand with his wife and other witnesses to this protest of Notre Dame’s decision to award President Obama an honorary degree. I personally discounted these worries, believing that the Notre Dame administration would admire him for his principled stand on a matter so close to the Catholic heart of Notre Dame, even if they disagreed with his particular action. The administration welcomed President Obama’s sharp dissent from and attack on central Catholic teaching on life. It seemed only reasonable that they would equally welcome dissent from university policy by such a loyal Catholic and member of the Notre Dame family as Bill Kirk-- especially when his dissent was made in the name of the Catholic principles at Notre Dame’s heart and in the company of his bishop. Perhaps, alas, there was reason for Bill Kirk to be worried about his participation in NDResponse after all …

It is, however, the callousness and the brutal insensitivity with which Bill and Elizabeth Kirk were effectively severed from the Notre Dame community that has had the greatest impact on those of us who regard them as personal friends. And here I must speak very personally. The Kirks’ house has been an oasis of hospitality for faculty, students and administrators at Notre Dame, as well as for their countless friends and acquaintances in the larger South Bend community and from around the world. It is perhaps their own penchant for hospitality and welcome that makes their treatment by Notre Dame seem so appalling. The parents of two young adopted children, Bill and Elizabeth Kirk were in the process, as Bill Kirk’s bosses well knew, of adopting a third child at the time he was fired."

Read the whole story here.

Somebody needs to be fired at Notre Dame. And it wasn't Bill Kirk.

Here's a hint. It starts with a J...


  1. Actually, Kirk was fired because his approach to student discipline was far too draconian. Students and alumni have complained about him for years. Kirk is a devout Catholic, but that doesn't mean he was a great administrator.

    This signals Notre Dame's new approach to student discipline. This doesn't mean that Notre Dame is no longer pro-life. In fact, numerous professors and administrators attended anti-Obama events. I know, I was there. It is incorrect for anyone to say that Kirk was the only administrator at those events. He wasn't, and all of his co-workers are still employed.

  2. If you go to the article and read it the professor does address those rumors and says they aren't true. And like you, he was also "there." Only he's brave enough to use his actual name when speaking out.

  3. One other thing that sprang to mind: "This doesn't mean that Notre Dame is no longer pro-life.." is a strange statement. Notre Dame hasn't seemed very pro-life under Fr. Jenkins at all. Hence the "events" you spoke of. Of course, you know that because "you were there."

    Hosting and honoring a speaker whose focus during his first months in office was jamming through an unpopular bill designed to pay for the destruction and murder of the most innocent among us doesn't strike me as very "pro-life."

  4. On my husband's first day of doctoral studies at the UND, he was greeted with the words: "Welcome to the bastion of liberal Catholic dissent." This was truly not far from the truth. There are faithful, practicing Catholic students and professors at ND. There are pro-life students and professors at ND. But that does not make the university as an institution faithful and pro-life. I am familiar with the character of David Soloman from my time at ND. Without knowing the facts firsthand, I am willing to take his word.

    Additionally, people will always complain about the guy who's in charge of discipline. If student's want to take risks and break rules, they need to understand that they do so as adults...with adult consequences. 19 and 20-year old college students tend to whine like babies when they break rules and then are held responsible for their actions. Catholic students in particular should expect to be held to a higher standard. My sympathies are not with the law breaking whiners but with the ones who have to live with them. Does ND's "new approach to student discipline" means they look the other way when adult college students break local laws and campus rules? Or is that simply what some students hope it means?

  5. David Solomon doesn't work for Student Affairs. He doesn't know the reasons why Kirk was fired.

    Students who break the rules need to be dealt with, and they need to learn discipline. However, over the years it became apparent that Kirk's regime did go over the top.

    There are plenty of ways to deal with students. You cannot assume that every violation of the "official rules" constitutes some kind of crime against humanity. Kirk was a Pharisee in his position, not a careful judge.

    Notre Dame is a Catholic, pro-life institution. I don't care what Solomon says, there are plenty of other outstanding, orthodox professors in the departments of Theology and Philosophy who believe that Notre Dame is a fulfilling its mission authentically.

  6. Anonymous-

    Pro-life Catholic Colleges listen when their Bishop speaks. Pro-life Catholic Colleges don't press charges against peaceful Pro-life demonstrators. Notre Dame, like many other Catholic Colleges across the country, has a record and that record speaks for itself.

    It's interesting how much YOU seem to know about the situation... and it's hard to take someone seriously who hides in cyberspace without an identity.

    Notre Dame proved last year just how Catholic it is. Unfortunately it didn't pass the most recent test with flying colors.

  7. Anonymous,

    Considering how you are speaking as an insider on this situation, could you give us the job title that you have at Notre Dame and why that makes you a authority in this matter? Time to put your money with you mouth is.


  8. The assumptions made on this blog would make a philosophy minor at a state university cringe...

  9. POB-
    I've never claimed to be anything special. I am a stay-at-home mom who has embraced my vocation as a wife and a mother and who does my best on a daily basis to live an authentic Catholic life following the teachings of Christ's Church.

    I do wonder what "assumptions" are being made though? I guess that I am assuming that Catholic Colleges should listen to their Bishops and follow Catholic teachings. Other than that I can't see anything else that I've "assumed" here.

  10. POB,

    This is clearly a proudly conservative Catholic motherhood blog. Given that it is not a website that basks in the glory of its own self righteousness of liberality is enough to make most at any state university cringe.

    So what assumptions are you even talking about?



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