The University of Notre Dame stopped being a Catholic institution ever since the reign of President Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, who allowed full-blown heretics like Father Richard McBrien to transform the theology department into a bastion of card-carrying leftists that believed the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude was Him getting a bunch of hungry peasants to share loaves and fishes with each other.
The reign of President Rev. John Jenkins has not fared much better, having awarded then-President Obama an honorary degree despite the man’s opposition to every doctrine on life the Church holds sacred and now caving into the Obamacare mandate “requiring employer health care plans to cover the cost of contraceptives and abortifacient drugs,” according to The Wall Street Journal. What is most distressing about Rev. Jenkins’ decision to defy Catholic teaching is that he did not have to under the rubrics of the Trump administration’s religious exemption.
To his credit, Rev. Jenkins did at least see to it that Notre Dame will no longer be covering abortifacient drugs, but that the University will still be covering their employees’ contraceptives in their insurance programs, thus sending the message that other religious institutions (including the Little Sisters of the Poor) best get in line with the secular agenda. Rev. Jenkins claims that his decision stems from the Catholic tradition that allows for respect of “the conscientious decisions of members of our community,” failing to realize that “respect” for another’s conscience does not require complicity.
It is one thing if Notre Dame lets their employees freely use contraception in their private lives (provided they respect Church teaching on campus) and another if Notre Dame endorses their practice wholesale by funding their insurance programs. In fact, that was the entire basis behind the fight for religious exemptions to the Obamacare mandate.
On Notre Dame’s blatant capitulation to the secular culture, effectively jettisoning whatever beacon of Catholic academia it once held, Alexandra DeSanctis of The Wall Street Journal has more:
Notre Dame’s leadership has embarked on a campaign to put the university on the same footing as the nation’s other elite schools. In so doing, it often has renounced its obligation to shape the moral landscape of the society it inhabits, and, more importantly, to form its own community properly.
The Catholic Church is never more effective than when it when it acts as a countercultural force. It offers the modern world a radically different vision of human sexuality from the one most young people are taught. With the decision to provide birth control, Notre Dame has forfeited its chance to stand in moral opposition to a utilitarian sexual culture. It has chosen to stop speaking to the kind of life that makes people whole.
Father Jenkins’s decision also does a disservice to Notre Dame’s faculty and students. They have always been free to exercise personal conscience in their moral lives, but Notre Dame has a responsibility to assist in forming those consciences. By essentially endorsing contraceptive use, Notre Dame leaves many of its children not in the bliss of freedom but in a harmful state of sin.
Though the Catholic Church forbids contraception, it does not teach that Catholics must have countless children until menopause kicks in. The Church also teaches that in cases of poverty and other “serious conditions,” people can use Natural Family Planning (NFP) to avoid pregnancy, and thanks to advancements in Napro technology and fertility monitors, NFP can be as easy as a click of a button, and it’s 98% effective.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), “studies show that couples who follow their NFP method’s guidelines correctly, and all the time, achieve effectiveness rates of 97-99%.”