Monday, March 10, 2008

This just in...


Mark your calendars for the return of The Vagina Monologues to campus March 24-26.

From ND News & Info:

The following statement was issued today (March 10) by Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame:

In the spring of 2006, prompted by recurring performances of “The Vagina Monologues” on campus, I made a speech to the Notre Dame family that launched a 10-week-long, community-wide discussion about the presentation of controversial events at Notre Dame. At the end of that exchange, I drew several conclusions, which were shared by department chairs in the College of Arts and Letters and expressed in “The Common Proposal of the Chairs of Arts and Letters and Fr. Jenkins.” Among these are the following:

First, it is part of the role of a university to foster free and open discussion of controversial issues. Second, it is the responsibility of all involved in sponsoring a controversial event to ensure that the presentation has academic merit, multiple viewpoints are heard, appropriate balance among these is maintained, and reasoned and respectful exchange—the hallmark of a genuine university—is fostered. Third, those sponsoring an event must make clear that their sponsorship is not an endorsement of the views presented, and any language or actions suggesting such endorsement must be avoided. Finally, when a significant issue of Catholic teaching is touched on, it is incumbent on us as a Catholic university to ensure that a knowledgeable presentation of Catholic teaching is included.

Recently a student proposal for the performance of “The Vagina Monologues” was approved by several academic departments and received by the dean of the College of Arts and Letters. The dean has approved a final proposal and, after reviewing it, I am satisfied that the principles of the “Common Proposal” are being applied. In particular, after each performance and as part of each academic panel, at least one of the panelists will offer a thorough and sympathetic account of the Catholic tradition in relation to the issues raised in the play. Performances of the play, which will take place in an academic setting, will occur from March 24 to 26.

I am well aware that the performance of this play will upset many. It is particularly painful for me that Bishop John D’Arcy—for whom I have great respect and affection—disapproves of my decision. It also pains me to know it will disappoint some very loyal members of the Notre Dame family—alumni who are deeply committed to the Catholic identity of Notre Dame who see the performance of this play on campus as contrary to our Catholic mission.

At the same time, others are upset at the restrictions on this performance—that there will be no fund-raising, that a panel must follow each play and include a sympathetic and thorough presentation of Catholic teaching.

My decision on this matter arises from a conviction that it is an indispensable part of the mission of a Catholic university to provide a forum in which multiple viewpoints are debated in reasoned and respectful exchange—always in dialogue with faith and the Catholic tradition—even around highly controversial topics. Notre Dame’s policy on controversial events rests on the conviction that truth will emerge from reasoned consideration of issues in dialogue with faith, and that we will educate Catholic leaders not by insulating our students from controversial views, but by engaging these views energetically, in light of Catholic teachings.

While I know the decision is likely to disappoint many, and perhaps satisfy no one fully, it is, in my judgment, the action that best serves the distinctive mission of Notre Dame.


I'm one of those upset and disappointed "many". For some irrational reason, seeing the ambiguous "Statement from Rev. John I. Jenkins" headline and reading the press release managed to get my hopes up for a complete reversal his stance on the Monologues. Not seeing it opened the wound again.

In my mind, the statement could have just as easily said "Sorry, guys, I goofed, and besides, the Monologues are getting old. No go this year..." In my somewhat illogical post-Spring Break mind, that makes perfect sense. So what if his ruling two years ago virtually tied his hands and delegated his power to judge the appropriateness of 'academic events,' to the individual departments? If it's not enough that our bishop has asked that Notre Dame not allow the performance, then certainly we can all just sit back and see that the content is inappropriate and that the production itself is getting just a wee bit stale.

Seven out of eight years? Let's give Ms. Ensler a rest...

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

not the monologues **AGAIN**.

EVERY YEAR at this time, its "The Monologues this" and "The Monologues that" and "The Monologues lalala take that Bishop D'Arcy".

Eight years in a row? What else has been given eight years of almost exclusive production like this? In the name of Academic Freedom, Fr. Jenkins should then give other things a chance, things that are almost as controversial but with a different message. Take the Rover for example ...

Or, how about we try the Penis Sololoquies for a change?

I'm SICKSICKSICK of the monologue debate EVERY year!!!!!!

Brandon said...

Can we get Jesus Christ Superstar every year as a counterbalance? That's one of my favorites. No really it is. I'd want to be Simon Zealotes. I already know the song.

fester said...

what about a compromise? What about back to back productions of the V-logs and Jesus Christ Supastar? It would have the "Jesus" message the V-logs lack while the V-logs work to raise awarness of ... the femininity of every second person on earth.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rachel's statment that, even though everything is done in the name of preventing violence against women, the message is getting stale. Perhaps if there were new acts in the Monologues it would be more interesting.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rachel's statment that, even though everything is done in the name of preventing violence against women, the message is getting stale. Perhaps if there were new acts in the Monologues it would be more interesting.

Anonymous said...

duh....
"I am well aware that the performance of this play will upset many. It is particularly painful for me that Bishop John D’Arcy—for whom I have great respect and affection—disapproves of my decision. It also pains me to know it will disappoint some very loyal members of the Notre Dame family—alumni who are deeply committed to the Catholic identity of Notre Dame who see the performance of this play on campus as contrary to our Catholic mission."

So WHY is he doing it? He is disrespecting the Bishop, the CATHOLIC church, and US - the alumni!!

I've lost any repect I had left for Fr. Jenkins [C.I.N.O.].

Anonymous said...

a couple of years ago this subject (monologues playing a 'catholic' university)came up for the umpteenth time and my knee-jerk reaction was "i can't imagine any circumstance under which i would be the least bit interested to see that play"
on further reflection it occurred to me - if it were presented as a 1 man show starring senor wencas, i would be interested to see it.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Jenkins should obsess less over Notre Dame being "accepted" by post-modern secular academia. There are few things more pathetic, or self-destructive, than sacrificing principle in order to gain peer approval.

Perhaps the REAL lesson that Fr. Jenkins has modeled for Notre Dame students is that of moral cowardice.

Fr. Jenkins missed a golden opportunity to model genuine courage against unambiguous immorality and hostility to religion, and to teach students to "fight the good fight" even in the face of secular opprobrium. These are foundational skills as critical for Notre Dame students as much as any academic curriculum. How else will they learn them?

What a sad and tragic loss of opportunity.

Anonymous said...

As an alum, I am appalled at Father Jenkins' decision. I will not be making any donations this year. I hope more alumni will do the same. We'll see how the administration does next year. Check out this comment.

http://www.nationalreview.com/campbell/campbell200604140001.asp

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Catholic, and I find this a bit perplexing. Isn't a religion supposed to be about the unchanging infinite? About absolute Truth? That's not something that supposed to change every five years. Then why are the people who are supposed to represent those concepts such bend in the wind wimps?

"Freedom of Speech" is something the government is forbidden to pass a law against. It's not for making sure that your religous school has to host and honor concepts and people who would gladly stomp your most cherished beliefs into the dirt. That idea comes from the church of the glass tit, not the Word of God.

"But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness." 2Tim 16


Sheez.

Dee Kaye th' DJ said...

Hey, why don't we just bring the crucifix-in-a-jar-of-urine "art" exhibit to Notre Dame. Then we can all pray a prayer of thanksgiving to Our Lady for all the wonderful examination of "ideas."

Anonymous said...

dee kaye --

Some girl actually brought that exhibit up in class a few weeks ago, practically spilling over with enthusiasm. I couldn't help but show my disgust.

Nancy Danielson said...

I'v got an idea. Picture this. In all fairness to Jesus, how about a request to do the Play in OUR TOWN format? The main character, the Stage Manager, Jesus, will break the fourth wall. Then, after every scene, the Play would stop, and we would find out exactly what Jesus would say. Don't you think that would be fair and balanced?

P.S. My vote is with Jesus.

Go Irish! Nancy Danielson

Nancy Danielson said...

I just got an idea from another Blog regarding the Gift of Religious Freedom. ( Some Have Hats ) Right after the first scene of the Play, for dramatic effect, Mary Magdalene can break the fourth wall and say, " Where have they taken my Lord? " ( Enter, Jesus )

You most likely will have to ask for a postponement of the Play, in the spirit of a continuance, so that you can prepare. What do you think? Can you do it?

Happy Easter!