Despite its ongoing lawsuit against the Obama administration over its employee health care plan, the University of Notre Dame’s student insurance plan will cover contraceptives and abortifacients.
This is bad news. Really bad.
And for a lot of people holding out hope for, or actively working for, the renewal of Catholic identity at Notre Dame, this is really discouraging.
For a long time, Notre Dame has been derided as “Catholic in name only” by good people who believe the university has long since abandoned her Catholic identity and pursued prestige over integrity.
For the same long time, Notre Dame has been defended as truly Catholic by other good people who believe that the school remains Catholic at her core despite some truly scandalous and tragic decisions by the administration (Obama’s honorary degree, for example).
I’ll be honest – I have belonged in the second group for some time and very much want to stay there. Hope is a good thing. Catholic universities are a good thing. Hoping that a Catholic university can renew and strengthen its Catholic identity – well, I guess that’s two good things, right?
Anyone who has spent more than just a football Saturday on the Notre Dame campus knows that it is a tangibly Catholic place. Catholicism at Notre Dame is not hidden, not relegated to the chapel, not something that one is ever made to feel ashamed of. There are still many great professors who are committed to the teaching of the Catholic Church and committed to preserving the Catholic identity of the university. Ditto for an even larger number of students. And there are the Sacraments, to the tune of over 100 Masses a week and almost any-time access to Confession.
That’s not Georgetown, or DePaul, or Gonzaga. That’s a truly Catholic university, and it’s worth trying to save despite it’s flaws (and yes, it has some major flaws).
But now, this.
I’ll keep hoping, and I’ll keep praying to Our Lady to intercede for her university.
But in the meantime Fr. Jenkins and the administration are making it more and more difficult for those of us who want to believe that Notre Dame isn’t a lost cause.