Notre Dame: A Timeline of Dissent from the Catholic Teaching

May 13, 2009

Notre Dame: A Timeline of Dissent from the Catholic Teaching

By Staff Writer

May 13, 2009 - As Notre Dame prepares for the arrival, commencement speech and conferral of an honary law degree upon President Barack Obama this weekend, a look back at the history of Notre Dame's dissent from Catholic teaching is in order. The history of this dissent goes back almost 50 years, to the bestowal of the Laetare Medal on the first Catholic President, John Kennedy in 1961.

1961 - President Kennedy awarded the Laetare Medal. President Kennedy famously declared his Catholic beliefs would not affect his political decisions.

1967 - Hosts Land O’Lakes Conference, a landmark conference rejecting Catholic authority in favor of academic autonomy

1976 - Pro-abortion politician Walter Mondale is guest speaker (again in 1984)

1984 - Pro-abortion New York Gov. Mario Cuomo speaks at commencement

1970-2005 - Catholic faculty representation drops almost 40 percent, previously 85 percent in the 1970s and is currently 52 percent

1987 - Theology professor Fr. Richard McCormick avows support for in vitro fertilization

1987 - Joins Fordham University, Boston College and Georgetown University in promoting condoms in defiance of Church teaching

1988 - Rev. Richard P. McBrien, chairman of the theology department, testifies in support of anti-Catholic theology in the name of academic freedom

1992 - Graduation ceremonies featured pro-abortion Laetare medalist New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

1995-96 - Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students formed. Council dedicated to "identifying the ongoing needs of gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual students, and assist[ing] in implementing campus-wide educational programming on gay and lesbian issues"

2000 - Pro-abortion Sen. Lieberman address campus on "faith and values"

2002-2008 - Vagina Monologues performed on campus despite opposition from South Bend Bishop John D'Arcy and Catholic bishops across the country

2004 - Queer Film Festival

2006 - Commencement speaker President Mary McAleese of Ireland given an honorary degree. An outspoken critic of the Church, President McAleese supports women's ordination

2006 - Fr. Richard McBrien argued that it was morally justified to remove Terry Schiavo's feeding tube in contradiction to Catholic teaching on human dignity

2007 - Embryonic stem cell research supporter Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, President of the University of Michigan, given an honorary degree

2007 - ND Watch, an organization of female Notre Dame faculty, promotes homosexuality

2009 - The Notre Dame Progressive Student Alliance, a student organization, leads campaign for "sexual orientation" non-discrimination clause

2009 - Prominent financial contributor to the Obama presidential campaign, Nell Jessup Newton appointed dean of Notre Dame School of Law

2009 - President Obama invited to give commencement speech and receive an honorary law degree


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