What, in the name of God, is going on with America’s Catholic universities?

Notre Dame alumni are putting the screws to their alma mater, hitting it where it hurts most: in the Irish endowment.

The purpose: Dumping university president, Rev. John Jenkins. The reason: Jenkins’ invitation to pro-abortionist President Barack Obama to speak at commencement on May 17th and Jenkins’ surrender of the values upon which Notre Dame was founded. The prospects of success: Nil, in either ousting Jenkins or in stopping their school from honoring a man who stands in opposition to virtually everything Notre Dame and the Catholic faith holds true and sacred.

(http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=46823)

It would represent a further embarrassment to all concerned to revoke the Obama invite at this point and an equal embarrassment to force Jenkins to step down under duress. However, the school still has high hopes and anticipates President Obama will abide by tradition, even if the school has abandoned its traditional moral principles. A university spokesman indicated that, “Notre Dame expects Obama to Wear Prayer to Virgin Mary on His Chest When He Accepts Honorary Degree:” http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=46844. That is the same traditional robe worn by such luminaries as George W. Bush and Martin Sheen and, as another spokesman added, “everyone” wears that robe when receiving such recognition by Notre Dame and so will Obama.

Don’t bet the farm on that expectation. Not that Obama isn’t into tradition but his traditions aren’t quite the same as Notre Dame’s. A White House spokesman when asked about the robe hemmed and hawed over an answer and sputtered, “I’ve looked around, but I don’t have an answer for you.”

We will get that answer in a little over a month at the graduation ceremony. I wonder how proud the new graduates and “Rudy” Ruetigger feel about the whole mess created for their beloved school by Father Jenkins.

That other prestigious, eastern United States Catholic university, Georgetown, had already succeeded in upstaging its sister Catholic school in South Bend by its shameful action when Obama spoke there recently. Georgetown deferred to Obama by covering the religiously-symbolic letters, “IHS,” which were never an issue for other speakers. For Obama, for some reason, the iconic symbol was “out of context.” GU subsequently offered the lame excuse that it required the space for flags. (See http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=46784 and “Pusillanimity on Parade in Academia:” http://www.genelalor.com/blog1/?p=959.)

In what appears to be a never-ending competition for publicity, or for something far worse, Georgetown outdid itself during this year’s Lenten season

If I may digress for a brief bit, GU’s desecration of Lent brought to mind the priest and family friend who had officiated at our wedding 40 years ago. Twenty years later, Father Joe decided he had had it and left the priesthood. His winters of discontent were not rooted in his religion or the priesthood per se as much as it was discontent with the new priests entering that vocation. He expressed the reason for his giving up his vestments in a rhetorical question: “What other profession offers such a ripe field for homosexuals to pursue their homosexual inclinations?”

His point and the cause of Father Joe’s justifiable anger was the influx of gays into the priesthood, the results of which have become all too evident in contemporary headlines about predator priests and child molestation. As vocations by the truly priestly plummeted, the Church sought to fill the ranks by allowing entry into its seminaries not only to “non-practicing” homosexuals but to others of questionable character and morality, as long as they hadn’t been caught yet.

The results are also evident at Georgetown University. Jesuit GU bastardized the first week of Lent with “Sex Positive Week,” dedicated not exclusively to homosexuality but open to all “positivity.”

Georgetown’s “Sex Positive Week” featured a variety of “positive” events. On Monday they had a panel discussion on positive sex. Tuesday focused on the eternal query, “Can pornography be sex positive?” Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, was spent on “Having a wholistic approach to one’s sexuality and desires.” Thursday was open mic night when students were invited “to come enjoy yourself and be a part of a safe space to artistically talk about sex positivity.” And Saturday was devoted to “Relationships Beyond Monogamy,” hosted by a porn movie director: http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2009/02/sex-positive-week-at-georgetow.html.

Georgetown students were being well-prepared for the holy season of Lent, associated in bygone times with fasting, abstinence, and sacrifice and now at GU with all the positive elements in hooking up and pornography.

Further west from Georgetown, other Catholic schools are attempting to compete for the 2009 Catholic Disgrace Award.

Out on the Left Coast, in February, Catholic, Seattle University observed the beginning of Lent by holding a “Transgender Awareness Week.” In lieu of GU’s overt accent on porn, Seattle’s LGBTQI sponsored this week and addressed multiple topics related to the interests of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and queers; as for the “I” in LGBTQI, I can only surmise it stands for insecure.

Discusssion subjects included, “Passing as Yourself,” “Transgender Bible Study,” and “Criss-Cross [not THE Cross] Day” during which students were invited to “Come dressed for the day in your best gender bending outfit!” Transgender Awareness Week featured refreshments only on Thursday, so students would have to refresh themselves on the other days–or give up refreshments for Lent: http://queersu.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/transgender-awareness-week/.

Last but hardly least in this pantheon of Catholic apostasy is a hometown school of Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich, Loyola of Chicago, which continues the high standards set by Obama and Blago. “At Loyola of Chicago that week, the Student Diversity and Cultural Affairs Office presented ‘Brother to Brother,’ a film . . . about ‘a homosexual African-American who is transported in time to cavort with the allegedly homosexual Langston Hughes.’ The movie is said to be part of ‘a semester-long ‘Color of Queer Film Series,’ sponsored by the university.”

The film’s protagonist, “Perry Williams, [is] a young man dealing with the strife involved with being both African-American and a homosexual in contemporary New York:” http://www.starpulse.com/Movies/Brother_to_Brother/Summary/. Sounds to me like a soon-to-be classic which will become standard Lenten fare everywhere!

What, in the name of God, is going on with America’s Catholic universities? The answer is both simple and sad: They have lost their way in what Pope Benedict XVI called, “a desert of godlessness” and what I would call a sea of cynical apostasy.