End Notes: The Bleat of the Wolf

A father who brought his son to Notre Dame went into the chapel of the residence hall and found a prayer card entitled “Toward a Spirit of Inclusivity at Notre Dame.” After six fairly straightforward paragraphs came this: “Because we welcome and value lesbian and gay members of our Notre Dame community, help us to be an inclusive people?’

This is the heart of a truly corrupt effort to cloak the homosexual agenda in Christian terms, indeed to make it a Christian obligation in charity and justice to regard the Church’s negative judgment on homosexual activity as a lapse in charity and, consequently, something to be overcome. Let’s stop thinking of homosexuality as a sin. Rather, let us make the negative moral judgment on it sinful. No one animated by the truth of Christianity could have composed this bogus “prayer” and foisted it on an unsuspecting student body. If ever there was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, this “prayer” is it.

It turns out that this card was distributed at all the Masses in the residence halls of Notre Dame one Sunday in the spring. This was done under the auspices of campus ministry. It marks one more instance in the continuing effort to put campus ministry at the service of those who seek to corrupt the morals of young men and women. There was some reaction at the time, I am told—I was in Europe on the Sunday in question—but I did not know of the prayer until the bewildered father brought it to my attention.

At first I thought it was merely a reprint of the confused statement on inclusivity presented at the beginning of the academic year several years ago. This became a full-page ad in The Observer, courtesy of campus ministry. There has been a prolonged campaign, nationally orchestrated, to get Notre Dame to crumble and recognize a homosexual student group. Having resisted this successfully, the administration turned victory into defeat by appointing a committee to consider the matter. There then appeared in the campus telephone directory an entry for Notre Dame Gay and Lesbian Students. This was not the organization that had requested recognition but a creature of the administration that enabled it to say “yes” even while saying “no.” But the prayer card takes us from confusion to perversity.

The “prayer” is, of course, an ideological statement couched in the trimmings of piety. “Because God has created all people in His image and likeness: I will strive to acknowledge the goodness and worth in lesbian, gay, and bisexual members of the Notre Dame family. I will stand with Christ, in community, with all my brothers and sisters.” Distinguo, for the love of God. Are the persons referred to in the camp terms of the homosexual establishment persons who engage in homosexual activity? Homosexual activity is a grave moral disorder. To suggest that a sinner as sinner is made in the image and likeness of God is blasphemous. But what else can this mean?

This diabolical imitation of a prayer could have, and perhaps is meant to have, the effect of eroding the moral consciences of students. It could have, and doubtless is meant to have, the result of making the acceptance of the Church’s teaching on homosexual activity seem morally defective, something one should pray to get over.

When people are denominated from a moral disorder, only confusion can result from invoking the demands of Christian charity. Christian charity would dictate helping such a person to overcome the disorder. But the “prayer?’ like the homosexual establishment, regards one who engages in homosexual activity as merely acting out the nature given him by God. It is not a sinful condition to be sorrowed over and, with the grace of God, abandoned. It has been some years since psychologists were cowed into removing homosexuality from the list of illnesses to be cured. Notre Dame’s campus ministry seems to want to remove it from the list of moral disorders.

What in the name of God would prompt the campus ministry of Notre Dame to visit this sort of perverse and subversive moral advice on the student body in the guise of a prayer?

This “prayer” is a good example of the way in which the wafflings and wanderings of dissident moral theology over the past quarter of a century and more have trickled down into pastoral practice and advice. Normal students will be morally confused by this attempt to take advantage of their goodwill. And those unfortunate enough to be tempted by unnatural sexual desires will find here a stimulus to succumb rather than the courage to resist by having recourse to prayers that do not have to be called prayers in quotation marks.

Ralph McInerny


Ralph McInerny was a popular writer, philosopher, and teacher, as well as the co-founder of Crisis Magazine. He passed away on January 29, 2010.

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