Wednesday 7th October 2015

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Notre Dame And The Hookup Culture

October 14, 2013 Featured Today No Comments


There has been an ongoing disagreement among Catholic parents with traditional values over whether it makes sense any longer to choose a Catholic college for their children. Those who say no point to the predominance of secular leftists in the theology and philosophy departments at modern Catholic colleges, arguing, as did Archbishop Sheen decades ago, that it is better to have our children’s faith ignored at secular and state colleges, than attacked openly and systematically by professors hostile to the Church and the Magisterium.
Those who disagree take the position that the best-known Catholic colleges remain “culturally Catholic,” in spite of their left-wing faculties; that they are likely to have a nucleus of professors loyal to the Church and a student body drawn from practicing Catholic families. The proposition is that these students will set a tone on campus reflective of Catholic moral values that will not be found at private or state universities. Those who make that case owe it to themselves to read the latest bulletin from the Sycamore Trust. It might not change their minds, but it offers information that should be factored into their decision.
The Sycamore Trust is an organization of alumni of the University of Notre Dame concerned about the loss of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity in recent decades. The university’s sponsorship of the play The Vagina Monologues and its decision to honor President Obama with an honorary doctor of laws degree at the school’s commencement ceremony in 2009 were the final straws for those who organized the Sycamore Trust. (More information about the trust can be found at the organization’s web site,
The trust’s September bulletin states flatly that “Notre Dame is no exception” to the “alcohol, sex, and the hookup culture” that have become “deeply troublesome features of campus environments across the country. Alumni often tell us they like to hear student views. So do we. We bring you now what Bob Burkett (’13), last year’s editor-in-chief of The Irish Rover [Notre Dame’s student newspaper] and recipient of the Sycamore student award, had to say at our June annual breakfast.”
Burkett relates his impression of student life upon entering the school as a freshman. “I wondered what my first weekend as a college student would be like here, surrounded by people with the same interests, background, and of course Catholic faith as me. . . . I was appalled when I saw the immorality of the activities going on around me. It seemed that Our Lady’s University was really no different on the weekends than any other college I had ever heard about. . . . I felt like I had been tricked.”
Burkett judged the “religion” of a “great many students” at Notre Dame to be a reflection of what “the distinguished Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith calls ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.’ Students are interested in religion insofar as it makes them feel happy and good.” They believe that we should “be free to do whatever we would like insofar as no one else is harmed, with ‘harm’ largely limited to physical violence.”
What does this mean in specific terms for life on Notre Dame’s campus? According to Burkett, it “allows ‘perfectly moral teenagers’ to engage in alcohol, drugs, and sexual promiscuity. My biggest fear is that this mentality of cafeteria Catholicism . . . has run amok at Notre Dame.”
The editors of the Sycamore Trust bulletin agree that the behavior of the Notre Dame student body is a reflection of “the debased morality of today’s dominant secular culture”; and that “Notre Dame has to work with what it gets.” Fair enough. But if you accept that proposition, the central question should be whether “four years at Notre Dame would change them.” What the trust found was that those four years did “but not in the way one would hope and expect. Certainly many students enter Notre Dame firm in their faith and become ever more committed to Church ethical teachings. We have come to know many of them. They are crucially important to the Catholic character of the university.
“But this is not true of the student population as a whole. A four-year study by the respected Higher Education Research Institute of a Notre Dame class disclosed that, as a group, the class was less attached to Church teachings on sexuality and abortion when it left than when it entered.” And “the proportion of the class who saw nothing wrong with premarital sex if the parties ‘really like each other’ rose from 21 percent to 36 percent — an increase of 71 percent!”
On another topic. H.L. of Idaho Falls writes to take issue with the arguments made in defense of the Common Core requirements by Edward L. Glaeser, cited in the July 18 edition of First Teachers. Glaeser, a Harvard economist, serves on the Gates Foundation’s domestic program and is a prominent supporter of Common Core. Glaeser believes that critics of Common Core “misunderstand what Common Core does”; that it will not radically change our schools and that the fear of a “nationwide curriculum” is a “terrifying but phantom bogeyman. No one is seriously proposing it.”
H.L. doesn’t buy it. He argues that government programs inevitably grow in size and scope, becoming far more expensive and intrusive in our lives that originally stated by their proponents. He points to the Social Security system, “designed by Roosevelt to help the aged in their waning years. A tax was assessed on all workers and employers to cover this. But soon the funds were not separated but dumped into the general fund, from which they were spent.
“There is also the Medicare system, for which taxes on wages of workers and employers were also set aside. We are now at the point where half or more of the doctors in the country don’t take Medicare patients. Now it is threatened by Obamacare. Then there is the tax system, in which retirement income was not taxed. At present, 85 percent of it is subject to taxes. Tax rates float all over the place, depending on the politicians in office.”
H.L. concludes with the observation that a better solution for our failing schools and declining educational standards would be to “eliminate the Department of Education. Then divide the dollars saved among the states, without preconditions. In addition, eliminate unions for publicly funded entities paid for by tax money.”

+    +    +

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues. The e-mail address for First Teachers is, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford, CT 06492.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Synod Showdown Report—October 5, 2015

We’re just out of the first press briefing of the Synod 2015, and things have pretty much picked up where they ended last year. The lead story, if you want to say there’s a lead to this, was a question…Continue Reading

Gov. Brown signs controversial assisted-suicide bill

Caught between conflicting moral arguments, Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminary student, signed a measure Monday allowing physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who want to hasten their deaths. Brown appeared to struggle in…Continue Reading

Someone is Lying About the Pope’s Meeting with Kim Davis

Papal spokesman Father Thomas Rosica flatly denies Kim Davis met privately with Pope Francis when he visited Washington, D.C. which stands in flat contradiction to Davis’s claims. In Roscia’s telling Davis was part of a large number of people as…Continue Reading

Top Universities Defend Research Using Body Parts From Aborted Babies

Some of America’s top universities have signed a letter urging states not to support legislation that would ban the sale of aborted babies for research. The letter comes after ten videos surfaced exposing Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting business, along with…Continue Reading

Catholic Hospitals Sued For Refusing Emergency Care To Pregnant Women

The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday announced that it is suing Trinity Health Corporation, which operates 80 hospitals nationwide, for refusing to provide pregnant women suffering from life-threatening emergency complications with abortions. Trinity Health hospitals have “repeatedly and systematically…Continue Reading

Too Scared to Pray? ISIL Cancels Prayers for Fear of Russian Airstrikes

The Islamic State terror group cancelled Friday prayers in the Syrian city of Raqqa and emptied mosques there out of fear of further Russian airstrikes, according to activists and city residents. According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,…Continue Reading

Putin defends Russia’s ban on youth-focused gay propaganda: ‘I believe we should leave kids in peace’

MOSCOW, September 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – In 2013, Russia passed an amendment to the country’s Child Protection Law against “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors,” which also safeguards children from being adopted by homosexuals. Western governments, led by the…Continue Reading

EXPOSED: The billionaire Planned Parenthood donor who wants his donations kept very, very secret

Sept. 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Three weeks after I left my job at the clinic, Planned Parenthood took me to court. I am always asked, “Why would they take you to court? Did they have something to hide?” Well, yes.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Brought Back Into Roman Curia By Pope Francis

Raymond Cardinal Burke has been re-appointed to Congregation for the Causes of Saints from which he had been removed in December of 2013.

The Secret Meeting of the Papal Trip

Washington, D.C. One meeting during Pope Francis’ whirlwind trip to America has remained secret. Until now. It was, arguably, the most significant meeting, symbolically, of the entire trip. It should, therefore, be brought to the attention of the public, both…Continue Reading

Angry Pope Blasts Mayor of Rome as a ‘Pretend Catholic’

Pope Francis raised eyebrows in Italy on Tuesday by slapping down the left-leaning mayor of Rome as someone who “pretends to be Catholic”. The unforgiving assessment of Ignazio Marino — a man the Italian media love to hate — further…Continue Reading

Bishop Fellay Petitions Pope Francis

A petition to Pope Francis: uphold marriage! The Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X has just published a petition to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, asking him to publicly defend the institution of holy matrimony. Bishop Fellay…Continue Reading


Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis makes first direct intervention; was Cardinal Erdö undermined?

Pope Francis makes first direct intervention; was Cardinal Erdö undermined? There appear to be two main contingents at the Synod: one favoring the proclamation of the fullness of the truth to be taught with clarity and Christian charity; and the other favoring mercy at any and all costs October 06, 2015 03:00 EST Fr Nicholas Gregoris Pope Francis arrives for the morning session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct.…Continue Reading

Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 2


(Vatican Radio) Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. opened the daily press conference by explaining what had happened in the morning session. He said that the general secretary of the Synod, Cardinal Baldisseri, had explained “certain processes of the methodology” and its new elements. Lombardi said that Pope Francis also thought it was important for him to make a contribution and so he too said a few words. “The Holy Father thought it important to say that…Continue Reading

Card. Alencherry: pastors called to prophetic role

(Vatican Radio) The third General Congregation of the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops opened on Tuesday morning with the celebration of Terce (mid-morning prayer). The homily for the Liturgy was delivered by Cardinal George Alencherry of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Major Archbishop and President of the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church. In his homily, Cardinal Alencherry reminded the Synod Fathers that “the pastors of the Church in the present times are called to take…Continue Reading

Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 1


(Vatican Radio) The first of the daily press conferences to report on the proceedings of the Synod of the Family took place at 1pm Rome time on Monday. The Synod began on Sunday with a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica and the first session sat on Monday morning. Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, was accompanied by Cardinal Péter Erdö from Hungary – who is the…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “What is Transgenderism?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For all of the previous Culture of Life 101 articles on homosexuality, e-mail him at + + + While those fortunate few who still possess a lingering sense of reality cringed at the bizarre…Continue Reading

Liberty Counsel Says . . . Pope’s Words And Meetings Support Conscientious Objection

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Liberty Counsel issued the following statement on October 2: Mat Staver, county clerk Kim Davis’ attorney, is the chairman of Liberty Counsel: + + + Despite a statement this morning by a Vatican official, the Pope’s own words about conscientious objection being a human right and his private meeting with Kim Davis…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Ideal Artist

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY Santayana, George. The Life of Reason: Reason in Art. A critical edition, co-edited by M.S. Wokeck and M.A. Coleman. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2015. lvi + 276 pp. The Life of Reason is Volume VII, Book Four, of the Collected Works of George Santayana. Professor James Gouinlock of Emory University…Continue Reading

Why Isn’t Kim Davis A Hero To The Left?

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK I have been waiting for weeks now for the keepers of the flame in the liberal establishment to express some begrudging admiration for Kim Davis’ decision to go to jail, rather than violate her conscience by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky. Or at least some ambiguity over what…Continue Reading

What’s In A Motto?

By DONALD DeMARCO Pope St. John Paul II’s 1998 encyclical Fides et Ratio is a thorough and thoughtful discussion of the harmony between “faith” and “reason.” It does not break new ground but reaffirms to a modern audience what St. Thomas Aquinas and more recent thinkers such as Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson have carefully…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Pope Francis In Philadelphia . . . Religious Liberty Transcends Places Of Worship

PHILADELPHIA (ZENIT) — Here is a Vatican translation of the address Pope Francis gave September 26 in Philadelphia, at a meeting with immigrants on the theme of religious freedom. ZENIT’s transcription and translation of his few off-the-cuff remarks are found in brackets. The Holy Father was in Philadelphia to attend the World Meeting of Families. ZENIT provided the text. All…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Pope Francis’ Visit Leaves Us Blessed And Strengthened

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The chair under me is rolling from starboard to port and back as I write to you this week because I do so aboard the USS San Antonio at sea. In my ministry here I am following through on something Pope Francis has asked of all of us: I am seeking souls at the periphery.…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . The Church Of Christ Is Universal, For Everyone

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 22 It is true that Jesus came first for the Jews. Many individuals accepted Him, like the apostles, disciples, and their converts, but as a nation they refused Him. So the apostles spread their mission to the Gentiles — that means, to our ancestors. But even if the Jews had accepted Him, the apostles would…Continue Reading

Mission Of The Catholic Laity: Priest, Prophet, And King

By DON FIER Thus far in our examination of the vocation of the laity in the mission of the Church, it has become manifestly clear that theirs is a role that is distinctive and indispensable. Characterized especially by their secular nature, it pertains in a unique way to the lay faithful “to illuminate and order all temporal things with which…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Recently we got a new pastor who has resumed the holding of hands during the Our Father that our previous pastor had eliminated. Has this now become part of the liturgy? And what is the purpose of the holding hands to begin with? Also, what do you think of “Polka Masses”? — C.G., Wisconsin. A. No, holding hands during…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. John XXIII

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 Although rare, it is not unknown for a poor man, who had no connections and did not seek to develop them, to rise above all other men in stature and in influence over mankind. Such was the case of the sharecroppers’ son, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. Throughout his ecclesiastical career, he was obedient and kind, but…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Thomas of Hereford

By CAROLE BRESLIN During the High Middle Ages the power of kings began to disintegrate, as shown by the Magna Charta, which was established in 1215. Although neither party of the agreement held up to its commitments, the beginning of more democratic rule had arrived. Three years later a noble family gave birth to a man who played a significant…Continue Reading