By the honoring of President Barak Obama, a staunch supporter and robust ally to the Pro-Abortion movement, it seems the University is first.
One great counter-argument to my position is based upon the notion of academic freedom and runs as follows. At any university worthy of the name, the free exchange of ideas must be tolerated as the condition for the possibility of coming to authentic knowledge. Therefore, even those intellectual positions that one finds unappealing or objectionable must, in the context of the university, be allowed expression in the public forum. Thus, if Notre Dame—or any other Catholic university—aspires to be taken seriously in the secular academic milieu, it cannot allow ecclesiastical orthodoxy to compromise its identity as a seat of higher learning. The first problem with this argument is that it is hypocritical. Anyone even vaguely associated with the secular academy knows that it is governed by a fairly strict ideological orthodoxy and marked by many forms of censorship, both explicit and implicit. If you think I’m exaggerating, try arranging for a speaker on a secular campus who advocates colonialism, apartheid, the subordination of women to men, or the denial of basic rights to gays. Mind you, I’m against these things as well, but I think it’s duplicitous to find one kind of orthodoxy perfectly acceptable and another inherently objectionable.
The second and more fundamental problem is that it assumes that, at a Catholic university, the values of the secular academy ought to position those of the church. As Pope John Paul II argued, Catholic institutions of higher learning come out of the heart of the church and exist to serve the church’s mission. Therefore, the values that belong properly to the university—free inquiry, open conversation, the exchange of ideas—should be fostered, but they must be situated within the framework provided by the beliefs and practices of the church. If the church’s teaching does not position the ideals of the university, the ideals of the university will position the church’s teaching. There is no third option.
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