Notre Dame Bans Catholicism

Barb Wire

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA ― University of Notre Dame President Father Liam O’flies, C.H.C., Ph.D, announced on Good Friday that the university will no longer tolerate Catholicism on campus.

“The Roman Catholic Church is responsible for centuries of slaughter and oppression, oppression of women, oppression of ‘gays,’ oppression of the poor and the weak,” Father O’flies told a roomful of astounded reporters. “You know the whole sordid history, I don’t need to repeat it for you. Suffice it to say Notre Dame’s reputation will no longer be sullied by association with Rome.

“We believe Good Friday is the ideal day to make our official break with Catholicism,” Father O’flies continued, a twinkle in his genial Irish eye. “Now we can enjoy our annual Easter egg hunt without all that religious falderal.”

Father O’flies acknowledged that the recent incident involving the  American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, a conservative Catholic organization that tried to distribute pamphlets critical of same-sex “marriage” on campus, helped trigger the announcement.

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“Notre Dame police were forced, not once, but twice, to kick those troglodytes off our campus,” said Father O’flies. “Enough is enough. Imagine the temerity of suggesting gay marriages are in any way inferior to heterosexual ones. We believe that by breaking formally with Catholicism now, we’ll make it clear to even the most judgmental mouth-breather that retrograde ideas and obsolete values simply aren’t welcome in South Bend.”

Father O’flies went on to explain that faculty discontent with Catholic values and practice was the primary impetus behind the ban.

“We understand that we were founded by Catholic believers to teach traditional Catholic doctrine, but we cannot expect our faculty to compromise its values any longer. Notre Dame’s faculty is extremely progressive-minded, especially the Jesuits, and the university is now acknowledging that its top priority is keeping its faculty happy, not passing along outmoded, anti-modern beliefs to yet another rising generation.

“You have to understand, some faculty are embarrassed when people expect them to take issue with atheism at academic conferences. Others don’t like having to deal with opposing views on any subject.  In some cases they have to debate students two or three times a semester! They want a more congenial campus community where they are safe from such emotional violence.

“This announcement simply reflects an evolution in Notre Dame culture that has long since taken place. We abandoned the gospel of gore decades ago, but even the more culturally sensitive, inclusive approach we’ve been using lately has become too restrictive for most of the Notre Dame family.

“For example, in 2012, we were forced to insist on a compromise with the Obama Administration on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Had we not been saddled with primitive Catholic values, we could have simply embraced mandatory funding of abortion, birth control, and gender reassignment surgery, as our faculty preferred all along.

“It’s time we shake the dust of the past off our feet, and move forward with a new vision.”

Father O’flies then surprised the audience by leaving the press conference. “Please forgive me, but I won’t be able to take any questions this afternoon,” said Father O’flies. “The problem with making this announcement on Friday afternoon is that it conflicts with my senior faculty tantric sex encounter group. It’s my turn to lead this week, and I can’t let the fellas down, so I’m turning this press conference over to the man who will be enforcing our ban on Catholicism. Please welcome our new Dean of Discipline, fresh in from Rome, Vicar Accusa d’Brethren. The good Vicar will be happy to answer any questions.”

Below is a transcript of questions and answers.

Vicar d’Brethren: “Thank you, Father O’flies, and may I say all of us at Notre Dame appreciate your forward-looking, innovative and open-minded leadership. Now, may I answer questions from the press?”

CNN: “Vicar d’Brethren, what does Pope Francis think about all this?”

Vicar d’Brethren: “The Holy Father is fine with it, as long as practicing Catholics remaining on campus are not persecuted too harshly. He’s moving the Church in pretty much the same direction. Less judgmentalism, more respect for diversity. Of course, much of the Curia already agrees with Father O’flies, or I wouldn’t even be here.”

CNN: “One quick followup. Will students be permitted to practice their personal Catholic faith?”

Vicar d’Brethren: “Not on this campus. Punishment for violators will be determined on a case-by-case basis, but it will be severe. Forgiveness is one of those old-fashioned Catholic values we’re trying to rise above. Full implementation will take some time, though, so the University is prepared to turn a blind eye to students praying the rosary in their own rooms, at least until we can install monitoring equipment in all the dormitories. Thank God most of the kids already have smart phones.”

The New York Times: “Why has it taken Notre Dame so long to catch up with the modern world?”

Vicar d’Brethren: “We’re a bit ashamed of that, but remember, our faculty already reached this point a long time ago. It takes a while to indoctrinate the entire community.”

Washington Post: “Does Notre Dame’s new direction mean you’ll be taking more enlightened positions on political issues?

Vicar d’Brethren: “Of course it does. You might say we’ve stepped out of the darkness and into the light.”

MSNBC:  “Following up on that point, Vicar, what is Notre Dame’s position on providing emergency reproductive health care for women?”

Vicar d’Brethren: “I’m glad you asked.  One of our former chapels is being converted into a women’s reproductive health center.  We’re confident the new facility will be able to meet the entire range of contraceptive and reproductive health needs of students, faculty and staff.  And it will all be free of charge.  We’re calling it the A+ Clinic.”

Los Angeles Times: “Father, what effect will Notre Dame’s new direction have on the Notre Dame-USC football rivalry?”

Vicar d’Brethren: “I’m very glad you asked that question, too. We believe the rivalry will become even more enjoyable, because Notre Dame will be placing even greater emphasis on our athletic programs. Resources currently being used for religious instruction are being redirected to higher priorities. For example, a disproportionate percentage of our physical plant is currently devoted to chapels, housing for the religious, and catechistic training. These resources will be converted to gyms, athletic dormitories, and athletes-only cafeterias and recreational centers. We’ll be able to recruit more athletes, keep them happier, and develop them into real beasts, so we can compete for the NCAA Division I football championship again.”

The Wall Street Journal: “Vicar d’Brethren, aren’t you concerned that Notre Dame’s donors will withhold their funding because of your rejection of Roman Catholicism?”

Vicar d’Brethren: “We don’t believe fundraising will be affected at all. While we may be banning Catholicism, we intend to leave Touchdown Jesus completely intact, along with the rest of Notre Dame’s athletic and cultural traditions.  We will be retaining the name “Notre Dame,” though we’re making it clear that “Dame” no longer refers to any lady in particular. Incidentally, if our expanded athletic program succeeds as anticipated, we expect fundraising among the Domers to blossom.”

Rolling Stone Magazine: “Hey, man, my kid’s been bugging me about going to Notre Dame, but I didn’t think it was such a cool idea. Can you guarantee no religious brainwashing at Notre Dame?”

Vicar d’Brethren: “You can bet the rent on it.  We’re already brainwashing in the opposite direction.”

World Magazine: “Will evangelical Christians be permitted to practice their faith at Notre Dame?”

Vicar d’Brethren: “We are proud of our thriving community of evangelical Christians here at Notre Dame, especially the ones who play football. We respect all religious minorities, even Christian ones, and on this campus evangelicals are a distinct minority. Evangelical Christian doctrine is uncomfortably close to orthodox Catholicism, however, so they’ll need to watch their step. As long as they don’t discuss Christianity, evangelize, or read their Bibles in public, they’ll be just fine.”

Al Jazeera: “How about Muslim students?”

Vicar d’Brethren: “We are already installing Muslim-only foot baths throughout the campus, and two of our old Catholic chapels are being repurposed for Muslim prayer and worship. Offensive stained-glass windows will be covered over, of course, except when alumni are on campus for class reunions. All of our cafeterias will soon serve halal meals, and Muslims will have their own special dining rooms. If you have any other suggestions how we could make Muslim students feel more welcome, please let us know, and we’ll get right on it.”

National Catholic Register: “Vicar, has there been any resistance among faculty and students to this new direction?”

Vicar d’Brethren: “You’re a Catholic, aren’t you? I’m afraid you’ll have to leave.  GUARDS!”

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Brian Fitzpatrick is the managing editor of BarbWire. A Washington, DC-based writer and editor, Brian reports and comments on politics, culture, religion and theology when he isn't editing books. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Capital Bible Seminary. You can reach him at

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