Notre Dame Paper Snubs Prof’s Column Upholding Church Teaching on Homosexuality

The editor of the University of Notre Dame’s campus newspaper has refused to publish an installment of a former ND professor’s biweekly column because he said the column, which defended the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality, required a “differing viewpoint” as a counterbalance.

Dr. Charles Rice, Professor Emeritus of law and faculty member, resigned writing for the column after receiving an email from the editor of the Observer, who explained that his most recent column had been rejected due in part to its pro-family content.  In his column, Rice cited the Catechism to lay out the Church’s teaching against homosexuality, and explained that homosexuality’s current push for legitimacy was a natural consequence of the contraceptive mentality.

Rice, who spoke with (LSN) about the matter today, has written for the “Right or Wrong?” column since 1992.

“I personally had some concerns with the content of the column,” Editor Matt Gamber told Rice in an email, “particularly considering The Mobile Party comic incident earlier in the semester at The Observer.” Gambler was referring to a cartoon published in the Observer that was seen as degrading to homosexuals.

Gambler said Rice’s piece was “factually correct,” but that he “did not feel it lent itself to creating a productive discussion, all things considered. I was a bit concerned with certain language as well.”

Gambler continued: “In the future, if you would like to examine this topic, we thought it might be beneficial to do so in a point-counterpoint format, perhaps with an author of an opposing or differing viewpoint. That way, each ‘side,’ to speak, would have the opportunity to present relevant facts, evidence and analysis to define its position.”

In response, Dr. Rice stated that, “ In a university that claims to be Catholic, I am not willing to restrict my presentation of Catholic teaching to a format that treats the authoritative teaching of the Church as merely one viewpoint or ‘side’ among many.”

“If you require that future columns of mine on homosexuality comply with a format such as you propose, it will be inappropriate for me to continue writing the column for the Observer.”

The editor also cited the column’s length, which he said “far exceeded” the newspaper’s guidelines; Rice, however, responded that the column “is in fact significantly shorter than each of the three previous columns published this semester in the Observer.  I was not asked to shorten any of them.”

The column by Dr. Rice laid out the “governing principles as found in the teaching of the Catholic Church” regarding homosexuality. Rice cites the Catechism to explain that the Church considers homosexual conduct to be “acts of grave depravity,” and that while the inclination to homosexual acts is not a sin, it is also intrinsically disordered.

While “unjust discrimination” against homosexuals is wrong, he notes, this “does not rule out the making of reasonable and just distinctions with respect to military service, the wording of university nondiscrimination policies and other matters including admission to seminaries.”

The encroaching viewpoint of homosexuality as legitimate, Rice points out, is “a predictable consequence of the now-dominant contraceptive ethic,” which deliberately separates the unitive aspect of sex from the procreative.

“Further,” Rice notes, “if individual choice prevails without regard to limits of nature, how can the choice be limited to two persons?

“Polygamy (one man, multiple women), polyandry (one woman, multiple men), polyamory (sexual relations between or among multiple persons of one or both sexes) and other possible arrangements, involving the animal kingdom as well, would derive legitimacy from the same contraceptive premise that justifies one-on-one homosexual relations.”

In a subsequent email to Rice, Gambler stated that he did not wish “to question the Church teachings or argue the points you presented in your essay, but rather, because the paper is still recovering from the incident with The Mobile Party comic, we would prefer to examine this issue at a later time.”

Notre Dame, which hosts a gay-friendly student group on its campus, has been known to host pro-homosexuality viewpoints with some regularity.

Last April, Notre Dame launched a series of events known as “StaND Against Hate Week” designed to promote an “inclusive spirit” for homosexuality.

“The whole thing is – I think ‘disappointing’ is a mild term,” Rice told LSN, adding that he did not plan to respond to Gambler’s latest email.

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  • smillerone

    I am afraid Dr. Rice has won the battle but lost the war. It would have been better if he would have revised the article and worked to get it published. I am NOT suggesting that he water down the truth. I am suggesting he take a different approach. Why? His resignation leaves a huge void in place that needs his voice of fidelity the most. What Dr. R. should have done was broaden the article to address all forms of sexual sin in the Church and lessen it’s perceived targeted impact. I have found that those who struggle w/ the Church’s teaching on homosexual activity are more receptive when it is presented equally with Church teaching on other areas such as adultery, pre-marital sex, pornography, masturbation, etc. Although there are some who reject all or much of Church teaching in this area, I have found that many others “see the light” when it is presented this way and by presenting the “broader” teaching, none of us (except the BVM and Jesus) are left out of the “grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered” examination of conscience and tagging. Dr. Rice, if you are reading this, humbly reconsider your position and relationship w/ ND Observer. The harvest is GREAT at ND and you have the opportunity while most do not. We need to be clever as Jesus was. We can present truth, without watering it down, and reach the audience if we are insightful.

  • Catholic Mom of 9

    Would love to see Dr. Rice’s rejected full column here!!!

  • mallys

    Second Catholic Mom of 9!

  • krby34

    I would love to see the article as well. Editor’s could you make the request?

    Also it is time for someone to reign in ND. This has got to stop on a Nationally recognized Catholic campus these types of issues cannot continue to come up. They must stop or loose the Catholic backing.

    Bishop Vasa pulled Catholic backing from a hospital in Bend, OR. It was started as a Catholic Hospital but has since been privatized but had been (at least in testimony) to have stayed to Catholic guidelines until recently. The issue was that they are performing optional sterilization as a means for birth control and when this became known to Bishop Vasa two years ago he began dialogue with the hospital to change or loose support. They have not changed so he pulled support.

    The same MUST be done to ND.

  • consecrata

    I recently sat in on a class preparing to receive confirmation…this was in a Catholic Church…the teacher proceeded to ask the 14 year old girls if they wanted to belong to a Church where they could not be ordained because of their gender; he asked everyone if they wanted to belong to a Church which has a hierarchy, with the Pope at the top telling everyone what to do, then the Cardinals, Bishops, Nuns and lay people at the bottom…he pointed out that Protestant churches allow women to be ordained and lay people to have input…he said much more but when I questioned him, he told me that he had gone to Notre Dame and studied under Father McBrien…why is this McBrien head of the Theology department…why is his book “Catholicism” being used in teaching young people..not only at Notre Dame but in Catholic parishes? Why aren’t the Bishops stepping in and stopping this…enough of our young people have been and are being misinformed about the Catholic faith…why are the Bishops not stronger? Even allowing public officials to go against the teachings of the Church, especially abortion, to continue to receive the Eucharist??? And there are Bishops who publicly disagree with the teachings of the Church…and publicly dissent from those teachings…what has to happen before our Bishops act responsibly and courageously???? How many souls have to be lost???? I know we have to pray for them and live our own faith…but so many young people are being indoctrinated…by Priests, Nuns and Politicians…who is to stand for them???

  • plowshare

    Catholic Mom of 9 — the full column is linked in the article — just click on the underlined “his column” in the second paragraph.

    It is very telling that the editor did NOT try to line up a column to “balance” Rice’s. People on the Left want to silence their opponents, not to have a dialogue with them, even though claim to want dialogue [one on their terms, of course]. Just look at the demise of Al Franken’s liberal talk radio program, and the way the Left wants to bring back the Fairness Doctrine — just for radio, where it is at a disadvantage, and not for TV, where it has the advantage.