Notre Dame president says child abusers aren’t monsters. Student asks, ‘Is this a joke?’
SOUTH BEND, Indiana, November 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Notre Dame law student has blasted the famous university’s president for saying that child sex abusers “shouldn’t be turned into monsters.”
Father John Jenkins made the remark in an interview with Crux magazine while he explained why Notre Dame has not rescinded ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s honorable doctorate.
“There’s a tendency, and I don’t think it’s a helpful tendency in this kind of situation, to turn the perpetrators into monsters,” he told interviewer Ines San Martin.
San Martin said his ability to see complexity in the clerical sexual abuse crisis “befit” Jenkins as “an Oxford-educated philosopher,” but Notre Dame student Deion Kathawa strongly disagrees.
In a November 9 letter to the editor of the Notre Dame Observer, Kathawa asked if the interviewer’s flattering words were a joke.
“There is nothing ‘complex’ about what has happened here at all,” the self-described “loyal son of the Church” wrote.
“Priests, who are commanded to tend to their parishioners as a shepherd to his flock...sexually abused the most vulnerable in their charge, children, and men like McCarrick, when they weren’t debasing themselves by abusing others, systematically covered it up,” Kathawa continued.
The irate student then took a swipe at Jenkin’s name-brand degree.
“Frankly, only an ‘Oxford-educated philosopher’ could possibly see anything in this heinous mess other than a thick coating of demonic filth, a filth that now covers the Body of Christ and obscures her God-given mission,” Kathawa stated.
“Institutions that churn out moral illiterates, bereft also of common sense, do not deserve our respect, regardless of how ‘prestigious’ they are,” he continued.
“‘For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ (Matthew. 8:36).”
The student insisted that there is nothing “nuanced” or “ambiguous” about the clerical sex abuse tragedy.
“Rather than give of themselves fully – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically – these priests selfishly indulged their own twisted, sinful desires and abused those they were to love, even unto death – like Christ,” he wrote.
Kathawa urged Father Jenkins to repent, “retract his tone deaf comments,” and apologize to the Church.
The student’s letter attracted the attention of author and columnist Rod Dreher, who republished it in the online American Conservative. Once a leading Catholic apologist, Dreher, author of The Benedict Option, lost his faith while reporting on the child sex abuse crisis in the Church.
Dreher said the letter was “a sign that the younger generation of Catholics is not prepared to keep its head down while the Church’s leadership class excuses its own sins and failings.”
A few months ago, Notre Dame University, which has stripped convicted rapist Bill Cosby of his honorary degree, rejected a request by alumni to rescind that of the disgraced ex-cardinal.
In August, addressing the controversy, Jenkins released a statement which read, in part:
“While the University finds the alleged actions reprehensible and has no reason to question the [New York Archdiocese] review board’s findings, it recognizes that McCarrick maintains his innocence and that a final decision in the case will come only after a canonical trial in Rome. As in the case of Bill Cosby, we will wait until that trial is concluded to take action regarding McCarrick’s honorary degree. We strongly urge those involved in this trial to reach a conclusion as expeditiously as possible.”