(LifeSiteNews) — More than 250 Notre Dame students and supporters prayerfully protested a drag show held at the university’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (PAC) last week in South Bend, Indiana.
“The prayerful presence of community members kneeling outside the performance was a sight to behold, and truly shows the dedication of Notre Dame students and alumni to truth and the dignity of the human person,” senior Merlot Fogarty, who helped coordinate the event, told LifeSite via email today.
Yesterday evening over 150 Notre Dame community members prayerfully assembled in front of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center where a university sanctioned drag show was taking place. Students prayed the rosary and later processed to the Log Chapel for Eucharistic Adoration. pic.twitter.com/eXkN6vj0ht
— The Irish Rover (@IrishRoverND) November 4, 2023
Notre Dame administrators came under heavy criticism several weeks ago when the school’s Department of Film, Television, and Theater (FTT) announced that “What a Drag” was scheduled for Friday, November 4. The show featured three sexually confused men, one of whom has appeared on the infamous “RuPaul’s Drag Race” television show.
Multiple articles published in the school’s student-run Catholic newspaper The Rover condemned the performance.
“In supporting lies about the human person … the university is not only actively working against her mission but permitting irreparable damage to its community and image,” Nico Schmitz said in an op-ed published October 11.
A website titled NoDragND.org was also launched by senior Jose Rodriguez. It called on Fr. John Jenkins, the outgoing university president, to cancel the disturbing event. More than 1,200 persons added their name to the site. To their disappointment, Fr. Gerry Olinger, the vice president of student affairs, defended it under the guise of “academic freedom.”
As reported by LifeSite, the performance was part of a one-credit course taught by left-wing FTT professor Pamela Wojcik, who previously said that she can’t understand how men dressing up in women’s clothing and gyrating on stage can be perceived as un-Catholic. The Gender Studies Department, the Department of Music, the Department of American Studies, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, and the Initiative on Race and Resilience all co-sponsored the show.
Fogarty, who is from Texas and is majoring in theology and political science, told LifeSite that less than 50 counter-protesters showed up Friday. Signs held by students read: “Our Lady Weeps,” “Drag does not ‘pursue truth,’” “Notre Dame must protect her women,” and “Femininity deserves protection,” among others.
So proud of those who came to stand up for the dignity of women and the truth of the human person tonight. We had over 200 community members praying for Our Lady’s intercession.
Pray for Notre Dame and authentic Catholic education that pursues truth. https://t.co/0915ggdc74
— Merlot Fogarty (@Merlot_Fogarty) November 4, 2023
After the rosary and the singing of various Marian hymns, the more than 250-strong group followed junior Nicole Lopez to the campus’ log cabin chapel for benediction and a holy hour. Fr. Bill Miscamble, who has defended the university’s Catholic identity for decades, as well as author E. Michael Jones, who used to teach at nearby St. Mary’s, were among the crowd.
Fogarty also told LifeSite that less than 100 people attended the actual event, which was held in the cramped Philbin Studio Theatre inside the PAC.
“Welcome to Notre Dame’s first, and I’m betting last, drag show,” Wojcik reportedly told those who gathered inside. “If you want more drag shows on campus, by all means, make that noise. Talk to the administration. I’m not going to organize it, but you could.”
Fogarty argued that non-Catholic professors are diluting Notre Dame’s commitment to truth and that they should not be hired.
“I joined this fight as a woman who has been through her fair share of battles at Notre Dame,” she explained. “I absolutely still believe Notre Dame is a Catholic university. What we’re seeing with events like these is the result of a large number of non-Catholic faculty who believe it is their role to host and instruct on subjects contrary to Catholic teaching in order to make Notre Dame more ‘diverse’ and ‘accepting’ of non-Catholic ideologies.”
“But the mission of our university is the dedicated ‘pursuit and sharing of truth for its own sake,’” she continued. “Notre Dame administrators must divert their focus from ‘diversity’ to instead a concentration on her Catholic tradition and identity, which means hiring faculty who are committed to pursuing the truth and the mission of the university.”
Fogarty also revealed that Jason Evert of the Chastity Project donated 180 copies of his book Male, Female, Other? A Catholic Guide to Understanding Gender for her and her classmates to hand out to fellow students.
Supporters of the group Tradition, Family, and Property also appeared at the rally. They produced a video contrasting the peaceful Catholic students with the combative left-wing students, who rudely shouted at them as they prayed.
Notre Dame was founded by French priest Fr. Edward Sorin in 1842. Its formal name is Notre Dame du Lac, or “Our Lady of the Lake.” Once known as the foremost Catholic institution of higher learning in the country, Notre Dame’s Catholic identity has been severely diminished since the 1970s.
In 1972, then-university president Fr. Theodore Hesburgh made the school co-educational. Previously, young women studied across the street at St. Mary’s. Hesburgh also oversaw the drafting of the heavily criticized Land O’ Lakes statement, a document signed by the presidents of prominent Catholic institutions that declared independence from formal church authority and doctrines.
Jenkins, the school’s current president, infamously invited pro-abortion U.S. President Barack Obama to give the commencement address in 2009. He also approved abortion-inducing drugs to be covered in employees’ insurance plans. The school used its official X account to say “We celebrate all LGBTQ+ identities” this past June to kick off “Pride Month.”
Happy #PrideMonth! We celebrate all LGBTQ+ identities and reaffirm our commitment to being a welcoming, safe and supportive place for ALL members of the Notre Dame family.
We see you. We’re glad you’re here. You are an important member of our community. pic.twitter.com/b0ou28Iia8
— University of Notre Dame (@NotreDame) June 1, 2023
Jenkins recently announced that he will be retiring in the spring.