Tuesday, December 21, 2010

For Undergrads: Holy Land Lenten Pilgrimage

During Spring Break 2011, Notre Dame’s Department of Theology and Office of Campus Ministry will be co-leading a HOLY LAND LENTEN PILGRIMAGE for a small group of undergraduate students, and we hope you will consider applying!  The dates for the pilgrimage will be Friday-Sunday, March 11-20, and pilgrimage sites will include:

·         Jerusalem: Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Mount of Olives and Garden of Gethsemane, the Upper Room, the Way of the Cross, & Temple Mount

·         Bethlehem: Church of the Nativity & the Shepherds' Fields

·         The Galilee: Nazareth, Capernaum, the Mount of the Beatitudes, Caesarea Philippi, the Mount of Transfiguration, & the Sea of Galilee

Students will be hosted by Notre Dame at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies, which is located just outside of Jerusalem.  More information on Tantur can be found at http://tantur.org.

The coordinators of this pilgrimage will be Layla Karst (Rector, Lewis Hall), Brett Perkins (Campus Ministry), and Hannah Hemphill (Theology).

We hope you consider this unique opportunity to visit the places where Our Lord walked as we prepare now to celebrate with great joy the sacred time of His Birth!

In Christ and Notre Dame,
Layla Karst, Brett Perkins, & Hannah Hemphill

(See below for more information)


Applications are required for interested students, and students will be informed of their selection by the end of January. Selected students will receive one course credit in Theology and will be required to attend four preparatory sessions before departure. The preparatory sessions will be hosted on four consecutive Wednesday evenings from February 9 to March 2, from 5:00-7:00pm.  Before applying, please make sure these dates would fit in your schedule.


The estimated cost of the pilgrimage will be no higher than $2100, which includes airfare and ground transportation, lodging, and two meals per day (but which is not inclusive of spending money nor of funds for midday meals.)  We are currently working to identify resources to help subsidize this amount so as to make the trip more affordable.  Other avenues for financial assistance and/or grants may be available to students (e.g., “Learning Beyond the Classroom” grants) that might also help make this pilgrimage a reality for you.


We understand that safety may be a concern for you and your family as you consider applying for this pilgrimage.  You can be confident that every effort will be made to ensure the safety and security of our trip.  Safety is our top priority, and we will continue to work closely with local staff at Tantur as well as University officials here at Notre Dame to ensure the security of this pilgrimage.  Depending on these as well as U.S. State Department recommendations, portions of the trip may be subject to change depending on daily assessments of the situation on the ground in the various areas where we would be visiting.  For more information regarding safety in the Holy Land and at Tantur, please visit http://tantur.org/about/safety.


Applications are now available and can be accessed from the Campus Ministry homepage at http://campusministry.nd.edu.

The deadline for applying is Wednesday, January 20, 2011, and applications must be turned in to the Office of Campus Ministry (114 Coleman-Morse) by 5:00 pm on that day.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Layla Karst (Karst.1@nd.edu) or Brett Perkins (Perkins.26@nd.edu).

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Videos Posted!

We have now posted all of the videos from our Fall events, including last week's Schmitt Lecture and the Fall Conference. We will be featuring a new video on the homepage every week. Enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Integritas Seminar II

T-shirt back design
Last night our Integritas group had its second seminar of the year, on "The Dialogue Between Faith and Reason," led by guest Professor John Cavadini. The group read part of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Contra Gentiles and much of Pope John Paul the Great's encyclical Fides et Ratio. They explored such questions as: "Why should we believe truths that cannot be known by reason? Why should truths that can be known by reason also be known by faith? Can truths known by reason ever contradict truths known by faith? What is faith? Why can we have confidence in human reason? From where does the contemporary tension between faith and reason spring? What are the consequences of reason becoming estranged from faith?"

Prof. Cavadini explained that truths that can be known only by faith are not simply "higher" or more difficult to grasp than truths that can be known by reason; instead, they are a wholly different kind of truth. The truths that can be known only by faith are those that pertain to God's character, such as His Trinitarian life and His self-emptying love for His creation. They can be known only by faith because they involve a free decision on God's part to reveal Himself to His creatures. The fullest self-disclosure of God comes in the Incarnation of Christ; Christ shows us the face of God. Prof. Cavadini used an analogy to explain that the difference between what faith and reason can attain is like the difference between studying relationship-building and communication skills in a psychology class, versus actually entering into a relationship. Taking a psychology class can't give you a relationship; you can only have a relationship if another person chooses to enter into relationship with you. Human reason can come to understand many things about the beauty and order of creation, but some truths can only be known by entering into relationship with God.

T-shirt front design
Under this understanding, there is a dynamic illumination between faith and reason, such that holding the truths about God that can be known only through faith directs and purifies reason to enter the mysteries of God and the created world more deeply. For example, human reason guided by the light of faith was necessary to develop the Church's statement of the doctrine of the Trinity and and creeds over the course of decades. The light of faith illuminates the whole world and gives a new perspective on all knowledge. Many fundamental truths seem groundless or meaningless without the foundation of faith, such as the belief in the fundamental dignity of all human persons, which Steven Pinkers at Harvard calls 'almost a useless concept'. Faith expands our notion of reason: as wise as Socrates was, he could not imagine that the Logos he worshiped would become food for men in the Eucharist.

While many would lump the Scriptures into the same category as all the great pagan myths of the Greeks, the Norsemen, or the Babylonians, they are completely different in character. The pagan gods disclose themselves as petty, manipulative, and fickle, and even when they enter into the mortal realm, they do so only capriciously and contingently, exercising their full powers and holding a 'get-out-of-jail-free' card. When God becomes incarnate in Christ, it is as an infant in a lowly stable, to suffer and to die amongst us. Only the God of the Christians sends His own Son to invite His creatures into friendship with Him.

These ideas made the students wonder why so many very intelligent people, especially philosophers, struggle so much to have faith in anything other than the power of their own reason. One suggested that the trouble lies in our modern notion of reason, which thinks that something is reasonable only if it can be reduced to a logical proof with mathematical certainty. Modern man has lost the understanding that "through the centuries, philosophers have sought to discover and articulate such a truth, giving rise to various systems and schools of thought. But beyond philosophical systems, people seek in different ways to shape a "philosophy" of their own--in personal convictions and experiences, in traditions of family and culture, or in journeys in search of life's meaning under the guidance of a master," as John Paul said. Our culture, our traditions, our practices, the authorities in our lives, our families, the witness of those who have gone before us, especially the martyrs, all reveal that belief in the Christian God is reasonable. While people may think that they want and need a proof for God that has mathematical certainty, in reality, if such a proof could be provided, it would not satisfy the deepest desires of the human heart: a mathematical proof does not invite a response of love, does not draw man into friendship with God. An understanding of human reason that excludes faith also excludes happiness and love, because it precludes the possibility of a free response.

Again, from Pope John Paul: "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth--in a word, to know Himself--so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves."

That was the last meeting of Integritas before Christmas break; the group will meet again in January and will begin the second semester with Mass and dinner in Geddes Hall on Thursday, Jan. 20. They went home proudly sporting their new club T-shirts, seen above!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Abuses of the Public by Psychiatry

Dr. Paul McHugh delivered a terrific lecture last night on the subject of "Abuses of the Public by Psychiatry," in honor of Notre Dame's Schmitt Fellows in the colleges of science and engineering. He recounted the rise of multiple personality disorder diagnoses, and the accompanying fad of repressed memories emerging in middle age of childhood sexual abuse. The phenomenon in psychiatry was at its peak in the late 1980's and early 1990's, and he said it affected over a million Americans, tearing apart families with false accusations. Dr. McHugh was careful to point out that child sexual abuse is a travesty and happens all too often, and that certainly in many cases such abuse is forgotten or repressed until the memories return later in life. The cases he dismissed as fabrications and inducements by psychiatrists to remember events that never happened are cases in which the memories were wildly improbable, such as remembering abuse as an infant. Psychiatrists have been recklessly irresponsible in encouraging this fad and creating discord in once harmonious families. He wrote a book on the subject, called Try to Remember: Psychiatry's Clash over Meaning, Memory and Mind.

His more devastating charge against psychiatry, however, is that it has gotten mired in an excessive concern for classification and description, embodied in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which acts as a sort of field guide for psychiatry while failing to systematically explore the causes and cures for mental ill health. He believes psychiatry has hit a dead end as it prepares to publish the fifth edition of the DSM, and a reversal of course is needed.

Look for the video of Dr. McHugh's lecture on our homepage soon!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TODAY: Schmitt Lecture

Join us at 4 p.m. today in McKenna Hall Auditorium for this semester's Schmitt Lecture, "Abuses of the Public by Psychiatry," to be delivered by Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. McHugh was educated at Harvard College and Harvard Medical School with further training at the Peter Bent Brigham (now Brigham and Women’s) Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, and in the Division of Neuropsychiatry at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.  After his training, he was eventually and successively Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell University School of Medicine, Clinical Director and Director of Residency Education at the New York Hospital Westchester Division; Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Oregon Health Sciences Center.  He was Henry Phipps Professor and Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1975-2001.  The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine named him University Distinguished Service Professor in 1998.  Dr. McHugh was elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences in 1992.  In 2001, he was appointed by President Bush to the President’s Council on Bioethics and in 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People.

During his career, Dr. McHugh has pursued three interrelated aims: to create a model department of academic psychiatry by rendering explicit the conceptual structure of psychiatry and by demonstrating what this structure implies for patient care, education and research; to teach how the brain-mind problem is embedded in these concepts and how it affects the thought and actions of psychiatrists; and to investigate the “motivated” behaviors, such as hunger, thirst, sex, and sleep that are open in this era to multiple levels of analysis from molecular biology to social science.  With his expertise, Dr. McHugh will bring an intriguing set of questions to the conversation of the Schmitt Lecture Series.  Dr. McHugh’s most recent book is Try to Remember: Psychiatry's Clash over Meaning, Memory, and Mind.  It is an account of the recent legal and psychiatric struggle over the repressed memory movement, a struggle in which Dr. McHugh played a significant role.  It is also a plea for a more humane and well-grounded psychiatry. 

Dr. McHugh’s Fall 2010 Schmitt Lecture, set to explore the moral dimensions of psychiatry, promises to be an outstanding addition to the Schmitt Lecture Series.  The series honors the generosity of the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation to the University of Notre Dame. It aims to provide occasions at which the Schmitt Fellows, graduate students in the Colleges of Science and Engineering, can join with other members of the Notre Dame community to reflect on the ethical, political and religious dimensions of the studies in which they are engaged.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Integritas goes caroling and canning

With a blanket of new-fallen snow covering the ground, the Integritas group headed headed into South Bend last night to serenade our neighbors with Christmas carols and ask for cans to donate to the Catholic Worker House. We split up into two groups, covering Angela Boulevard and Notre Dame Avenue, making the air echo with "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and "Adeste Fideles," among other favorites. The looks of surprise and delight on our neighbors' faces as they answered the door and discovered a choir of carolers was priceless, and their generosity was humbling. We headed back to campus laden with food for our brothers and sisters at the Catholic Worker House, bearing not gold, incense, and myrrh, nor a partridge in a pear tree, but:

13 cans/packets of soup
10 cans of vegetables
5 cans/packets of tuna
5 pounds of sugar
4 boxes of rice
3 boxes/cans of potatoes (gluten-free!)
3 jars of peanut butter
2 cans of beans
2 jars of jam
2 boxes of saltines
1 bottle of vegetable oil
1 can of evaporated milk
1 can of mandarin oranges
1 bag of Nestle white chocolate chips

Monday, November 29, 2010

Diocesan evening of reflection for couples struggling with infertility

We want to put the word out that the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Office of Family Life is hosting An evening of hope for those touched by infertility on Friday, December 3, from 7:00-9:30 p.m. at St. Pius X parish in Granger. The evening will begin in the Holy Cross Room with witness talks by married couples, and will conclude in the chapel with a reflection by Fr. Bob Lengerich, followed by Eucharistic Adoration. This event is free and open to the public, and registration is not required. It should be an excellent event.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanks for a great conference!

Sincere thanks to all who participated in this weekend's eleventh annual fall conference-- invited speakers, presenters, session chairpersons, and attendees. We were particularly pleased to have the largest undergraduate turn-out to date. All ten of the invited speaker sessions were recorded on video, so look for those to be featured on our website after Thanksgiving. Registered participants should also receive the conference roster within a week. Thanks for your enthusiastic participation and support, and make sure to save the date for next year's conference, Nov. 10-12, 2011!

Friday, November 19, 2010

TODAY: Annual Fall Conference

Join us all day today, Friday, November 19 and tomorrow, Saturday, November 20, for our annual Fall Conference, "Younger Than Sin: Retrieving Simplicity Through the Virtues of Humility, Wonder & Joy." Sessions will be going on in McKenna Hall all day from 9 a.m. through the keynote at 7:30 p.m. View the full schedule here.

Tonight's keynote address will be delivered by Lawrence Cunningham of Notre Dame, speaking on the recently canonized St. Andre Bessette, C.S.C., in the auditorium of McKenna Hall at 7:30.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Integritas Seminar I

Last week the Integritas program met for its first seminar, "The Value of an Education in the Liberal Arts." The seminar was led by Greer Hannan, director of the program, and it explored such questions as: What is the enduring value of a liberal arts education? What sort of preparation for living do the liberal arts provide? What does it mean to learn “how to think?” How is a Christian education unique? What vision of the integration of scholarship, spirituality and service does Pope John Paul II offer us? 

The students read three texts in preparation for the seminar: Ex Corde Ecclesiae by Pope John Paul II, Go with God, an article by Stanley Hauerwas, and David Foster Wallace's Kenyon College commencement address, delivered in 2005 and recently published as This Is Water

The students debated how a Christian college education should be different from that of a great secular university that also values the search for truth and the ways in which it can bear fruit in service to others. They located the difference in the emphasis that Christians place on protecting and advancing human dignity which we all bear since we were made in the image and likeness of God. Pope John Paul II provides a comprehensive vision for what a Catholic university should be in Ex Corde when he says, "Every Catholic University, as a university, is an academic community which, in a rigorous and critical fashion, assists in the protection and advancement of human dignity and of a cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to the local, national and international communities."

Several students raised the question of whether the sort of formation that a liberal arts education is supposed to provide can only be received at a university, or whether life in the wide world can be an equally good school. They concluded that such formation can be found outside of a university, but that the ultimate challenge is to see the world with greater complexity and imagination, and that a university in a unique way can provide both complexity and integration through its various discipline and extended intellectual interrogation of ideas. David Foster Wallace expressed education as a quest for freedom: "But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving... The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. This is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing."

Solipsism came up several times during the discussion, and the idea that a liberal education is liberal enough to give a person a wider view, as it helps one to imaginatively step outside oneself and truly see a problem from other perspectives. Undertaking an education in the liberal arts challenges our unreflective experience of the world, that "everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence....It is our default setting hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of," as David Foster Wallace puts it.

Although sometimes students worry that the indulging in the luxury of four years of college is itself a selfish and solipsistic undertaking, Stanley Hauerwas speaks of education as a calling and as intended for the benefit of the community, rather than just an individual's ambitions. He says, "By all means honor those who are serving the Church in the ordained ministry, or through social action, or through spiritual direction. But remember: You are about to become a student--not a pastor, a social worker, or a spiritual director. Whatever you end up doing with your life, now is the time when you develop the intellectual skills the Church needs for the sake of building up the Body of Christ."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bread of Life

The Center for Ethics and Culture hosted its fourth Bread of Life dinner and discussion last night, sponsored by the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human life. Forty students and professors gathered in the Oak Room of the South Dining Hall to reflect on the theme of adoption, with Elizabeth Kirk giving the address, "An Exchange of Gifts: Celebrating Adoption in the Culture of Life" before dinner. The dinner guests, who came from a variety of faith commitments and ethical commitments on beginning of life issues, discussed the ways in which society might be theoretically committed to adoption as a positive option, but practically adoption is not encouraged popularly in our culture: it remains that case that there are around two million couples who desperately desire to adopt, while less than 7,000 infants are put up for adoption domestically each year, with a million babies lost to abortion every year. Students and professors alike left with a new perspective on the issue, and a new commitment to seek out ways in which Notre Dame can promote adoption and publicly witness to the sanctity of life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thursday night lecture at St. Mary's College

This week St. Mary's College  welcomes distinguished pro-life lawyer, theologian, and mother Erika Bachiochi to its campus.   Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School calls Erika Bachiochi one of the leaders of a "new feminism."

Bachiochi will speak on how the Catholic Church's teaching on sex, abortion, and birth control are pro-woman.  Her talk will take place on Thursday, November 11th at 7:30pm in St. Mary's Stapleton Lounge in LeMans Hall.