George Weigel on the sad politics behind recent Notre Dame Board of Trustees shenanigans

After Father Jenkins had met with Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne–South Bend, this sad affair came to a formal end on June 8 when Ms. Martino resigned from the Notre Dame board, telling the Chicago Tribune that “the current controversy doesn’t allow me to be effective.” Yet the fallout from the Martino affair continues, and one finds some rather depressing indicators about Notre Dame’s future while sifting through the wreckage.

At no point during the controversy did the formidable Notre Dame publicity machine do the obvious and honorable thing: admit that due diligence had not been done; admit that a serious mistake had been made and that the mistake was deeply regretted; then state that Ms. Martino had been asked to remove herself from the board. Those watching from a distance could only conclude that Ms. Martino, Mr. Notebaert, and perhaps Father Jenkins simply did not understand what the fuss was about, and yielded only under unbearable pressure. That impression was strengthened by the affair’s untoward end game, which Father Miscamble described in a public statement after the Martino resignation:

I am grateful that Mrs. Martino had the decency to resign from the Board of Trustees but very disappointed that she included no apology in her statement for her sad record of donations to Emily’s List and other virulently pro-abortion PACs like Illinois State Personal PAC. I am further disappointed by the very limited press release from the University of Notre Dame and by the remarks of the board chairman, Mr. Richard Notebaert. He neither gives an apology for his earlier misleading statements concerning Mrs. Martino’s donations nor expresses regret for his failure to vet this appointment with appropriate diligence. Further, he gives no assurance that contributing in any way to explicitly “pro-choice” organizations in incompatible with service on the Notre Dame Board of Trustees.

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