God and Man at Notre Dame

 

The cocaine was in the back bedroom. NotND my scene. I have always been more of a shot and beer and a shot and a beer and a shot and a beer and a shot and a beer man, myself. I wasn’t in the market for a new habit that evening, so I declined my share of Colombia’s finest, comfortable in the knowledge that my comparatively abstemious nature would mean a healthier portion for someone with a better traveled nose than my own.

At Notre Dame, we are not above trafficking in portents (or narcotics…), so I was especially averse to dabbling in the illicit that particular evening. One ought not tempt the wrath of the Almighty by taking up law-breaking on one’s first night in law school. At least, that was what I believed. But looking around the room at my new classmates, it was clear there was a healthy diversity of opinion as to what constituted impermissible taunting of He under whose sign we had come to study. But what was never in dispute that evening or any other was the sign itself. Pablo Escobar may cater the mixers, but we all knew and would never deny that Christ Crucified quietly watched over even the snowiest noses at Notre Dame.

If that doesn’t make sense to you, if you find our discordant cocktail of sanctity and depravity difficult to understand, then you don’t know Notre Dame. But that’s alright; allow me to explain her to you.

If you want to understand Notre Dame, you need look no further than its relationship to Holy Mass. The celebration of Mass is taken very seriously at Notre Dame. Mass is celebrated twice daily at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the great church that, together with the Golden Dome, stands as architectural testimony to the inseparability of mind and spirit on the Notre Dame campus. But well-attended Masses are also celebrated in the residence halls, the business school, and the law school chapel. There are Latin Masses, Greek Masses, Spanish Masses. There are fellowship Masses, African-American Masses, outdoor Masses. There is even the ersatz communion of televised Masses for the Notre Dame faithful who would kneel among the Fighting Irish if they could, but sadly can be on campus only in spirit.

Lovely though all these services may be, the sheer number of Masses doesn’t tell you much about Notre Dame. After all, there are other colleges and universities that take religious services seriously. Rather, what sets Notre Dame apart from the rest, what captures its essence so completely, is not all the many masses, but just one. If you want to know Notre Dame, you must know the Football Mass.

I know what you’re thinking. This miserable hack is about to spend 2,000 words comparing a crisp autumn day in Notre Dame Stadium to the experience of the Real Presence felt by true believers on bended knee before the altar of Almighty God. He’s going to try to tell me that watching a pack of dim-witted meatheads slam into each other for three hours is as spiritually resonant as Holy Communion. Not only am I done reading this crap, but there is a special place in Hell for…

Let me stop you right there. First, Notre Dame Stadium is a terrible place to watch a football game. The seats are uncomfortable, the concession stands are lousy, and South Bend weather is positively God-forsaken. On more than one occasion, I have sat in a warm pub with Notre Dame tickets in my pocket, watching the team freeze to death on icy turf not a mile from my warm bar stool, without even a hint of remorse at not being there in person, cheering them on to victory like some feverish yahoo with no sense of proportion.

No, when I say Notre Dame is defined by its Football Mass, I am being in no way figurative. At the end of every home football game, the assembled host of pigskin enthusiasts celebrates the victory (for it is always, always a victory) by going immediately to church. Exactly 30 minutes after the final gun sounds, Notre Dame students, alumni, and anyone else who wants to come along, gather in the Basilica, the performing arts center, and seven of the residence halls to simultaneously partake of Holy Eucharist as one family, united together in Christ Jesus. Really.

But it is not the existence of the Football Mass that defines Notre Dame; it’s the reason for it. If the Notre Dame student body was so fantastically religious and its joy at beating, say, Purdue, was so ineffably sublime that it felt called to celebrate its glorious triumph with Bread and Wine, then Notre Dame would, indeed, be a very special place. But that’s not why Notre Dame adjourns from bleacher to pew one half hour after every football game. No, we go to Mass together after the game so we can get blind drunk without consequences.

Catholics are obligated to attend Mass on Sundays. If a Catholic fails to attend Sunday Mass, he violates one of the five Sacred Precepts of the Catholic Church and thereby slips below the bare minimum of devotion required of every good Catholic. Knowing that there are perfectly practical and appropriate reasons why even the most dedicated Catholic might be unavailable for Holy Mass on a given Sunday, Section 1248 of the Code of Canon Law dictates that a Catholic can meet his sacred obligation by attending a Mass of Anticipation on Saturday night in lieu of a proper Sunday service.

Notre Dame football games typically start at 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays; college football games last approximately three hours. That puts the start of the post-game Mass at around 7:00 p.m. This is late enough in the day for it to be considered a Mass of Anticipation, absolving all who attend of any obligation to rise early the next morning and file into the pews like good Catholics. When the Football Mass ends at 8:00 p.m., the debauchery begins, with no power in Heaven or on Earth prepared to stand between the Notre Dame student body and the very heights of depravity. By assembling the Notre Dame faithful for Mass immediately following the football game, the Holy Cross Fathers facilitate and thereby extend their tacit approval to a post-game bacchanal of biblical proportion that can last all night and well into Sunday morning with no spiritual consequences whatsoever for we good Catholics.

This is Notre Dame.

——–

William F. Buckley’s God and Man at Yale is the spiritual urtext of the modern American conservative movement. Where the sophisticated set in 1940s America had grown used to the “irritable mental gestures” of conservatism bubbling up from the miasmatic swamps of the temperamental American hinterland, here was the very quintessence of the coastal elite — Bill Buckley was a harpsichord enthusiast who spoke French before he could speak English — publishing a scathing attack on one of the temples of establishment liberalism from an insider’s perspective. This wasn’t another rant by a backwoods hayseed, the dim ramblings of some Vaishya who had forgotten his place. This was internecine. This was cannibalism. This was … scary.

To hear Buckley tell it, Yale was a malevolent force in the lives of its students. Facilitated by an administration willfully out of step with the wishes of Yale alumni, the professoriate peddled cold borscht to a student body too young and impressionable to realize their minds were being laundered. Buckley’s Yale was systematically educating American values out of their students and delivering up to the world class after class of graduates unfit to lead a nation they no longer understood.

Buckley wrote that Yale had embraced what he would later call “ideological equalitarianism.” At Yale, there were no higher truths, no ancient wisdom. The learned professors were not keepers of a sacred flame or guides on a journey to a deeper understanding, but empty shills for a secular humanist collectivism. Buckley exposed the inherent dissonance of preaching academic freedom while teaching a single, ahistorical perspective, and he called upon the alumni and trustees of Yale to put an end to this treason against wisdom and reclaim their own beloved institution before it was lost forever.

But, of course, Bill Buckley was a horrible failure. If his goal in writing God and Man at Yale was to use the petulance of youth to launch a revolution in American conservatism, then he was a roaring success. Certainly that is what happened, both in the pages of his National Review and elsewhere. But if his goal was to affect change at Yale itself, much less the wider ambit of academe, a quick look around at the modern state of things reveals that Buckley’s rant achieved precisely nothing. The academic current, at Yale and beyond, proved too strong for Buckley and simply yelling at it to “Stop!” was a waste of his time.

Or maybe he just went to the wrong college.

Here is the entire Mission Statement of Buckley’s Yale:

Like all great research universities, Yale has a tripartite mission: to create, preserve, and disseminate knowledge. Yale aims to carry out each part of its mission at the highest level of excellence, on par with the best institutions in the world. Yale seeks to attract a diverse group of exceptionally talented men and women from across the nation and around the world and to educate them for leadership in scholarship, the professions, and society.

Ready for a contrast? Try on just a part of Notre Dame’s Mission Statement:

The University is dedicated to the pursuit and sharing of truth for its own sake. As a Catholic university, one of its distinctive goals is to provide a forum where, through free inquiry and open discussion, the various lines of Catholic thought may intersect with all the forms of knowledge found in the arts, sciences, professions, and every other area of human scholarship and creativity … What the University asks of all its scholars and students, however, is not a particular creedal affiliation, but a respect for the objectives of Notre Dame and a willingness to enter into the conversation that gives it life and character. Therefore, the University insists upon academic freedom that makes open discussion and inquiry possible … Only thus can Catholic intellectual life in all disciplines be animated and fostered and a proper community of scholarly religious discourse be established.

Buckley’s Yale values excellence. Its mission is to educate students and mold them into future leaders. Yale imparts knowledge and believes that knowledge is transformative. Yale exists to inculcate; its students are its product. It is how Yale thinks of itself, it is Yale’s mission, and it is Yale’s unquestioned achievement.

Notre Dame pursues truth. It discusses lines of thought and engages in inquiry. Notre Dame is a community of scholarly discourse. Notre Dame does not conceive of itself as acting upon its students. Rather, Notre Dame’s mission statement makes it clear that in its own mind, Notre Dame is a context, a world within which students seek after what is true, both individually and as members of a broader scholastic community.

Yale’s attitude toward itself, but above all its attitude toward its students, makes the world against which Bill Buckley railed not only possible, but certain. If the goal is excellence and the means is Yale, then Yale continuously works toward whatever it understands excellence to be. Yale presupposes a conclusion and orients its every action, impulse, and thought toward a predetermined end.

But where Yale presupposes an end, Notre Dame presupposes a beginning. If Notre Dame’s mission is to pursue truth, then Notre Dame does not yet possess it. It can make no promises to its students; it will not impart to them the keys to Yale’s treasured “excellence” because Notre Dame, as an institution, seeks still. Instead, Notre Dame demands as part of its mission that its students respect this quest and that they engage in the great dialogue, the great search, whereby Notre Dame itself approaches ever closer to real understanding.

Where God and Man may have been inescapable at Buckley’s Yale, as a community of students in a perpetual state of becoming, God and Man is impossible at Notre Dame.

——–

Through the eyes of a student, wise just a month or two beyond his years, the Football Mass is a sacrilege that indwells in a convenient lie. Alumni and parents like to imagine that the Fighting Irish are possessed of such mystical holiness that even the students see the transcendent rectitude of ending the football festivities in solemn prayer. Mom and dad prefer to think of Notre Dame less as a college, than as a convent, and the theater of the Football Mass keeps them believing that Junior is on the short-list for sainthood. As King Henry IV of France said when he was an undergraduate at Notre Dame, “Corby’s is worth a Mass.”

But I’ll bet you, wise reader, can now see the salient truth behind the Football Mass. It is a truth that eluded me as a student and is undoubtedly lost on most of Notre Dame as it files out of church and into the bars on football Saturday nights. But when you put the commingling of the sacred and profane at Football Mass and the dissonance of the Cocaine Cowboys for Christ in the context of the Notre Dame mission statement, all becomes as clear as the -20˚F South Bend sky.

The Football Mass is not a sacrilege, but a sacred reminder that Notre Dame — the truth it seeks and the God it serves — goes with you into the cold night. It is a hug and a whispered warning on the way out the door; it is how the Holy Cross Fathers send their students out into the world of sin and error to find a little veritas in an ocean of vino.

And go those students must, because to seek after an elusive truth, even at the bottom of a can of warm Natty Ice you bought for five bucks at The Linebacker, is the very essence of Notre Dame. The Holy Cross Fathers must send their charges out into the world to seek the truth beyond the Quad, because otherwise, this isn’t Notre Dame; this is Yale. This isn’t a shared quest after something sacred that eludes us, but a regimented diet of sterile indoctrination.

So go they must, if this is to still be Notre Dame. But they won’t be sent forth into the dark without a Mass; not without one last reminder that Notre Dame is both context and touchstone for whatever share of God’s own truth a Notre Dame man may find out there when he thinks he walks alone, but never truly does and never truly can. After all, this is Notre Dame; please kneel.

Vita, Dulcedo, Spes.

Published in Education, Sports
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  1. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Wow! Who knew? Very insightful and funny. South Bend will never again be a backwater place in my mind. It’s rock’n on faith and partying. WFB would probably not be surprised.

    Nice job. Thanks.

    • #1
  2. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Why not attend an evening Mass on Sunday?

    • #2
  3. Garret Hobart Inactive
    Garret Hobart
    @GarretHobart

    Misthiocracy:Why not attend an evening Mass on Sunday?

    You certainly could have and people did.  Some of the residence halls had 10:00 Masses on Sunday evenings; very convenient.   Definitely an option, especially on non-football weekends when the community aspect of the Football Mass wasn’t in play.

    • #3
  4. Fredösphere Inactive
    Fredösphere
    @Fredosphere

    Let me just say, Mr. Hobart, your essays astound me. In just a couple short months you have become an indispensable part of the Ricochet family.

    • #4
  5. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Football, the Church, and an Irish Mardi Gras — It’s a wonder Bama fans in Mobile hate Notre Dame so much.

    • #5
  6. Britanicus Member
    Britanicus
    @Britanicus

    The cocaine was in the back bedroom.

    Hell of a way to start an essay. Great post.

    • #6
  7. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    I. Love. This. Post.

    • #7
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The Saturday evening Mass for those that cannot attend Mass on Sunday is not supposed to begin until sunset.

    Notre Dame probably has one of the smallest student bodies in the top division of college football with an under graduate population of approximately 8,000 students.

    For those interested in the history of Notre Dame football I would recommend “Shake Down the Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football”, written by Murray Sperber. It is an unvarnished look at college football at Notre Dame as well as college football in the rest of the United States when college football was beginning to dominate the US sporting scene.

    Father Hesburgh tried to kill the football program at Notre Dame. The warm fuzzy Father Ted image that Notre Dame promoted was not quite true. He could be and was vindictive with some of the priests at Notre Dame.

    A couple of years ago the Big Ten was hopeful that Notre Dame might join the Big Ten Conference. When Notre Dame declined the word went out that it was just as well because Notre Dame did not have control of their football program. The truth is the priests at Notre Dame have more control of their football program than the administrators of any of the Big Ten schools.

    As Oscar Wilde said: The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners. For respectable people the Anglican Church will do.

    Mr. Hobart you have written a wonderful essay, well done sir.

    • #8
  9. Garret Hobart Inactive
    Garret Hobart
    @GarretHobart

    Fredösphere:Let me just say, Mr. Hobart, your essays astound me. In just a couple short months you have become an indispensable part of the Ricochet family.

    If I am a member of the Ricochet family, then I insist on being the uncle that brings candy to Thanksgiving to slip to the kids when their parents aren’t looking.

    Thank, Fredosphere.  I’ll do my best to live up to “indispensable”.

    • #9
  10. Garret Hobart Inactive
    Garret Hobart
    @GarretHobart

    Aaron Miller:Football, the Church, and an Irish Mardi Gras — It’s a wonder Bama fans in Mobile hate Notre Dame so much.

    Ohh, ‘Bama does just fine.  On a long list of my lifetime sports goals is to watch Alabama play Auburn in the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa.  Something tells me they give Saturday night in South Bend a run for its money.

    • #10
  11. Garret Hobart Inactive
    Garret Hobart
    @GarretHobart

    Britanicus:Hell of a way to start an essay. Great post.

    Hell of a way to start a morning, too.

    • #11
  12. Garret Hobart Inactive
    Garret Hobart
    @GarretHobart

    Songwriter:I. Love. This. Post.

    This. Post. Loves. You. Too.

    • #12
  13. Garret Hobart Inactive
    Garret Hobart
    @GarretHobart

    Doug Watt:The Saturday evening Mass for those that cannot attend Mass on Sunday is not supposed to begin until sunset.

    Notre Dame probably has one of the smallest student bodies in the top division of college football with an under graduate population of approximately 8,000 students.

    For those interested in the history of Notre Dame football I would recommend “Shake Down the Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football”, written by Murray Sperber. It is an unvarnished look at college football at Notre Dame as well as college football in the rest of the United States when college football was beginning to dominate the US sporting scene.

    Father Hesburgh tried to kill the football program at Notre Dame. The warm fuzzy Father Ted image that Notre Dame promoted was not quite true. He could be and was vindictive with some of the priests at Notre Dame.

    A couple of years ago the Big Ten was hopeful that Notre Dame might join the Big Ten Conference. When Notre Dame declined the word went out that it was just as well because Notre Dame did not have control of their football program. The truth is the priests at Notre Dame have more control of their football program than the administrators of any of the Big Ten schools.

    As Oscar Wilde said: The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners. For respectable people the Anglican Church will do.

    Mr. Hobart you have written a wonderful essay, well done sir.

    As a faithful son, I am supposed to defend Notre Dame’s long history as an FBS Independent, but I was rooting hard for us to join the Big Ten.  The Big Ten may not be quite the football juggernaut it was in the distant past, but a schedule that includes annual dates with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State  —  and now you can throw in Nebraska  —  plus our customary match-ups with USC, Stanford, and Navy, is like college football traditionalist Nirvana.

    • #13
  14. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Ohio State and ND are scheduled to begin a series of games. I do miss the Michigan vs. ND rivalry, and of course ND vs. Michigan State. There are rumors that Michigan and ND are going to renew the rivalry.

    I can think of two reasons that ND did not want join the Big Ten.

    1. ND did not wish to share their television money with the Big Ten.

    2. ND wanted a national schedule for recruiting purposes and did not wish to compete with and being confined with Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State in recruiting football players in the Midwest.

    • #14
  15. Garret Hobart Inactive
    Garret Hobart
    @GarretHobart

    Doug Watt:Ohio State and ND are scheduled to begin a series of games. I do miss the Michigan vs. ND rivalry, and of course ND vs. Michigan State. There are rumors that Michigan and ND are going to renew the rivalry.

    I can think of two reasons that ND did not want join the Big Ten.

    1. ND did not wish to share their television money with the Big Ten.

    2. ND wanted a national schedule for recruiting purposes and did not wish to compete with and being confined with Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State in recruiting football players in the Midwest.

    You’re probably right.  No, you’re definitely right.  But handcuffed to stimulating tilts with the likes of Pitt and Wake Forest because of our relationship with the ACC, I can’t help but wonder what might have been.

    Of course, that wondering only lasts until basketball season.  Then there is nowhere I would rather be than right here in the good old ACC.

    • #15
  16. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    I was there at a game 3 weeks ago. (My son-in-law is a grad student.) Here’s part of the Facebook post I wrote the next day:

    Saturday’s game was an experience. Besides the fun of the football, the wildly enthusiastic student section, and the marching band, I doubt there’s another major stadium in the country where over the loud speaker during the game comes, “Mass will be celebrated at the Basilica and in the performing arts center 30 minutes after the game. There will also be masses tomorrow morning at the basilica at 8:00, 10:00 and 12.” 

    IMG_2565

    • #16
  17. Pelicano Inactive
    Pelicano
    @Pelicano

    The post game mass is a wonderful tradition, both practical and uplifting. I remember attending a game against Pitt in 2001 on a freezing, rainy day. I looked it up now and see it was played Oct 6! Never would have guessed it was that early!

    After the game my brother and I headed over to the basilica to meet my mom and sisters for church, but we were closed out because there were too many people inside! Turned away from mass: I’ve never had that happen before–or since. Only at Notre Dame.

    We followed a crowd and ended up in the chapel of Dillon Hall, crowded in among students, parents, and football fans, everyone still wearing their heavy coats and football game clothes.

    The priest was young, as I remember, and taught in the Great Books program, I think. He gave a wonderful homily about love and friendship and how God is always waiting for us, that our experience of God’s love is something we control by either turning towards him or away form him. Feeling lost and alone at the time, I was important to hear. Almost fifteen years later–after innumerable sermons I forget before leaving church–I remember it now.

    • #17
  18. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    I’ll get off the football subject for a moment. I attended a small university run by the Holy Cross Fathers towards the end of the Vietnam War. We had Air Force ROTC on campus. Some students in one of my classes started to complain about a military presence on campus.

    The professor who was also a priest asked those students if they would prefer that all officers be educated at the military academies or would they prefer an officer corps that consisted of officers that had lived with them, ate with them, socialized with them, and attended classes with them.

    He then told them that they might want to talk with one of the priests that taught business classes. One student asked why. His response was because that priest had stepped off a landing craft and waded ashore onto a French beach on D-Day. That was the end of the discussion.

    • #18
  19. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Doug Watt: Notre Dame probably has one of the smallest student bodies in the top division of college football with an under graduate population of approximately 8,000 students.

    Garret HobartMass is celebrated twice daily at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the great church that, together with the Golden Dome, stands as architectural testimony to the inseparability of mind and spirit on the Notre Dame campus. But well-attended Masses are also celebrated in the residence halls, the business school, and the law school chapel. There are Latin Masses, Greek Masses, Spanish Masses. There are fellowship Masses, African-American Masses, outdoor Masses.

    This makes me wonder. My parish includes over 3,000 families and we make do with four Masses on Sunday plus one Saturday evening (technically Sunday, by the Jewish tradition of measuring days from sundown-to-sundown).

    If Notre Dame students, roughly 20% of which don’t identify as Catholic, gather at so many separate Masses, is that not an unnecessary and regrettable fracturing of the school’s Christian community?

    • #19
  20. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I live a long day’s bike ride from Notre Dame.  I have learned the hard way that if I’m heading south or southwest on a fall weekend I should first check the schedule to see if Notre Dame is playing at home, because if they are I’ll need to go a long ways around in order to find a place to stay.  That’s even true for the campground at Middlebury IN, which is a common first-day destination when I’m camping (and is only about 65 miles from home).  It doesn’t matter if I’m camping or staying in hotels.  They’re all full.   If I go as far away as Sturgis, 55 miles to the east, I can usually find a place to stay, but even there it’s best to call ahead.

    It also depends on who they’re playing, of course.

    I do the same for East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and West Lafayette.  Those can be problems, too, but the problem radius is not as large.

    Last month I did a ride where we wanted to stay a couple of nights near Fargo ND.  Oops.  It was just when North Dakota was playing North Dakota State.  But it was not a problem — there were lots of places to stay.  (One of the requirements is that we stay  where my wife can watch MSU’s game while I’m out riding, and not to call her while the game is in progress.)

    • #20
  21. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    I can only speak for a C.S.C. campus. The Congregatio a Sancta Cruce, or the Congregation of Holy Cross still has many priests on campus as either professors, administrators, or who have retired from teaching. Unlike some of the Jesuit colleges and universities their college presidents are priests.

    Each residence hall has a chapel and priests say a daily Mass and students and staff are welcome to attend no matter the day and hour. At my university the main chapel had a Saturday evening and Sunday Mass schedule as well as Mass being offered in the residence halls.

    Some of the priests spent Sunday at rural parishes in Oregon and Southwest Washington assisting parish priests or offering Mass and hearing confessions before Mass when no parish priest was available for the parishioners.

    • #21
  22. Tim H. Inactive
    Tim H.
    @TimH

    As the father of a freshman girl at Notre Dame…I’m…a little uneasy about the first few paragraphs.

    But as for the rest of it, I’m glad she’s going to Notre Dame.

    • #22
  23. Joe Fremeau Coolidge
    Joe Fremeau
    @JoeFremeau

    Aaron Miller: If Notre Dame students, roughly 20% of which don’t identify as Catholic, gather at so many separate Masses, is that not an unnecessary and regrettable fracturing of the school’s Christian community?

    Aaron, within the student body on campus, most attend their dorm Masses on Sunday night, often presided by the dorm rector. The dorm Mass is a wonderful way to tie the individual dorm’s community together– and the community life within the dorms is one of Notre Dame’s greatest strengths. When I was an undergrad playing music for Sunday Mass in Carroll Hall, we even had former residents who had moved off-campus still attending Mass with “their community” back in the dorm.

    But one of my most searing memories is the campus-wide outdoor Mass held on in the afternoon on September 11, attended by probably six or seven thousand worshipers. Notre Dame scales community really well when needed.

    This is a wonderfully enjoyable essay– I read it with a grin on my face ear-to-ear. But truth be told, the Football Mass is for the alums. (I suppose you could say the students get started with the debauchery sooner after the game, and don’t recover until a day later.)

    Also, the Football Mass this Saturday will likely be before the game, as it is a 7:30 kickoff this week. It’s USC after all– we need all the extra help ahead of time we can get.

    • #23
  24. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    My alma mater, University of Dayton, wisely discontinued playing Notre Dame in football quite some time ago (intra-religion loyalty going only so far apparently).

    Still UD manages to field a respectable basketball team, usually, and victory celebrations when I was there (40 years ago) could get quite raucous.

    As a token Protestant I would ponder the various statues of the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mother) here and there on campus (not entirely surprising since UD was founded and run by Marianists).

    There was the one in front of the girl’s dorm. Campus legend had it that should any UD co-ed graduate in an undefiled state, that statue would topple from its base. As far as I know it’s still there. I had a prof come into a night class one day and announce an eclipse of the moon was taking place. That he had a telescope in his office he’d pulled out to look at it. I wondered he’d have a telescope in his office until I realized his office faced the girl’s dorm, a multi-story edifice that mostly faced directly onto a huge cemetery (Woodlawn) doubtless lulling the girls on the upper floors into a sense of complacency as far as keeping their drapes closed.

    Then there was the statue of Mary on a tall column in front of the library. In the 1800s a pope had pronunced there would be a 75 day indulgence granted for anyone who would stand before the statue and devoutly say a Hail Mary. I was always curious that there wasn’t a line around the campus to take advantage of this after some of the post game bacchanals that took place south of campus in the student housing.

    And why did Martin Luther nail his 95 Theses onto the door of the Wittenburg Cathedral? Because his staple gun was broken.

    • #24
  25. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Nick Stuart:Then there was the statue of Mary on a tall column in front of the library. In the 1800s a pope had pronunced there would be a 75 day indulgence granted for anyone who would stand before the statue and devoutly say a Hail Mary. I was always curious that there wasn’t a line around the campus to take advantage of this after some of the post game bacchanals that took place south of campus in the student housing.

    God makes it as easy as possible for us to receive His mercy, and still we look away.

    “Even if one should rise from the dead…”

    Pope Francis has declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy beginning December 8th (Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception). Every diocese is to have a “holy door“, through which the faithful can enter and gain an indulgence.

    I predict only a tiny fraction will do it.

    • #25
  26. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    btw, fellow Ricos, Garret’s bio is also an entertaining read.

    • #26
  27. Garret Hobart Inactive
    Garret Hobart
    @GarretHobart

    Joe Fremeau:

    Aaron Miller: If Notre Dame students, roughly 20% of which don’t identify as Catholic, gather at so many separate Masses, is that not an unnecessary and regrettable fracturing of the school’s Christian community?

    This is a wonderfully enjoyable essay– I read it with a grin on my face ear-to-ear. But truth be told, the Football Mass is for the alums. (I suppose you could say the students get started with the debauchery sooner after the game, and don’t recover until a day later.)

    Joe, the truth you tell is … true (as truths so often are).

    It is said  —  I know of no official count  —  that the population of South Bend, Indiana, triples on game day.  Well over 100,000 people descend on Notre Dame on a football Saturday.  With at least ten times as many Notre Dame enthusiasts on campus for the game as there are actual students in the school, the Football Mass ends up mostly moms, dads, brothers, sisters, alumni, sports reporters, townies, heart-broken Stanford fans, St. Mary’s girls, professors, stray cycling enthusiasts, and, perhaps somewhere in there, a few actual students.

    But here’s the thing … they’re all Notre Dame, too.  It would have taken another 2,500 words to explain the seamlessness of the Notre Dame community, so in the interest of brevity I allowed the piece to focus somewhat artificially on just the students.  But there is a whole ‘nuther piece out there to be written on the way the same Notre Dame mission that makes it not Yale also makes it a family that not only transcends generations of students, but extends out beyond those students to a network of people loyal to the idea of Notre Dame, many millions strong.

    • #27
  28. Garret Hobart Inactive
    Garret Hobart
    @GarretHobart

    Songwriter:btw, fellow Ricos, Garret’s bio is also an entertaining read.

    And every word of it is true, too.

    • #28
  29. Tim H. Inactive
    Tim H.
    @TimH

    Garret Hobart:

    Songwriter:btw, fellow Ricos, Garret’s bio is also an entertaining read.

    And every word of it is true, too.

    I wish there were a way to “like” a member biography.  But I’ll settle for saying it here.

    • #29
  30. Garret Hobart Inactive
    Garret Hobart
    @GarretHobart

    Tim H.:I wish there were a way to “like” a member biography. But I’ll settle for saying it here.

    Thanks, Tim.

    When I got the alert for your second comment, it reminded me that I still owed you a proper response to your first.

    I have four children, none of whom are yet college age.  At tremendous expense  —  far beyond what I can afford  —  I send them to a very religious private school.  The public schools where I live are among the finest in the country and there is no doubt in my mind that the kids there are as well versed in two plus two being four as are my children.  And I don’t begrudge those public schools a nickel of my school taxes; I am sincerely proud of the excellent work they do there, educating other people’s children.

    But I would go without food before I would send my kids to a public school.  Not because they’re bad schools; they’re not.  No, I spend myself into poverty so they will learn one lesson.  Just one.  Tens of thousands of dollars to learn one thing they’ll never learn if I send them to the public school, but that they have to learn if I am to go to my pauper’s grave a proud father.

    That one thing, Tim?  That reason is holy.  That to think is to worship.  That to know the truth is to know the Truth.  If my kids learn that one thing from their school  —  from me  —  there is nothing this awful world can throw at them they can’t handle, because they will always know that there is a directly line between their thoughts, back through their conscience, and up to Almighty God.

    I can’t protect my kids forever.  You can’t protect your daughter forever.  And as much as we both may wish we could, we shouldn’t.  Not only do we owe it to our kids to let them experience the world, we owe it to the world to let the world experience our kids.  All we can do is arm them.  And the most powerful weapon we can give them is the confidence that comes from knowing that the author of all things speaks to them through their own thoughts.  If they know that, what does a father have to fear?

    Notre Dame is a temple to that one idea.  Notre Dame exists in the real world, just like all colleges do, and so there is no doubt that at Notre Dame, as in life, your daughter will be asked to make judgments about what is right and what is wrong.  But if she has the confidence that comes with believing that her own judgment isn’t just a passing whim, but has deep roots in transcendent truth, she is in a place where that faith in self is reinforced.  She’ll be more than fine, Tim.

    Ohh, and welcome to the family.

    • #30
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