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What Happened to Notre Dame? 1st Edition

8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1587319204
ISBN-10: 1587319209
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles E. Rice is prof. emer. in the Law School, University of Notre Dame, and is author, among other works, of Where Did I Come From? Where Am I Going? How Do I Get There? and The Winning Side, both from St. Augustine's Press. He has long been a pro-life activist, and was a founding member and legal counsel to the New York Conservative Party.

Ralph McInerny, prof. emer. of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, and past director of the Maritain Center, is author of over 100 books, including scores of mysteries (most famously, the bestselling Fr. Dowling Mystery series and the Notre Dame series), many works in philosophy and history, and is translator of more than ten books.

Alfred J. Freddoso, prof. of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, is a renowned translator from medieval Latin, most recently Thomas Aquinas's Treatise on Law: The Complete Text, from St. Augustine's Press.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Augustines Press; 1 edition (September 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587319209
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587319204
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a graduate of the University of Notre Dame I have often felt that something is wrong with the institution and the direction in which it is heading. Unfortunately, I have lacked the background information and sufficient understanding of Catholic doctrine to articulate these feelings in an eloquent way. Something inside me has been saying "This isn't right."

Dr. Rice concisely and clearly provides some answers as he describes the evolution of Notre Dame from its traditional position as the leading US Catholic University to its current position as a virtual Protestant or non-denominational school. He shows how this resulted from the university's rejection of the authority of the Catholic Church to define Catholic doctrine. Although the latest and most well known disconnect between the university and the church may be that of President Obama's speech at the 2009 graduation ceremony, Dr. Rice uses his research and intimate knowledge of both the church and the university to demonstrate how this separation actually began some 40-years earlier under the leadership of Father Theodore Hesburgh. Hesburgh and other university leaders developed the "Land O'Lakes" statement of educational autonomy from the church; a well intentioned though troubling effort to increase Notre Dame's standing as an institution of higher learning, which has been at the expense of its Catholic foundation.

Dr. Rice demonstrates that as Notre Dame grew apart from the authority of the church it essentially decided that the university leadership could interpret and define Catholic scripture, or leave it undefined and open to interpretation as it pleased.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By P. Gibbs on December 7, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was written because of the conferral of an honorary doctor of laws degree by my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame du lac, upon President Barack Obama. Charles E. Rice is now a professor emeritus of law at Notre Dame. Over 25 years ago he was one of my professors at the law school. He was famous as being one of the most conservative professors on campus and a former U.S. Marine.

The honoring of Barack Obama was a deliberate flouting of the 2004 statement from the Catholic bishops in America asking that Catholic institutions "not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles." The action of Notre Dame's Board of Trustees scandalized Catholics around the country because President Obama is "the most relentlessly pro-abortion public official in the world."

Professor Rice traces back the antecedents of this (literally) scandalous decision to the meeting in July 1967 of 26 Catholic educators at a conference center in Land O'Lakes, Wisconsin which was owned by Notre Dame. The meeting produced a statement named after the site in which they announced: "The Catholic university today must be a university in the full modern sense of the word... [it] must have a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself."

I don't have the time or the space to do justice to the argument made by Professor Rice showing how in the past four decades he has observed Notre Dame lose its way during a quest for acceptance by the "peer institutions" of Harvard, Yale and other secular universities. He cites evidence of a tendency to apply external standards drawn from secular institutions without regard to the moral or religious heritage of the Catholic faith.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By ND Law Graduate on January 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book by a very distinguished professor at Notre Dame Law School. Whether you supported having President Obama speak at the commencement or not, this book provides the background of the events leading up to the decision and why so many were strongly opposed to the decision. Professor Rice writes clearly and convincingly about the commencement decision and the current state of the university. He also writes with deep humility about the university that he loves so dearly.

This is a must read for anyone who cares about ND!!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By LexOrandi VINE VOICE on August 20, 2010
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This is an excellent timely book. Catholic education has been transformed from 1967 when the `Land O'Lakes Statement" was issued to when President Obama was invited to give a speech at the 2009 commencement at Notre Dame. Charles Rice gives the history and reasons for these changes. He traces the events from the "Land O'Lakes Statement" to Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church). He also brings in the writings of Cardinal Avery Dulles and Cardinal John Henry Newman. ( Idea Of A University: Philosophy (Notre Dame Series in the Great Books) ).

He quotes Cardinal Dulles in summarizing the Holy Father in Ex Corde Ecclesiae by: "He calls for a universal humanism and an organic vision of reality. He likewise holds that Catholic universities have the incomparable advantage of being able to integrate all truth in relation to Christ, the incarnate Logos, whom Christians recognize as the way, the truth, and the life for the whole world."

Rice states that Father Hesburg and other supporters of the Land O'Lakes Statement "see a tension between being a "great" university and being a "Catholic" university." It is the author's position that Catholic universities are on the same path as followed by former Protestant universities such as Harvard and Yale which were originally formed as divinity schools to now being places where God has no place. It takes more than a crucifix in a classroom to be a Catholic university. The school administration will tell one story to parents in order to convince them that Notre Dame is a Catholic university and then will allow showings of movies such as the "Last Temptation of Christ" and plays such as the "Vagina Monologues". The author clearly presents his case that Notre Dame no longer follows the guidance of the Magisterium and instead listens only to itself.
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