Two days before Notre Dame will face off against Alabama in college football’s national championship game, the Washington Post has published a piece--“Should American Catholics cheer for old Notre Dame?”--in which author Michael Leahy discusses his understanding of how Catholics might view the game and expresses his belief that the Catholic Church is “dogmatic, frustrating change and stifling dissent.”
Leahy is a Washington Post reporter, and his article about the Notre Dame-Alabama game—posted in the opinion section of the paper’s website--notes that he is the author of a book about basketball great Michael Jordan.
Leahy explains why he and some other Catholics, who were friends of his when he grew up in Southern California in the 1960s, rooted against Notre Dame. Their attitude toward Notre Dame’s football team, he said, was influenced by their views on such things as “abortion rights.”
“But our coolness toward Notre Dame,” Leahy writes, “also reflected fissures within the Catholic Church, cracks widening to this day over birth control, abortion rights and the broader matter of whether any dissent--particularly tough questions of the Vatican--will be tolerated by the Catholic hierarchy.”
Now, he says, Notre Dame is attracting resentment from “politically moderate” Catholics because it has sued the Obama administration over the administration’s contraception mandate. This is the administration regulation that seeks to force Notre Dame and other Catholic institutions--as well as Catholic business owners and individuals--to pay for health-care plans that cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, all of which violate the teachings of the Catholic Church.