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Lowering tuition would violate Catholic theology, Notre Dame president says

It’s in the Catechism?

If you needed more evidence that Notre Dame was elevating progressivism over its Catholic identity, look no further than its president’s own bonkers comments on college affordability.

Father John Jenkins pretty baldly used his perverted version of Catholicism to justify robbing the parents of children who attend the gilded institution in an interview with New York Times money columnist Rob Lieber.

In an article fittingly titled “Does God Want You to Spend $300,000 for College?” Lieber asks Jenkins to look at Notre Dame’s exorbitant price tag through the lens of Scripture, considering that even families who qualify for financial aid could pay “easily $50,000, $100,000 or $150,000 more” than if they sent their children to the flagship state university.

Jenkins can barely agree that it’s just as worthwhile to save money for retirement as it is to “pay five figures more each year for a private college that your teenager falls in love with,” in Lieber’s words.

The man of the cloth ridiculously frames the options as “a comfortable second home in Florida” for retirement versus leaving a surviving spouse “alone and penniless.” Yes, keep shoveling money toward a “Catholic” behemoth with a $10 billion endowment until right before your widow is “alone and penniless.”

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Then we reach Peak Jenkins:

In theory, the endowment might support a full [tuition] price of $50,000 instead of close to $70,000, but that wouldn’t be in keeping with another Catechism passage that notes the “scandal” of excessive economic disparity. “If you make it $50,000, you’re subsidizing the wealthy at the expense of what you could do for poor or middle-class families,” [Jenkins] said.

That’s right. You’re a bad Catholic if you think a university should aim to lower tuition for everyone. Particularly one with a $10 billion endowment.

Tell Father Jenkins to buzz off and send your kids to Purdue instead, where under President Mitch Daniels, tuition has stayed flat for years and (unlike speech-suppressing Notre Dame) students are educated in their free-speech rights from day one.

Read the article.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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