Jen Gallic, Staff Writer
In addition to housing the student Right to Life Club, the Center for Ethics and Culture and the Institute for Church Life, Notre Dame also boasts a large University Faculty for Life (UFL). Notre Dame has been blessed to have such a large number of faculty dedicated to upholding the Gospel of life on campus. Notre Dame Right to Life Club has capitalized on this excellent resource by providing an informal seminar setting in which students can learn more from these pro-life faculty.
These hour-long seminars are held at various times throughout the week on a range of life topics. Past seminar titles have included “Being Pro-Life in a Contentious Democracy,” “Building a Culture of Life,” “A Discussion on Evangelium Vitae and Humanae Vitae” and “Sidewalk Counselor Training.” Seminars are limited to a maximum of 20 students to allow for a small group setting in which a professor can give a short talk and then facilitate discussion. These seminars allow students to interact with faculty members who each approach the pro-life movement with different perspectives.
In the first seminar, Father Bill Miscamble, CSC, President of the Notre Dame chapter of University Faculty for Life and history department faculty member, presented a seminar entitled “Being Pro-Life in a Contentious Democracy.” He focused on the difficulty of being pro-life in the current political climate and talked about pro-life politics. Seminar participant Dan Selhorst enjoyed Fr. Miscamble’s discussion, saying, “The seminar was extremely engaging and relevant to today. Fr. Miscamble is brilliant and I truly enjoyed his very well organized and well-supported presentation.”
Professor Patrick Deneen of the political science department also spoke about culture during his seminar entitled, “Building a Culture of Life.” He argued that we cannot focus solely on anti-abortion legislation, but must also work toward creating a culture that holistically supports living a good and dignified life. Senior Zach Harris remarked, “I thought Professor Deneen presented a very interesting and challenging, yet motivating message. He raised some very pertinent questions about where our focus should be.”
An additional seminar hosted by philosophy professor David Solomon was specifically geared toward the Right to Life officers and commissioners as student leaders within the pro-life movement. The seminar was focused on Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae, two papal encyclicals centered on human dignity. This allowed the officers and commissioners to explore the Church’s teachings and understanding of life issues, as well as the way in which the Church addresses these issues.
The Right to Life Club also recently hosted Sidewalk Counselor Training for students interested in volunteering as counselors at the local abortion clinic. Presenters included the director of the local Women’s Care Center and the President of Board of Directors at St. Joseph County Right to Life among others. Students learned the best methods for talking to a woman in crisis pregnancy considering abortion. The need to enter into a conversation with empathy and understanding was emphasized, along with a great focus on love.
Future seminars include “Life in the Built Environment” with professor Phillip Bess; “Women’s Fertility,” with Suzy Younger, a fertility care specialist for St. Joseph Hospital; “Muslim and Catholic Perspectives on Abortion” with professor Gabriel Reynolds and “Being a Woman after Roe” with law professor Amy Barrett. Student sign-ups for seminars are on the Right to Life Club website, chooselife.nd.edu (open to current ND/SMC/HCC students).
Jen Gallic is a junior economics major who lives in Walsh Hall. She looks forward to more long walks on the beach once her term as RTL president is up the end of April. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.