Traditional Catholics host event Contra Parietals

One of the defining features of the Notre Dame experience is single-sex dorm living. A key factor of this unique part of student life is parietals, or visitation hours. But on Tuesday, March 28, traditional Catholic student group Children of Mary hosted an event entitled “Contra Parietals.”

The event was hosted in the Knights of Columbus building and featured a lecture from well known “trad” intellectual, Taylor Parshall. Augustine Johnson, who helped organize the event, initially did not respond to the Rover’s request for comment. Though, once the email was translated to Latin, he responded, “I was very excited by the amount of people who came to hear Dr. Parshall speak. I don’t know if we’ve ever had a crowd this big—17 people!”

Boethius Hamgabner, prefect of the club, told Rover, “I believe many people were initially surprised by the Children of Mary’s resistance to the idea of parietals. However, it has been an aspect of university policy that has long been weighing on my conscience.”

He continued, “One of the most egregious aspects of this policy is the fact that it uses the term ‘visitation’ to refer to something that has nothing to do with the Blessed Mother. This university clearly has no understanding of the ancient roots of the term.” The interviewer had to cut Hamgabner off before he started talking about a similar appropriation in the Draft Committee’s use of “human rights.”

During the lecture, Parshall explained his dislike of visitation hours, “Origen said, ‘the doctrine of the Jews and Christians which preserves the immutability and unalterableness of the divine nature is stigmatized as impious.’ So, God is immutable, he is outside of time. Notre Dame stigmatizes our own hope for joining God in eternity by placing such strict and arbitrary restrictions on students’ time.”

Parshall continued into a discussion of the history of parietals, saying, “Parietals, however, came into existence after the rejection of the Catholic intellectual tradition as part of a detailed plot to destroy the university from within … First, parietals, now, a Gender Studies Program. All these are purposeful stumbling blocks for faithful Catholics.”

Dionysius Miller, a sophomore member of Children of Mary, said in an interview with the Rover, “I really enjoyed the lecture. Honestly, I had never really given much thought to parietals because it doesn’t affect me, but after hearing Dr. Parshall speak, I am very against the policy.”

The disdain for parietals is still a controversial opinion even within the club, though. Junior medieval studies and classics major Peter Coward said, “Parietals is problematic because it encourages students to remain unmarried at least through their senior year of college. If Notre Dame was still Catholic, it would institutionalize and enforce marriage pacts. This would be a much better use of the Moreau First Year Experience.”

Senior Lactantius Wilson said, “I understand Parshall’s point that ‘visitation hours’ is an offensive use of the word, but his argument that because God is outside of time we all must also exist without such strict restrictions on time is a bit more convoluted.” 

Wilson’s main concern, however, was about “the optics of aligning with College Democrats [CDems] on something. I am afraid that it will legitimize a club which should obviously be banned at a Catholic school.”

Regarding the alignment with CDems on such an important issue, Hamgabner said, “My hope was actually to draw the apostates into the club and convert them. Unfortunately, the title of the talk, “Contra Parietals” is in Latin and no one else understood.”

The Children of Mary will be hosting their next event, “After Benedict’s Death: Is the Chair of Peter Empty?” on April 14.

Elizabeth Hale is a sophomore studying political science from Northville, MI. She has never seen a male dorm. If anyone wants to explain to her what they are like, email