Letters to the editor

Author: Readers

Editor’s note: The letters that appeared in the summer 2006 print issue are marked with a double asterisk (**)

Those Monologues

** One of the most challenging issues facing Notre Dame is the issue of academic freedom and Catholic values. On one hand there is the argument that Notre Dame’s teaching should be in accord with clearly stated Church positions. On the other is the belief that truth is best reached with an academic freedom that will, at times, diverge from the Church’s magisterium.

History suggests the University and the Church is best served by choosing academic freedom that combines a critical approach with a moderation endemic to a great university. Church declarations, subsequently rescinded, against Galileo and Copernicus are well known. In the late 19th century the encyclical, Syllabus of Errors, condemned separation of church and state, liberty of religion, and freedom of the press. Literal interpretation of the Bible was the policy until the late 1940s; the theory of evolution was resisted; theologians like Rahner and Teilhard de Chardin were silenced while today they are acclaimed. These former church teachings have all been reversed. Acceptance based solely on authority has never benefited the church.

Listen to two of the most famous Catholic theologians of the 20th century. Karl Rahner, S.J., said: “We of today can and should show ourselves generous, patient, and tolerant with regard to theological statements which do not immediately strike us being orthodox.” Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., wrote, “That there is always a tension in the life of the church between pastoral-legal teaching authority of the ministry and the academic magistrate of the theologian is normal and healthy for church life.” (For a fuller treatment see his Church: The Human Story of God, pages. 223–228.)

Charles E. Stimming ’53


** It is with great sadness to hear of the relegation of The Vagina Monologues from the public theater to a classroom setting—all under the auspices of Notre Dame preserving its Catholic mission. And yet, where WHERE is the public discussion about the university-sanctioned ROTC program and its compatibility with being Catholic? Never mind the minimum standard set up by the Old Testament of do not kill. Christ has given us an even more challenging commandment that supersedes all others, love your neighbor as yourself.

Daily students on campus are learning the skills of war and killing. Is that not a much greater, more important contradiction of our Catholic mission than a once-a-year play where women talk of their sexual experience, raise awareness about violence against women—even speaking of how women suffer in war?

Debbie Feelitz ’92

North Granby, Connecticut

From my distance it does not seem to me that Father Jenkins has acted with prudence or probity in the issues around The Vagina Monologues. He has chose to swat a fly with a hammer. What brought the full gravity of Catholic orthodoxy upon a play flimsy and insignificant except in its topicality? I don’t think that there was nearly the motive for intervention that there was in the now-notorious case of the Michaelson experiment in pornography in the late 1960s. For whatever ultimate reasons, Father Jenkins has forced an issue and played a hand.

Where the intervention of Catholic authority upon academic freedom is in question, I believe in the economy of energy. Do not waste the expenditure of centralizing orthodox force upon relatively trivial misdemeanors. You may need it in a more knotty and important case.

What does Father Jenkins plan to do in a complex and disputed issue like the use of “demythology” in Biblical criticism and doctrinal speculation? If he responds in a similar fashion to involved questions of intellectual controversy, there will be problems because authority cannot be used with integrity in the same way in each instance.

If a hammer is misused upon a gnat, imagine its effect upon a beehive. What kind of precedent is Father Jenkins offering? Legitimate force depends upon both economy and differentiation in application. It also depends, in its intention and scope, upon scruple and discrimination.

Joseph F. Ryan ’59

Yarmouthport, Massachusetts

In the 30-some years since my graduation from Notre Dame, I have been embarrassed to be associated with the University only once: on April 5, 2006, when the new University President John Jenkins issued his profoundly disappointing “closing statement” on “Academic Freedom and Catholic Character.” From Father Jenkins, the philosopher, I had hoped for so much more.

For the last five years, when contemplating Notre Dame’s sponsorship of the sexually degrading Vagina Monologues, I thought perhaps philosophically serious people had not considered the work’s implications. As Father Wilson Miscamble points out in his clear-eyed open letter to Jenkins, the production is an insult to the dignity of women and men alike. It reduces women to their body parts and pretends to define their identity and worth in terms of their sexual experiences (an attitude associated until now only with testosterone-driven alpha-males). It exalts lesbian relationships. It is man-hating. It separates sex from relationships and love. It directly contravenes John Paul II’s important work on the integral nature of body and spirit in what has been called Theology of the Body.

The young woman who will supposedly spearhead the “Loyal Daughters” soon-to-be-created version of the Monologues, believes the objections to the original production are fundamentally “political.” What?? The objections are philosophical. The issue is not Republicans versus Democrats: it is the sort of ideas and mind set promoted on the Notre Dame campus, and what it means to have a Catholic identity.

Father Jenkins intuited this with his initial statements and then caved. Amazingly, he has been lauded for his “courage” to stand by the status quo. Real courage is the virtue it would take to do the right thing: to say “I was wrong” and reverse course. That would be a model of courage this loyal daughter would not soon forget.

In the meantime, could we please not label another sexually debasing performance, written by women who currently attend Notre Dame, “Loyal Daughters”? Some of us are offended enough already.

Mary Beth Klee ’75

Portsmouth, Rhode Island

In “Time of Discernment” on page 4 of the Spring 2006 issue, I see the following when I read between the lines:

A thing cannot give what it does not possess. (Saint Thomas)

Half of the Notre Dame faculty do not possess the Catholic faith.

Therefore, half of the Notre Dame faculty cannot give their students a mature Catholic’s viewpoint on modern-day issues.

How sad!

The author, Richard Conklin, states:

“His (Father Jenkins’) point was clear: the DNA for Catholicism on campus is carried by the faculty, not the administration or the students.” He promised to work with academic leaders to find ways to attract “a faculty which includes a diversity of perspectives and commitments but which has a preponderance of Catholics.”

At this time, the principle of Truth-in-Advertising requires Notre Dame to no longer call itself a Catholic university but rather “a semi-Catholic university.” That will end a lot of frustration for Church leaders and many faithful Catholics. Meanwhile, many alumni regretfully witness the demise of the Catholic university they knew, a place truly dedicated to our Blessed Mother, a place they cherished.

Jim Broughton ’55

via email

Why the closing statement? Do we have to wait for Father Jenkins’ next trip to the Vatican to once again discuss what is suitable for a Catholic campus? Did we change leaders only because the football team was losing? I thought being Catholic was just as important as a winning football team.

Tom Wich ’63

Clarendon Hills, Illinois

Christopher West is wrong in his Vagina Monologue opinion. Faithful, practicing Catholics are called to set an example for the rest of the world on how to live a life that is pleasing to God. The women in the Bible, as most sinners in the Bible, sought out Jesus for redemption because of His, and His follower’s, exemplary Catholic life, not because He joined in on the prostitution and adultery. Jesus asked for us to follow in His example. The encouragement to have Catholics, especially young Catholic women, participate in activities that corrupt the soul is wrong. The best message is to encourage Catholics; especially young Catholics in formation at Catholic universities, to take up a good example of how to live a life pleasing to God, and the sinners will seek this pure and loving way of life through example. Norte Dame and Christopher West are sending out the wrong message to our youth. In this case, I truly believe that the born-again Christians are doing a better job of forming their youth.

Eloise Guerreiro

via email

I understand that everyone at Notre Dame is satiated with comment on The Vagina Monologues debate. A decision has been made, they say, so let’s move on.

After a decision, though, there should be a pause for reflection—a pause to allow the person’s body, mind, heart and soul to express a feeling, present a gentle judgment—as feedback on the decision and perhaps wise input for the next similar decision the person will have to make.

Upon reading Father Jenkins’ “Closing Statement” on the Monologues while sitting at my computer at work, that feeling and inner judgment came immediately and intensely, although vaguely. What was that feeling that overwhelmed me? There was a feeling like depression. I felt it was important since it affected my heart and my gut. I had difficulty concentrating on my work. There was a feeling of a childlike fear. For several days I pondered and listened more and tried to tie it perhaps to similar feelings in the past. I reread Father Jenkins’ statement several times and tried to rationalize that it was simply one of many small decisions and to forget it and go on. What was that feeling and why couldn’t I get past it? There was a feeling of growing concern bordering on panic, again with that hint that it related to childhood.

I allowed myself to go back to my childhood and try to find that feeling I sometimes had as a child. When I did, the answer came back quickly: I am on my own. I am alone.

I expected a Catholic priest—a father—and a moral head of a university family committed to Our Lady—to support his faithful Catholic children like me. Don’t you understand, my father? Others are trying to change, influence, infiltrate, subvert, lure your family’s children. There are thousands of leaders supporting the side of academic freedom as the easy, unchallenged argument for allowing your children to view, experience and be influenced by world views that desensitize and de-form the consciences of your own children. To be the balance you hope to be, you need to support us, defend us, and at times protect us. That is the gentle judgment I want to express to you, my father. Don’t let me always feel alone.

Robert Stucker ’74

Cincinnati Ohio

I read with interest your comments on the “Time of Discernment". Should Catholic universities allow The Vagina Monologues and gay film festivals? Human sexuality is according to the church for the purpose of reproduction and human bonding, and should take place only in the sacrament of marriage between a man and a woman. Catholic universities we expect, will support this position and have no obligation to show films or plays that endorse any other position. If students and supporters want Notre Dame to be like non-Catholic universities then they should attend them and support them, whatever purpose and mission they have at any Catholic University should be unwanted.

The only university sponsored gay organizations on a Catholic campus should be those that assist gays in abandoning the gay lifestyle, and embrace celibacy. The reason is clear the church teaches us that homosexual acts are a sin and not what true fraternity is about. The duty of catholic organizations is to influence Catholics to abandon sin not embrace it, which is what the promise of salvation is about, and this is the most serious matter we face in this world and the next. If gay students want to be organized and labeled I’m unclear why; the last society that labeled gays with pink stars—is the one my father fought against in WWII.

Regarding comments concerning “the hiring of Catholic faculty” and should Catholic Universities have more Catholic faculty, of course, they should. The reason is the secular/non-Catholic universities have nothing to do with Catholic beliefs. Driven by the ethic of enlightened self interest they are in conflict with basic concepts of piety. Truth be told the advocates of liberalism in our universities cannot accept any ’’universal truths’’ and have no tolerance for anyone who disagrees, yet say that they stand for diversity. Do Catholic hate groups exist in our universities, of course they do and all Notre Dame students should read Father Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain to find one source. Catholic faculty at non-Catholic universities often exist as a small minority and are suppressed at the hand of their detractors because they are subject to administrative, and peer intimidation, and lack of support. Catholic faculty are hated because their detractors resent those who strive to bring redemption in the world. Given the high faculty salaries and the reputation of Notre Dame it’s a wonder that the non-Catholic faculty can stand all this Catholic oppression. Perhaps these oppressed faculty should trade places with Catholic faculty who work at non-Catholic universities whose leadership has left them with declining enrollments and operating budgets, increasing health care premiums (which they pass on to faculty), declining health care programs, and low salaries.

There should be only Catholic Universities and Catholic Education, not Catholic/ Liberal education. The reason is that modern liberalism does not concern itself with inspiring man to overcome the base influences of survival. The reason this matters we are told is that mankind’s salvation depends on those of the Catholic faith to lead the world in rising above these influences. Some argue that the pursuit of truth alone is the purpose of the university. The practitioners of the scientific method state that consistency is the measure of truth. Aquinas’ would agree in this assertion and states that “scientific knowledge is perfect because it can be Replicated.” Scientists believe that unless something can be measured it does not exist. They are not concerned with issues of the human soul and eternity for that reason. The great scientists of the past, e.g., Niels Bohr recognized this and accepted scientific knowledge as incomplete, his modern outspoken counterparts today have a less modest view.

Should Catholic universities accept all in the name of “academic freedom” and diversity? Of course not, tolerance for those views that advocate a debased view of human beings and removes hope for our salvation belong elsewhere.

Daniel L. Faoro

via email

Power’s pull

The dilemma of “The Push and Pull of Power” is almost a hopeless situation. It doesn’t just affect the great, as implied in Lord Acton’s famous quote of 1887 that “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.” This often shortened quote actually pertains to us all, great and small. An example could be Mr. MacDonald himself. When given a forum in the magazine he takes advantage of it by saying that, “Bill Clinton . . . romanced an intern and almost lost his presidency.” Romanced? So I think the best we can hope for is that in some epochs we get lucky and men like Cincinnatus and George Washington are willing to relinquish power. And not just the mighty need to heed their example, for it is the least among us in aggregate who really hold the reigns of power. We must all personally conquer pride. Then we must influence our peers, those above us, and those below us. Plans, as suggested in the article, targeting just the powerful will be futile.

Herschel Freeman ’61

Columbia, South Carolina

Your essay on the ethical pitfalls in business clearly defines the nature and magnitude of the problem, but does little to present a specific model for a solution. Perhaps the answer lies in a decision-making approach to defining choice, which would provide a concrete framework for learning how to evaluate alternative options, rather than solely relying on a general religious or philosophical orientation.

While a visiting professor at Notre Dame (2002-04) we experimented with such a psychologically based, decision-making approach to business ethics with great success (see www.lifegoals.net:http://www.lifegoals.net [media section]) for a video of MBA student reactions). The decision model used (Goal Oriented Option Development) basically posits that all choice is the result of a trade-off between competing personal values. When professional business students understand this values-based framework, realizing that their values define who they are and will become, the gray areas in ethics are greatly minimized.

Thomas J. Reynolds ’69 Ph.D.

via email

Calculus of careers

** I had to grin while reading Andrew Santella’s article that laments the fact that many Domer 20-somethings are so set on establishing careers that they postpone a relationship. He quotes associate professor David Klein, who observes that today’s students exhibit a perplexing change in orientation, seeking to “find a job, get financial stability, then start thinking about a family.”

So I quickly turned to a sentence on a previous page in the same issue that caught my attention earlier. Page 18 states that the price tag for a year of undergraduate Notre Dame education will increase to $42,137 next year, growing at a 5.8% rate over the previous year. Putting down my cup of Starbucks coffee and pulling out my PDA, I calculated that today’s Domer 20-somethings hoping to put two kids through Notre Dame will face an aggregate expense tab of . . . $1.1 million.

Matt Janchar ’93

New York, New York

Thank you for sending me your latest edition of the Notre Dame Magazine Spring 2006. I receive it four times annually because my daughter currently attends Notre Dame. I just wanted to let you know the arrival of your magazine every quarter is much anticipated!

I’m still reading my way through this edition, which I received this week. Of particular interest are the two articles dealing with the career/coupling crisis. Both of them are thought provoking and informative. Your magazine is very helpful in presenting issues which concern our undergrads and graduates. Please keep up the good work. It helps keep one abreast of the times.

Claudia Voglrieder

via email

The Spring 2006 Notre Dame Magazine depicts relationships lost to the “calculus of careers,” The same issue describes the careers of two writers: a graduate student who frets that the demands of her craft competes with marriage and a young Manhattan editor, his life unfulfilled by books and writing, who leapt to his death from the George Washington Bridge. The bridge reminded me of my late mother’s first impressions when she landed in New York in 1946. She was filled with overwhelming awe of the Manhattan skyline and of the elegant span of that same George Washington Bridge which would lead her to a new and hopeful life.

Alienated by post war Italian cynicism, she declined the inherited wealth of her native Florence and a career as a concert pianist. Impulsively, she married an optimistic American sailor on furlough who took piano lessons from her. He played badly. They had four children. We played duets badly with her. Later, I played duets badly with my daughter. In homage to my mother, my daughter married in Florence. She just had a son. They will probably play duets badly, but they will play. Grazie, Mamma.

Mark Walsh ’69

Mishawaka, Indiana

It seems as though my life has anticipated many of the choices that young domers are making in deferring the start of their families. I married at 37 and we had our first child when I was 39. Remaining single allowed me to be an Air Force pilot, a Peace Corps volunteer, obtain a master’s degree in England while mixing in some ocean sailing before finally “settling down” to a work as an airline pilot. My wife Susan, who is six years my junior, has had a similar life pattern—B.S. (EE) Bucknell, Peace Corps volunteer, submarine sonar developer, with a master’s from University of Virginia. She is currently an “at home mom” who is primarily responsible for the homeschooling of our two children. Now that I am in my 50s, with an 8- and an 11 year old, our family is my priority. This is driven because I recognize how quickly each year passes and how little time I have with our children. However, the choices that we have made have required sacrifices and adjustments. I sincerely doubt that there will be anyone reading this who, on their deathbed, will wish that they had spent more time at the office. It would be surprising if the 20-something domers, who are delaying the start of their families to advance their careers, do not eventually reach the same conclusion and become fine older parents.

Guy Wroble ’77

Denver, Colorado


I receive several alumni magazines, and the one from Notre Dame is by far the best. As an infant special educator, I was eager to read to the “Antidote to Autism.” The article only mentioned the students using behavioral strategies. Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Weider, Ph.D. recommend a DIR (developmentally oriented, individual difference, relationship based) approach which addresses the core functional social emotional concerns directly, rather than just the secondary symptoms of autism. It is more in line with the latest research on brain development and learning and a promising approach. I hope DIR was just omitted from the article, and not the students training. For anyone who is not familiar with DIR, I highly recommend Greenspan & Weider’s latest book, Engaging Autism. Thanks to the Weiss family for sharing their story and supporting others in their quest for treatment.

Maura Fahey Murphy ’71

via email

** My husband and I are both graduates of the University of Notre Dame. I was deeply concerned by the contents of the article about autism. My middle son Charlie has autism, and my husband and I believe (as do many other parents and scientists) that this was caused in large part by the mercury he received through his routine childhood vaccinations. More importantly, our son is now recovering through the use of medical treatments aimed at helping his body rid itself of heavy metals. Charlie’s recovery has been featured on our local news stations (Fox & CBS Chicago) and was the focus of an article in the Sunday Sun Times by Jim Ritter www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-autism12.html:http:// www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-autism12.html. Dateline NBC is additionally producing a story on autism treatments which I am told will include footage of my son.

Autism is a complex medical disorder and the science is still unfolding regarding what role vaccinations have played. Yet Professor Whitman discussed it (even though he is not a medical doctor) as though the book were closed on the subject. In fact, some very exciting discoveries have been made about the biology of autism in just the last year and the first double-blind, placebo-control study of a treatment called chelation is just finishing up at the Arizona State University. Other prominent research facilities such as Harvard, Columbia, University of Washington, UC Davis, University of Arkansas and University of Kentucky are unraveling this mystery. I was therefore very disappointed to see my alma mater come out with such an antiquated view regarding the disorder that has afflicted my son. Many are still learning about autism spectrum disorders and so perhaps this is why Professor Collins did not include the more recent scientific developments.

Most autistic children require a multi-faceted approach to treatment. While therapies such as Applied Behavior Analysis no doubt help many children (we had a home ABA/VB program for our son which helped him tremendously), it is important to note that parents and caregivers must also attend to the underlying medical conditions which exist in autism spectrum disorders. Many of our children have chronic GI inflammation, heavy metal toxicity, immune disorders, food allergies & intolerances, endocrine disorders, etc. When we treat autism as a medical condition, children can improve and can recover.

Besides caring for our three sons, I also moderate a statewide listserv called “Illinois Biomedical Kids,” which lends support to parents who are learning how to treat their autistic children using the methods described above. I attend Illinois State Autism Task Force meetings as a designee of State Senator Don Harmon. As a parent of a recovering child, I will be participating in a panel discussion following a screening of a documentary film Finding The Words, which we are bringing to a sold-out crowd at Northwestern University (sponsored by NU’s Family Institute). The film chronicles the lives of six remarkable children and their road to recovery. You can view the trailer online at www.findingthewords.org:http://www.findingthewords.org.

Additionally, with a good friend and colleague, I have just completed a short film. We were asked by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association to put something together to educate their members about the difficulties of raising a child with autism. View a sample at http://www.chicagolandlegalphoto.com/autism.html:http://www.chicagolandlegalphoto.com/autism.html.

I would love to see Notre Dame compete with the other fine institutions I have mentioned above in forwarding the discussion on autism and treatment options. The article ends on a very bleak note for children on the spectrum, but I believe this can be remedied. Not all autistic children will end up institutionalized or living with their parents for the rest of their lives. Parents have more options than Professor Whitman would have us believe. The Notre Dame community deserves more and I would like to share a complete view of this disorder including an accurate statement of the current science. If I had indeed lowered my expectations for Charlie two years ago, my son would still be spending his days flapping his hands, running back in forth in his own world rather than attending Easter Mass with my family and racing his brothers to find the last Easter egg.

Christina Saracino Blakey ’94

Oak Park,Illinois

** The article “Antidote to autism” is a strange report on a devastating disability that the author states affects one in every 150 individuals, yet this rate seems to be no cause for concern. Anyone researching the issue will find that autism has increased 6,000 percent from one in 10,000 just twenty years ago. This is an epidemic rate and should be raising a national alarm. The claim that the numbers are just the result of autism being “better diagnosed” is self-congratulatory nonsense. No one could have simply missed these kids a generation ago and there isn’t a single study that has found the previously undiagnosed or misdiagnosed autism individuals among older generations of Americans. They simply aren’t there. Professor Thomas Whitman may be musing about 15 to 20 genes causing the number of children with autism today, but there has never been a genetic epidemic. Something is affecting more and more of our children and we simply can’t continue to ignore all these children. We must address the cause of the explosion in autism. The estimations for the lifetime of care for the generation of neurologically disabled children is in the trillions.

Professor Whitman may be skeptical about vaccines being linked to the autism epidemic, but the issue is gaining more and more credibility among thousands of parents, along with many research scientists and physicians. It isn’t simply “vaccines” but vaccines with the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. Mercury is the second deadliest element on Earth, yet it was allowed in children’s vaccines at unconscionable levels that directly coincided with the autism explosion. Do a search for Dr. Thomas Burbacher, University of Washington, Dr. Jill James, University of Arkansas, Dr. Boyd Haley, University of Kentucky, and Dr. Mady Hornig, Columbia University. All their work shows that the “safe” form of mercury used in vaccines is a deadly additive with no place in medical products. There is a growing number of parents reporting that their previously autistic children are now recovered after biomedical treatments. I can give you lots of contacts.

The medical community is eager to dismiss the claim that vaccines are linked to autism because it is a potential health care scandal of unprecedented proportions. The history of mercury use in vaccine is a pathetic example of oversight failure. Thimerosal was first introduced in 1930 and was tested only once, by the company that invented it, Eli Lilly, on 22 adult patients suffering from meningitis. There was no chance for follow-up to observe long-term effects, as all of the patients in this “study” died. Even if follow-up had been possible, damage to the developing brains of very young children would have remained an unknown. Thimerosal was pronounced “safe” and later grandfathered in when the FDA was created. The federal government has never tested the type of mercury in vaccines for toxicity. This is an unconscionable act of malfeasance and we are now overwhelmed with a generation of children with neurological disorders. The Centers for Disease Control directed the Institute of Medicine to produce a report in June 2004 to “prove” mercury is safe when injected into babies. They used only easily flawed and manipulated population studies and ignored all the toxicological research showing thimerosal to be a dangerous neurotoxin. The sad reality here is that none of these agencies are unbiased parties. All the federal health agencies, including the FDA, CDC, and the supposedly independent IOM, have members with endless conflict of interest waivers for their direct financial ties to the vaccine makers. All these people have a lot at stake in disproving any connection between vaccines and autism. Their claims are about as objective as a tobacco company study on smoking and lung cancer.

In his book, Evidence of Harm, journalist David Kirby points out that “many researchers had sent the company documents dating back to the 1930’s, each raising a red flag about thimerosal.” (EOH 207-209). Mr. Kirby chronologically lists over 70 years of scientific research on the damaging and deadly effects of thimerosal that was willfully ignored by Eli Lilly and the CDC (http://www.evidenceofharm.com/": http://www.evidenceofharm.com/).

Boyd Haley, PhD, professor of chemistry at the University of Kentucky, is an internationally known researcher and author on the damage from thimerosal. He recently criticized the vaccine safety claims of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S.

Finally, I find nothing indicating any scientific credibility or knowledge within the vaccine program of the CDC. They don’t even do the rudimentary testing of vaccines for safety before mandating them on the American public. It appears to me that the vaccine aspect of the CDC is in the hands of what I call “physician administrators,” not knowledgeable scientists. Anyone with two neurons left to rub together could find massive intellectual holes in about everything the CDC vaccine administrators and the 2004 IOM committee states.”

We need the press to investigate this controversy and report the facts. With 80 percent of autistic Americans under the age of 18, this is a potential economic disaster as these individuals become adults dependent on the welfare system for their support. There are effective treatments to help detoxify these children and enable them to become productive. Our federal government refuses to look into them because of the role played by the vaccine program.

Anne McElroy Dachel

Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

Highly relevant to the article “Antidote to Autism” by Walton R. Collins ’51 is a report by David B. Geier, B.A., and Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D., in the Spring 2006 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (www.jpands.org:http:// www.jpands.org) titled “Early Downward Trends in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Following Removal of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines.”

It might interest you to know that, despite its obvious high quality and the great importance of topics it addresses, this journal continues to be excluded from coverage in Medline/PubMed, thanks in part to the tight control powerful self-interests in the biomedical community exert over the National Library of Medicine’s journal selection policies.

Albert W. Burgstahler ’49

Lawrence, Kansas


** I enjoyed this excursion into the weird world of astrophysics. HOW many dimensions? But the author steps once or twice through the portal to philosophy, and there, he is lost.

Astronomers as the new theologians! This is just wrong. It is as if we had studied pigments in such detail that we knew every molecule, and then said that the pigmentitians are the new art critics. Yet they have no way to come at the intentions of the artist. It’s another subject entirely.

Similarly, knowing the far-off origins of the visible universe tells us nothing about “who we are.” We gain no information from it, that enables us to live better lives, or to know what constitutes a good life. Nada.

It all reminds me of a story—I can’t remember where I first heard it. After hearing a lecture on the solar system, an earnest young man rushes to the podium and asks breathlessly “Professor, did you say the earth will die in a million years, or a billion?” Professor: “A billion.” Young man, showing great relief: “Thank God!"

Arthur Gardner

Brookfield, Wisconsin

Where’s Condoleezza?

** Why, in your portrait of Lewis Hall, did you not mention that Condoleezza Rice was a former resident? She is our most famous hall alumna: no other ND dorm can boast a former or current U.S. Secretary of State.

In omitting Dr. Rice, you lost an opportunity to suggest—as was the case—that when graduate laywomen lived in Lewis, women of color were central to that ND residential community, and—as is the case—that since leaving Lewis, they have been making major contributions to government, higher education, business and non-profits.

Maureen Murphy Nutting ’69 M.A., ’75 Ph.D.

(Lewis Hall ’68-’72)


Please stop!

Well, I just finished it, the Spring 2006 edition. I have spent nearly every leisure minute in my life during the past three days reading this issue.

Physics and the universe, Matt Storin, rules of modern relationships between the sexes, delayed marriages, Husband the Fish, Catholicism, the Pope, hall life, beloved Father Ted, my notable Farley Hall acquaintance Don Wycliffe, autism, nursing homes, a great faculty author. My God, would you please stop. I have other things to do today in addition to reading this inspiring, entertaining, and spellbinding magazine.

I don’t know how you do it. The constant, superb quality of writing that has become a trademark of the publication. I must have subscriptions to at least a dozen national media magazines. Every issue, I casually and indifferently flip through the pages, read a few paragraphs of an article here and there, and discard the magazine within days of its arrival.

Notre Dame Magazine is different. I actually read it—every page, every article. It has the absolute best writing and story telling of any publication that enters my house. And, my wife, who is not a Domer, reads it, just like me.

Thank you for this gift. My only regret is that it arrives so infrequently at my house throughout the year. Keep it going, please with that uncompromising quality I almost have begun to take for granted, and now being spoiled by you, expect to discover in every issue.

My wife is screaming at me, a million things to do on the honey do list, and so little time for such distractions. I have to go now.

Patrick K. Rocchio ’69, ’72J.D.

via email

The Spring 2006 Notre Dame Magazine, at page 16, in “Notre Dame News” noted: “One thing a Notre Dame athletic coach can say to a recruit with iron-clad confidence is ‘Come to Notre Dame, and you can graduate.’ According to the NCAA’s Graduations (sic) Success Rate (GSR) scale, Notre Dame’s 98 percent GSR for all its student athletes ranks second, behind only the U.S. Naval Academy, which had a 99 percent GSR.”

Not quite accurate. In the initial NCAA Division I GSR ratings and rankings this year, Notre Dame actually finished in a tie for third with Valparaiso (go to "www.ncaa.org:http://www.ncaa.org). Radford University was ranked first, ahead of the Naval Academy, and was the only Division I school with a perfect 100 percent GSR.

As an ND alum (’71), I am proud of the University and its student athlete graduation rates. I am also the proud parent of a recent Radford University graduate, Meredith Roberts, who played in every tournament for four years and captained Radford’s NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Team. Meredith and her Radford teammates often competed against Ivy League, ACC and Big East schools (including a victory at a Georgetown Invitational Tournament). Meredith graduated from Radford and is now in a master’s degree program at the University of Virginia.

It is very difficult for a student athlete, especially at the Division I level, to balance academics and athletics in order to attain academic success and graduate on time. Radford University’s 15 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s sports teams’ accomplishment of a perfect 100 percent GSR is truly remarkable, and certainly deserves accurate and appropriate recognition in Notre Dame Magazine.

James H. Roberts, III ’71

via email

Editor’s note: The Seen and Heard item omitted the fact that this was a comparison of Division 1-A football schools and not of all Division 1 schools. This has been corrected online and in the Summer 2006 issue’s Seen and Heard column.