January 9, 2013

Regarding Michael Leahy’s Jan. 6 Outlook commentary, “Losing their religion?

Mr. Leahy’s rabbi friend Joseph Elsant might smile to learn that one of my favorite professors at Notre Dame in the late 1960s was Rabbi Elliot Rosenstock, and he would be pleased to discover that star linebacker Manti Te’o is one of several Mormons on the team. Mr. Leahy may be surprised to hear that Notre Dame was one of the first Catholic universities to turn over control to a lay board in the late 1960s.

The Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, is an honorable man, staying the course in spite of much criticism from church hierarchy for inviting President Obama to be commencement speaker, and inviting independent investigation of allegations that seem to be popular topics in the media. Every family has flaws, and I’ll forever be proud to be a part of the Notre Dame family.

Mike Moore, Gainesville

In slamming Notre Dame and Catholics, Michael Leahy cited the tragic incident in which undergraduate Declan Sullivan, who was videotaping a football practice, was killed when the hydraulic lift on which he was standing toppled in high winds.

Thankfully, I read on in The Post and came to the uplifting story in the Sports section [“Keeping Sullivan’s memory alive”] about how Sullivan’s family and Notre Dame have worked closely together to honor his memory, including raising safety awareness and establishing a nonprofit for underprivileged children.

Leahy derisively chalks up the lack of a costly lawsuit by Sullivan’s family as “Irish luck” and “Teflon.” Actually, it’s called forgiveness and charity — the very hallmark of religion.

Declan Leonard, Falls Church

Michael Leahy’s article on why he roots against Notre Dame would have been fine, had it not been for his potshots at the Catholic Church. There are plenty of Catholics (myself included) who don’t root for Notre Dame but take umbrage when it is described as an “apt symbol of the church that guides it — dogmatic, frustrating change and stifling dissent.”The Catholic Church has been at the forefront of social change, and its tolerance for dissidents within its ranks is well-documented. It’s one thing to root against the Fighting Irish, quite another to use one’s disdain for them to make gratuitous cracks about the church.

Jeff Field, New York

The writer is director of communications of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

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