'Catholic' Notre Dame Ignores Student Pleas to Filter Porn From Campus WiFi

By Michael W. Chapman | April 11, 2019 | 5:34 PM EDT

Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins and President Barack Obama, May 17, 2009. (Getty Images/Jeff Haynes-Pool)

(CNSNews.com) -- Although Notre Dame University is a "Catholic" school headed by a priest, Rev. John Jenkins, it has dismissed the request of many students, faculty members, and an anti-pornography/anti-sex trafficking group to install a mandatory filter on its public WiFi to block online pornography. 

Enough is Enough, a non-profit organization led by Donna Rice Hughes, is committed to making the Internet safe for families and children, and was selected to be among the groups in the Vatican-led "World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World."

On Feb. 4, Hughes wrote a letter to President Jenkins noting that "many students at Notre Dame – men and women -- have been calling for the filtering of your university public WiFi in an effort to prevent access to prosecutable pornography (known as obscenity) and illegal child sex abuse images (also known as child pornography)."

The letter also mentioned Notre Dame student James Martinson, who had spearheaded "a university petition campaign requesting the university implement a filter to make pornography inaccessible on the Notre Dame Wi-Fi networks, and offered EIE’s platform and voice to put a public and national media spotlight on his request."

A CitizenGO petition, "Notre Dame: NO Free Porn on Campus WiFi!" has more than 12,500 signatures. 

In her letter, Hughes also said, "Peer-reviewed research has demonstrated that hard-core pornography is highly addictive and a fueling factor in sexually aggressive and destructive behavior, including the objectification of women. One in 5 women and one in 6 men are sexually assaulted while attending college. ... Please, do not contribute to the very factors leading to the objectification of women, addiction and destructive behavior that result from the absence of a filtering solution to your university WiFi. Just as important, send a message to the parents of these students allowing them to feel secure in the environment in which they are sending their child to study ...."

On March 7, Jenkins wrote back to Donna Hughes, "Thank you for your letter of February 4. Although we do not believe a mandatory filter is the best solution for us, we are taking steps to encourage students and others to adopt filters voluntarily. Thank you for your thoughts on this matter."

Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough is Enough. (YouTube)

In response, Enough is Enough released a statement this week. It reads, “It is disappointing that the University of Notre Dame is ignoring the persistent pleas of their students to filter the University’s public WiFi from pornography and child sex abuse images which is consistent with the call of Pope Francis to protect children from ‘extreme pornography ... online trafficking ... and live viewing acts of rape and violence against minors.’ 

"By providing safe WiFi, the University can provide students a wholesome online and offline environment, stand up for the dignity of all people and honor the Pope’s Declaration of Rome.” 

Our Lady (Notre Dame), the patroness of
purity and holiness. (YouTube)

Enough is Enough further noted that Rev. Jenkins apparently is ignoring Pope Francis' 2017 Declaration of Rome and the World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World’s Strategic Plan which provides recommendations preventing the sexual exploitation of children. In addition, Jenkins is ignoring the students' demand for their own safety.

"Sexual violence on campus is pervasive," says Enough is Enough.  "11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation among all graduate and undergraduate students; studies have found physical aggression in nearly 90% of pornography scenes reviewed, while nearly half (48.7%) contained verbal aggression. Viewing pornography plays a significant role in objectifying women, normalizing sexual assault and fueling sexually aggressive and destructive behavior."

As for a "voluntarily opt-in," the group said it is "useless" because "prosecutable pornography and illegal child pornography will still be readily accessible to students and faculty."

Hughes concluded. “A decision to filter WiFi is a ’win-win’ for all and can offer a tremendous public relations opportunity for Notre Dame, while encouraging other universities to follow suit. We aren’t backing down until our voices are heard and the safety of Notre Dame’s students is put first!” 

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials. (2354)"

 
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman

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