WRC serves whole community well
Letter to the Editor
We knew why he visited the center. We knew why he and his cohort would not leave their names on the guest list provided for those attending the center's Open House on November 3. We anticipated an attempt by Sean Vinck to trump up questionable evidence upon which to launch yet another inquisition against the Women's Resource Center. Our assumption was proven correct upon our reading of Vinck's article entitled, "WRC Opposes the Catholic Mission" (The Observer, Nov.16).
Vinck's mini-investigation was apparently far less productive than he would have hoped. His second McCarthy-like indictment of the Women's Resource Center is based on severely precarious grounds. Vinck suggests that the University "exercise its pastoral responsibility" and commandeer the center because of the presence of a particular pamphlet produced by NOW, the National Organization for Women, that was displayed there during the time of his investigation. The material in question, Vinck charges, was "heralding support for legalized abortion."
Considering the substantial interest Vinck exhibited in the pamphlet, members of the WRC were startled at how egregiously Vinck had misinterpreted its contents. The pamphlet offered theoretical anecdotes of gross social injustices that directly affect numerous Americans, including Catholics, everyday. Some of the injustices addressed mentioned include rape, inadequate family leave, sex discrimination, race discrimination, and poor health care. The pamphlet was, as Vinck alleges, entitled "Together We Can Change the World," an obvious proposal that the aforementioned social injustices endemic to our society must be addressed. This was the fundamental and primary idea expressed by the NOW-issued pamphlet. If this message was in any way "incendiary," as Vinck charged, consider the following excerpt form the Second Vatican Council's Gaudeum et Spes, "The social order requires constant improvement. It must be founded on truth, built on justice, and animated by love; in freedom it should grow everyday toward a more humane balance. An improvement in attitudes and widespread changes in society will have to take place if these objectives are to be gained." This statement hardly insinuates that calls to change our social structure are in any way inflammatory or anti-Catholic.
Additionally, the pamphlet in no way suggested that one endorse abortion nor did it offer any information as to how one might be obtained. It was even completely and utterly lacking any type of theoretical discussion of abortion. It must also be said that it is quite impossible for the WRC to be WRONG on the issue of abortion considering its total disassociation with the issue. The WRC does not take a stance on abortion either politically or morally. It doesn't even address the issue.
The WRC remains true to its mission of serving as a resource for all members of the Notre Dame community. We actively celebrate a diversity of races, classes, ages, political beliefs, lifestyles, and physical abilities as our organization's constitution states. We present the books, articles, and other informational materials found in the center as objectively as possible in hopes that those who consult our resources may form their own responsible and freely-formed opinions on the subjects addressed by them. It was quite irresponsible for Vinck to associate NOW's political views on those issues that the WRC doesn't even address, as being part of the WRC's mission or as being views that are expressed or promoted by the WRC itself.
Vinck's allegation that the WRC is a "clearinghouse for left-wing propaganda" is an unfounded and unwarranted as his plea for an investigation of our organization. There are no prerequisites for WRC volunteers that require them to conform to or adopt particular political beliefs or ideologies. We do not accept or reject materials based solely on its partisan nature. However, although we do embrace a variety of political beliefs, we do not embrace all political beliefs. We hope to discourage those views that some would label as "political" which direct hatred or disdain toward individuals based on their race, sex, class, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. We reject such attitudes whether they are professed by someone who would align themselves with the left-wing or the right-wing. Creating awareness with regard to the existence of such attitudes is one of the Center's driving goals.
I do sincerely hope that the Nov. 16 article about the Women's Resource Center is the last of its nature. I hope that this article has enumerated and clarified the noble purposes of the Women's Resource Center. I hope that our organization might remain unfettered by an onslaught of misinformation. Finally, though, I hope that the WRC be permitted and encouraged to pursue its goal of fostering an environment that is pro-women, pro-men, and pro-humanity.
Volunteer, Women's Resource Center
November 26, 1999
All Viewpoint Stories for Tuesday, November 30, 1999