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Notre Dame President Does Not Practice What He Preaches on Social Distancing

Photo: Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images

“Do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach,” Jesus once said of the Pharisees, the Jewish religious leaders of his era. Two thousand years later, Notre Dame students are learning that lesson once again, after being reprimanded for storming the field after the football team’s tight upset victory over Clemson on November 7 and breaking COVID-19 protocols along with Clemson’s winning streak. And the chastisement isn’t coming from just anyone — it’s coming from Reverend John Jenkins, the same Notre Dame president who caught the novel coronavirus at the White House’s super-spreader event celebrating the nomination of Notre Dame alumna Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. “It was very disappointing to see evidence of widespread disregard of our health protocols at many gatherings over the weekend,” Jenkins told students in an email, according to TMZ. He outlined testing policies and threatened punishment for further gatherings, adding, “The grave circumstances of this pandemic compel us to take these exceptional measures.” At least the students were wearing masks!

As Jesus also said, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” That appears to be Notre Dame’s stance toward its president. After the faculty senate changed a vote of no confidence to a vote of disappointment in Jenkins at a November 5 meeting, it also absolved him of his sins in the same breath. “Whereas Fr. Jenkins has apologized for his actions, be it resolved, the Faculty Senate expresses its disappointment in his actions,” the resolution read. “Be it further resolved, the Faculty Senate also accepts his apology.” Dear God.

Notre Dame President Does Not Preach What He Practices