When University of Notre Dame officials announced Wednesday that they were building a $400 million extension onto its football stadium, many were initially critical of the project’s price tag.
But one notable critic has come forward to oppose the project on moral and religious grounds. That critic is the leader of the global Catholic Church.
Pope Francis issued the following statement today: “The University of Notre Dame is turning a blind eye to world poverty and choosing to instead invest $400 million in more chairs for their football stadium. They should be feeding the poor, not catering to their wealthy alumni.”
The Campus Crossroads project, which will take 33 months to complete, will begin sometime in the next two years. Included in it will be a renovation of the area around Notre Dame Stadium to erect three multi-use buildings that can be used for classrooms, a career center, a dining hall, event spaces, a media center, as well as premium seating and club space for Irish fans during college football games. The stadium is set to gain 4,000 new seats.
But the Pope remains unimpressed with what he calls “Notre Dame’s addiction to gluttony.”
He reminds us, “These are the same folks who hired Charlie Weiss. The same people who thought Manti Teo really had a girlfriend, and that the Irish had a chance to beat the Crimson Tide in the National Championship last year. Do we really trust these guys to spend all this money in a responsible way?”
Others in the Church are echoing similar sentiments. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, himself an avid Boston College fan, has said, “Notre Dame’s reputation has remained suspect ever since they refused to cover birth control in Obamacare. One out of every five American children grows up in poverty and Notre Dame is spending its money on lawsuits so Catholics can have more children. It makes no sense.”
This isn’t the first time the Pope has taken the moral high ground when it comes to income inequality and global poverty. Earlier this year he stated, “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
Meanwhile Notre Dame President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C, insists that the Pope’s objections are all unfounded, implying that God’s representative on Earth might want to stick to watching futbol on the big screen plasma TV in the Vatican’s man cave with the other Cardinals, who he said, “are probably just Stanford fans anyhow.”
He goes on, “Since its founding, one of Notre Dame’s greatest assets has been the boldness of its vision – the ability to see possibilities and connections where others saw only obstacles and fragmentation. This project continues that boldness of vision. I personally spoke to Jesus about it, and He told me this is what we should do.”
“I mean Touchdown Jesus, of course,” he quickly added.