Notre Dame To Cover Up Historic Painting Of Columbus

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I have been writing and speaking about the movement to remove statues that range from confederate leaders to Columbus to Supreme Court justices to Founders (here and here and here and here).  This includes the calls for the removal of monuments to George Washington and Columbus. Now, the University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins has announced that a historic mural by Luigi Gregori will be covered up due to objections to the harm caused to Native Americans by Columbus and those who followed him. The famous mural depicting Columbus’ life and exploration was completed in around 1882. As should not come as a surprise to many on this blog, I view the decision as a mistake and a missed opportunity.

President John Jenkins wrote to students and faculty that “as we prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day . . . at Notre Dame, I write to let you know of a recent decision.” He noted that “[m]any have come to see the murals as at best blind to the consequences of Columbus’ voyage for the indigenous peoples who inhabited this ‘new’ world and at worst demeaning toward them . . . ” Accordingly, the university will cover up the mural. He explained that “many have come to see the murals as at best blind to the consequences of Columbus’ voyage for the indigenous peoples who inhabited this ‘new’ world and at worst demeaning toward them.”

I can understand that objection. However, rather than literally covering up a historic art piece, the University had the opportunity for a learning experience in placing works near the piece that give a more accurate representation of the period. It could also include discussion of the controversy and the decision to preserve a historical art piece while extending the context around the piece to address these issues.

There is no denying Columbus’ historical significance.  Millersville University professor Thomas Tirado wrote in 2000 that “It is nearly impossible to over-exaggerate the historical significance of Christopher Columbus.  The ultimate expression of the Columbian Legacy has been nothing less than global in its impact.”

Our art often captures our struggle for equality and truth. While originally meant as a celebration of Columbus, it now represents something different for different people. That contemporary meaning is part of the power of public art pieces. They often treat a lesson not intended by the original artists but perhaps of greater importance to our generation.

Jenkins’ letter could well have been memorialized in nearby representations and placards: “whatever else Columbus’ arrival brought, for these peoples it led to exploitation, expropriation of land, repression of vibrant cultures, enslavement, and new diseases causing epidemics that killed millions.” 

So the mural will no longer be visible in the hallway due to woven coverings that will leave the aged art intact underneath. At least it will not be destroyed and perhaps a later Administration will see the value in both preserving and explaining historical works.

68 thoughts on “Notre Dame To Cover Up Historic Painting Of Columbus”

  1. The purpose of Columbus’s voyage was to obtain gold or other riches from whatever places or people he could find. He was there to exploit other lands and peoples to enrich the Spanish crown. If he were embarking on a voyage solely to expand humankind’s knowledge of the world and for the spirit of adventure, that would be different. Contemporary writings prove the motivation was about obtaining gold and wealth.

    There were indigenous people living here in the “new world”, which wasn’t new to them. They had their own culture, language, social order, agricultural system, recipes, foods, way of life, etc.. Columbus stumbled onto an existing society that he sought to exploit because they were not as well-developed with weapons and transportation. This is why Native Americans do not see Columbus Day as any reason for celebration. So this Italian guy sailed over here from Europe and found out we were already here and doing just fine? So what? Some aspects of the murals (not the one shown above) appear to show Columbus as a kind of deity being worshipped by the Native Americans. That is offensive and insensitive.

    1. then you can stay in New York and California or wherever and do not come to flyoverland.

      the murals are not offensive they are gorgeous, very well known and loved.

      and as I observed literally thousands or tens of thousands of people with native ancestry in whole or in part– have matriculated through notre dame and not made a hassle over it… until 2019 which is quite some time after Mr Columbus sailed the ocean blue

      so it’s basically troublemakers and you applaud troublemakers? that makes you a troublemaker too

      1. @natacha

        If we flyover state people are so wicked and evil, LET US GO and then you enlightened good people on the coasts can create your multicult, socialist utopia.

        I WANT A DIVORCE.

        antonio

      2. I don’t think that staying in “New York and California or wherever” is sufficient atonement, since these areas as well were once the homes to whatever tribes won them and kept them through conquest and combat.
        To truly assuage her White Guilt, nothing short of donating whatever property she might own to a nearby reservation, packing up, and moving back to the Old World will do😇.
        Only then can America go back to “doing just fine”.

        1. Natacha isn’t suffering any ‘white guilt’. The smart money says in her mundane life she never offers non-spurious apologies or regrets anything she does. These discussions are an occasion for her to issue anathemas against others; it’s fundamentally self-aggrandizing. Not irrelevant to this impulse is that those others were vigorous and accomplished and she’s not worth a pitcher of warms spit.

    2. There were indigenous people living here in the “new world”, which wasn’t new to them. They had their own culture, language, social order, agricultural system, recipes, foods, way of life, etc..

      The Carib Indians would have made a meal of you, Natacha. Made the world a little more tranquil for the rest of us. (And taken one for the team by suffering the indigestion you’d give them).

    3. natacha:

      “The purpose of Columbus’s voyage was to obtain gold or other riches from whatever places or people he could find. He was there to exploit other lands and peoples to enrich the Spanish crown. If he were embarking on a voyage solely to expand humankind’s knowledge of the world and for the spirit of adventure, that would be different.”
      ***************************

      That’s called will to power. You may not like it, but that’s the underlying moral of human existence since our emergence from the caves. We are free not because we are smart or rich or pretty. We are free because we are strong. So get off the high horse and acknowledge the proclivities of your species. Homo homini lupus.

      1. #Psychologists should bethink themselves before putting down the instinct of self-preservation as the cardinal instinct of an organic being. A living thing seeks above all to DISCHARGE its strength–life itself is WILL TO POWER; self-preservation is only one of the indirect and most frequent RESULTS thereof.” [FN, BGE #13]

        Conversely the failure to live on is often a failure of the will to power. Do we witness a failure of the will-to-power in the hearts of the American folk?

        1. We are witnessing a sickening lack of will to power among the Left. It’s why they are doomed to failure in their perverse rebellion against human nature which, of course, is the real object of their unending scorn. Oh, they’ll create a lot mischief in their wake but the trajectory of history is heading right at them and not with them. Human nature — sometimes in its most base form and sometimes not — always wins. Always.

    1. The most obvious statuary at Notre Dame are the works of Croatian Ivan Mestrovic

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Me%C5%A1trovi%C4%87

      Soon too maybe they will take him down because since he opposed the Tito government at times, he must have been a fascist? Even though he was not. Kind of like Columbus: he must have been a bad guy, because he was on the wrong side of today’s thought-control-commissars, even though he was not.

  2. Hey Notre Dame, I’m a white Irish Catholic. I find the “Fighting Irish” to be offensive! I want it removed from all that merchandise that you sell and I went restitution for all the harm that this mascot and slogan have caused my people (Which by the way, I’ve never been to Ireland, but that doesn’t matter, I’m still hurt) over the years and years that it has been used.

    1. >> Jim22 says: January 23, 2019 at 3:18 PM
      Hey Notre Dame, I’m a white Irish Catholic. I find the “Fighting Irish” to be offensive! I want it removed from all that merchandise that you sell and I went restitution for all the harm that this mascot and slogan have caused my people <<

      Jim22,

      I'm sure you must know your opinions can't speak for all people that have some Irish blood.

      As one whose family has some Irish blood I find your comments about Fighting Irish offensive.

      Note that the position of bending over & taking it up the back side for so long now Irish as been/is being over ran with Islamic Govt Nut Jobs. And it's happening right know here in the USA… Deerborn Mi, NYC, San Deigo….., even Tulsa, ares of 3rd world Islamic sh*holes. ( I wouldn't hesitate, round them up & ship them all back to their sand box!)

      So many of our leaders in Govt, Catholic/Protestant/Judaism are compromised in one way or the other. With many it's they're known pedos & other illegal corrupt behavior.

      The current Pope & many other need to be removed from power.

      Remember Gen Patton didn't slap Fighting Irish, he only slapped Cowards!

    2. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ipmBwwOO6ZE
      Jim 22,…
      They may be taking your complaint seriously, and I’ll be watching for any potential changes in slogans, mascots, merchandising, etc.
      The “old Catholic Church”, prior to, say, the mid-1960s, was relatively consistent and static; i,e., there was not this or that different dogmatic view and “ritual variety” from diocese to diocese, and the dogma was more established.
      The “New Catholic Church”, over time, developed more variety, was less consistent re Church dogma, but did produce some interesting characters.
      Like the prominent priest and journalist featured in the short video.

  3. It’s interesting that I am the one considered a Nazi, racist or chauvinist while I shout from the mountain top to stop burning books, destroying statues, removing paintings and calling for freedom of speech.

    1. Jim22:

      “Someone once said, “No man would want to be judged out of the the context of the time in which he lived.”
      *************************
      Because that wise person knew that morality is a function of time, place and inclinations of the population. Everyone is “immoral” outside of their own context. People forget that.

  4. Would it be unfair to blame the Church for all the strange games the CSC and the university have played over the decades? Perhaps or perhaps not. There is no direct control. but there is some oversight. And it may depend on who has been in charge outside of Notre Dame in the diocese. It has not always been an easy relationship. This essay by the local bishop related to a past point of conflict gives an idea.

    https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/ByIssue/Article/TabId/735/ArtMID/13636/ArticleID/1401/Bishop-DArcy-What-the-Notre-Dame-controversy-should-teach-us.aspx

    I am not an expert on such things however and I have no say. It’s for the Pope in his throne in Rome to decide what goes on in all that calls itself “Catholic”

    But, just as the Jesuits were suppressed at various times and places I sometimes wonder, should the CSC be suppressed?

  5. the there was Lebrun the gay CSC priest touching boys in the parish right down the street

    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2002_09_22_OBrien_LocalPriest.htm

    I will just throw a few of these out there; it would waste too much of my day to disgorge the entire volume of gay scandals at Notre Dame which preceded this current episode of political correctness.

    There’s been a lot of really good people associated with Notre Dame and the CSC order over the years. As I get older I come to realize, most of them were laity!

    1. http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/a-real-charmer/
      Mr. Kurtz,…
      I did not hear about the N. Dame dormitory assignment you brought up.
      I do know of a similar case involving a Church assignment as outrageous as that, if no more so.
      But the link I attached has more to do with a similar level of idiocy and incompetence on a more secular level, i.e., action by the state.

    2. Well Garrick was not ever accused of molest that I know of. He was supposedly a chaste homosexual. And of course not every homosexual is a pederast, even though it is endemic to their particular culture. No matter how much they deny it. Think the myth of Zeus and Ganymede. Ganymede: he was what they call now a “twink,” back then, an . éphēbos …. Yes it goes way way back……

      But I think it’s really stupid that Notre Dame did put an open homosexual in charge of a dorm. But then he he was not the only one. Not by far! Not the only rector who was a homosexual brother or priest put in charge of a boy’s dorm.

      Think about that one before you send in your donation so you can be in the football ticket lottery, alumni.

      One could go on and on about the things that are a little bit off about Notre Dame. Worse things than the scary murals by far. Why get started on Notre Dame though: a lot of the mischief is no different than any other university.

  6. I remember back when Lou Holtz was around still, winning National Championships, the big question was whether or not to charter the gay club. At the time the university refused. The name was GLENDA or GLANDS or something like that– not joking, really!

    Now they have this and the gay mayor in South Bend whos gonna run for prez, Pete Butt. Yes. Sorry., Buttigieg — in the news. what timing these people have!

    http://grc.nd.edu/resource/lgbtq-trainings

    lo how times have changed! but the sucker donor money keeps rolling in.

  7. might as well send your best and brightest Catholic kids to Ivy Leagues instead.

    Notre Dame’s phony decades long attempt to equalize itself with them, mostly through money grubbing, has totally failed and it’s lost its distinctive identity that gave it any kind of edge in the first place. Sad!

    Ted Heshburg had that “lace curtain Irish” mentality, afraid of not-belonging to the American system, made a lot of compromises.

  8. EUROPE WAS JUST EMERGING FROM MIDDLE AGES..

    WHEN COLUMBUS SAILED

    Modern Spain was still fairly new when the Spanish crown sponsored Columbus’ voyage. At that point most Europeans were still peasants in thatched-roof ‘cottages’. Great Britain had not yet formed and modern Germany was still more than 300 years away.

    Therefore Columbus and his Spanish sponsors were coming from an almost medieval mindset when the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria set sail. Their values still reflected Pre-Columbian Europe; a perspective where one conquered or got conquered.

    So of course Columbus seems primitive by 21st Century standards. That should comes as a surprise to no one. It’s only surprising that contemporary academics are incapable of putting Columbus in proper context.

    1. academics can and they do. but John Jenkins is an administrative figurehead, a glorified hack who is out to please donors and get favorable newspaper headlines.

      He is lukewarm and pleases no one.

      Revelation 3:16 New International Version (NIV)
      “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

      They should have elevated Father Tim Scully instead but he supposedly had “bullied a reporter” and so was passed over. I thought, if he bullied a reporter, he must have his heart in the right place!

      1. Notre Dame’s often clever with these things.

        In 2012 there was a tempest in a teapot about Merchant of Venice and antisemitism. I can’t even recall the details. It was a typical fracas however. Lots of whining.

        Recently, they hired a Jewish director to stage it instead. Problem solved!

        https://www.southbendtribune.com/entertainment/inthebend/arts/notre-dame-shakespeare-s-touring-company-seeks-balance-with-merchant/article_425a8829-032b-5e0d-8060-f17cc2d7a38b.html

        1. I wonder why none of the thousands or tens of thousands of Latino students of mestizo (mixed Hispanic and Indian) heritage who have passed through Notre Dame for many decades ever had a cow over these murals. Suddenly, this?

  9. While it is True ‘Columbus Discovered America’ is three lies in three words

    His name wasn’t Columbus
    He didn’t discover America
    The name America didn’t exist.

    and while it reminds one of other such fallacies such as “Our democracy.”
    The USA has never; ;been one ot those the system was rejected nine times.

    or

    Democrat Party/ Democratic

    They are far far far distant from being democratic or since 1909 have made no attempt to live up to that name being solid socialist the entire time.

    Covering up the truth of the Columbus fiction does little to promote learning from the mistakes of the past and much to keep making those errors.

    and promotes the one truth being covered up. That system always turns into a Mobocracy thus nullifying the ‘good points’ in the ancient but unfulfilled ideal.

    and does not work with when coupled with words such as Socialist or Christian when found in groups that are anti religious

    (where secular is accurate)

    Nor is an oxymoron opposite such as Socialist and Democratic

    It DOES exist in one accurate form – Individuals striving to vote en masse

    And did so well in 20-16 it massed the largest number of votes which while not the majority (40% of of all legal valid votes cast)

    And coupled with the partial votes of one Party

    The Constitutional Republic portion of the GOP minus the Republcans in name Only

    controlled the out come and the goals of defeating Clinton, destruction of the Socialist Party, and cleansing the GOP of said RINOs while exposing the Democrats In Name Only for what they are socialist fascists. .

    And did so with six months top effort and a zero budget.

    Thus the value, if history is properly taught and remembering words have meanings but psuedo redefinitions belong ony in Fictionaries halted a revolution against Our Constitution and Our Representative, Constitutional Republic – an effort started in 1898 and made official in 1909 – dead in it’s tracks

    In a bloodless Counter Revolution

    and it shows no swigns of stopping and every sign of still growing.

    As a side benefit it showcased the failure of the public school system and their Social Promotion Strategy. of dumbing down the country (itself a term of illiterates since it means inability to speak.

    Now that would be useful if it could some how afflict Motor Mouth Harris or the Putz Party not led by Schumuckley and Plugosillyni who made Botox a synonym for ‘the opposie effect.

    That last was an ad hominem, barely, otherwise I would have used ad machina

    .

      1. Michael seems like a nice enough fellow, but it makes my brain hurt to try to find coherence in his posts. I gave up trying a while back. At least Benson’s non sequiturs are brief.

  10. “He explained that “many have come to see the murals as at best blind to the consequences of Columbus’ voyage for the indigenous peoples who inhabited this ‘new’ world and at worst demeaning toward them.”
    *****************************
    I love it when academia becomes the voice of the offended even when they aren’t offended. Where is the groundswell of Indian opposition to the murals or even to Columbus? A couple of “woke,” hung-over undergrads in the Native American Club is a groundswell? In this rash, guilt-ridden move Notre Dame has appeased a group not seeking appeasement and offended a historically loyal group not deserving the offense. Generations of Italian immigrants, who annually commemorate the Great Admiral of the Ocean, dutifully sent their kids to South Bend to pay homage to Our Lady’s School and to support their church. Now they are banished to “behind the curtain” status with Carol Merril and anxiously awaiting their prize of “rarely being shown” that the UND administration offered as crumbs to the unconverted. Talk about a Zonk! Actually, it’s an infuriating kneel-down to the politics of social disintegration and apartheid of history so loved by the Left by an institution that should be for classically teaching both the good and bad about the human condition rather than some Chamberlain-esque capitulation to the tyrannical Leftist currents of the times. Columbus was a great man — there’s no denying that historical truth. But he was only a man and thus constrained by the morals and mores of his day which did not include sensitivity to other vanquished humans. When can debate that ethos and we should do it, all the while recognizing that while much of what is screamed about in his treatment of the Indian tribes is overblown, there is certainly room to harshly criticize Columbus from the perspective of our morality. Just as there is room to harshly criticize the Left’s unyielding attempt to map their heedless moral sensibilities on the figures of the past and banish them into obscurity if they fail to live up to the Puritanical moral code they impose on them — but curiously exempt themselves from. I’m looking at you Bill and Hillary. All in all this is a classic mis-step that sows the whirlwind. Hold on to your hats.

    1. Father Sorin bought the land from other French Catholics. But how did the French get it?

      http://www.archives.nd.edu/about/news/index.php/2014/edward-sorin-the-founding-of-notre-dame/

      There’s some sort of subrosa anxiety about money there in spite of the enormous endowment, perhaps?

      It’s anxiety but prolly not guilt: like I said yesterday, the local Pottawatomi of Indiana were mostly Catholic converts then and in the 200 years since, so Notre Dame is about the last place which should be worrying about tomahawk chopping indian chants at games, nor the murals under the golden dome. Yes they are in the admin building atop which sits the golden dome.

      Jenkins should be fired.

      1. I can tell you that about 80 % of the Italian ancestry people in northern Indiana & Chicagoland are Democrats. Or at least they used to be. LOL. So I’m not sure there will be a peep of objection coming from them. they ought to object. I admire Columbus and he was quite humane. I actually admire Hernan Cortez a lot more. Now that’s my kind of hero. But then again I’m not a Democrat.

  11. Notre Dame President John Jenkins maybe covering up mural for another reason

    The mural doesn’t have an image of presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren aka Pocahontas, squaw & papoose

  12. Very disturbing that we have come to this point in history. We are no different now than many past and current totalitarian governments where they burn books, destroy statutes and monumental works of art because it does not fit the agenda and narrative they are trying to advance. The Nazis in the 30s, the Taliban, ISIS and Mullahs of Iran come to mind. As the saying goes, if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Well folks, we can no longer learn from history because it’s slowly being erased. Another generation from now, history will no longer be taught because it might “offend” someone. God help us!

    1. We are no different now than many past and current totalitarian governments where they burn books, destroy statutes and monumental works of art because it does not fit the agenda and narrative they are trying to advance.

      I gather no one ever taught you how to use the first person plural. While we’re at it, the Congregation of the Holy Cross is not an organ of government. Just another corrupt religious order.

  13. Just the latest in a decades-long exercise in vandalism by Notre Dame’s institutional governors. I’ve forgotten who it was who said ‘the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops’, but he might have added the skulls of honchos in religious orders to the paving.

    1. it was priests and bishops i think….. and it is traditionally attributed to Saint John Chrysostom, bishop of Antioch, and father of the ancient liturgy still used by Orthodox Christians and formerly by Catholics in Tridentine rite.

      you may be interested to know that he was a lawyer before a priest. Lol

  14. If a White Person…

    Moves out, it’s white flight and that is racism.

    Moves in, it’s gentrification and that is racism.

    Sees color, that is racism.

    Doesn’t see color, that is ignoring racism, which is racism.

    Doesn’t partake in culture, that is non-inclusive and racism.

    Engages in culture, that is cultural appropriation, which is racism.

    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS AND CULTURAL MARXISM ARE CHURCHES WHICH HAVE NO SALVATION!

    antonio

    1. did you hear that Mike Bloomberg is also a racist? He stated Baltimore has high murder rates and John Hopkins must employ more armed security guards

      “When you have a city that has the murder rate that Baltimore has, I think it’s ridiculous to think that they shouldn’t be armed,” said Bloomberg, the school’s largest benefactor who donated an unprecedented $1.8 billion in November.“
      https://nypost.com/2019/01/23/bloomberg-calls-for-more-armed-security-guards-at-johns-hopkins-university/

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