Notre Dame Final Four Run Tainted by NCAA’s Scheduling on Good Friday and Easter; Catholic Institution Should Have Abstained From Participating
The NCAA has created an anti-Catholic and anti-Christian effect by scheduling a national semifinal (Final Four game) on Good Friday in women’s basketball. Doing so violates the solemn nature of the day and subjects Catholics to having to play on a day when they are fasting, and when they are abstaining from meat. At least the game is not at 3 p.m., the hour that Christ laid down His Life on the Cross, yet it is in the evening. #NotreDame should have refused to play.
The movie “Chariots of Fire” featured an Olympic athlete who refused to compete on the Sabbath. Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax refused to pitch in a World Series game on Yom Kippur. Notre Dame should have refused to participate in the tournament if the Final Four was going to be on Good Friday.
Notre Dame Women’s Basketball has made yet another Final Four run, yet probably should have sat out the tournament when the NCAA drew up the bracket to force games on Good Friday and Easter, two of the most sacred dates on the Catholic Liturgical Calendar.
Good Friday, in particular, is a day of solemn observance honoring the Passion and Death of Christ on the Cross, for which an athletic contest intended as a form of entertainment is inconsistent. Additionally, Catholics are required to engage in fasting on Good Friday, to take in less than the ordinary amount of nutrition, as well as a day of abstinence from meat.
It appears that an additional form of abstinence that Notre Dame should have practiced was to abstain from participation in the tournament, unless they wanted to see if they could advance and then simply forfeit the semifinal.
Notre Dame is French for “Our Lady,” referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the day her Son was Crucified, the Blessed Mother was not playing basketball or rooting for an athletic contest. When most of everyone else had run off, the Blessed Mother was there at the foot of the Cross.
The Final Four fiasco is a missed opportunity for the University of Notre Dame. Against the backdrop of a society beset by various evils and temptations and moral failings, these circumstances offered an opportunity for Notre Dame to offer leadership, by refusing to disrespect Good Friday and Easter.
Such an example would have been helpful to the broader human community, and would have helped serve the NCAA with a “wake-up call.”
The NCAA, as coincidence would have it, is based within a few miles of an Irish Catholic church that reputedly was burned down by the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan, back in the 1920’s when the KKK essentially took over Indiana and had deep tentacles into Indiana government. That was about the same era that the Notre Dame student body disrupted a Klan rally in South Bend and prepared to march on Klan headquareters before being convinced by the school president and Knute Rockne to head back to campus. And that was in the same era when Notre Dame started winning consensus national championships in football. It also was about the same era that Notre Dame reportedly starting adopting “The Fighting Irish” as their nickname, a term that originally had been hurled by an opposing team’s fans as an anti-Catholic racial slur, that the school would now wear as a badge of honor.
The NCAA is being de facto anti-Catholic by trying to force a Catholic institution to compete on a day when the Catholic Faith requires fasting and abstinence. And the NCAA is being anti-Catholic and, more broadly, anti-Christian, by disrespecting the solemn nature of Good Friday with the deliberate scheduling of the semifinal. The Final, of course, is scheduled for Easter Sunday, the Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord, the most important Feast Day on the Catholic calendar.
Today’s increasingly secularized, money-oriented University of “Notre Dame” is far too submissive to the NCAA’s de facto anti-Catholic, anti-Christian step of forcing a Final Four on the sacred day of Good Friday and Easter, the Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord. The university should have abstained from participating. And perhaps sports fans should abstain from watching.