The Virgin Mary is a Protestant
David Gibson January 11, 2013 - 9:53am
How else to explain that debacle of a loss to Alabama -- the team from about the most Protestant state in the nation whipping the team that is the repository of all that is good and right and holy about Catholicism in America.More bad news: Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is reportedly interviewing for the Philadelphia Eagles vacant head coaching job. That would be a good fit: a coach who can't win the big games in college going to a franchise that can't win the big ones in the NFL.There is one bit of good news, though: one of six computers used in the BCS "matrix" still ranks Notre Dame No. 1 over Alabama. A Catholic computer?So what strikes me most, however, is that since Monday night's whupping, all those ND fans have been almost entirely silent. Nary a peep on the interwebs, where for weeks there had been nothing but triumphalism and woofing about how Notre Dame's imminent championship season showed the superiority of a Catholic school (crowing from many folks who just a couple years earlier were blasting ND as having sold its Catholic soul -- hmmmm) and how the divine hand of a Catholic God was clearly at work in this miraculous season (brought to you by Mormon players and perhaps one sex assault suspect, but whatever). Heck, this season even taught me that the inimitable G.K. Chesterton once lent his bloviations to the cause of Our Lady's football team.How could they lose with such backing? But lose they did. Crushed, actually. Not that there seems to be any humility coming from ND fans -- the Golden Domers who bragged of beating the Mobile Homers. Well, maybe those poor kids from the South can teach rich white suburbanite Catholics something.But seriously, folks. After all the chest-thumping and scapular-waving, don't Catholics have anything to say about the theodicy of football? How it is that Notre Dame could lose and thereby undermine the Catholic faith? How it is that the brilliant RGIII may have been chewed up and spit out in his rookie season with the Redskins? Why it is that we continue to to cheer for our teams (mea maxima culpa) even thought the sport can cause traumatic brain injury that leads terrific athletes and fathers and husbands like former N.F.L. linebacker Junior Seau to blow their brains out at a young age?Actual religious faith seems to be a more nuanced discipline than the all-or-nothing world of football fundamentalism.Then again, in the case of Notre Dame's lost championship, maybe the answer is obvious: Notre Dame used its free 30-second spot during the highly-rated telecast to promote the fact that it is No. 1 in graduating student-athletes. That was a "cowardly decision," suggested George Weigel, who said the university should have instead used the spot to promote the pro-life cause or the bishops' religious freedom campaign.Because of course carrying water for the Republican party is really what a Catholic university is all about. And it's what wins football championships.