The Priest President

As Notre Dame wrestles with its Catholic character, a strong voice emerges

The Priest President of Notre Dame 3

Matt Cashore, U. of Notre Dame

The Rev. John I. Jenkins chats with Notre Dame students at a welcome picnic in 2007.

Seven minutes go fast. So the University of Notre Dame student got right to the point during his meeting with the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the university's president, one day last fall.

A senior majoring in philosophy and biology, the student shuffled in wearing pressed khakis and a button-down shirt. He fidgeted, sat on the edge of his chair, and delivered a confession: He no longer felt the presence of God.

His crisis of faith stemmed in part from studying biology, he told the