Slouching toward Sodom

Slouching toward Sodom

Here’s another sign of the decline of Catholic higher education. Boston College holds a Welcoming Mass for incoming freshman and only 25 show up, while the rest go see a show by self-described R-rated hypnotist Frank Santos.

“To be honest,” the peer minister said, “it may even be better for freshmen to go to the hypnotist. I think it helps them form the community that BC will eventually be for them, and that’s what we’re trying to do here too.”

Better to go to the hypnotist than go to Mass.

This peer minister also lauds the university’s decision to allow a gay-lesbian student group on campus as banning them for 10 years. “What critics see as distance, Tasman sees as inclusion. Instead of distancing itself from the Church, he sees the school as attempting to better extend its Jesuit traditions to the student body.” I see. How do you think the NAACP, and the black community at large, would feel about historically black Howard University allowing the formation of a Ku Klux Klan chapter on campus? Do you think they would buy it if they claimed they were trying to be inclusive?

What about the formation of a neo-Nazi chapter at Boston College? Can’t they try to embrace that different viewpoint?

In reality, the gay-lesbian group isn’t about including them in the college community in order to convert them and convince them of the Church’s teachings. You don’t need a gay-lesbian group for that. No, the purpose of the group is to convince others that there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality.

  • In fairness, Dom, students at BC do go to Mass, often in amazing numbers.  Welcome Week activities specifically target the freshmen, who (quite naturally) travel in herds; plenty of time is available (and plenty of Masses are offered) earlier on Sunday.

    And finally—peer ministers are good for what they’re good for, but I don’t listen to them as spokesmen for Campus Ministry….

  • Yes, but with the attitudes obviously present on campus, what are the odds that the students going to Mass in large numbers are receiving anything close to orthodox Catholic teaching?

  • Just to lay my cards out—I am a Jesuit, and I used to be a member of the Jesuit community at BC. I regularly said Mass for students, and I daresay my preaching was orthodox. You’d have to take my word for it, of course.

    BC has its problems, no doubt, but the Jesuit community is working hard there to be a genuinely Catholic voice within the university community. The role of the Jesuits has changed drastically since the 1960s—regrettably in some respects, but not so much in others. I agree that the Catholic identity of our universities, quite generally, has been occluded by an unwise hankering after the prestige and character of places like Harvard or Johns Hopkins. The best of our universities are the smaller ones, where graduate research programs weigh less on the character of the institution, or not at all.

    Boston College has provided training to a great number of lay and religious who have gone on to take up pastoral duties in many diocese, where they serve faithfully. Moreover, it provides mostly free education (BA/BS, MA/MS, PhD) to many religious from poor African and Asian countries, who go back to take up highly effective ministries in teaching, administration, and other areas. It’s a pretty vibrant place, with a good deal of faith and hope. Students come with all sorts of backgrounds—many Catholics are painfully uncatechized, and BC provides many opportunities and invitations to remedy that. Could they do more? I’m sure they could. Is everybody on board? Certainly not; one of the downsides of a true university. But, given what it is, it’s a very Catholic place, far more Catholic than many of its purported rivals.

  • But in the end, according to a UCLA study that we highlighted in a Catholic World Report article, Catholic students graduating from Catholic universities are discernibly less inclined to the Catholic faith or Catholic teaching than when they went in and it’s worse there than even at public universities.

    I have no doubt that there are fine orthodox Jesuits at BC, Fr. Matthew Lamb among them. And there are fine orthodox students and alumni. But on the whole, when I look at BC I don’t see a school making an effort to advance the Catholic faith in the face of a world hostile to Catholic teaching.

    Just look at the symbolism of the names of buildings: the Silvio Conte forum, the Tip O’Neill library—two of the staunchest pro-abortion Catholic politicians of their time. Or that they would capitulate and allow the lesbian-gay group. Or that the women’s center on campus was known to refer pregnant girls to off-campus abortionists. Or that Mary Daly was allowed to spread his lies and hatred for men for so long. Or that last year a female student had a regular column in the student newspaper in which she recounted her sexual experiences.

    I’m sure that there is some orthodoxy and faith going on there, but not enough, in my opinion, for a school that wants to claim the mantle of teaching in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition.

    You infer that a true university allows the dissolution of the truth to be trumpeted on its campus—“Is everybody on board? Certainly not; one of the downsides of a true university.”—but I say that a true university is not about diversity of truth and falsehood, but about diversity of truth alone. I don’t expect everybody to agree with the school’s mission, but what I do expect is that the school’s administrators and faculty to not circumvent that mission themselves.

  • Perhaps I am in error then about Conte. I was in high school at the end of Conte’s political career, so I wasn’t paying close attention then.

    I was going from second-hand recollection from what pro-lifers told me when the building was dedicated. Either I got the building wrong or they just were wrong about him. Wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong. Won’t be the last.