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I am a medievalist and an adjunct college instructor in the humanities at Union College. My research includes medieval theologies of history, text/image relationships in visionary and mystical texts, and the writings of the twelfth-century Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. I am also a translator of medieval Latin and German texts, especially as relate to my research. My translation of Hildegard's Book of Divine Works is available from Catholic University of America Press here. I completed a Master's in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2010, a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany in 2008, and a B.A. in Classics and German at Boston College in 2007.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Quid est exemplar Iesuiticum?

Jesuit values and Catholic doctrine are one and the same: they are inextricably linked, and to attempt to separate them is to destroy both. If you are not Catholic, then you cannot ipso facto be Jesuit. Furthermore, the lauded ideals of the Jesuits imbue us with a sense of wonder at the majesty of creation, with a sense of vocation, with concern for all of the human family, with tolerance and charity: these ideals are utterly Catholic, and you cannot be Catholic except that you hold and follow these ideals.

Is this a call that all Boston College students be Catholic? Certainly not; it is simply to make clear that one cannot separate the Catholic identity of the University from its Jesuit identity.

Furthermore, we must see this Catholic, Jesuit identity as a strength of Boston College, not a weakness. Our stature as a top-flight national University is, in fact, all the more reason for the University to stand firm in its ideals. A few decades ago, the theology and philosophy core requirements were reduced and the Crucifixes were removed from the classrooms in an attempt to make Boston College more appealing to the secular elite of national standings. This was a mistake.

The time has come for the University no longer to bow its Catholic identity to the beliefs of a secular world just because it aspires to the top levels of recognition in that secular world. The time has come for this University to stand, as Fr. John McElroy, S.J., intended it, as an institution of higher learning true to the banner of the Catholic Faith.

The University necessarily cannot reflect the views of all of its students by the very fact that not all of its students are Catholic. This, however, should not be seen as a weakness on the part of the University; rather, it should be considered a strong foundation, for the unique strength of Boston College is its Catholic identity. It is what differentiates Boston College from BU or Northeastern or Brown, and provides for us a firm moral foundation committed to the service in God’s name of others. Let us all learn from this identity, and act with the compassion and love our Lord taught to us, to His greater glory.

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