Fall sessions are
beginning at my
Catholic university, and for the first time in five
years I`m not in class, although I still live next to
the big-city campus. I am now the proud possessor of a
Bachelor of Arts degree (double major in English and
In May, I carefully
made my way to an assigned folding chair along with
several hundred of my peers, each of us
indistinguishable from the others, amid the sea of caps
and gowns that filled the pre-commencement auditorium.
pomp (considering the
circumstance) the faculty paraded in like bored
pigeons, doing their yearly duty, pretending to know all
the majors in their department as they handed out
While my fellow
graduates were a-fluster with nervous pride, I sat
quietly in my chair and noticed three disturbing things
about the graduation ceremony itself—three things which
I think characterized the whole four year experience:
1. We never made the Sign of the Cross.
After our president
stood to greet us, a priest approached the podium to
give us a blessing. But instead of the traditional
Catholic sacramental, "In the name of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," the priest
said only: "Let us place ourselves in the presence of
God." In fact, in the entire two hour ceremony, the
Sign of the Cross wasn`t made a single time.
Why? Because, I`m
sure, the administration wanted to
avoid offending any
Muslims in the audience. (There`s a highly-organized
Jewish presence on campus too, but my impression is that
they are less of a
At this point, if it
weren`t for the artwork in many of the old buildings,
and the occasional priest spotted walking to the
library, no one could recognize my school as a Catholic
- Student employees
are expected to
"foster" the homosexual lifestyle.
- There are
Muslim activist groups on campus.
- Classes on "Catholicism"
are taught by non-Catholics–not a problem in
itself, my best teacher was a Protestant—but often
irreverent or inaccurate texts like,
The Complete Idiot`s Guide To Understanding
- Mass schedules are
not arranged around classes on Holy Days of
Obligation, so students are forced to choose between
one or the other (or go off campus).
big campus event for a recent St. Valentine`s
Day was a production of The Vagina Monologues,,
which glorifies lesbianism, pedophilia and rape. (In
one scene, the voice of a 13 year old girl describes
being seduced by a 24 year old woman. She says, "If
it was rape, it was a good rape.")
- It`s not unusual
for Catholics and Catholicism to be used as objects
of derision in the classroom.
My friend Maeby, whom
I`ve written about before, was in an elementary
education-track class, when her professor said,
"Come on, imagine how much better the world would be if
Catholicism didn`t exist. What has it contributed to the
betterment of our world?"
If anything, it`s
easier to be a Muslim on campus, protected by the
web of non-discrimination and hate-speech rules,
than it is to be a Catholic. Because we`re the
established denomination of the school, we aren`t
allowed to stand up for ourselves.
2. Instead of a diploma, the embossed
leather folder they handed me contained a fundraising
flyer from the alumni association.
Talk about a buzz
kill. You`d think after having me pay more than $200,000
over the past four years, they`d give it a rest for just
this one day—Graduation Day.
But I`m being silly.
Why would they? After all, scamming people out of money
seems to be
the university`s most purposeful program.
It`s hard to
how important the financial aid office is until
you`ve experienced a bad one. Many students depend on
their efficiency and discretion for, literally, their
education. We dealt with the financial aid office
directly or indirectly almost every day. Without it, we
wouldn`t be here. As a result, many of us barely were.
Misplaced funds, rude
counselors and hardhearted committees were a given,
here. It was like dealing with the
IRS, except worse. Lost paperwork was so common that
once, while I was training to be a campus tour guide,
our group walked by a girl standing outside her dorm,
tears running into her
cell phone as she
sobbed into it, "But I can`t wait that long. I
shouldn`t get fined if you lost it! It`s not my fault!"
"What do you think is
wrong with her?"
I asked my fellow trainee.
talking to the financial aid guy,"
was his calm response.
Maybe I shouldn`t have
Bureaucracy is bureaucracy, I guess. But this is,
after all, a Catholic school. And isn`t compassion a
3. In the course of the commencement
ceremony, a long-time (non-Christian) Leftist—one of
refused to say he wasn`t a Communist in the
heyday of that
noted Catholic legislator, Senator McCarthy—was
awarded an Honorary Degree.
But that`s nothing
unusual. It fits right with the political environment on
campus. Anything (as long at it`s liberal) goes—whether
communist, liberation theology, environmental
sexual freedom or just resisting the establishment.
This atmosphere was
extremely irritating for my small coterie of
conservative colleagues, especially when we`re being
oppressed by professors. But it also has its occasional
university made known a decision to build a new,
beautiful and much-needed study library on
what was once a giant green lawn used for student
recreation. Immediately, a group organized itself,
recruiting members via the college-oriented social
www.facebook.com. With silly signs reading, "building
here is like building on the National Mall" they
protested. Intrigued, I asked one of them, "don`t you
think this will help our school and improve student
"but it won`t be finished by the time I graduate."
Suddenly, it all
became clear. After all, it`s the way she`s been taught.
The problem I see with
Catholic universities today—not just my school in
particular, but Catholic universities in general—is that
they are motivated by the paradoxical but surprisingly
common combination of
selfishness and self-doubt. The faculty and
administration as merely parts of a whole, one entity
suffering from an identity crisis. As a result, it
continues to prostitute its values for instant
Having lost sight of
the heavenly rewards inherent in humility, compassion,
and most of all, faith, the Catholic university desires
the worldly reward gotten from exercising oppressive
"Tolerance", exclusive "Diversity", the
cult of Multiculturalism—the plaudits of
Athena Kerry (email
recently graduated from a Catholic university somewhere in