Thursday, March 10, 2005

Marquette Does Not Reflect Catholic Identity

The following article was written by Douglas Zabrowski, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, for the March 8th, 2005, edition of the Marquette Tribune. Note that the following textual material that is in bold is what was left out of the published article that appeared in the final edition of the school newspaper and I believe better amplifies Douglas' point on the issue of Marquette University losing out on its Catholic values through their misguided actions in the recent past. Also, for those wondering, I have received the latest edition of the Marquette Tribune in which a response has been written concerning my Viewpoint article last week but I have not had the chance to either read it or respond to it as I would like. I may have the chance later in the day to do so but with an International Politics Midterm tomorrow I could be hard-pressed for time. In any event, here is Douglas Zabrowski's complete article:

Why have I chosen to attend Marquette University? In light of recent events on campus, I have had to ask myself this question many times. When I was applying for colleges, I was accepted to the University of Chicago and Northwestern as well as MU. Both universities have high academic standards and are among the top tier of universities in the nation. Being a chemistry major, UoC would have been an excellent choice with a rigorous chemistry program. Since I intend to go to med school, Northwestern and its medical programs would have been an ideal choice for my undergraduate years. But the reality is that I chose neither of these, instead opting to attend Marquette University. What made the difference? Why choose Marquette? It was not financial disparity, nor was distance factor. The reason that I chose Marquette is that it is a Catholic University and should be different from secular universities. Upon enrolling and arriving on the campus, I fully expected my experience here to match ideals that I have found throughout my history in Catholic schools. As of recently though, I have been sadly disappointed.

I first recognized how MU varied from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) in my second semester here. I had known that there was an organization for homosexual students on campus, but the way that Marquette treated these organizations was hardly befitting of a Catholic university. I would assume on a Catholic campus that official Church teachings would be upheld and that any programs for homosexuals would be a group to council them or at least that any group would be small and private. Instead, contrary to Catholic belief, these organizations thrive on campus. They openly run fundraising efforts on campus including, ironically, the rose sale for Valentines Day recently. Furthermore, they advertise all over campus and even have a recruiting week. This is just one example of how the University has strayed from its roots. I urge the university to remember the five non-negotiable issues as laid out by the CCC. According to it, abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual “marriage” are issues which it is especially important that any good Catholic should oppose. There are others, but I shall not enumerate them.

Last Tuesday, Nathan Zimmermann wrote that our Jesuit university encourages secular learning. He said that the university cannot simply offer only Catholic theology and cited the invitation of Arun Gandhi as positive event. There is some truth to these arguments, but his example and the conclusion that this forbids what he calls “Catholic correctness” is flawed by one fact: we ARE a Catholic University. As a university, we must teach a diverse array of subjects. In many of these areas, there is little room to see a Catholic difference. Where there is though, the university needs to show that it is different from every other secular institution. In just about every area of life, especially in the national media, we receive challenges to our faith. We hear different points of view and even others trying to tell us why the Catholic Church is wrong. It is supposed to be here that we find ways to defend it. Marquette University is supposed to be a bastion of reasoned faith searching for enlightenment. To this end the university has a duty to mold its policies toward the enhancement of the faith. Inviting Arun Gandhi does not follow this duty. The university excused it by saying that he wasn’t speaking of his pro-homosexual, anti-Catholic stances, but only on “constructing peace.” But if this is the case, why invite him? Aren’t there plenty of speakers on the college circuit willing to speak on this topic? Absolutely. This seems to show that the university is being cavalier about its Catholic roots. In the future, I urge the university to consider carefully the full character of speakers that they invite and to reflect deeply on which causes and organizations they support as Catholics. For it is not by being like every other university that we will grow as a community, but by showing that we are in fact what we claim to be: Catholic!