Saturday, February 26, 2005

One of "Life's" Little Ironies?

Tonight I noticed that my oh-so-stylish pro-life bracelet, if turned inside out becomes my "made in China" bracelet. Hmmmm . . .

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Bioethics Symposium at Loyola

Allow me to brag a bit more about some of my students here at Loyola. This week Loyola is holding, thanks to the initiative of our Compass students, a bioethics symposium.

Loyola President Kevin Wildes has worked closely with these students to make this happen. Since this is not likely to make the headlines that the performance of the Vagina Monologues did, it should give you pause before demonizing Fr. Wildes, Loyola, or the Jesuits completely (and especially as I'm one of those Jesuits, I'd challenge anyone on that!). Alas, usually things are much more complex than critics make them seem. Here are the details of what should be a nice balance of different perspectives in the great tradition of academic and ethical discourse, with a distinctive Catholic flavor:

The President’s Symposium on Bioethics

The Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., and the Loyola chapter of COMPASS will present four nights of distinguished speakers considering the perfectibility of human life.

“Defining Our Future: The President’s Symposium on Bioethics” will take place the week of February 28 in Loyola’s Nunemaker Auditorium in Monroe Hall. The presentations will examine the moral and social implications of medical technologies as they are understood through the academic disciplines of biology, philosophy, theology, and law.

Monday, February 28, 7:30 p.m.

“Genetics and Medicine: Decisions for All Generations,” presented by the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J.

Wildes, an expert in medical ethics, has teaching and research experience at Loyola College Maryland, University of Houston, Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown University, and Loyola University New Orleans.

Tuesday, March 1, 7:30 p.m.

“Dancing with the Devil: Identity Politics and Bioethics,” presented by

Boyd Blundell, Ph.D.

Blundell is an associate professor of religious studies at Loyola University New Orleans. He earned a doctorate in theological ethics from Boston Universty and a master of theology from the University of St. Michael's College/Regis College in Toronto.

Wednesday, March 2, 7:30 p.m.

“Human Rights for All: Everyone Should Know About Cloning and Stem Cell Research,” presented by Dorinda Bordlee, esq.

Bordlee is a staff counsel for Americans United for Life (AUL). In 1998, she was

appointed by the Louisiana Department of Justice to serve as special assistant attorney

general defending Louisiana’s late-term abortion ban. She will be joined by Kitty Cleveland, who will offer her personal testimony of embryonic stem cell adoption.

Thursday, March 3, 7:30 p.m.

“Of Embryos and Souls: Should We Be Destroying Embryos and Cloning Humans?” featuring the Rev. Tad Pacholczyk.

Pacholczyk is an internationally-known speaker and molecular biologist who received a doctorate in neuroscience from Yale University. He has testified before members of the Massachusetts and Wisconsin state legislatures during deliberations over bills to ban cloning.

Incorporating the influential tradition of Catholic moral theology on medical moral issues with a Jesuit approach to critical thinking and discourse, the President’s Symposium seeks to contribute to the public discourse by modeling a healthy and vigorous engagement of the issues.

COMPASS is a national network of Catholic college students. For additional information, contact the Loyola chapter’s president, Katie Stephens, at 865-7653.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Voice of Truth

My apologies for the long absence!

I spent this past weekend with an enthusiastic group of young Catholics from a number of colleges in this region, including about 15 from Loyola University. These were students who are part of, or who are considering starting, a chapter of the organization "Compass" on their campuses. I have been involved with the Compass chapter here at Loyola for the past two years, and it has been a privilege to journey with these young Catholics who are so enthusiastic about their Catholic faith. This weekend's conference, called "the voice of truth" after a popular Christian song was a celebration of that spirit. We "adults" joined some fifty college students, gathering in fellowship, prayer, liturgy and a good dose of just good, clean fun. I already wrote my love letter to my students in my America magazine article of last September entitled "Gen-Y and Catholic," and as our numbers grow I continue to be even more impressed with how they love one another and how they increasingly make fruitful contributions to the spiritual life of the University. They have truly become the kind of collaborators in our University's Catholic mission that we hoped they might be. They challenge all of us to be better and more committed by their enthusiasm!

One of the other graces of this weekend's gathering was the opportunity to meet and collaborate with others who are involved in this ministry. Compass is an apostolate of Regnum Christi and thus connected with the Legionaries of Christ. Thus, at Compass gathering such as this one, there is normally a L.C. priest present. This weekend was no exception. Indeed, of the "older" adults present this weekend were myself and two Jesuit priests from Loyola, a lay member of our university ministry team, a diocesan priest from Texas, a layman from the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, and the aforementioned LC priest. What a grace it was to see this diverse group of priests, religious and lay people, many of whom, let's face it, might not have anything to do with each other otherwise, working and praying together, supporting and ministering to these young men and women who need to see the witness of a Church unified, not divided as it too often is.

What a great witness of how fostering the Church of the future, represented by these young people can be an opportunity for engendering unity rather than a battleground to perpetuate divisions. I pray that we all in our humility and love of Christ can continue to foster such opportunities.

For doesn't the "voice of truth" say that we should be collaborators and brothers and sisters in the service of Christ, rather than rivals in the service of ideologies or agendas.

May we continue to come closer to answering Christ's prayer that all his disciples be one, just as he and the Father are one!

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