Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jesuit Mission & Identity

Here's a good example of why we need to do a better job promoting Jesuit mission and identity at our universities. The editors of the Boston College student newspaper seem to think that compassion and understanding are Jesuit ideals but not Catholic ones:

Because it has long been a goal of BC's to be not only one of the country's top universities, but also the premier Catholic university in America, it would seem not only logical, but required that the University should abide by these doctrines.

But the problem isn't that simple.

The question at this point is whether BC is willing to sacrifice its Jesuit ideals of compassion and understanding in order to stay in the good graces of the Vatican.


Maybe this also says that the Vatican needs to do a better job promoting its mission and identity?

Read the whole story.


Blogger the tentmaker said...

Whadda ya bet they are referring to the same sex affection issue.

8:17 PM  
Blogger angelmeg said...

How far do you promote an occassion of sin in the name of compassion?


10:19 AM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...


I'm honestly not sure what you are saying. But compassion is extended to people (it means "to suffer with"), not to a sin. Jesus was always compassionate, even when confronting someone with their sin. It's something we should all practice. That's why I'm concerned about the confusion in the article that seems to indicate that this is a Jesuit value, but not a Christian one. I would hope it would be clear to people--and, unfortunately some of our students don't seem to get this for some reason--that it is a Jesuit value because it is a Christian value.

If that's not clear, as I've suggested, it might mean we have a PR problem.


11:03 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Mark, I have heard this often. I grew up in a large city with a popular Jesuit college near its center. Quite often, people made remarks similar to the one you reference, marking a perceived distinction between Jesuit values and Catholic values. In many cases, they recognized and supported the values they saw lived by the Jesuits but lamented not seeing those same values in the rest of/non-Jesuit parts of the Roman Catholic Church.

It poses a challenge for certain.


5:14 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Mark - I think there is a PR problem, but also a problem in the university. Not only in BC, but probably in every major Catholic university. If the university's staff and faculty were following & living those Catholic 'ideals', would things get to the point that an event like this is cancelled? If the university truly was in line with the church, would this event have materialized in the first place?

I look at religious orders as each having its own emphasis on various aspects of Christianity & Catholicism. In that respect, the orders are a subset of the whole. Jesuits and Dominicans are different (for example), each emphasizing different aspects of the same church. If people are seeing part of a particular order as being opposed to the church, then maybe something is going wrong - not only in PR but perhaps also in specific actions?

12:31 PM  

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