I’m sure all sorts of strange noises of shock and exasperation came out of my mouth as I was reading this:
And then this came out before I could even get an article written:
So, you’re going to get a two-fer. Let’s take them one at a time.
It’s taken me awhile to process this boatload of fantastical theories. It rather epitomizes why the vast majority of schools bearing the “Catholic” moniker are a danger to society. I mean, people actually believe what is spewed here is Catholic!
Traditional, Progressive, Both?
How about neither? I choose door number three. Dissenting is probably what that door would be labeled. No progress is being made. In fact, we’re kind of stepping back to the decadence and debauchery of ancient Rome or Greece at the University of San Francisco. Without a doubt, it’s anything but traditional unless you’re counting lunacy as some sort of tradition.
The tall, dark wooden doors of the St. Ignatius Church are open every day from dusk ’til dawn, yet a relatively small fraction of the USF’s students are seen among the pews. Metal crosses decorate the front walls of many classrooms in the Lone Mountain building, though only a handful can be seen in any of the newer classrooms down the hill. The prevalence of the school’s religious identity appears to have slowly but surely weakened on campus over the years.
The school’s religious identity has slowly but surely weakened? I don’t think so. Unless slow and sure means 100 miles per hour in a Midwestern thunderstorm. That said, most of USF sees things through a myopic lens, so 50 years for them is FOREVER. Wait until they find out how long eternal life and hell last. What a wakeup call that’s going to be. Unfortunately, I’m reasonably sure it’s not considered much there.
A majority of students are mainly attracted to USF because of its liberal and open-minded reputation. While the University is proud of its close connection to the progressive city of San Francisco, it also has a deep Jesuit Catholic identity. At times, it’s hard for some people, students especially, to reconcile these two aspects of USF.
Deep Jesuit identity? Again, people need look at the history in total. It’s not just one person’s lifetime. Does anyone see the “Jesuit Catholic identity” of their founders in the vast majority of today’s Jesuits? One would have to wonder if these kids actually know the names of Jesuit saints. There are not two aspects of USF, just the one, liberal, open-minded one, progressive (or the stupid one, as those of us with some knowledge and sanity would say).
As she cautiously sipped her freshly brewed latte in the cafeteria in the University Center, Consuelo Reyes, a sophomore communications major, explained her initial attraction to USF. Reyes said, “[I could] see honesty, progressiveness, sincerity, and integrity rooted in the values that this school had when it came to education.”
How about Catholicism? Anyone? Not important? Didn’t think so.
At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, USF President the Rev. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J. spoke at the annual faculty and staff meeting. During his talk, he proposed a conversation on the Jesuit university experience. In an email response to questions about his proposal, Fitzgerald wrote, “[I] asked deans and directors to have conversations with their team members about how well we are fulfilling the vision statement that we articulated back in 2008.” He explained that the first round of conversations would discuss USF’s Catholic and Jesuit tradition while the other “four essential features” of this tradition would be part of later conversations.
As director of USF’s University Ministry, Julia Dowd has been involved in these conversations at USF. She said that although Catholicism gets a bad rap in society these days, “It’s important to claim who we actually are because if we don’t, other people get to claim what ‘religious’ looks like.
Ummm… Honey, you don’t get to explain what Catholicism is. You don’t get to define it. You don’t get to shape or change it. It is what it is, and anyone can look to Her teachings to see Her. What does “religious” look like? Who the heck cares when the school you attend doesn’t even teach the True Faith?
A year ago, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone sparked conflict with many local Catholics with his decision to require teachers at Catholic high schools to sign a morality clause that depicts sex outside of marriage and same sex relationships as “evil.”
Holy Moses! Do your homework, dear student reporter! THIS IS WHAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHES!!! This isn’t some new and exciting teaching Archbishop Cordileone invented. HE WAS CITING THE TEACHING OF THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH! Get it through your thick skulls, liberals. If you don’t like it, fine. Just admit that it is so and that you dissent from it. Stop this whole “Isn’t the Archbishop a great big meanie?!” routine and admit that you HATE the teaching of the Faith you profess. I mean, a little honesty would be nice.
In opposition to the archbishop’s edict, 100 prominent Roman Catholic donors and church members, including many Catholic educators, former Catholic Charities board members and executives, and the father of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady Jr., published a full-page open letter in the San Francisco Chronicle that asked Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. The signers wrote, “Archbishop Cordileone has fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance.”
Or, as most of us can see, the Archbishop is teaching the exact same thing as Pope Francis. You know what’s funny? The non-Catholic flaming liberals point this out on a regular basis. Sadly, they’re a little more honest than the Catholics.
Among the signers of the letter was Charles Geschke, whose family name is on USF’s Geschke Center and who served USF’s Board of Trustees for about 18 years.
Via a phone conversation, Geschke who went to a Jesuit high school, a Jesuit university, and taught at a Jesuit college for about five years, said he signed the letter because, “As a lifelong Catholic and very involved in Catholic causes, I didn’t feel he [Cordileone] represented my viewpoints on what it means to be a Christian in a pluralistic world.”
Oh Mr. High and Mighty, heaven forbid the Archbishop doesn’t represent your viewpoints! Because, you know, that’s oh so important. The megalomania of these rich, liberal Catholics is staggering. Pluralistic world? Does the word “missionaries” mean anything to you? Again, might be nice if you knew just a bit about the Jesuit missionaries after your Jesuit high school and college tenure.
The archbishop’s action has made it more difficult for some students to associate with Catholicism because of his exclusivity. When asked about the significance of Cordileone’s stance, Reyes said, “It’s important to recognize and respect each individual student’s decision to either engage religiously throughout their academic career or not.”
How about this? It’s important for the students’ moral souls to teach them just what the Catholic Faith is. What a thought! Imagine a Catholic school trying to help people gain heaven! Nobody is putting a gun to these students’ heads and making them accept Catholicism. They can accept or reject it, but that doesn’t mean a Catholic school or a Catholic bishop shouldn’t do everything possible to teach authentic Catholicism. The only threats being made here are to the Archbishop.
In addition to the archbishop sending a bold and conservative message to the San Francisco Catholic community, last summer Fitzgerald faced a situation which seemed to represent the tension between Catholic principles and his own apparently more liberal views. Fitzgerald attended the San Francisco Pride Parade with others from USF in support of LGBTQ+ members. This happened the same week he removed a tweet an assistant in the university’s communications office sent out under USF’s Twitter account in support of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land. When the tweet was criticized by conservative Catholic groups, Fitzgerald issued a statement that said the tweet did not reflect the views of USF. This caused some confusion and upset among USF students: if even their own president was having trouble expressing to his multi-layered identity, how were they supposed to have an easier time?
Oh, believe me, Fr. Fitzgerald doesn’t have any Catholic principles, so his liberal views aren’t in conflict with anything other than authentic Catholicism and he really doesn’t give a rip about that. I’m quite sure the only reason for a tweet retraction is that someone with money wasn’t too happy. Money is the only thing that could possibly stop Fr. Fitzgerald from erasing every last trace of Catholicism. Might be the only reason crosses still exist on that campus.
“It’s clearly a sensitive and relevant topic, I mean for students for faculty for staff, everyone, for Father Fitzgerald. Right?” said Conor Smith, a USF resident minister. “So I think it’s a great question to be asking like where does the university stand on some of these issues and is the university’s stance necessarily reflective of the student body and the staff and faculty who work here.”
LOL! It sounds like the liberals a starting to turn on each other. I’m all for Conor Smith’s proposal. Let’s hear the answer, Fr. Fitzgerald! Well? Come on, let’s just put the cards on the table. I’m sure young Conor doesn’t understand the careful balance of donor money. We probably should let Conor in on the fact that money really does make the liberals’ world go ‘round.
The identity formation dilemma for students at USF is nuanced and multifaceted. Attempting to address all parts of a student’s identity and not compromise their progressive ideals (for those who have them) is not an easy task for a Jesuit university to accomplish, though it is critical to acknowledge the multiple layers of students identities — which seems to be the goal of these conversations. The root of the tension for USF lies in balancing students’ identities with modern times, all while maintaining the core Jesuit and Catholic education principles.
Interviews with various members of USF’s community revealed a range of reactions to this tension. Reyes explained her battle with this tension and her concerns about coming across as hypocritical. Although she is currently not practicing Catholicism as she has in the past, she is worried that if she were to return to practicing, her progressive values would conflict with Catholic rules.
Let me just clear this up for you, Ms. Reyes. Yes, your progressive values would be in conflict with Catholic truths (or doctrines, as those who actually practice the Faith call them.) Full disclosure: you will also most likely find yourself in conflict with the Catechism, Canon Law, and a lot of disciplines. Catholicism isn’t for wimps. We are the Church of martyrs. Conflict is our middle name, whether it be internal or societal.
Sophomore media studies major Jennifer Kang said she hasn’t experienced any sort of religious pressures at USF. “I never felt like an outsider as a non-religious person,” said Kang, who also observed, “USF is pretty conscious of change and current events and is willing to hold important conversations about it.”
A simple “Gag!” will suffice here. That’s because USF is about as non-religious as you, Ms. Kang, unless moral relativism is now considered a religion.
Connor Smith, who worked for a USF volunteer program in the Philippines after he graduated from Boston College, said, ”Working with Jesuits and working and going to school at Jesuit establishments — that is the educational model and framework that includes things that have become really important to me.
Smith took a moment to share his own complexities of having a Catholic identity and being a gay man, since he believes the church’s conservative approach to social issues will carry on. “You work for a university that can’t necessarily ‘come out’ so to speak and support gay issues or any other issues that the church is terrible at addressing,” said Smith. After a moment of reflection, Smith shrugged and sighed, saying, “To keep that identity as both progressive and a Catholic is hard.”
Connor Smith just spelled it out even if he doesn’t know it. These two “identities” (they are really choices) are completely incompatible. If they are claiming both, one of them is a lie.
Now let’s look at Coach Azzi’s comments. Totally intimidating don’t you think? First she says:
Azzi said of anyone who “has an issue” [with her same-sex attraction lifestyle]: “I don’t want to coach them anyway.”
And then she says:
They first told four players over lunch, and their response — and that of their teammates later — was ‘overwhelmingly supportive.’
Um, yeah. Coach Azzi, let’s think about this. Do they have a choice?!?! You just said you didn’t want to coach people who didn’t accept your lifestyle, and then you say that they were overwhelmingly supportive? You’ve basically said “Get in line or you don’t play here!” No pressure on the players here. How so very “tolerant” you are!
Lastly, there’s this:
The Chronicle quoted one student saying, “Frankly, I don’t see how this can have a negative effect on our program. If someone loses interest in our program because they hear that two of our coaches are married to one another, they are clearly missing the point.”
Who’s missing the point?!?! You know, the one about the University of San Francisco supposedly being a Catholic school. Don’t feel bad, anonymous student. Most people at USF, teacher or student, seem to miss that minor little point. Grooooooaaaaaannnnnn!
Just one last bonus for you from Fr. Fitzgerald:
Coach Azzi has entered into a civil marriage according to the laws of the land,” Fr. Fitzgerald stated. “We will afford her every benefit and legal protection which she is due. The university is a Catholic Jesuit institution that is purposefully diverse and dedicated to inclusivity.
It’s so wonderful to see Fr. Fitzgerald follow in the tradition of so many of the Jesuits who were martyred rather than to ever follow “law of the land” that was contradictory to the Faith. Oh, wait. Maybe not so much. Honestly, how do the Jesuits like Fr. Fitzgerald and his ilk live with themselves? I mean, it’s just EMBARRASSING! Certainly doesn’t sound like the heavy hitting Jesuits who built the order! Anyone see these saints putting forth the drivel of Fr. Fitzgerald?
And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league – all the Jesuits in the world – cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted; so it must be restored. ~Edmund Campion (Restored, USF, not destroyed! I think you’re mixing up some letters.)
To have prevented one single sin is reward enough for the labors and efforts of a whole lifetime. ~Saint Ignatius (It would seem like 97% of the modern Jesuits have gotten this one completely backwards.)
Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. ~Francis Xavier (Who knew the Jesuit schools of America would resemble Francis Xavier’s missionary territory?!)
Freedom of belief is pernicious, it is nothing but the freedom to be wrong. ~Robert Bellarmine (Take that all you moral relativist!)
Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith. ~Peter Canisius (You modern Jesuit college types have fallen far away from the inventors of Jesuit education!)
So, please USF, how about you spare us all of the “Jesuit Catholic identity”delusions and admit you gave that up a while back?!