Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Reason 4,138 I love Notre Dame...

RJN reports the following in the December 2006 issue of FIRST THINGS:

Peter, Kreeft, who teaches philosophy at Boston College, a school "in the Jesuit tradition," told me an interesting story the other day. In the late sixties, BC took the crucifixes off classroom walls lest the schoold be perceived as "sectarian" and therefor be deprived of government funding. The Jesuits are a highly principled bunch, but the funding at stake was sizeable. One day, a Muslim student in Kreeft's class asked why the crucifixes had been removed. He was told that the school has a pluralistic student body and did not want to offend non-Catholics or non-Christians. At which the Muslim student declared himself deeply offended by the implication that he was a bigot. He explained that, if a Christian attended a Muslim university and declared himself offended by the Qur'anic inscriptions on the walls, he would surely view that Christian as a bigot. He said, in addition, that Muslims would not be so spineless in submitting to a government mandate that they erase the signs of their allegiance. It is a nice point, and Prof. Kreeft said the Christian, mainly Catholic, students in the class admitted they had not thought of it in quite that way. It is frequently the case that bigots are the most vocal in talking about bigotry. Of course, BC is not precisely the public square. It is a Catholic school. Or at least a school "in the Jesuit Tradition."

By contrast, Notre Dame proudly calls itself a "national Catholic university." I recall professors and students praying the Hail Mary together at the beginning of class. I also remember seeing a crucifix hanging in every classroom. I have it on good authority that the crucifixes are still there. In fact, any student can request a crucifix be hung in his/her dorm room at the University's expense. I love Notre Dame for being authentically Catholic.

Notre Dame, priez pour nous.

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