Georgetown is accused of not being ‘Catholic,’ but it may be the best of example of what the church is supposed to be

William Blatty, Exorcist author and Georgetown alum, says his alma mater no longer merits its Catholic designation due to long-standing patterns of dissent against church teaching.

William Blatty, author of The Exorcist and well-known Georgetown alum, recently grabbed media attention when he filed a petition calling for the Archdiocese of Washington, DC to discipline his alma mater. The Jesuit university, the ‘Exorcist’ author claims, no longer merits its Catholic designation due to long-standing patterns of dissent against church teaching. The petition’s Web site names a litany of offenses the university has committed in contradiction to its Catholic identity, including Georgetown’s refusal to submit to the Vatican’s canonical norms for Catholic universities, hosting controversial student-led plays such as The Vagina Monologues, and inviting pro-choice speakers such as Kathleen Sebelius to speak at commencement.  So far, the petition’s Web site claims that some “1200 alumni, students, faculty, (and) parents” have signed on to “address repeated scandals, dissidence and non-compliance with church law.”

While Blatty freely names the controversies that offend his sensibilities, he neglects to mention the groups and activities on campus that uphold traditional Catholic teaching. Thus, while H*yas for Choice has a tolerated, but not official, presence on campus, the Georgetown Right to Life is one of the most active and influential pro-life groups in the country, host to the annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life, which draws thousands of students during the yearly commemoration of Roe v. Wade. While Blatty singles out Georgetown’s non-compliance with Ex Corde Ecclesia, the Vatican’s 1990 set of guidelines for Catholic universities, he fails to mention the vibrant spiritual life in campus ministry and countless theology courses that inculcate deep love for Roman Catholic religious traditions.

Georgetown is, ultimately, a university of political, religious, and intercultural dialogue. It was there that, nearly 10 years ago, I arrived as a naïve freshman from rural Ohio, where I had grown up in a world governed by religious and political fundamentalism. At Georgetown, my friendships with other students, the challenges of critical coursework, and the open-minded atmosphere on campus challenged my uncritical assumptions about the nature of truth and life with others in a pluralistic world. It was this process of spiritual, intellectual, and social questioning that first led me to a dialogue with, and then embrace of, the Roman Catholic Church.

The church, Georgetown showed me, is not an exclusive society of like-minded individuals closed in on itself. It does not retreat into a world of its own making, but rather engages humanity through conversation with diverse cultures and current concerns. At Georgetown, Catholic faith is a lively and dynamic force that interrogates the presuppositions of all those who are willing to engage it. Religion’s role in the modern world is everywhere questioned and tried: in the theology department, the simple mischaracterizations of other religions are deconstructed through work in comparative theology and pluralism; at the Berkley Center, the relationship between faith and public life is considered in terms of ethical responsibility and the contemporary situation; campus ministries and programs for members of all religious backgrounds give students the chance to engage questions of social justice in service to the poor and vulnerable. All of these university functions, along with many others, exemplify Georgetown’s mission to form women and men in service to others for the greater glory of God.

Christianity, indeed, has a long history of interaction with the world that challenges the status quo. From the first Church Council of Jerusalem, where the earliest generation of Christian leaders decided to open the faith to non-practitioners of Judaism, to the proclamation of Vatican II, where,  in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Catholic bishops called for the church to preserve and encourage the “genius and talents of the various races and peoples,” Christianity is a faith that continuously evaluates its message in relationship to the world and the experiences of ordinary people. The church’s original mission, given by Christ in Mark 16:15, is to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” The spirit of the Gospel sends Christians to interact with and to transform the world, not to reject and condemn it.

In order to effectively accomplish this task, Christians employ a wide variety of charisms, or gifts of faith, that God gives them. Saint Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 how, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” Paul likens the church to a body: when all of its individual parts work together, it can effectively spread the good news of faith. To function properly, however, each part of the church must recognize and accept the right functioning of other parts. Christians and their many roles in the faith are not uniform.

William Blatty’s petition does not recognize the value of diversity within the church. His understanding of Catholicism rejects its catholicity—that is, its universal nature—by rejecting engagement with the world and a plurality of spiritual charisms. His characterization of the faith as an internally-focused religious system does not reflect Christian commitments to diversity and the need for dialogue with others. The Catholic faith that I have come to know—a faith that Georgetown gave me—is far more broad, open-minded, and able to reach out the world in service. It is this Catholicism, beautiful and charismatic in its diversity, that fulfills Christ’s call to change the world with the love of God.

Image courtesy of Kyle Rush.

Jason Steidl
Written by

  • MellyMel

    Mr. Steidl writes: “The church, Georgetown showed me, is not an exclusive society of like-minded individuals closed in on itself. It does not retreat into a world of its own making, but rather engages humanity through conversation with diverse cultures and current concerns.”

    I find this to be an interesting comment. Half of my family (including extended family) considers itself devoutly Catholic, and half is devoutly Protestant. I find myself on the Protestant side, despite having been raised Catholic. Two nights ago, I had a conversation with my brother (a Catholic) in which I warned him not to get too engrossed in Hindu teachings and yoga – not to open himself up too much to strange doctrines. He was enraged and said I was self-righteous. He was also angry that when we talk, he thinks I treat him as if he speaks for all Catholics. He wanted me to know that Catholics have a diversity of opinion, and he is an individual.

    What I want to know is this: how far can Catholics diverge from official teachings/dogma and still call themselves Catholic? Here in my small town in Arizona, the CCD teacher for the Catholic Church calls himself Catholic but is a practicing Buddhist and freely admits this. He says that there is nothing contradictory about being a Buddhist and also being a professing Catholic. By the way, he received a Masters of Theology at Boston University.

    Does Mr. Steidl consider those people – whether Catholic or Protestant – who hold tightly to their church’s established dogmas and/or confessions of faith, to be exclusive societies of like-minded people closing in on themselves? I might have said rather that they have integrity. I love ALL members of my family and defend their right to freedom of conscience TO THE DEATH. In the end, the Lord will work it all out – He can see our hearts and He will be the judge of all. I caution, though, that profession of faith does not mean true possession of faith.

  • MellyMel

    Mr. Steidl writes: “The church, Georgetown showed me, is not an exclusive society of like-minded individuals closed in on itself. It does not retreat into a world of its own making, but rather engages humanity through conversation with diverse cultures and current concerns.”

    I find this to be an interesting comment. Half of my family (including extended family) considers itself devoutly Catholic, and half is devoutly Protestant. I find myself on the Protestant side, despite having been raised Catholic. Two nights ago, I had a conversation with my brother (a Catholic) in which I warned him not to get too engrossed in Hindu teachings and yoga – not to open himself up too much to strange doctrines. He was enraged and said I was self-righteous. He was also angry that when we talk, he thinks I treat him as if he speaks for all Catholics. He wanted me to know that Catholics have a diversity of opinion, and he is an individual.

    What I want to know is this: how far can Catholics diverge from official teachings/dogma and still call themselves Catholic? Here in my small town in Arizona, the CCD teacher for the Catholic Church calls himself Catholic but is a practicing Buddhist and freely admits this. He says that there is nothing contradictory about being a Buddhist and also being a professing Catholic. By the way, he received a Masters of Theology at Boston University.

    Does Mr. Steidl consider those people – whether Catholic or Protestant – who hold tightly to their church’s established dogmas and/or confessions of faith, to be exclusive societies of like-minded people closing in on themselves? I might have said rather that they have integrity. I love ALL members of my family and defend their right to freedom of conscience TO THE DEATH. In the end, the Lord will work it all out – He can see our hearts and He will be the judge of all. I caution, though, that profession of faith does not mean true possession of faith.

  • FelicityHangnail

    As a former Catholic, i can, without hesitation say that Christ’s true Church and the Roman Catholic Church are now quite distinct entities……….if Georgetown is now no longer “Catholic”, is it alligining itself closer to Christ’s true Church? Hopefully , yes.

  • FelicityHangnail

    As a former Catholic, i can, without hesitation say that Christ’s true Church and the Roman Catholic Church are now quite distinct entities……….if Georgetown is now no longer “Catholic”, is it alligining itself closer to Christ’s true Church? Hopefully , yes.

  • FreeManinAmerica

    Tolerance is NOT a Christian virtue. Read the Bible. Submission to the yoke of Christ, following the narrow path of righteousness, and accepting the unearned gift of His grace are the commandments of our Lord. We are admonished not to associate with sinners, and not to be wise in the ways of the world. Faith is folly in the eyes of the worldly.

  • FreeManinAmerica

    Tolerance is NOT a Christian virtue. Read the Bible. Submission to the yoke of Christ, following the narrow path of righteousness, and accepting the unearned gift of His grace are the commandments of our Lord. We are admonished not to associate with sinners, and not to be wise in the ways of the world. Faith is folly in the eyes of the worldly.

  • Joe Durkin

    Young Jason here will get a thrill up his leg when he discovers and joins the universal Church that Georgetown did not show him. He practically makes Bill Blatty’s case. I was expecting him to say what is commonly said in the Healy Building, that Jack DeGioia is the most important Catholic voice in Washington.

  • Joe Durkin

    Young Jason here will get a thrill up his leg when he discovers and joins the universal Church that Georgetown did not show him. He practically makes Bill Blatty’s case. I was expecting him to say what is commonly said in the Healy Building, that Jack DeGioia is the most important Catholic voice in Washington.

  • NattyFan

    Did Jesus not associate with sinners? Are we reading the same Bible?

  • NattyFan

    Did Jesus not associate with sinners? Are we reading the same Bible?

  • kathykristof

    Well done, Jason. Thank you for the reminder of what we strive to be as Catholics.

  • kathykristof

    Well done, Jason. Thank you for the reminder of what we strive to be as Catholics.

  • Henry452

    This is a very clear, concise statement of the reality of being catholic. Now, if we could only convince the fenced-in, my way or the highway, narrow, circle-the-wagons bishops who are running the show.

  • Henry452

    This is a very clear, concise statement of the reality of being catholic. Now, if we could only convince the fenced-in, my way or the highway, narrow, circle-the-wagons bishops who are running the show.

  • fromPatoCa

    Big whoopie – 1200 signatures of Georgetown alumni, faculty, students, & parents – out of a pool of how many million?

    Here’s one Georgetown Grad who won’t be signing

    Thank you Jason for your excellent reflections & analysis

  • fromPatoCa

    Big whoopie – 1200 signatures of Georgetown alumni, faculty, students, & parents – out of a pool of how many million?

    Here’s one Georgetown Grad who won’t be signing

    Thank you Jason for your excellent reflections & analysis

  • wwschwartz

    Steidl’s entire “catholic” upbringing was at the hands of Georgetown Jesuits. Of course, he believes their way is the only way.
    I am a Gonzaga HS grad. I love the Jebbies. It has pained me for years to see them stray.

  • wwschwartz

    Steidl’s entire “catholic” upbringing was at the hands of Georgetown Jesuits. Of course, he believes their way is the only way.
    I am a Gonzaga HS grad. I love the Jebbies. It has pained me for years to see them stray.

  • Bokyo

    Is Blatty really against discussion amongst diverse views in the campus? Or is he against the university siding with those against the teachings of the Church?

    Is honoring a person who is practically leading a campagn against the Church just an intercultural dialogue?

    Does the good things going on in the campus negate the flouting of Church social/moral teachings?

    Something is wrong with the arguements of the author and it clearly is a product of what Georgetown has become. .

  • Bokyo

    Is Blatty really against discussion amongst diverse views in the campus? Or is he against the university siding with those against the teachings of the Church?

    Is honoring a person who is practically leading a campagn against the Church just an intercultural dialogue?

    Does the good things going on in the campus negate the flouting of Church social/moral teachings?

    Something is wrong with the arguements of the author and it clearly is a product of what Georgetown has become. .

  • cadbury

    FreeMan that’s the most warped viewed of Christianity I’ve ever heard. What happened to “love they neighbor as thyself”, “judge not lest ye be judged”, and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”?

  • cadbury

    FreeMan that’s the most warped viewed of Christianity I’ve ever heard. What happened to “love they neighbor as thyself”, “judge not lest ye be judged”, and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”?

  • AMERICANCITIZENSFIRST

    Who is to say who or what is Catholic? Most RCs where baptized without their consent as well as received many years of indoctrination yet many today do not believe in all of their RC religion or fully agree with the RC teachings that they do know. The RCC history has areas that many would say are not Catholic. Many of the RCC administration over the years still to date have fail to do what is right and Catholic. Who is to say who or what is Catholic?

  • AMERICANCITIZENSFIRST

    Who is to say who or what is Catholic? Most RCs where baptized without their consent as well as received many years of indoctrination yet many today do not believe in all of their RC religion or fully agree with the RC teachings that they do know. The RCC history has areas that many would say are not Catholic. Many of the RCC administration over the years still to date have fail to do what is right and Catholic. Who is to say who or what is Catholic?

  • clai9423

    I teach at a Catholic university in the upper midwest and we get this all the time from the local hardcore conservative Catholic community, which recently passed out booklets at the entrance to the quadrangle with reproductions of Giotto’s fresco of Judas betraying Jesus. What started all this? Non-adherence to Catholic natural law, the culture of contraception, etc., etc. Forget that this is a pluralistic community with non-Christians, Muslims, Protestants and, yes, even Catholic students just desperate to be engaged as thinking adults about religious questions. Instead, according to the authoritarians, it’s all about obedience, never about conversation, never about trusting people to know something about human experience already and to desire a real encounter with what’s sacred in the midst of the ordinary. This is what makes it hard to be Catholic these days.

  • clai9423

    I teach at a Catholic university in the upper midwest and we get this all the time from the local hardcore conservative Catholic community, which recently passed out booklets at the entrance to the quadrangle with reproductions of Giotto’s fresco of Judas betraying Jesus. What started all this? Non-adherence to Catholic natural law, the culture of contraception, etc., etc. Forget that this is a pluralistic community with non-Christians, Muslims, Protestants and, yes, even Catholic students just desperate to be engaged as thinking adults about religious questions. Instead, according to the authoritarians, it’s all about obedience, never about conversation, never about trusting people to know something about human experience already and to desire a real encounter with what’s sacred in the midst of the ordinary. This is what makes it hard to be Catholic these days.

  • Bluefish2012

    I work at a Catholic university. That it is a university that follows the Catholic tradition is broadcast on its website and proclaimed often by top administrators. But the question is still there—how committed are faculty and top-level administrators to the faith they proclaim to follow? Granted a lot of the faculty are not Catholic and follow other—or no—religious tradition. But a large number *are* professed Catholics. Yet one gets the sense that a great majority of Catholic faculty are dissenters in one fashion or another on all the major issues of the day.

    I think engaging the outside world is a lot different than actively protesting teachings of the Church. What comes across to me is that many leading faculty dissect Church doctrines for the purpose of establishing their irrelevancy, while failing to objectively teach the Catholic Tradition. John Paul II’s encyclical “Ex Corde Ecclesiae”—which addressed Catholic Higher education—is one teaching that is dissected beyond recognition.

    Dissent by itself is hardly engagement. Nor is it engagement if the University is populated predominantly by dissenters who don’t actually engage anybody but themselves.

    The problem goes all the way to the top—to the university’s board—the members of which are appointed primarily by how much they’re willing to donate. The size of the development office—albeit a necessary function—boggles. Its impact dwarfs the effectiveness of the University’s ministry function.

    I hope I’m wrong and that Mr. Steidl’s views are 100% correct. But it’s how I see it.

  • Bluefish2012

    I work at a Catholic university. That it is a university that follows the Catholic tradition is broadcast on its website and proclaimed often by top administrators. But the question is still there—how committed are faculty and top-level administrators to the faith they proclaim to follow? Granted a lot of the faculty are not Catholic and follow other—or no—religious tradition. But a large number *are* professed Catholics. Yet one gets the sense that a great majority of Catholic faculty are dissenters in one fashion or another on all the major issues of the day.

    I think engaging the outside world is a lot different than actively protesting teachings of the Church. What comes across to me is that many leading faculty dissect Church doctrines for the purpose of establishing their irrelevancy, while failing to objectively teach the Catholic Tradition. John Paul II’s encyclical “Ex Corde Ecclesiae”—which addressed Catholic Higher education—is one teaching that is dissected beyond recognition.

    Dissent by itself is hardly engagement. Nor is it engagement if the University is populated predominantly by dissenters who don’t actually engage anybody but themselves.

    The problem goes all the way to the top—to the university’s board—the members of which are appointed primarily by how much they’re willing to donate. The size of the development office—albeit a necessary function—boggles. Its impact dwarfs the effectiveness of the University’s ministry function.

    I hope I’m wrong and that Mr. Steidl’s views are 100% correct. But it’s how I see it.

  • Bluefish2012

    It’s not about blind obedience at all. It’s about *including* the Church’s doctrines in the milieu of ideas, and not tearing them to shreds. Of course the students should be treated like the thinking adults that they are–but let them hear the full story on all sides.

  • Bluefish2012

    It’s not about blind obedience at all. It’s about *including* the Church’s doctrines in the milieu of ideas, and not tearing them to shreds. Of course the students should be treated like the thinking adults that they are–but let them hear the full story on all sides.

  • hoya72

    While in the Steidl article I scent a vague, but palpable emanation of gunsmoke, as in “hired gun,” and agree with the poster he said he makes Blatty’s case, I am honor bound to raise my hand in a partial defense of Georgetown’s president, Jack DeGioia, in that he may not be the actual cause of all that is scatterbrained and borderline unholy on the GU campus. I suspect this, and rather strongly, because I know as an absolute fact that when DeGioia worked under the school’s president, Fr. Leo O’Donovan, while it was DiGioia who gave the order to fund a pro-abortion club on campus, the order came from O’Donovan. DeGioia is a good and kind and most well-intentioned man, but he is also soft and malleable by whatever those unknown forces are around and behind him, including powerful and wealthy donors on the Board of Trustees. Damned shame.

  • hoya72

    While in the Steidl article I scent a vague, but palpable emanation of gunsmoke, as in “hired gun,” and agree with the poster he said he makes Blatty’s case, I am honor bound to raise my hand in a partial defense of Georgetown’s president, Jack DeGioia, in that he may not be the actual cause of all that is scatterbrained and borderline unholy on the GU campus. I suspect this, and rather strongly, because I know as an absolute fact that when DeGioia worked under the school’s president, Fr. Leo O’Donovan, while it was DiGioia who gave the order to fund a pro-abortion club on campus, the order came from O’Donovan. DeGioia is a good and kind and most well-intentioned man, but he is also soft and malleable by whatever those unknown forces are around and behind him, including powerful and wealthy donors on the Board of Trustees. Damned shame.

  • hoya72

    Sorry for the hasty typing and the typos.

  • hoya72

    Sorry for the hasty typing and the typos.

  • autobits

    @FreeMan, I expect when you refer to being “admonished not to associate with sinners” that you are referring scriptures like 1 Corinthians 5, but you really only need to read 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 to understand what Paul is talking about. He is saying that anyone who is a brother in Christ should be held to a higher standard (i.e., Christ’s standard). If you can’t associate with sinners then you will need to “go out of the world” as Paul writes. So while you are correct that we are called to walk in righteousness, we are not called to cut off all association with sinners which is not only impossible, but flies in the face of the great commission.
    Secondly we are called both to be wise in the ways of the world, but not of the world. Meaning that we should understand and engage with the world around us while still reflecting the righteousness of Christ as a light before others. As Paul puts it we are ambassadors for Christ. An ambassador can’t do his job if he rejects and fails to understand the people he is commanded to interact with.

  • autobits

    @FreeMan, I expect when you refer to being “admonished not to associate with sinners” that you are referring scriptures like 1 Corinthians 5, but you really only need to read 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 to understand what Paul is talking about. He is saying that anyone who is a brother in Christ should be held to a higher standard (i.e., Christ’s standard). If you can’t associate with sinners then you will need to “go out of the world” as Paul writes. So while you are correct that we are called to walk in righteousness, we are not called to cut off all association with sinners which is not only impossible, but flies in the face of the great commission.
    Secondly we are called both to be wise in the ways of the world, but not of the world. Meaning that we should understand and engage with the world around us while still reflecting the righteousness of Christ as a light before others. As Paul puts it we are ambassadors for Christ. An ambassador can’t do his job if he rejects and fails to understand the people he is commanded to interact with.

  • autobits

    Not to mention the fact that 1 John forces us to acknowledge that we are sinners ourselves and that we lie if we say otherwise. To say otherwise is to be arrogant before God and to deny the freely given gift of Grace. Then 1 John continues on to urge us to understand the calling that Christ has laid before us, which is both impossible on our own and entirely possible through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t self righteous FreeMan. To do so is to forget what has been done for you and where you have come from. Take the knowledge of your own sin and be compassionate to others in their sin. You can do that AND abundantly display the fruits of the Spirit.

  • autobits

    Not to mention the fact that 1 John forces us to acknowledge that we are sinners ourselves and that we lie if we say otherwise. To say otherwise is to be arrogant before God and to deny the freely given gift of Grace. Then 1 John continues on to urge us to understand the calling that Christ has laid before us, which is both impossible on our own and entirely possible through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t self righteous FreeMan. To do so is to forget what has been done for you and where you have come from. Take the knowledge of your own sin and be compassionate to others in their sin. You can do that AND abundantly display the fruits of the Spirit.

  • Bluefish2012

    Some Jebs are in an awkward spot at the moment—one of their own who really gets it—is the pope.

    Ditto the opposite wing of the Church. This pope isn’t the traditionalist (with a small “t”) pope they wanted.
    .

  • Bluefish2012

    Some Jebs are in an awkward spot at the moment—one of their own who really gets it—is the pope.

    Ditto the opposite wing of the Church. This pope isn’t the traditionalist (with a small “t”) pope they wanted.
    .

  • ThomasBaum

    If the “core Catholic teachings” are that God became One of us and God took All of the sins (wrongdoing and all else concerning the sin of mankind and the sins of individuals) upon Himself and all that is pertinent (explicitly and implicitly) in this undertaking than anything beyond this falls under the “rules and regulations of religion concerning dogma, doctrine, tradition and whatever else” as opposed to the Salvific and Redemptive Act concerning the Will of God in God’s Plan for God’s creation.

  • ThomasBaum

    If the “core Catholic teachings” are that God became One of us and God took All of the sins (wrongdoing and all else concerning the sin of mankind and the sins of individuals) upon Himself and all that is pertinent (explicitly and implicitly) in this undertaking than anything beyond this falls under the “rules and regulations of religion concerning dogma, doctrine, tradition and whatever else” as opposed to the Salvific and Redemptive Act concerning the Will of God in God’s Plan for God’s creation.

  • AMERICANCITIZENSFIRST

    It boils down to keep the membership controled. Do most USA RCs fully believe in all the religion they have been taught? No. When can the average adult RC speak to a priest on religion other than in the box? Priests really on a rule do not like to discuss religion on a one to one base.

  • AMERICANCITIZENSFIRST

    It boils down to keep the membership controled. Do most USA RCs fully believe in all the religion they have been taught? No. When can the average adult RC speak to a priest on religion other than in the box? Priests really on a rule do not like to discuss religion on a one to one base.

  • ThomasBaum

    Is it about the Catholic Faith or the Catholic religion?

    Is it about what God did for humanity by becoming One of us or is it about the rules and regulations and dogma and doctrine and tradition and whatever else?

    Is it about Jesus being the Saviour of the world, the Saviour of some of the world or the Saviour of none of the world?

    I say that the Good News (Gospel) is about Jesus being the Saviour of the world, simple yet very catholic.

  • ThomasBaum

    Is it about the Catholic Faith or the Catholic religion?

    Is it about what God did for humanity by becoming One of us or is it about the rules and regulations and dogma and doctrine and tradition and whatever else?

    Is it about Jesus being the Saviour of the world, the Saviour of some of the world or the Saviour of none of the world?

    I say that the Good News (Gospel) is about Jesus being the Saviour of the world, simple yet very catholic.

  • Bluefish2012

    “…Not one iota….”

  • Bluefish2012

    “…Not one iota….”

  • Bluefish2012

    Balderdash, your handle is prophetic.

    Theology departments host all kinds of thinkers. And that is fair enough. If the Christian Tradition is to stand and remain relevant, it must withstand any test its critics can come up with. To that extent Mr. Steidl has it right–it is with these thinkers that the Church must engage.

  • Bluefish2012

    Balderdash, your handle is prophetic.

    Theology departments host all kinds of thinkers. And that is fair enough. If the Christian Tradition is to stand and remain relevant, it must withstand any test its critics can come up with. To that extent Mr. Steidl has it right–it is with these thinkers that the Church must engage.

  • Margaret Sequeira

    Thank you for your reflection here. I too am a Georgetown grad and I am so grateful for to have attended college in a place that nurtured my faith a holistic way. It was a way that made room for doubt. It allowed for critical reflection. It was a broad faith that focused not on a narrow set of criteria like being anti-abortion, or anti-gay but rather a way relating to and with the world.

  • Margaret Sequeira

    Thank you for your reflection here. I too am a Georgetown grad and I am so grateful for to have attended college in a place that nurtured my faith a holistic way. It was a way that made room for doubt. It allowed for critical reflection. It was a broad faith that focused not on a narrow set of criteria like being anti-abortion, or anti-gay but rather a way relating to and with the world.

  • jedsd3285

    On the spot Bluefish. As an alumnus of Georgetown (undergrad 2007), I believe that it was not predominantly populated by dissenters.

    There are the Knights of Columbus (a friend who was active with them is now studying to become a priest). There are the Jesuit and Catholic high school graduates. Christ calls us all, even in Georgetown, but the will to respond internally is individual.

    As in the real world, there are the enlightened, and not-so-enlightened in Georgetown. But, at the end of the day, it was still a place where one could take refuge in a Catholic home. Upon graduation, the same secular forces reared their heads with NO STRONGER force, but because the daily opportunities to commune with God that I had in school weren’t readily available, it was easier to fall.

    The first requirement ALL students go through is studying the arguments for and against the existence of God. I wasn’t mature enough to truly cherish the arguments we went through, but today, with my faith more mature and my obedience to the Catholic church better, it is these classes I remember most fondly. The late Fr. Thomas King took us through atheists, to essentialists, to church doctors. For philosophy, I recall Fr. Schall’s simple but wise reflections on what is truly the highest good.

    I have friends from “more” obedient Catholic schools, and yes those are ideal places to thrive in. Christ-centered families and students exhibit a rare form of love. However, I have met graduates of these schools that, despite the more rigorously catholic training, fell through, because time after school was not spent listening to Christ.

    Aspects of a University (speakers, classes, board members)-whether the Catholic voice was as small and faint as a crackling burning bush, as you allege it is in Georgetown, or whether it is as big and commanding as a flood that fills the entire earth-exist to be made whole by a true conversion to God, through Christ, and if turned into an absolute goal, misses the point.

  • jedsd3285

    On the spot Bluefish. As an alumnus of Georgetown (undergrad 2007), I believe that it was not predominantly populated by dissenters.

    There are the Knights of Columbus (a friend who was active with them is now studying to become a priest). There are the Jesuit and Catholic high school graduates. Christ calls us all, even in Georgetown, but the will to respond internally is individual.

    As in the real world, there are the enlightened, and not-so-enlightened in Georgetown. But, at the end of the day, it was still a place where one could take refuge in a Catholic home. Upon graduation, the same secular forces reared their heads with NO STRONGER force, but because the daily opportunities to commune with God that I had in school weren’t readily available, it was easier to fall.

    The first requirement ALL students go through is studying the arguments for and against the existence of God. I wasn’t mature enough to truly cherish the arguments we went through, but today, with my faith more mature and my obedience to the Catholic church better, it is these classes I remember most fondly. The late Fr. Thomas King took us through atheists, to essentialists, to church doctors. For philosophy, I recall Fr. Schall’s simple but wise reflections on what is truly the highest good.

    I have friends from “more” obedient Catholic schools, and yes those are ideal places to thrive in. Christ-centered families and students exhibit a rare form of love. However, I have met graduates of these schools that, despite the more rigorously catholic training, fell through, because time after school was not spent listening to Christ.

    Aspects of a University (speakers, classes, board members)-whether the Catholic voice was as small and faint as a crackling burning bush, as you allege it is in Georgetown, or whether it is as big and commanding as a flood that fills the entire earth-exist to be made whole by a true conversion to God, through Christ, and if turned into an absolute goal, misses the point.

  • hoya72

    At a Catholic university, one reasonably expects courses in Catholic theology, as was once the case at Georgetown, whereas today they mostly consist of deep and heady offerings such as “Yoga and Meditation” and “Catholics in the Movies.” Are you pulling our legs, Mr. Steidl, or have you perhaps spent a bit too much time in the “Lotus Position?”

  • hoya72

    At a Catholic university, one reasonably expects courses in Catholic theology, as was once the case at Georgetown, whereas today they mostly consist of deep and heady offerings such as “Yoga and Meditation” and “Catholics in the Movies.” Are you pulling our legs, Mr. Steidl, or have you perhaps spent a bit too much time in the “Lotus Position?”