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A Catholic alternative to the College of Holy Cross conference

The actions of Jesuit-run College of the Holy Cross have saddened and angered many Catholics. The school is sponsoring a conference on teen pregnancy featuring Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts as part of the program. Bishop Robert J. McManus, in whose Worcester diocese Holy Cross resides, has issued a statement condemning the conference. In defiance of the Bishop’s statement, Holy Cross refuses to cancel the appearance of representatives of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

Dawn Eden writes on her blog, that not only is the college continuing its support of a platform for Planned Parenthood’s message, the college refused to provide space for an alternative presentation on the Church’s teachings on sexuality.

A Holy Cross alumnus, a current student, and my employer, the Cardinal Newman Society — whose mission is to renew and strengthen Catholic identity at America's 224 Catholic colleges and universities — asked Holy Cross to grant a venue for a counter-event presenting Church teachings on sexuality. The college refused to grant the space. So, with the support of Bishop McManus, the Cardinal Newman presenting an event at St. Paul's Cathedral in Worcester on the night before the teen-pregnancy conference. Here is the official press release — please tell your friends.

If you live in the Worcester area, please plan on attending this presentation. It is important that we support Bishop McManus in countering the message of the culture of death. If, like me, you are too far away to attend in person, please offer your prayers for the success of this alternate program.

Some may ask why Bishop McManus doesn’t do more. The truth is there isn’t a whole lot more he can do in the short term. The college is not run by the diocese. I believe he does have the option of pulling the school’s authority to call itself a Catholic college. However, a look at the school’s website indicates that probably wouldn’t have much of an impact.

Holy Cross offers students a broad-based liberal arts education in the Jesuit tradition. Top-ranked nationally by all widely regarded sources, Holy Cross holds itself to its own high standards of teaching, learning, and research. The College devotes itself exclusively to undergraduate education and promotes close ties between students and faculty. With approximately 2,700 students, Holy Cross is small enough to foster genuine community and large enough to support wide-ranging academic offerings. Graduates go on to prominent academic and professional programs and pursue their individual talents in many careers and service activities.

The campus is designed for learning. The hilltop setting provides inspiring views, the architecture and landscaping are inviting, and the facilities and technology are first rate. Holy Cross is located in Worcester, Massachusetts, a forward-looking city of 170,000 that has many resources, including 13 colleges and universities. With a tradition of academic excellence that dates to its founding in 1843, Holy Cross is the oldest Catholic college in New England and has grown increasingly diverse in the last decade.

Note that it never proclaims a Catholic identity. The only time it uses the word “Catholic” is in the last paragraph when it uses it in an historical context. Note also that the school holds itself to “its own high standards of teaching, learning, and research.” Nothing is mentioned of the standards of the Catholic Church. Based on the actions of the university administration and this non-committal mission statement, I would say the College of the Holy Cross is a school with historical ties to Catholicism, but very little residual Catholic identity. I can’t see that the bishop acknowledging this situation will change much in the day-to-day operations of the school. The administration has already indicated a total disregard for the bishop’s opinions.


Jim said…
Who appoints the trustees of Holy Cross?
Anonymous said…
sounds awful!

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