a church behind the times

By Diogenes ( articles ) | May 11, 2007

Last week I drew attention to Santa Clara University's forthcoming implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Yesterday, the student newspaper commended those efforts, after the fact, in an editorial. Enough to make a grown parodist weep:

Santa Clara's Drag Show makes manifest one of the most contentious issues within the Catholic Church today: acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

It's certainly a big concern among Sudanese Christians. Just behind food.

It is only appropriate that a Jesuit university like Santa Clara should host an event with the ability to raise as many proverbial Catholic eyebrows as the Drag Show did. Notwithstanding their allegiance to the powers that be in Rome who collectively determine modern church doctrine, the Jesuits have made fantastic efforts to liberalize Catholic teaching.

Who brought that point to the students' attention, I wonder ...?

Santa Clara is a perfect testament to such Jesuit progressiveness. By declaring the university a safe space, listing course offerings in queer theory, including sexuality among other on-campus antidiscrimination policies and allowing events like the Drag Show and transgender panels to entertain and educate year after year, Santa Clara works to nourish the LGBTQ community.

In the harsh soil of southern California, this community doubtless needs particularly solicitous nourishing.

In a religion where sexual intercourse is meant to be enjoyed only by married people, where female sexuality is modest, at best, and where unions between people who cannot bear children together are deemed unholy, the Catholic Church's condemnation of the LGBTQ community is hardly puzzling. After all, what could be more threatening than a group of people who have discovered who they are and have learned to accept diversity?

Pumpkinseed bluegills.

By disallowing certain "lifestyle choices," the Catholic Church is effectively ostracizing millions of its members.

Who brought that point to the students' attention, I wonder ...?

The Santa Clara community is also guilty of confining the LGBTQ community at times, although not in quite as overt a fashion as the Catholic Church. Inappropriate words and even hate speech are heard all too frequently on the suburb campus that is Santa Clara. And despite its popularity, the Drag Show elicits anything but praise from many students who are less-than-appreciative of SCCAP's efforts to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues.

Oh for those Good Old Days, when the campus newspaper typically denounced the administration, and typically championed dissident students ...

The editors congratulate themselves that Santa Clara University has been become "a safe space." They're probably right. The problem, regrettably, is that the danger from which they are insulated is that of a cogent moral imperative bursting in from outside the tidy and self-contained culture of Leftist hedonism in which they pass their university years. It's as if faculty and students had locked themselves, together with their carnal amusements, into a dorm room -- and hung a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door. Even Oral Roberts and Bob Jones University -- open as they are to shockingly alien ideas from iron age Palestine -- provide a more spacious world, a world more intellectually adventuresome.

None of this spells certain doom for the Santa Clara students (think of St. Augustine's student years), but it's a waste of a particularly precious opportunity. Instead of a challenge to their "safe space," the students get that experience well described by James Bowman: "an appeal to complacency, designed to make us feel good about ourselves and comfortable and self-righteous. We come away not with an increased sensitivity to others but with an increased pride in our own sympathies."

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  • Posted by: Charlie742 - Mar. 17, 2010 9:39 PM ET USA

    I think you hit the nail on the head.