ever to excel

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 15, 2006

Boston College's student newspaper asked students, faculty, and administrators what they understood by the phrase "Jesuit ideals." The twenty-eight published responses show that the meaning is not univocal. Here's what the Director of Undergratuate Admissions had to say:

The earliest Jesuits sought to encounter the world in its richness and wonder, as well as its problems and challenges. It's that ideal that we are aspiring to here at Boston College. We want to prepare our graduates to encounter an even richer and more complex world and and to make a difference with their professional skills and their personal qualities.

OK, he made it across the political/ecclesiastical creek with his socks dry, but there's nothing in these "ideals" that can't be affirmed by Texas Tech or Oral Roberts or the Marcia Blaine School for Girls. Many kennels offer obedience classes that are comparably Christo-centric.

A Junior-year undergrad was less reticent in his opinion:

"Jesuit ideals" is a catchphrase used by someone with a cause that they think other people should support simply by virtue of attending Boston College or other Jesuit universities. This catchphrase is used to lend moral weight to causes that almost always run contrary to Catholic doctrines.

Sad to encounter such cynicism in one of tender years. As always, Uncle Di prefers to stress the positive, noting that BC's policy on transfer of graduate credits is entirely in keeping with the norms of Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the Second Vatican Council.

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 16, 2006 1:19 PM ET USA

    Curmudgeon, I sometimes think that if the leaders of our historically Catholic universities took more from Robert Knight than they do from Thomas Jefferson we would be in a much better position culturally than we are right now. Go Red Raiders! I pray that, as our university leaders & the bishops overseeing them continue to show their true colors in the decades to come, we see a lot more strong, bright red and a lot less yellow and pink.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 16, 2006 12:32 PM ET USA

    But what of the ideals of the Society of Jesus? To which BC replies: "who?"

  • Posted by: Jerz - Nov. 15, 2006 8:53 PM ET USA

    At BC I was always trying to pin down what "Jesuit ideals" were since that term was always being thrown around in speeches/lectures/homilies. BC president Fr. Leahy gives a good definition in the admissions catalogue but Leahy's definition definitely does not represent the common understanding. "Jesuit ideals" means anything pertaining to the vague, warm and soft, feeling of philanthropy that really hopes you do good but won't judge you if you fall short. So short wait for confessions.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 6:23 PM ET USA

    Hey, watch what you say about Texas Tech!

  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 2:49 PM ET USA

    Norwood Farmer is absolutely correct about Land O' Lakes and the excellenc of Fr.Hardon. The problem is the Society of Jesus itself. Fr. Hardon was a pariah among many Jesuits and was marginalized. The leadership of the Society is the problem and no reform seems to be insight. In this blog there was offered the contrast between the Arrupe Jesuits now in charge and the Ignatian Jesuits that gave us Fr. Hardon. Strong papal intervention is needed to force reform and change.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 11:11 AM ET USA

    And, by the way, among the Jesuit signers of Land o' Lakes was at least one renowned Thomist philosopher and theologian. Many CWNews readers remember that I have decried Land o' Lakes frequently here. To insist that it was a grave mistake is not to pretend to condemn any signer to eternal fire. Many Church onlookers at the time realized its folly immediately and protested. We all should admit it now.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 10:52 AM ET USA

    I was a Teaching Fellow there once. I just had a lovely goddaughter graduate. Several of my best friends and other family members are concerned graduates. I can assure you all that there are many fine Catholic scholars at Boston College who know well the challenges the school faces and the troubles of the Society of Jesus. They desparately need our support.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 10:47 AM ET USA

    We need to find ways to support present Jesuits who recognize the folly of Land o' Lakes and acknowledge the corrupted state of the Society of Jesus. They are many. Some of them have contributed fine pieces to CWNews. The late John Hardon, S. J., was a lion among American Jesuits of the just past century. Pray for all of them. Urge them to take steps to have the Society repudiate Land o' Lakes formally, and encourage them in their efforts at reform.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 10:40 AM ET USA


  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 10:10 AM ET USA

    B.S. (id est stercus taurorum) thrives at B.C. This gives new meaning to Jesuitical and the horse manure is artificial to boot.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 9:24 AM ET USA

    Ah, then "Jesuit ideals" go hand in hand with the "spirit of St. Augustine" which my alma mater, Villanova, goes so far to promote. For example, Villanova's Bisexuals, Gays, and Lesbian's association has the mission statement..."Villanova seeks to reflect the spirit of St. Augustine by the cultivation of knowledge, by respect for individual differences, and by the adherence to the principle that mutual love and respect should animate every aspect of University life."

  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 8:34 AM ET USA

    The comments were better than I'd thought: "The number one ideal is laid out by St. Ignatius himself in the exercises: if the Church says something is black and we think it is white, believe it's black. Jesuits must show that the church is infallible, explain teachings, like why contraception is sinful, and direct people toward holiness. Donato Infante III A&S '09" Interestingly, a number of students call the Jebbies to Catholicism! There is hope!

  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 8:00 AM ET USA

    The disastrous folly of the 1967 Land o' Lakes Statement resounds on Chestnut Hill, all other Jesuit campuses, & far too many others. Jesuit university leaders of that decade joined Theodore McCarrick (now His Eminence Cardinal McCarrick) in signing a document that began by declaring the Catholic university to be a canon-law-and-episcopal-oversight-free zone. It took the proverbial pigeons all of a year or two to come home to roost. We have been suffering their droppings for nigh 40 years.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2006 7:39 AM ET USA

    This is how they got to be none as Barely Catholic!