Veritas Ensis Noster.
History to Keep You Up at
September 29, 2013- Vol. 11, No. 1
In This Issue... Rambler: Pronunciation: \ram-blər\ Function: noun Date: c. 2002 1. A student organization determined to present truth and withhold nothing, discussing a variety of subjects such as administration, morality, literature, politics, and faith.
An Independent Student Journal Christendom College Veritas Ensis Noster
News & Opinion
Science and Technology
12 PRINT ME A BICYCLE
by Sara Federico
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF K.T. Brizek BUSINESS MANAGEMENT William Scrivener LAYOUT EDITOR Marilyn Charba NEWS & POLITICS EDITOR Joe Brizek
TRANSITIONING OUT OF THE CHRISTENDOM BUBBLE
Arts & Culture
by Sean Shanahan
Prose and Poetry 13
A WINDOW INTO OUR FUTURE by Connor Coyne
6 TO SUFFER THE SLINGS AND ARROWS by Christopher Foeckler
LAWRENCE VS. LENIN by Catherine McGrath
7 CLEAR BOUNDARIES by K.T. Brizek
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY EDITOR Sean Shanahan FAITH & REASON EDITOR Lauren Enk
ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR Austin Leavitt FACULTY ADVISOR Dr. Patrick Keats MEDIA COORDINATOR Cecilia Flagg
HISTORY TO KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT: COFFEE GENESIS
REFLECTIONS OF A SENIOR by The Editorial Staff
History To Keep You Up At Night
by Peter Tapsak
Faith & Reason 10 YOU’RE JUST TOO YOUNG by Lauren Enk
COPY EDITOR Margaret Santschi CONTRIBUTORS Sara Federico, Lauren Enk, Peter Deucher, Peter Tapsak, Katie Brizek, Maria Bonvissuto, Sean Shanahan, Connor Coyne, Catherine McGrath, Christopher Foeckler.
THOMISM AND OPTIMISM: THE ANATOMY OF ERROR by Peter Deucher
Our Mission Statement
The Rambler and its staff are dedicated to training the next generation of Catholic journalists and intellectuals. We prize the liberal arts education received from Christendom College and write about the news, arts, culture, faith, and reason from this gained perspective. We believe we will play an essential part in a renaissance of new leaders, journalists, and communicators for the 21st century.
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Dear Readers, We all know our school’s beloved motto: Instaurare Omnia in Christo restoring all things in Christ. Christendom has been educating dedicated young people for over 35 years to fulfill this end. It has sent hundreds of intelligent Catholics into the world into an array of different fields. And in the DC area, it certainly feels like you’re surrounded by Christendom graduates. But how effective you are as a soldier of Christ out there has a lot to do with how you spend your time as a Crusader here. Do you embrace the opportunity for learning and intellectual growth presented by classes and readily available professors? Do you pour yourself out in ministry for the campus and the larger community by volunteering and engaging in charitable activities? Do you utilize every chance you’re presented with for spiritual and personal betterment? I know it’s hard. You’re juggling classes and an intramural team and a social life and calling home every night. But going the extra mile is easier than it sounds. The tools at your disposal for honing your intellect and communication skills are especially important for life after graduation. Being prepared to leave ‘the bubble’ is as easy as making a speech at the next debate or showing up for one of the many talks hosted by the school throughout the year. In the spirit of self-interest, I want to encourage you to write for The Rambler. Writing well is a skill which is invaluable, not only at school, but in your future career. Someday you may be a journalist or a novelist or an academic or an angry plumber who wants to write a letter to the editor of the New York Times. When that time comes you’re going to need the skills which you can only acquire from practice - because to write well, you have to write frequently. So get involved. The time it takes will be time well spent. God bless,
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On September 7th, “The Coward,” was presented at The James Rivers Filmmakers Forum, where the film was well-received. Afterwards, seniors Joe Duca and Andrew Hepler took part in a filmmakers’ panel, where they fielded a variety of questions. Topics of discussion included the movie’s unique setting and its use of religious imagery.
On September 26th, the Vatican announced the appointment of five men to the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. The office is responsible for planning the ceremonies of Papal liturgies. Those appointed included Fr. Giuseppe Midili, Fr. Silvano Maggiani, Fr. Corrado Maggioni, Monsignor Angelo Lameri, and Fr. Manuel Nin.
On September 25th, Virginia gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe went head to head in a debate. The two argued on a variety of topics, including gay marriage, gun control, and the economy. Most recent polls list McAuliffe as having a lead of around 3-5%.
On September 27th, President Barack Obama became the first United States President to communicate directly with an Iranian head of state since 1979. The subject of the call was Iran’s nuclear program. While there were no concrete results from the conversation, Obama was optimistic that the United States and Iran are moving in the right direction
On September 23rd, suicide bombers attacked a small Protestant church in Peshawar, Pakistan. The attack is recorded to have killed at least 80 people and wounded over 100. A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, while the main contingent has distanced itself from the situation.
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The Chester-Belloc Debate Society recently introduced its new Troika, consisting of Chairman Andrew Clark, Secretary Matthew Marcolini, and Prefect Vincent Coyle. The society has hosted two debates thus far, the first on the morality of recreational marijuana use, and the second on whether or not homeschooling stunts a student’s social development
News & Opinion
Transitioning Out of the Christendom Bubble by
As a college student, people told me often that I should make sure I enjoyed my college years and that I should not work too hard. “You’re just a college student,” they would say. Often, the mentality of college students is: I’m just a sophomore/junior, so I have plenty of time to figure out what I am going to do after I graduate. Then, senior year hits and panic erupts. “The question” haunts seniors both internally (“What am I going to do when I graduate in a few months?”) and externally, when people always asks “what’re you doing when you graduate” after you tell them you’re a senior. Graduation comes and goes far too quickly and then you realize that you are an adult and that you have bills and responsibilities that come with being an adult. “I’m just a college student” is no longer an option. No longer being a college student is somewhat intimidating for a recent graduate. However, despite the fact it can most certainly be overwhelming at times, I want to assure current Christendom students that it is not impossible. Christendom students have a few advantages over the general populace on a few levels, such as the fact that we already have a great business wardrobe that makes it easy to transition and that we have been taught critical thinking so we do not need someone breathing down our necks to teach us simple lessons we could figure out on our own. However, we also need to be aware of the personal measures we must take in order to have a quick start in the professional world after graduation. Anyone who knows me personally probably knows that I started selling Cutco in 2010, right after my freshman year. Through my work with Vector Marketing/Cutco Cutlery, I learned incredible skills in sales, marketing, and management. Furthermore, those skills helped me in Christendom’s Advancement Office where I helped develop our St. Gabriel Call Center during my senior year. While working in the Advancement office, I honed my skills and learned the ropes of non-profit fundraising. I also worked as an RA my senior year, where I grew tremendously through team bonding and personal interactions. Throughout my time at Christendom, I was the vice-president of Shield of Roses (leadership/community outreach), a member of the ChesterBelloc Debate Society (professional growth/speaking skills), a member of the 2013 senior fundraising committee (leadership/fundraising), a contributor and editor of the Rambler (leadership/writing), a member of Students for Life (community outreach), wrote the Rome Report for the Chronicler (writing skills), and volunteered at the pregnancy center (community outreach). I also graduated summa cum laude from Christendom. As a result of my efforts to continually better myself while “just a college student,” I have been blessed to secure a job shortly after graduation with a nationally-ranked company in an economy where 50% of college students are graduating unemployed or under-
employed. I share this with you not to brag about myself, but to show the wide variety of skills and opportunities that you have within your reach as a student. How does this relate to you, the student reader? Easy: take my advice. It comes down to three easy steps: 1) Learn time management; 2) Get involved; and 3) Always search to become the best version of yourself. Learn time management so that you can accomplish everything you want to without being “too busy.” Do you know someone who is involved in many activities? Ask them their keys to success. Take a half hour at the beginning of the week to put together a schedule for yourself and then have the self-discipline to stick to it. Find a partner to hold you accountable. Time management is 90% of college, so if you can learn this, you can handle anything. Get involved with a variety of activities at school. Find a few activities you are passionate about and become a leader in that club. Acquire a job on campus that can look impressive on your resume and then earn promotions. There are so many opportunities in the Advancement Office, Student Life Office, Admissions Office, Library, etc. Seek out opportunities in the community through Front Royal, St. John’s, or even in D.C. to add to your skill set.
Always find ways to become the best version of yourself.
Attend the career workshops on resumes and interviewing skills so that you know how to market yourself. Go to the career fair and network with professionals. Reach out to alumni who are in a field that interests you. Find an internship in the area. Talk to professors about your dreams and ask for their advice. Be aggressive in your desire to always learn something every day. Ultimately, this advice is pretty simple. You can choose to pass through your four years at Christendom as “just a college student” without a thought of post-graduation life, secure an entry-level position at some point after college, and work your way up in the business world. However, with the economy the way it is, fewer and fewer can take advantage of that option. Thus, I recommend having an incredible time at Christendom while living these years to the fullest and taking advantage of the incredible opportunities offered to you. Together, we can “restore all things in Christ” in the business world, one graduate at a time!
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Arts & Culture
“To Suffer Slings and Arrows:”
An Insider Responds to Critics of the Chester-Belloc Debate Society by
Christopher Foeckler, ‘12
ver the past few years, Christendom College’s student-run society for the promotion of the intellectual life has grown and expanded, matured and developed since its founding only six years ago. But I suppose it should come as no surprise that an organization whose main function is to provide a forum for the healthy clash of ideas on campus should be sometimes the center of controversy itself. As a five-year member of the Debate Society and a Sometime Chairman, I have all too frequently fielded concerns such as those expressed by Miss Monica Davis in the latest edition of the Rambler (“To Debate or Not to Debate”)—that the Society is too exclusive and secretive, snobby and alienating, not really good at promoting the intellectual life or pursuing the truth, and doesn’t run interesting debates besides. While a comprehensive response to her criticism would probably exceed the patience of the Reader, I hope to provide a defense for at least some of those aspects of the Society that the public finds controversial. It continues to astound me when criticism of the Society takes aim at the secrecy of its meetings or exclusivity of membership. It’s not like there are no other examples of such “cult-like” behavior on campus: SAC, the RA team, sports tryouts, and the various student committees all keep their internal proceedings secret and only admit certain people into their membership. Why is a secret meeting on the top floor of the library more alienating than a secret meeting in the basement of the Commons? And what makes CBDS’s screening process less welcoming than SAC’s screening process? Secret meetings are not supposed to be alienating, they simply protect sensitive internal information from being ripped out of context to the detriment of all involved. Exclusive membership is not snobbery; it’s good business practice. It takes commitment to be a part of any organization. It takes commitment to be a member of the Debate Society. Not to be a member of the Society does not mean that somebody isn’t committed to pursuing the truth; it only means they are not committed to pursuing the truth in the community of the Debate Society. There have been plenty of rigorous intellectuals at Christendom who neverThe joined the Society. coffee plant Many would come to debates; many would speak. But not all of them became members. And that’s 6 | six
okay. The real reason people accuse the Society of snobbery and alienation is not secrecy and exclusivity but because of the shroud of mystery that cloaks every action of the Debate Society. This mystery may seem odd to some, but oddity is no evidence of snobbery or alienation. As a matter of fact, solemn procedures at the debates, strange titles, yes, the infamous Chairman’s Cape, along with all the other “ridiculous rites and rituals” were deliberately chosen not to repel interest, but to attract curiosity. There is a profound truth contained within the mystery of the Society that even members of Duma miss. I think they are sometimes overwhelmed by accusations of snobbery and, like the generous and charitable people that the Christendom student usually tends to be, they try to erase the “offending elements” of the Society or whitewash their purpose so as to avoid deepening uncomfortable rifts in the tight-knit college community. However well-meaning these students have been, I fear the Society has too long languished for lack of a proper apologetic. The explicit goal of the Chester-Belloc Debate Society is to promote the intellectual life by providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas in the pursuit of truth within community. The genius of mystique transforms the process of becoming a member of the Society into a training in those very qualities that are essential in the pursuit of truth: curiosity, commitment, and perseverance. The Society doesn’t open its doors to anybody who knocks, not because it feels above everybody else and wishes to pass judgment on them, but because it wants people to learn the “secret knock” that will open not only the doors to the Society, but also the doors to truth. The Society wishes to be sought so that it will have members who know how to seek wisdom. But by far the most serious accusation leveled at CBDS is not its mystique, but its apparent lack of success in its stated goal. People find the debates boring, the logic of Duma stale, and the rhetoric of speeches dull. Furthermore, some have criticized the Society for running debates that are difficult for the “average Christendom student” to enter into. In the first place, any accusation that the Society doesn’t run interesting topics is plain false. Just look at a few of the topics that have been run in the last couple of years: “Catholics should support the death penalty in the United States,” “Facebook detracts from real community,” (CONTINUED ON PAGE FOURTEEN)
Arts & Culture
s many in the Christendom bubble may not know, the media has been all aflutter over the performance of Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards. Everyone is familiar with Thicke’s song ‘Blurred Lines.’ And if you don’t recognize the title, you would recognize the song if it came on the radio. The performance was Cyrus and Thicke reenacting the ‘Blurred Lines’ music video. To call it raunchy, perverse or lewd would be an understatement. The first outrage is that it happened on the VMAs, which is at least supposed to be a family friendly show. Cyrus and Thicke told reporters afterwards that they sat down ahead of time and planned specifically to make it as obscene as possible in order to “make history,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. That’s akin to streaking at the World Series, and no one remember those people’s names. But let’s set their stupidity, egoism and thoughtlessness aside. The root of the problem is that the song was ever written to begin with. Why would anyone ever be inspired to sing, record, sell or put it on the radio? And most importantly, why are we buying it? In case you’re not listening to the lyrics, the song is about him with a ‘good girl’ because what she doesn’t know is by subordinating and violating her he is actually liberating her. For clarification, these are not the ravings of a radical feminist who thinks that all sex subordinates women. But at the heart of sexual slavery, pornography and the whole sex industry is that it can. Any sexual act which is not of two fully consenting people, embracing another person body and soul is subordination of the other and degradation of self. The nature of the song is evident in the music video. The video is three minutes of naked women prancing around two fully clothed men. If that isn’t demeaning, I don’t know what is. Thicke claims the video is actually feministic because it’s ironic, but frankly, I don’t find it funny. Apparently we’re supposed to pick up on the irony because he’s married, but all that says is that his wife is either blind or has no morals and no self-respect. Now, Christian counter-culture is ready to blacken the sexual revolution because it was the catalyst of men losing their masculine identity. Catholics are quick to say men need to man up. But just because women are in Congress and managing the local IHOP doesn’t mean that sexism doesn’t still run rampant in western civilization, any more than affirmative action means that racism is dead. If I had a dollar for every song that has no other message than a man wanting to sexually dominate a woman, I would be as rich as the misguided souls who sing them. Yet, mind bogglingly, girls listen to these songs just like their male counterparts. One can only wonder why. Any girl who thinks she’s cool or just not a girly-girl for doing so is fooling herself. Giving the nod to songs like that is more submissive than doing a man’s dishes.Tragically, this kind of chauvinism has a logical extreme.
If women are merely objects of men’s sexual pleasure then it matters little when they are used and have a blind eye turned to their hu man needs.
But that’s just it. Because when you objectify someone you are no longer seeing them as a person, but rather as a thing. And things are means to be used to assist people in reaching an end. If a man’s self-determined end is sex, and a woman is just an object to be utilized, what difference does it make if she consents or not? This is why songs like Thicke’s are not only annoying to feminists and any woman with her eyes open, but are actually perpetuating the rape culture. In the beginning of September, The Society Pages, a blog of sociological images, teamed up with Project Unbreakable to write an article. Project Unbreakable is an exhibit of photo essays. These photos are of rape-victims holding signs on which are written things their attackers said to them before, during or after the assault. The article is disturbing and gut-wrenching. And the natural reaction is only aggravated when you realize that every sentiment expressed in Thicke’s song is on those signs. A majority of victims heard ‘you know you want it,’ ‘good girl,’ and ‘we both know you didn’t mean it when you said no.’ At least two of these phrases are word for word repeated in ‘Blurred Lines’ numerous times, and the last is present in spirit. Condescending, patronizing, subordinating, humiliating and violating all add up to one word: dehumanizing. But the issue is much deeper than this one song. It’s a whole industry. Why is the audience so willing to listen to perverse and obscene depravity? And it’s not just those amoral people of secular society. It’s people who are Christian, or Catholic. I have walked into rooms on this campus and heard ‘Blurred Lines’ or ‘Smack That’ or some such song playing. It’s not just a guilty pleasure. It’s not just desensitizing yourself. It’s perpetuating a society of sin by feeding the degenerate music industry. If Christian men really value and esteem women, and Christian women give themselves the respect that they are due, then the audience would dwindle. If these men and women teach the rest of the world what respect and love looks like, then the audience would disappear. And it all starts with what songs get listeners on the radio. So next time you’re driving, running, working or studying and ‘Blurred Lines’ comes on, please just turn it off.
patronizing, subor“Condescending, dinating, humiliating and violating all add up to one word: dehumanizing.
K.T. Brizek, ‘15
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History to Keep You Up at
Peter Tapsak, ‘17
hat black liquid has a long history of being a source of wealth, energy, and conflict? Oil may come to mind at first, but before we ever used it for anything other than dim light, there was another product that would have aptly fit the description above: coffee. One of our favorite beverages, long a symbol of productivity, socialization, and morning pick-me-ups, coffee has an oft-forgotten, highly influential place in the history of Western civilization. What is a purely economic commodity today, one too often taken for granted, was the agent of social change yesterday. It has challenged religious beliefs, fueled intellectual discourse, sparked revolutions, and even oppressed nations. The journey of this ubiquitous bean is long and winding, but very interesting. The story begins, as good stories often do, shrouded in mystery. The actual origin of coffee is rather undocumented, and obscured by whimsical myths and legends. One of the most persistent tales in Western literature speaks of Kaldi, a 9th century Ethiopian goatherd, who discovered the coffee plant by accident. One day, he found his goats jumping ecstatically after eating the leaves and berries of a plant he had never seen before. Trying some himself, he experienced a similar
vigor. Kaldi presented his discovery to the head of a nearby monastery, who dismissed the tale and threw the beans into the fire. However, the aroma
“Enjoying Coffee”, 18th century French (anonymous)
The coffee plant
of this first roast as it rose from the fireplace was too enchanting to ignore, and withdrawing the smoking beans they crushed them, and made a beverage. Coffee was born. However, the earliest mention of Kaldi and his miraculous discovery was in 1671, so it is likely exaggerated, at best. What we do know is that the coffee plant was indigenous to the highlands of Ethiopia, and that somehow it made its way to Yemen by the 15th century. It is there that we first hear of the cultivation and widespread consumption of coffee. It is likely that coffee was consumed much earlier, but the first credible evidence of its use as a beverage links it to Sufi monasteries in Yemen, on the southern edge of the Arab peninsula. From the very beginning, coffee was intertwined with Islamic religious practices, keeping monks awake and
By the 16th century, coffee was popular enough to garner the attention of some of the most powerful individuals in the Muslim world.
the palates of the people with a burgeoning colonial industry, however, powerful people get interested. It did not take long for the Turks to lose their monopoly, and when coffee broke free from the Muslim world, it rocked the Western World more than any other commodity of the time. Enter the smugglers. Countless men lost their careers, possessions, and even worshippers alert to “divine inspiralives trifling with the Turkish busition”. From Yemen, coffee spread ness engine. The blockade was through the Muslim world, first first broken, so to speak, by an to the religious and trade cenIndian man named Baba Budan. ters of Mecca and Medina, and On his pilgrimage to Mecca, then to cities in Egypt, Iraq, Baba Budan managed to sneak Syria, Turkey, and Palestine. seven lonely beans into a belt The stimulating beverage was around his waist and thus immediately embraced as a brought fertile seeds to Insubstitute for alcohol, a subdia. In 1616, the race among stance banned by the Koran. Europeans to obtain a live In 1511 the corrupt coffee tree was won by the governor of Mecca issued a Dutch, when a trader with ban against coffeehouses, on the Dutch East India Comthe grounds that they were pany by the name of Pieter sources of criticism against Van der Broecke managed him. He feared that his opto sneak some plants out of ponents would rally in the the port of Mocha, in Yemen. coffeehouses, energized by the He took these specimens to a drink. The Sultan of Cairo, a greenhouse in Amsterdam, where coffee lover himself, subsequentthey flourished. While this action ly ordered the execution of the went largely unnoticed at the time, governor and declared coffee sacred. it was to be a source of great profit Still, it was not safe from controversy in the future, as more Europeans were , and numerous prohibitions were to be introduced to the drink. The coffee plants placed and lifted over the years, according in Amsterdam were soon transported to the to religious and political agendas. Dutch colony of Java in the East Indies, It was around this time that the Otto“Pieter van der Broecke”, Frans from which the popular nickname for the man Turks wrested control of the coffee Hals, 1633 drink is derived. world from the Persians. Sultan Selim I With the break-up of the Ottoman took the title of Caliph--the first Ottoman to do so- -and monopoly, coffee was set up to fundamentally alter reversed the bans in 1524. Men would gather in the cofthe global trade scene. Over the next few centuries, its feehouses between prayers to talk about secular issues and exploding popularity would cause empires to expand, to socialize. As coffee continued to spread throughout the colonies to form, and regimes to change. Europe would empire, the Turks guarded the plant jealously, taking any transition from inebriated to caffeinated, changing the measures necessary to dominate the means of production. course of history. The bean’s westward expansion was all They even began the practice of boiling the beans before but inevitable. exporting them, to make them infertile and impossible to Stay tuned for part II… cultivate. When you combine a drink that instantly wins 9 | Nine
Faith & Reason
You’re Just Too Young
” ” by
Lauren Enk, ‘14
Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.-1 Tim 4:12
I’d bet money the Holy Spirit had “the Millenials”—as the latest term for our generation goes—in mind when Paul wrote these words two millennia ago. Does any of this sound familiar? “You’re young. You clearly have a lot to learn. You have many life lessons ahead of you. You couldn’t possibly understand what so and so has been through. Just wait until you experience x, y, or z. Then you’ll know. And you won’t be so quick to condemn a lifestyle that’s just different from yours. You just don’t understand because you’re too young.” Similar retorts are often flung at me when I speak out about any of the hot-button issues precious to our society. Once, when I mentioned that contraception is intrinsically wrong, I suddenly was met with patronizing dismissal from an older woman. “Clearly, you are just young,” she said, “aAnd are repeating what you’ve been taught and don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.” When this became a pattern in responses to things I’ve said, I quickly realized how easy it is for us young Catholics to forget how much people on the other end of the spectrum completely disregard a) our existence and b) what we have to say. Two common assumptions in particular run rampant regarding youth, and you are going to stumble across them at some point or another whenever you step away from the sheltered atmosphere of this campus and try bringing concepts from class into pop culture. First: that young people haven’t really lived yet and so can’t possibly have a comprehensive view of reality or grasp of the truth. Second: that youth neither understand nor support traditional Church teachings. Pardon me for departing from the Thomistic formula as I take the second objection first. Every talking head in the media keeps claiming that all young people are falling away from the Church in droves and that it’s because the Church is outdated. (They conveniently forget the last several World Youth Days). Obviously, the mere fact that I’m writing this article to this audience at all is evidence that this misconception is just one of the favorite myths of a blind world that wants to think that everyone who is young and hip and modern is on their side. But the first error is often more widespread, and in fact becomes an excuse for people who disagree with us to keep plugging their ears to what we have to say and pretending that you and I— young people who love the Pope and believe in Church teachings on sexuality—don’t really exist. If there are any young people who accept Church teachings—well, they’re just ignorant and haven’t lived yet. 10 | Ten
It’s ludicrous to presume that just because someone is young, he hasn’t had some significant degree of experience—or of suffering. Everything from financial straits or serious illness to broken families or personal heartbreak can, and does, happen to “sheltered” Catholic kids before they hit their twentieth birthdays. But actually, this presumption is just part of a bigger error: the idea that our youth negates our ability to know and proclaim the truth. Yes, we are young. Yes, we have a lot of suffering and sobering life experiences ahead of us. Perhaps we are quite inexperienced. But no, that does not and never will mean that we can’t know and speak the truth.
” ” It ’is sheer hypocrisy, typical of the modern world, to tell us that because we are young, we can “set the world on fire / and we can burn brighter / than the sun,” and then tell us to shut up and stamp on the flames the minute we light the spark of truth.
Age and experience do not have a copyright or monopoly on reality. They can give insight; they cannot give an imprimatur to opinion. Unless we’re grounded in an eternal, ageless truth, life experiences actually can cloud our vision. The last three popes have repeatedly proclaimed that they hold a special place in their hearts for us young people, and that they expect great things of us, as Pope Francis made clear in Rio last July when he said: “I ask you . . . to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love.” Pope Francis is following in John Paul II’s and Benedict XVI’s footsteps, telling us that young people have a freshness of vision and a strength of conviction that can and must be used to fight for the good, to proclaim the truth about the love of Christ. Our voices are strong and powerful—which is why the world keeps telling us to hush or pretending we don’t exist when they don’t like what we’re saying. We’re making them uncomfortable, because we speak the truth. To tell us that we don’t understand or can’t possibly be right—just because we’re young—is simply a cop-out; a way to convince themselves that what we’re saying doesn’t affect them. But as Paul would probably tell you: “Just say it anyway. Prove them wrong by living what you preach.”
Faith & Reason
Thomism and Optimism: The Anatomy of Error by
Peter Deucher, ‘15
St. Thomas held that every error, including heresy, contains at least some truth. Although in itself, error has nothing to do with the truth, it does, in reality, always carry something true along with it. If it did not, people would simply reject it. Unfortunately, error as we know it resembles the truth just enough to be convincing. Take abortion, for example. Many people support it because they feel the need to protect a woman’s freedom, and in some sense they are correct. Insofar as women really do have a thing called free-will that really should be respected and protected, pro-abortioners are spot on.
Sometimes, not all the time, it is for that one little truth that people swallow the abortion error hook, line and sinker.
Similarly, euthanasia advocates are right in saying that we should not waste our medical resources or needlessly prolong a patient’s suffering. In addition, something can be said for those onboard the gay marriage bandwagon because authentic love really does rise above social norms and qualitative barriers between individuals. Or in a slightly different vein, empiricists, who maintain that truth can only be known through a scientific process of trial and error, are correct insofar as experience can, in most cases, truly be said to be the best teacher. And at the end of the day, even Catholics must admit that Protestants are entirely right when they emphasize one’s personal, intimate, unbreakable relationship with Christ as the key to Christianity and the heart of what it means to be a believer. The point here is not that abortion, euthanasia, empiricism
Although people want the truth, they do not always want the whole truth, which can be notoriously hard to swallow. Our job, and every responsibl person’s for that matter, is to help people find and accept fully what they already know and love in part.
Protestantism are justifiable, but that people often support them thinking they are doing something quite good. Such people are not malicious but merely mistaken. They combine good intentions with misconceptions. For instance, abortionists may mean well, but they deny the fact that free-will entails both the ability to choose and responsibility in choosing. Freedom is a good that becomes so much
St. Thomas Aquinas by Francesco Solimena,
greater when it is used to benefit everyone it can. Ironically, it is both a bad thing and a good thing that every error contains something true. While such a reality makes falsehood unfortunately convincing and popular, it also indicates that even when wrong, many people genuinely want the truth. Nobody actually likes error. If they did, it would never have to disguise itself in order to be accepted. There is good reason for hope that those who adhere to errors like abortion will change their mind once the truth is presented to them as completely and as palatably as possible. Although people want the truth, they do not always want the whole truth, which can be notoriously hard to swallow. Our job, and every responsible person’s for that matter, is to help people find and accept fully what they already know and love in part.
11 | Eleven
Science & Technology
Sean Shanahan, ‘16
magine the possibilities of being able to print a pen. Just load a file onto your 3-D printer, and soon after, you have a brandnew writing implement. 3-D printing sounds like something out of science fiction. If Captain Kirk told Scotty to print him a new phaser, no one would think much of it; strange things happen in Star Trek. While it sounds like something found only on the Scifi channel or in the Enterprise’s engineering section, 3-D printing is actually a real-world technology. Some methods of this technology are even analogous to paper and ink printing methods that most people are familiar with. 3-D printing is the most common name for the family of manufacturing technology called Additive Manufacturing, which includes but is not limited to 3-D printing. Additive Manufacturing is the means of making an object by depositing layers of material. Cave formations like stalactites and stalagmites are formed through a natural process of additive manufacturing. Today there are several main processes of 3-D printing. The powder-based process involves a machine depositing a layer of materials in granular form onto a tray and then depositing a bonding agent in a cross section of the finished object. A variation of this technique eschews the bonding agent and instead uses a laser to fuse the layers of material together. As its name suggests, plastic jet printing works a lot like an inkjet printer that keeps on repeating a single letter on the same area of a sheet of paper. Thin cross sections of some plastic material are deposited by a printer head to form the desired object. Photopolymerization is the third major 3-D printing process. In this process, UV light is used to harden successive layers of some liquid UV-curable polymer. While these are the three main types of 3-D printing, several variations do exist. 3-D bioprinting uses the same principles of cross-section layering to print things like skin and blood vessels, and the technology to print complex and fully functional organs like stomachs and livers is on the horizon. Despite its many advantages, 3-D printing cannot replace more conventional mass-production techniques. Current manufacturing techniques are much better than 3-D printing for producing a large number of parts. The newer technology is more suited to fabricating small numbers of custom parts. Bespoke Innovations uses 3-D printing to manufacture custom prosthetics that are designed to match the individual’s lost limb as closely as possible. Since no two people have exactly the same body dimensions, 3-D printing is much more cost-effective than making a mold for each customer’s prosthetic. Many modern dental replacements use 3-D printing to replicate lost or removed teeth. This practice can even be extended to human bones; printing a replacement hip for a hip-surgery recipient is much more efficient than other methods of crafting a replacement hip. Start-up companies, innovators, developers, and anyone else who has a need to make unique and complex items are all positively affected by 3-D printing technology. While methods of crafting unique items exist, they are all much 12 | twelve
more time consuming than 3-D printing. The MIT student trying to design a flying robot could use 3-D printing technology to get a working model that he could then test for wind resistance, and he could do that in much less time and with much less money required than if he had used conventional prototyping techniques.
Print Me a Bicycle In many ways, imagination is the limit of 3-D printing.
If you can think of it, and you or someone else can design it, then it can be printed. This approach allows for relatively rapid realization of design concepts, and at the same time it enables a speedy rejection and concept correction process for ideas that are flawed or require tweaking. Many people have had braces, and the retainer that generally follows them. Normally, retainers are made by injection molding. Making the mold requires the patient to bite into a tray filled with a type of plaster and wait about two minutes. Yes, it’s as nasty as it sounds. There’s nothing like the taste of plaster in your mouth. In comparison, taking a set of detailed pictures is much less annoying and nasty. A somewhat more extreme example: consider someone who’s lost a finger. Rather than cutting off one of his toes and making a substitution, a new finger could be printed and attached to the stump of the original. Few limb- or digit-removing injuries happen in exactly the same place, so replacements will be unique. Since these are functional moving parts, molding is not always an option. A “printout” replacement could easily be unique, since it completely eschews the need to make a mold. 3-D printing has come a long way from its roots, and it has the potential to go further yet. Perhaps its greatest benefit is its reduction of research and development costs in money and time. In the meantime, for those innovators and designers out there, here’s a thought for you: what would you use 3-D printing for, given the chance?
Photos courtesy of dmg media
Prose & Poetry
into Our Future
Connor Coyne, ‘13
ast semester, a significant modification was made on campus. Now, after months of awkwardly avoiding the matter, I feel that it is time somebody acknowledges the elephant in the kitchen. After many painful, annoying years, the dish room window had finally been boarded up last semester, with nothing but a slit left to slide in dirty plates. Some students grumbled, not seeing the benefit of the boarded window. Other students—smarter students—recognized that the closed window was definitely necessary for Christendom College; it is a sign of progress. For this reason, we must bring it back. let me explain. In my short time as a student at Christendom, I have noticed that one of the issues that the open dish room window has created is the evil of flirting. I strongly believe that there have been more cases of flirting out of the Christendom dish room window than in any other place on campus. Upperclassmen will remember legendary flirts such as Paddy Norton and John McGovern, who would flash a conniving grin at females, and every once in a while even wink when they walked by. It was disgusting. I personally had trouble every time I tried to put my dishes on the counter, as girls would be saying things such as “Thank you” to the boys working the dish room. You know, more than once a week I would see the workers laughing with persons of the opposite sex at some joke that had been made. It needed to end, and last semester, finally, someone had put a foot down. Some may claim that I am jealous, or that I just feel left out since I am not engaged. However, I swear this is not the case. I simply believe that it is extremely unprofessional for the workers to be engaging in this sort of activity. Flirtation in the workplace is poor training for the real world. Think seriously about the matter: how often do you see employees flirting with customers? Never; it is a crime. Some people will disagree and say things like “it raised morale,” or “it wasn’t flirting, we were just being nice.” Do not believe them. If you cannot keep your spirits up during a three hour work shift after a day of easy classes, you have a problem—a serious one at that, and you should probably get counseling in Student Life. My answer to those who say it is not flirting is that there
have been 356 alumna-to-alumnus marriages in just 35 years, and this number is rapidly increasing. Something obviously needs to change, and putting an end to the flirting at the dish room window would greatly help. The time that these kitchen workers save from not talking to girls can be better spent in prayer for their future spouses, because everyone knows that if you marry one of those boys, you are definitely going to need the extra prayers. One of the other benefits which the closed window provides is that workers on the other side do not know who the students bringing up their dishes are. I would always be embarrassed when I had to return a plate from my fourth, fifth, or sixth helping, knowing the guys back there were thinking about my extending waistline. No one ever said anything, but you could just tell what they were thinking. This is one of the reasons that I hope the kitchen blocks off the faces of the servers as well. I mean, if the servers cannot tell who you are when you go up to get your food, then the judging of each other at Christendom would decrease significantly, and godliness would increase. The closed window helps on an external level as well. I mean, who really cares if a little bit of drywall falls on the heads of the workers. They are simply Photos courtsy of Emma Seidl poor college kids with nowhere else to go. I heard some of the guys say that the steam gives them poor skin. I say it is good for the community. It cuts down on the flashy carnal appeal of a guy to a girl. The temperature in the dish room will undoubtedly increase as the weather becomes warmer, and I am sure this fact will be next in the line for the student workers to complain about. Yes, I understand that the steam is hot from the machine and that the window being closed stops the breeze from coming in, but just think about all the purgatory time you can work off back there. It just may save you from an eternity of hot weather. I heard that student workers had been missing shifts more often last semester than ever before. Although I am sure it had nothing to do with the changes to the window, I believe that sacrificing the heat in reparation for the sin of sloth may be a good idea... 13 | thirteen
Poetry & Prose
Lawrence VS. Lenin by
Catherine McGrath, ‘12 The communist society is stateless and classlessIn the Commons, one finds the anti-thesis. Therein, members are not assimilatedEach individual is appreciated; Talents and opinions are not suffocated. None are subjected to one-party rule; Elections are voted on by the whole school. Each president is chosen freely, Justice is embodied by the SAC. No communal food pots, no five year planEach student diner is his own man To pick of the dishes in this culinary haven. To gluten-free people, special treatment is given (T’would not be the case under Stalin nor Mao! In fact, after meals, they ring the seconds bell!) Signs of the Faith remain ever present Mass-goers are not labeled “dissident”In fact, in the Commons, it’s quite the contrary. In this happy hall, there’s no need to be wary Of secret police who turn people in; Instead, friendly RAs guard all from sin. So, ye freshmen and smokers, city slickers and hicks, All segregated, be proud of your cliques! Each blue-covered table as its own nation Proudly resisting assimilation. To communist evils then, the Commons in essence By its orientation is the anti-thesis.
“To Suffer Slings and Arrows:”(CONTINUED FROM PAGE SIX) “The prohibition of RDA harms the Christendom community,” “The film The Dark Knight depicts a moral victory of good over evil,” “Habitually smoking is morally wrong,” “Catholics should avoid films depicting graphic demonic possession,” “The First Amendment protects pornography,” “America needs Ron Paul,” “A practicing Catholic should not be a spy.” I can understand that some people are not immediately drawn by the wording of some propositions. But it has been my constant experience that many topics that seem eclectic on the poster frequently become radically relevant on Sunday nights. Questions of obscure historical content bring up universal principles that are directly relevant to the world today. Furthermore, the practice of public dispute is critical to the formation of informed and articulate members of Christ’s Church and society. Not every member of the Society is a fantastic speaker or the clearest thinker. And that’s okay. People think membership in the Society is a certification of braininess, when it is much more an opportunity for people to practice rhetoric and respectful dispute. 14 | Fourteen
If people are dissatisfied with the performance of their fellow students on the debate floor, I invite them to imagine those same people attempting to engage the “real world” without the practice they receive through the Debate Society. Pointing out flaws in the presentation of Christendom students would not be possible if the Society was not around to bring them to light. Critics of the Society all too frequently miss out on the successes of the Society’s valuable experiences. Among my fellow alumni, there are countless stories of how skills we learned on the Chester-Belloc debate floor opened doors for us in the professional world. It deeply frustrates me when anti-Society bias repels people from debates or stifles enthusiasm of good members of Duma without good reason. For when the Society is properly understood, it is far from being an alienating cult of snobbery; rather, it is an extremely valuable institution that has brought innumerable benefits to the Christendom College community and, more to the point, to the infamously intimidating “real world.” I yield the floor.
The Last Word
Another opportunity for presenting our opinions on campus occurrences. Agree? Disagree? Have an opinion of your own? Let us know!
REFLECTIONS OF A SENIOR
The Deli Bar is back!
Yay! Cropped pants are dresscode! And just in time for cold weather, too!
Under won for the first time in 100 years. GO FRESHMEN!!! Oh yeah... and spohomores.
Goreous weather, fall is here , and the leaves are just starting to change!
The Editorial Staff
As we reflect upon this new school year, we consider how some things have changed, and most things have not. We still cannot figure out which days of the week serve the deli bar in both lines at lunch. We still find enjoyment in the simple things in life, such as dressing up for an intramural game, or laughing at those who do. We seniors have started to adjust to our heightened social status, and are enjoying such little pleasures as sitting upon our thrones in the everexclusive and elusive senior study room (although the amount of studying actually accomplished here is yet to be determined). With the largest freshman class in the history of the college, we feel as if we see a new freshman face every single day. And with this deluge of new students, we would just like to challenge those new faces on campus to not be afraid to be boldâ€”to extend oneself by joining that club or student organization, and to start making a name for oneself now. Needless to say, the Rambler is always a great option for making oneâ€™s voice heard, speaking the truth, and making a difference. As for you upperclassmen, keep up the good work, and show those freshmen how it is done. The Senior Editorial Staff
Campus cats are out of control!!! First Christendom then, the world.
Due to an outbreak of Tests and Papers, the population of student zombies has increased.
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Published on Sep 27, 2013
The Rambler is the independent student journal of Christendom College, dedicated to training the next generation of Catholic journalists and...