The Independent Journal of Opinion at the College of the Holy Cross
Quod Verum Pulchrum Volume XXV, ISSUE V â€” March 2018
Mission Statement As the College of the Holy Crossâ€™s independent journal of opinion, The Fenwick Review strives to promote intellectual freedom and progress on campus. The staff of The Fenwick Review takes pride in defending traditional Catholic principles and conservative ideas, and does its best to articulate thoughtful alternatives to the dominant campus ethos. Our staff values Holy Cross very much, and desires to help make it the best it can be by strengthening and renewing the Collegeâ€™s Catholic identity, as well as by working with the College to encourage constructive dialogue and an open forum to foster new ideas.
Disclaimers This journal is published by students of the College of the Holy Cross two or three times per semester. The College of the Holy Cross is not responsible for its content. Articles do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board.
The Fenwick Review is funded through a generous grant from the Collegiate Network as well as individual donations. The Fenwick Review is a student organization affiliated with, but not sponsored by, the College of the Holy Cross. We welcome any donation you might be able to give to support our cause! To do so, please write a check to College of the Holy Cross (memo line: The Fenwick Review) and mail to: Bill Christ and Claude Hanley P.O. Box 4A 1 College Street Worcester, MA 01610
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Table of Contents Letter from the Editors......................................................................4 The Editors
Staff 2017-18 Co-Editors in Chief Bill Christ ‘18
New Ways in Theology at Holy Cross..........................................5
Claude Hanley ‘18
Elinor Reilly ‘18 Don’t Do You........................................................................................8
Web Editor Elinor Reilly ‘18
Greg Giangiordano ‘18
Jumping the Gun...............................................................................10 Seamus Brennan ‘20
Staff Writers Seamus Brennan ‘18
The Democratic Tea Party.............................................................12
Patrick Connolly ‘18 James Dooley ‘20
William Christ ‘18 The Mainstream Media Misses the Mark..................................14
James Garry ‘20 Greg Giangiordano ‘18
Ryan Foley ‘21
Michael Raheb ‘20
The Gospel of Suffering...................................................................16 Stefi Raymond ‘18
Stefi Raymond ‘18 Jack Rosenwinkel ‘21
Pope Francis and a Catholic Analysis of Gun Violence........17
Cameron Smith ‘20
Claude Hanley ‘18 Faculty Advisor Professor David Schaefer Political Science
Cover Art Stefanie Raymond ‘18
We must reserve the space to offer a heartfelt thank you to our benefactors, without whom The Fenwick Review would not exist. We extend our profound gratitude to the Collegiate Network and the generous individual and alumni donors to The Fenwick Review, for their ongoing enthusiasm and support of our mission.
Dear Reader, Thank you for picking up a copy of The Fenwick Review. In February, the College announced that the nickname “Crusaders” would be retained. The best reason provided at the time was this: “The literal definition of the word, ‘one who is marked by the cross of Christ,’ was appropriate for our institution’s Jesuit and Catholic intellectual and spiritual tradition.” Not long before we went to press, Father Boroughs and the Board of Trustees announced that the College would remove all Crusader imagery from the campus, and replace the athletic logo with an interlocking “HC” on a white shield. It was the only way, apparently, to avoid linking Holy Cross to the Medieval crusades. Throughout, while we’ve pretended to have an academic discourse about the subject, there have been two main concerns: 1) don’t alienate all our friends at secular New England schools and 2) don’t make the alumni mad while they’re still alive and can still write us out of their wills. Perhaps it’s crass to phrase it in such terms, but please, prove us wrong. This final decision demonstrates that all of those pious noises about the Cross were just pious noises. If you claim you’re keeping the name “Crusader” because of its association with the Cross (a rare piece of sound thinking!), it would make logical sense to, well, actually put the cross on the visual representation of the school. It’s difficult to pretend that the mascot decision had anything to do with religious identity when our chosen branding has no hint of religious imagery. The rhetoric of the initial decision, and the actions which have followed aren’t consistent. If the religious heritage is important, use religious imagery (A cross, at least? Or a saint, perhaps?). If it isn’t, Holy Cross should find the moral honesty to stop pretending it cares about its heritage and go the way of the rest of secular academia. The former would be courageous. The latter would at least be honest. The current solution merely pretends to be both. The Fenwick Review’s motto is “Quod Verum, Pulchrum”— What is True is Beautiful. It’s a phrase that the faculty and administrators of Holy Cross might take to heart.
Mr. Robert W. Graham III Mr. Robert R. Henzler The Hon. Paul J. Hanley Mr. Kevin O'Scannlain Mr. Sean F. Sullivan Jr. Dr. and Mrs. Paul Braunstein Mr. and Mrs. Richard Fisher Mr. and Mrs. Thomas W. Greene Mr. William Horan
Mr. Robert J. Leary ‘49 Fr. Paul Scalia Mr. and Mrs. Michael Dailey Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Gorman Mr. Paul M. Guyet Mr. Joseph Kilmartin Mr. Francis Marshall ‘48 Dr. Ronald Safko Mr. John J. Ferguson Dr. Thomas Craig MD, MPH, ‘59 Mr. Patrick D. Hanley Dr. William Sheehy ‘59 Mr. Robert Abbott ‘66 Mr. Jim Carter ‘59 Mr. Brian Kingston, ‘68 Mr. John Verdon
Bill Christ, ‘18 Claude Hanley, ‘18 Editors in Chief
Mr. Guy C. Bosetti
Mr. Bernard Long ‘62
Dr. and Mrs. John P. Connors
New Ways in Theology at Holy Cross By Elinor Reilly ‘18 A little over ten years ago, on the occasion of their 50th Reunion, alumni of the College endowed the Class of 1956 Chair of New Testament Studies, a distinguished professorship associated with the Religious Studies department.1 In the autumn of 2013, the College appointed professor Tat-Siong Benny Liew to fill this position. Professor Tat-siong Benny Liew received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Olivet Nazarene University and completed his doctorate at Vanderbilt University.2 Prior to his appointment at Holy Cross, Professor Liew had been Professor of New Testament at the Pacific School of Theology, and before that taught at Chicago Theological Seminary. According to the Department of Religious Studies webpage, his fields of specialty include “synoptic gospels, gospel of John, cultural and racial interpretations and receptions of the Bible, apocalypticism, and Asian American history and literature.”3 Professor Liew's numerous publications reveal an unconventional approach to gender, sexuality, and race in the biblical texts. The 2004 article “Mistaken Identities but Model Faith: Rereading the Centurion, the Chap, and the Christ in Matthew 8:5-13,” provides a representative example. Professor Liew and his coauthor, Theodore Jennings, argue that Matthew 8:5-13, the story of the centurion who goes to Jesus to ask for healing for his servant, ought to be interpreted in terms of a sexual relationship. Matthew’s account, runs the argument, does not concern a centurion and his servant, but a centurion and his lover/slave. “The centurion’s rhetoric about not being ‘worthy’ of a house visit by Jesus (8:8) may be the centurion’s way of avoiding an anticipated ‘usurpation’ of his current boylove on the part of his new patron [Jesus],” they assert. Furthermore, “The way Matthew’s Jesus seems to affirm the centurion’s pederastic relationship with his παῖς, we contend, may also be consistent with Matthew’s affirmation of many sexual dissidents in her Gospel.”4 In 2009, Professor Liew edited the volume They Were All Together in One Place?: Toward Minority Biblical Criticism. A copy of the volume is displayed in a case in the Religious Studies Department. Professor Liew’s
contributions give shape to this volume: along with serving as the primary editor, he wrote the introduction to the volume and contributed an essay. As such, the volume as a whole sheds particular light on Professor Liew’s interpretations of the biblical texts. Professor Liew’s contribution to this volume, a chapter entitled “Queering Closets and Perverting Desires: Cross-Examining John’s Engendering and Transgendering Word across Different Worlds,” demonstrates the centrality of sex and gender to his way of thinking about the New Testament. In the chapter, Professor Liew explains that he believes Christ could be considered a “drag king” or cross-dresser. “If one follows the trajectory of the Wisdom/Word or Sophia/Jesus (con)figuration, what we have in John’s Je-
Professor Liew's numerous publications reveal an unconventional approach to gender, sexuality, and race in the biblical texts. sus is not only a “king of Israel” (1:49; 12:13– 15) or “king of the Ioudaioi” (18:33, 39; 19:3, 14– 15, 19– 22), but also a drag king (6:15; 18:37; 19:12),” he claims.5 He later argues that “[Christ] ends up appearing as a dragkingly bride in his passion.”6 Professor Liew continues:
In addition, we find Jesus disrobing and rerobing in the episode that marks Jesus’ focus on the disciples with the coming of his ‘hour’ (13:3 – 5, 12). This disrobing, as [Colleen] Conway points out, does not disclose anything about Jesus’ anatomy. Instead, it describes Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. As more than one commentator has pointed out, foot-washing was generally only done by Jewish women or nonJewish slaves. 12 John is clear that Jesus is an Ioudaios (4:9, 22; 18:33– 35; 19:40); what John is less clear about is whether Jesus is a biological male. Like a literary striptease, this episode is suggestive, even seductive; it shows and withholds at the same time.7
a body that is being opened to penetration. 24 Even more oddly, Jesus’ ability to face his “hour” is repeatedly associated with his acknowledging of and communing with his Father (12:27– 28; 14:12, 28; 16:10, 17, 28; 17:1– 25; 18:11), who is, as Jesus explicitly states, “with me” (16:32) throughout this process, which Jesus also describes as one of giving birth (16:21– 22). What I am suggesting is that, when Jesus’ body is being penetrated, his thoughts are on his Father. He is, in other words, imagining his passion experience as a (masochistic?) sexual relation with his own Father.11
Professor Liew asserts that Jesus’s “excessive” and “deceptive” speech would be considered “feminine” in the culture of the time.8 In defense of this claim, he states that in Greco-Roman culture: Women pollute since their moist and soft nature is also more susceptible to the assaults of wanton desires, erotic or otherwise. In short, women are wet and (thus) wild. I am suggesting that John’s constant references to Jesus wanting water (4:7; 19:28), giving water (6:35), and leaking water (19:34) speak to Jesus’ gender indeterminacy and hence his cross-dressing and other queer desires…9 He clarifies that he is not suggesting that Christ is actually a woman, but that he is neither male nor female. “I want to suggest that John’s crossdressing Jesus shows that a so-called ‘core’ is but a(n significant) effect of bodily acts,” he writes.10 Professor Liew’s understanding of Jesus in “Queering Desires” suggests an unusual interpretation of the Holy Trinity: Suffice it to say that not only does this exchange of desires place the Father’s identity in question but also that the Father-Son dyad in John is always already interrupted by and dependent on the participation of a third party. One may, as a result, turn around Jesus’ well-known statement in John, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6c): Jesus himself needs others to cum with the Father. Jesus’ statement that “I in them [his followers] and you [the Father] in me” turns out to be quite a description. What we find in John is a Jesus who longs to be “had” by the Father…Things do not get less queer as one gets to the other parts of John’s Gospel. It is noticeable that throughout the Gospel Jesus and his Father form a “mutual glorification society” (5:41; 8:50, 54; 12:28– 29; 13:32; 17:1, 4– 5). This constant elevation or stroking is nothing less than an exciting of the penis, or better yet, phallus. Its consistency is then explainable, since “we all know that after … an orgasmic dissemination or circulation, the phallus, like most penises, becomes limp” (Sifuentes-Jáuregui 2002, 159). Fast forwarding to the passion narratives, Conway observes that John’s Jesus is a “quintessential man” because he “reveals no weakening to the passions that might undercut his manly deportment” (2003a, 175). If this is so, there is also something quintessentially queer here. During the passion, Jesus is not only beaten (18:22– 23; 19:3) and flogged (19:1); his body is also nailed and his side pierced (19:18, 23a, 34, 37; 20:24– 28). Oddly, John defines Jesus’ masculinity with
Professor Liew’s editorship of the volume reflects the same method of interpretation. In the introduction to They Were All Together in One Place?, he and his fellow editors explain the idea of “minority criticism,” admitting that the “dominant criticism” will at times “outright dismiss” minority criticism. One of the stated goals here is “relativizing” the “dominant criticism” which exists. Other chapters in the volume include such titles as “‘That’s Why They Didn’t Call the Book Hadassah!’: The Interse(ct)/(x)ionality of Race/ Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality in the Book of Esther” and “Incarnate Words: Images of God and Reading Practices.” Readers will note that They Were All Together in One Place? and “Mistaken Identities but Model Faith” were published in 2009 and 2004, respectively. Professor Liew's more recent works reflect similar lines of thought. For instance, the 2016 essay, “The Gospel of Bare Life,” describes obedience to God as “troubling” and “infantilizing.” Professor Liew writes, “If John’s Jesus, as well as those who follow John’s Jesus, are supposed to be fully subjected to the will of the Father to the point of death (6:35–64; 10:1–18; 15:1–16:4; 21:15– 19), then are we not back to a scenario in which a Caesar-like head sits comfortably in a choice seat and watches bare life performing death for his purposes and his enjoyment?”12 Professor Liew is often responsible for teaching “New Testament,” the College’s primary New Testament class. Its course description lists three texts: The HarperCollins Study Bible; The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, by Bart Ehrman; and The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, by Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King. In addition to this class, Professor Liew
has also taught “Sex, Money, Power, and Sacred Texts” and “Apocalyptic Then and Now,” according to the College’s student registration website. Professor Liew’s unconventional readings of Scripture has brought a new theological perspective to Holy Cross. The position and prestige which accompany an endowed chair in Religious Studies testify to the esteem in which his work is held by the College’s administration and academic community. He continues to be held up as an example and a bold successor to the learned and discerning tradition of our Catholic and Jesuit College of the Holy Cross.
Notes 1. https://www.holycross.edu/departments/ publicaffairs/hcm/2009_01Winter.pdf (page 12) 2. https://web.archive.org/web/20130623015854/ https://psr.edu/tat-siong-benny-liew-0 3. https://news.holycross.edu/blog/2013/10/01/ holy-cross-hires-13-new-faculty-members-for-201314-academic-year/ and https:// www.holycross.edu/academics/programs/religious -studies/faculty/tat-siong-benny-liew
4. Theodore Jennings and Tat-siong Benny Liew, “Mistaken Identities but Model Faith: Rereading the Centurion, the Chap, and the Christ in Matthew 8:5-13,” Journal of Biblical Literature 123, no. 3 (2004): 491. 5. Tat-siong Benny Liew, “Queering Closets and Perverting Desires: Cross-Examining John’s Engendering and Transgendering Word across Different Worlds,” in They Were All Together in One Place: Toward Minority Biblical Criticism, ed. Randall C. Bailey, Tat-siong Benny Liew, and Fernando F. Segovia (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009), 253254. 6. Ibid., 257. 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid., 259-260. 9. Ibid., 278. 10. Ibid., 260. 11. Ibid., 265-266. 12. Tat-siong Benny Liew, “The Gospel of Bare Life,” in Psychoanalytic Mediations Between Marxist and Postcolonial Readings of the Bible, ed. Tat-siong Benny Liew and Erin Runions (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016), 160161.
They Were All Together in One Place? and Psychoanalytic Mediations Between Marxist and Postcolonial Readings of the Bible in the College of the Holy Cross Religious Studies department bookcase. Photos courtesy of author.
Don’t do you By greg giangiordano ‘18 There are few phrases as damaging as you do you. fusal to be explicitly hateful, tolerance is an easy and It’s a phrase that we hear all the time and don’t really selfish way to interact with other people, because it think about, and it’s a phrase that I have often parrot- places priority on our own comfort than on truth and ed. Many times have people approached me and invited goodness. me to do this or that, and, when I replied that I wasn’t Love is different. Loving another person means interested, I followed it up with, “but you do you.” You selflessly willing the good of that person. Willing is not might ask why this phrase is damaging. Doesn’t it just the same thing as wishing. Wishing is passive, and it mean I won’t judge you? And requires no more effort isn’t not judging a good and than sitting and longing for Christian thing to do? At the wished thing to happen, its heart, you do you really without actually doing anymeans as long as it doesn’t thing to make it so. Willing affect me, I don’t care what you is the active pouring of do. Even if I disagree with one’s energy into making what you are doing because the willed thing happen. I think it is morally wrong, Take grades, for example. I will tolerate it so that eveIf it is my will to get good ryone will be comfortable. grades, then I will invest “You do you” sums my time in studying and up everything wrong with applying myself to achieve our culture of tolerance. those grades. I will make it Many people confuse tolerhappen, instead of simply ating someone’s actions letting it happen or hoping it with loving them, but they will happen. If we apply the aren’t the same thing. Tolwill to loving another pereration is one of the easiest son, we then actively try to means by which we coexist bring about the good in with things we find untheir life. It requires time, pleasant. It is a way of copeffort, and commitment. ing with an adverse situa- Photo by Lawrence Lew OP (cropped) (CC BY-NC 2.0), https:// If we love selflessly, we are www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/2717999670 tion. When applied to other willing the good of another people, toleration involves quietly dealing with the person devoid of personal interest or gain. In the words faults and flaws we find in others. It requires nothing of St. Ignatius contained within the Prayer of Generosimore than an uneasy silence for the sake of comfort. ty, we are giving without counting the cost, fighting without heedWorse yet, when we simply tolerate others, we allow a ing the wounds, toiling without seeking rest, and laboring without cold resentment to fester until we are no longer able to asking for any reward. We are letting our own desires die reconcile ourselves with that person. We lose sight of so that the good of our brothers and sisters might be his or her redeeming qualities, and simply wish that he more fully achieved. In this light, selflessly willing the or she would just go away. Toleration is the first ingre- good of another is laborious, strenuous, and difficult. dient in a toxic mental stew that slowly dissolves what But has any worthwhile goal ever been accomplished would otherwise be a happy relationship. Though a re- by being weak, lazy or selfish? It is only through self-
lessly willing the good of another person that love becomes authentic. Some might ask, what is the good that we should will? As Christians, we don’t need to get creative or inventive. We need simply look at the New Testament and Christ’s words at the Last Supper. “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). We are to love one another as Christ loves us, and we see how Christ loves in His interactions with sinners. We see His love in His speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well, in His saving of Mary Magdalene from stoning, in His invitation to the rich man, and in His call to Matthew. In all instances, Christ’s love is twofold—there is both forgiveness of past sins and a challenge to live better in the future. This is what it means to love as a Christian. We are called, not to tolerate immoral behavior, but to
lovingly forgive each other for our imperfect human faults while at the same time challenging each other to live better. We are called to love as Christ loved, to burn with a zeal and passion for the good of our brothers and sisters, so that we might one day become saints and exist in loving union with God. Charles Chaput, archbishop of Philadelphia, said in a lecture at the University of Notre Dame in 2016, “Life is a gift, not an accident. And the point of a life is to become the kind of fully human person who knows and loves God above everything else, and reflects that love to others. That’s the only compelling reason for a university that calls itself Catholic to exist. And it’s a privilege for Notre Dame to be part of that vocation.” As a college, as a community of people which claims to uphold the faith and traditions of the Catholic Church, we must ask ourselves, are we loving, or are we simply tolerating?
We are letting our own desires die so that the good of our brothers and sisters might be more fully achieved. In this light, selflessly willing the good of another is laborious, strenuous, and difficult. But has any worthwhile goal ever been accomplished by being weak, lazy or selfish?
Jumping the gun By seamus brennan ‘20 When news of last month’s tragic school shooting in Parkland, FL broke and details surrounding the calamity began to emerge, everyone was left in a state of shock. We all bemoaned the shooter, we all prayed for the victims and their families, and no one was content. Despite some Democrats’ assertions that Republicans don’t care about dead children and some Republicans’ claims that members of the media look forward to and secretly commend mass shootings, any loss of life— especially that of innocent children—is appalling and distressing, and everyone, regardless of political leaning, is left with an aching heart. In times of heightened emotion and grief across our national landscape, it is natural
Everyone simply wants what they think is best for the country, and we owe it to one other to assume the best in each other’s policy proposals.
to seek change, and almost all would agree that change in some form is necessary. However, heightened emotion rarely translates into effective policy, and level of passion has no correlation to one’s level of moral authority or political expertise on any given issue. Members of both sides of the political aisle are distraught by last month’s shooting: Republicans and Democrats both mourn the loss of the victims’ lives. Everyone simply wants what they think is best for the country, and we owe it to one other to assume the best in each other’s policy proposals. Unfortunately, the national conversation on the topic of gun violence has been permeated by the shaming of blameless politicians, the denigration of those with differing viewpoints, and the blatant mischaracterizations of opposing voices. Nearly every American recognizes the need for change, but change can only prosper when standards of civility and
decency are upheld and when we learn to assume the best in others. Throughout CNN’s town hall on gun violence the week following the Parkland tragedy, survivors of the shooting directly compared Florida Senator Marco Rubio to the shooter himself, suggested that NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch doesn’t care about her own children, and lambasted both figures as “murderers” for refusing to succumb to some of their political demands. Of course, everyone sympathizes with these children: it is difficult to imagine having to endure what they did. But they are children. No matter how much sympathy one may have for them, their suffering does not confer to them any sense of knowledge or proficiency pertaining to the gun debate. They certainly have the right to voice their opinions and I am not claiming that they should be silenced, but the media’s tendency to rely upon the shooting survivors as if they are political experts is irresponsible and manipulative. When CNN allows Rubio and Loesch to be slandered as “murderers” and equated to a school shooter without any warnings or repercussions, they are failing in their duty as objective and unprejudiced journalists. Both the students’ falsified sense of authority and the media’s unquestionable one-sidedness are important to note before exploring some of their actual policy proposals, many of which are misinformed and overly broad. The most common policy proposal advocated by members of the media, Democrats, and shooting survivors has been a ban of AR-15s (“AR” stands for “Armalite Rifle,” not “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle”), the weapon used in the Parkland tragedy as well as in other mass shootings in recent years. As simple as such proposals may seem, they are utterly impractical and idealistic. Essentially every rifle currently in circulation in the United States possesses the same key features as the AR-15, there are currently 8 million AR-15s already owned by Americans, and for every death caused by a ‘long’ gun like AR-15s, four deaths are caused by handguns; thus, even if such a ban were im-
plemented, gun violence rates would not change drastically and millions of guns would still be in circulation. Thus, any attempt to ban AR-15s would have to result in a ban of all semi-automatic weapons, which accounts for nearly every gun currently on the market—leading to what would fundamentally be a full repeal of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Would a blanket gun ban and full repeal of the Second Amendment have prevented the tragedy in Florida? A 2007 British Journal of Criminology study and a 2008 University of Melbourne study concluded that Australia’s gun ban had no effect on the gun homicide rate. Similarly, the Crime Research Prevention Center found that after the implementation of the gun ban in Britain, there was initially a significant increase in the homicide rate, followed by a gradual decline once Britain expanded its police force. However, there has only been one year where the homicide rate was lower than it was preban, indicating that blanket gun bans are generally ineffective and do not reduce levels of gun violence. In early March, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a gun control bill providing nearly half a billion dollars to train certain school officials to carry weapons, raising the age at which Florida residents can legally purchase rifles to 21, extending the mandatory threeday waiting period to both handguns and rifles, and improving the ban on firearms ownership by the mentally ill. The bill encompasses policies endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats, and emotional and political pressure from families of the victims ultimately coerced Scott into signing the bill. To be sure, the bill is not by any means ‘bad’ – training of school officials and enhancing the mentally ill’s restrictions to firearms are concrete measures that could prevent shootings in the future. But, raising the age to purchase guns to 21 and implementing a waiting period are not necessarily constructive. If an individual is deemed mature enough to serve in the military, to vote, and take on other responsibilities for adults, why should that individual need to wait three years to exercise his constitutional right? Furthermore, waiting periods have proved to do noth-
ing of consequence to prevent shootings. The pressure Scott faced to “just do something” and “get something passed” has translated into a half-baked piece of gun legislation that will not only hurt Scott politically, but also do little to prevent shootings like in Parkland. President Trump has also fallen prey to emotional pressure from the media, suggesting that law enforcement should “take the guns first, go through due process second,” a brazenly unconstitutional proposition that will more than likely not manifest in anything of real importance. The point is that when politicians are pressured into passing legislation for the sake of passing legislation – especially when their political popularity is at stake – such legislation will almost always do very little to confront the issue at hand. Impulse and policy proposals do not mix well, and in an emotionally heated
In times of uncertainty and fear, we are best equipped to confront our nation’s most pressing concerns when we all come together, respect one another’s voices, and weigh all possible options. and politically hostile national landscape such as our own, those who rely on instinct tend to mistake the passing of legislation for emotional relief, when in reality, such policies do very little to prevent similar tragedies. In times of uncertainty and fear, we are best equipped to confront our nation’s most pressing concerns when we all come together, respect one another’s voices, and weigh all possible options. Meaningful change takes patience, patience takes effort, and effort takes faith. As we continue this crucial conversation, let’s learn to have a little more faith in each other: after all, we’re all on the same side.
The Democratic Tea Party By William Christ ‘18 Since the election of Donald Trump as the forty-fifth President of the United States, liberals and Democratic activists have denounced everything the President has said or done. Their zealotry has resulted in a record number of declared Democratic candidates for the upcoming midterm elections in 2018. However, these candidates, and the vocal #resistance movement, have successfully shifted the Democratic Party even further to the left. As a result, the Democratic Party has dramatically reduced its chances of success in the 2018 elections. Within the past month the Democratic Party of California demonstrated how hostile its base is towards politicians who even consider working alongside the President. Politicians like California’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, are condemned for being insuffi-
that they should win. The overwhelming vigor and ardent activism of California Democrats could potentially lead to them becoming the minority party in the House again due to the California primary system, which states that the top two candidates, regardless of party, advance to the general election. The nightmare scenario for the Democratic Party is that their multiple candidates will split the vote of their base, while only the Republican candidates advance to the general election. This isn’t a baseless fear; according to Politico, there are at least sixtyseven Democratic candidates running in the fourteen Republican-held districts in California. The strongest path Democrats have toward retaking the House is by winning several House races in California. If that fails to occur, their chances fall dramatically.
The Democratic Party has dramatically reduced their chances of success in the 2018 elections. ciently liberal, and have adapted their policy preferences accordingly. Last month, California’s Democratic Party refused to endorse its senator of twenty-six years at its convention, where her challenger Kevin de León amassed seventeen percent more delegates. Although Senator Feinstein began her career without the expressed approval of her party’s convention delegates, this year’s convention demonstrated that her record— which couldn’t be called anything close to conservative—isn’t sufficiently progressive for her party. The surge leftward by the Democratic Party ensures a hostile primary and general election for their senior senator and the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. More likely than not, Senator Feinstein will overwhelmingly win re-election, but the resources given to her to ensure her political survival will be allocated from financially strapped candidates who need the party’s support. Additionally, the overwhelming number of declared Democratic candidates for House seats held by Republicans could lead to them losing House seats
Democratic optimism isn’t isolated to California; there’s even talk of a “Blue Wave” in Texas. For weeks leading up to the state’s primaries, media and Democratic activists insisted that their voters would outnumber the Republicans, thanks to their candidates’ newfound liberalism. National Democrats believed that the way to win Texas, and the House, was through a more liberal agenda. However, in the days preceding the vote even Democrats acknowledged that their strategy was not working as the Democratic Party targeted its own House candidate, Laura Moser. Despite all the propaganda, it turned out that “blue wave” predictions were a wash. Without much effort, Republican Ted Cruz won twice as many votes as his now general election opponent Beto O’Rourke. While Democratic turnout was at a historic high, it failed to overcome the Republican dominance of the state, demonstrating that the liberal strategy of the new Democratic Party needs rethinking if Democrats are to succeed in winning races in Texas this fall. Although
they consider their progressive agenda to be the solu- mocracy. Furthermore, while the overwhelming polling tion to their electoral woes, the Democratic Partyâ€™s rad- data indicates popular support for action on immigraical agenda will bring losses in 2018. tion, public opinion should not be the basis for any While their animosity to President Trump and policy. The foundation of Americaâ€™s republican system his conservative policies can motivate Democratic sup- decries arbitrary and shifting passions in favor of the porters, their radical liberal agenda will fail to convert written law. While Americans recognize the charitable moderate voters. Concerning the issue of abortion, the and compassionate aspects of the Democratic immigraDemocratic Party has become intolerant of any posi- tion plan, they also believe that security from intruders tions other than pro-choice. Previously, pro-life Demo- and respect for immigration laws are far more imcrats have faced primary opponents and have subse- portant. The belief that immigration policy should be quently lost. The Democratic Party is made out of compassion and not by By shifting left currently funding a pro-choice progresexisting laws or our regard for our nasive primary challenger to a pro-life and adopting even tional security will not be electorally Democrat from Illinois, Representative beneficial to Democrats in 2018. more radical Dan Lipinski. By primarying a moderThe ever present lurch of liberpolicies, more ate Democrat, the Democratic Party alism by the Democratic Party has alvoters will be officials admit that their party has no ready alienated voters with moderate place for moderates and asserts that unable to support views on abortion and immigration. By they are willing to risk a House seat for shifting left and adopting even more the new a candidate that supports their uncomradical policies, more voters will be unDemocratic Party. promising stances. able to support the new Democratic Democratic candidates have Party. Like the Tea Party movement, also adopted a more radical view on immigration. The the progressive march leftward will put the Democratic party now believes that arbitrary and haphazardly Party at risk of losing seats and with them a very windrawn borders are not incongruent with American de- nable midterm election.
The Mainstream media Misses the Mark By Ryan Foley ‘21 When a disease breaks out, we analyze data to find a cure. When a natural disaster strikes, we analyze data to determine how to better prepare for such future disasters. But what do we do when a mass shooting happens? That’s when we disregard any meaningful data, propose baseless solutions simply because they fit our political agenda, and smear everyone with different solutions as evil bigots who want children to die. We hear pleas for an open and honest discussion on gun violence in America: something the Republican Party, the NRA, and lawful gun owners sincerely desire. For an honest conversation on this topic, we must rely on facts and reason. Facts and reason indicate that gun control is a terrible idea. From the 141% increase in annual homicide in just sixteen years following a Washington, DC gun ban, to an 89% spike in gun
ple we can find on the topic, but when it comes to guns, it’s like we pride ourselves on finding the ‘smartest’ dumbasses to talk about guns, and then have the audacity to call it common sense.” Common sense tells us to base our laws on factual data and logic. The data discovered by the Center for Disease Control under President Obama showed that guns are used defensively anywhere “from about 500,000 to more than 3 million” times per year in the US. In contrast to this, according to left-leaning research institute Everytown, there are an average of thirteen thousand gun homicides every year in America. Even if we take the statistics most favorable for gun control advocates, guns save at least thirty-eight times more lives than they spare each year. The passage of gun control legislation and gun-free zone laws only affect one group of peo-
Facts and reason indicate that gun control is a terrible idea. crime in the ten years following the gun ban in Britain, the evidence is not on the side for gun control. Even in the case of Australia, which instituted a gun buyback so commonly praised by the left, a 2008 study from the University of Melbourne concluded that Australia's gun buyback had no effect on the gun homicide rate; the national homicide rate was already declining prior to this gun control measure. But this evidence is not shown, because instead of featuring highly qualified gun control experts and crime researchers, the mainstream media instead gives airtime to news anchors with absolutely no knowledge about guns, musicians and movie stars who have armed guards protecting them wherever they go, and traumatized seventeen-year -old high school students. The Democratic Party and the mainstream media do not want a real conversation. Colion Noir, an NRA commentator and attorney with eleven years of gun advocacy experience, says, “on every issue in this country, we strive to find the most knowledgeable peo-
ple: the law-abiding. We base our gun control laws on the false premise that the same people willing to break the law to kill people will somehow follow laws telling them where and how to do so. Like sheep among wolves, we leave the law-abiding citizens defenseless against criminals who will go to any measures to cause harm. These facts I’ve already presented clearly establish that gun control is in no way the clear answer to preventing gun violence. Yet, even if the data didn’t line up, and even if it wasn’t as clear that guns deter more crimes than they foster, that would not change the fact that you and I have an inherent right to defend ourselves and our families. There is no right more precious and fundamental than the right to life, and the best protection against a bad guy with a gun who threatens the lives of others is a good guy with an equally powerful gun in his hand. Guns serve as great equalizers. One’s size, strength, and weight are no longer of importance when armed with a firearm. How
is a frail elderly man able to fend off a strong young burglar? With a gun. How is a young woman able to fend off a violent male rapist? With a gun. How is a citizenry able to fend off a tyrannical government? You guessed it: with guns. Look no further than the twentieth century for why we need the right to bear arms. Too many times we have seen governments claim to be the only necessary protector of the people and take away their guns, only to then turn back around and use their monopoly of force against the people in horrible ways. In fact, gun control is nearly always the first measure governments enact before they begin to strip the citizenry of its natural rights. It’s why over 100 million people were killed under tyrannical communist regimes in the twentieth century, and it’s why six million Jews were exterminated under Hitler. Despite all of this, it is the gun-controlsupporting Democrats who compare gun advocates to Nazis. It is the gun-control-supporting Democrats who compare Second Amendment supporters to terrorists. It is the gun-control-supporting Democrats who compare gun owning Republicans to segregationists. In a recent panel about a new Disney movie, Oprah compared the gun control movement to the Civil Rights movement. She is right; there are extraordinary connections between gun rights and racial issues throughout American history. However, gun control advocates of yesteryear were not on the side she would have expected. The first US gun control measure in 1640 was not enacted to stop school shootings. Rather, it was a Virginia law that prohibited blacks from owning guns. Until the mid-twentieth century, gun control in the US was used almost exclusively to disarm African-Americans and other minorities. The right to keep and bear arms was actually a fundamental force behind the Dred Scott decision; the Chief Justice of the case said that acknowledging the citizenship of blacks “would give them the full liberty to keep and carry arms wherever they went,” and thus the court ruled that blacks were not citizens. After the Confederates surrendered in 1865, one of the very first things the southerners did was round up all the guns from freed blacks. As Michael Knowles of The Daily Wire said,
“gun control has been the single most important tool of white supremacists for centuries.” What was the NRA doing then? The organization was founded in 1871 by Union soldiers who fought to free the slaves. As blacks continued to be disarmed for the next century by the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist southerners, the NRA was fighting to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms did not exclude African-Americans. The NRA was possibly the most important organization in the fight for civil rights, as the Second Amendment is the only protection from infringement upon all other rights. As Chief Organizer of the NAACP’s Jackson Movement in the 1960s, John Salter, said, “no one knows what kind of massive racist retaliation would have been directed against grassroots black people had the black community not had a healthy measure of firearms in it.” Now, it is important to remind you that it was not the Republican Party that actively attempted to strip black Americans of their right to bear arms. It was not the Republican Party that fought for the “right” to own slaves. It was not the Republican Party that enacted the Jim Crow laws. Contrary to popular belief, it was not even the Republican Party that voted in a larger number against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. No; that was all the Democrats. Fortunately, these are no longer principles that the Democratic Party subscribes to, but as Delegate and 2018 Senate candidate, Nicholas J. Freitas said in a recent speech on the Virginia House floor, “[we] would really appreciate it if every time you want to make a powerful point, you don’t project the sins, the atrocities, and the injustices [of the Democratic Party] onto us.” Support for the Second Amendment is not only on the right side of the political spectrum, but it is also on the right side of history. If we really want an open discussion about guns in America, the Democrats and the media better start giving us the respect that we deserve. But until then, Molon Labe.
The gospel of suffering By stefi Raymond ‘18 Wars, earthquakes, cancer, famine, mass shootings. A simple survey of the news will testify to its omnipresence in our lives. Suffering is inescapable. From birth to death, suffering is part of human existence. In this world of suffering, there naturally emerges the question: why? Why does suffering exist? It is a question asked by those who endure chronic illness, by those who experience the tragedy of natural disasters, and by those who mourn the loss of a loved one. It is a question that expresses the pain of those who suffer individually as well as those who suffer in communion with others. And it is a question that reveals the inner anguish and torment caused by the presence of evil. Yet it is also a question that can find special meaning during these final days of Lent, particularly as we contemplate God’s divine love made present on the Cross. On the Cross, we find the fullest source of love and the meaning of suffering. Far from being an abstract or trite response, the answer we find on the Cross is concrete. It is a Person, Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Through this love, we are not only redeemed, but, according to Saint Pope John Paul II in Salvifici Doloris, “we also find ourselves...faced with a completely new dimension of our theme [of suffering].” This love for mankind, this love which moved the Father to send His only begotten Son to save us, is revealed to us in the these words spoken by Jesus to Nicodemus. It is a love bound to our salvation. It is salvific love. This salvific love expresses to us a new dimension—the dimension of redemption—to the world of suffering. Sent to us by the Father, Jesus willingly embraced His messianic mission and took on the entirety of human suffering upon His shoulders. As portrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He freely went towards His own suffering, His own “cup” that He was to drink in the Passion of the Cross, aware of its saving power (cite?). In His Passion, Christ transformed suffering. On the Cross, He used it to “strike at the roots of evil” and to save us (SD 16). He redeemed suffering, and made it the means of something good. As evidenced by our daily experiences, howev-
er, Christ’s victory on the Cross did not eradicate temporal suffering. Rather, it gave us a certain “gospel of suffering.” According to Saint Pope John Paul II, it is a gospel that not only recognizes the presence of suffering, but maintains it as one of the themes of good news. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Christ invites us to share in His agonies, offering us new strength and hope to endure life’s trials. In light of the Resurrection, we know the victorious power of suffering. We know that know that evil does not have the final say. Assured by this, St. Paul speaks of such hope in his letter to the Romans, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us” (Romans 8:18). What does all this mean for us? The gospel of suffering reveals that the cross is not to be feared. Christ did not attempt to address the reasons for suffering in the abstract, but rather said to us, “follow Me.” As Christ told His followers, “If any man would come after me...let him take up his cross daily,” for it is this cross that leads to our redemption (Luke 9:23). More than simply calling us to follow Him, He also invites us to share in His suffering. In this accompaniment on the “hard and narrow” path, we are comforted and strengthened by the knowledge that we neither suffer alone nor in vain. Christ and the hope of the resurrection are always with us. Moreover, the transformative power of suffering draws us closer to Christ, conforms us to Him, and makes us sharers in our redemption. The experience of suffering is real, complex, and personal. Ultimately, human suffering is a mystery, but its meaning can be found in Jesus, particularly within the context of the Paschal Mystery. As we conclude these forty days of Lent and the Easter Triduum, let us reflect on what these events reveal to us. Christ’s Passion and Resurrection show us that suffering can be transformed. It shows us that even in the midst of illness, tragedy, and death, there is hope. A hope rooted in faith and found in God’s salvific love for us. “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy” (John 16:20).
A Catholic Analysis of Gun Violence By Claude Hanley ‘18 In the memorable phrase of a disgraced con- biological, information, genetic and, yes, weapons techservative pundit, the Mandalay Bay attacks represented nology. The rapid development of weapons technolo“the gruesome downside of American freedom.” This gy has placed tremendous power in the hands of almost argument gets trotted out after after every mass shoot- every citizen who desires it. In terms of pure technical ing: the Second Amendment guarantees the right to power, modern weapons make it easy for a single perbear arms, and most gun regulations would violate son to cause immense suffering. it. Either tyranny, or 36,000 gun deaths per year. LiberThe shallow logic of American politics meets als, on the other hand, call for new a new weapons ban this technological advance with one of two solutions. or the repeal of the Second Amendment, and accuse On one side is the “conservative” logic, memorably conservatives of wanting kids to die. The NRA causes expressed in the wake of the Newtown shooting: “The mass shootings because it funds a system that ignores only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy violence. Both sides, in their haste to point to blood on with a gun.” To prevent killings, we ought to put the other’s hands, ignore the deepening cultural crisis armed security guards in schools and give every teacher that produces mass killing after mass killing. Catholic a Glock 9mm. It’s a deterrent approach to the problem: social teaching, by contrast, recognizes the moral col- give good people guns, so they can kill the bad people lapse that lies at the with guns. On the heart of the politiother side is the Benedict XVI and Francis both hold that cal crisis, and illuliberal logic, deminates how we no problem is purely technical. Instead, manding repeal of can solve it. Second every crisis has cultural roots that run t h e No pope Amendment, or deeper than the material ones. has issued an enbans on many firecyclical about gun arms. If you make violence. There’s remarkably little in the way of Vati- buying guns illegal, people will stop committing murcan documents on the subject. What makes the social der. Both proposals proceed from the same false asteaching of the popes compelling is not their concrete sumption: gun violence is a technical problem, and it policy proposals, but their integral vision of the prob- can be solved by technical means. We assume that lems facing human society. Benedict XVI and Francis Parkland happened because a bad guy got a gun, and a both hold that no problem is purely technical. Instead, good guy didn’t have one. every crisis has cultural roots that run deeper than the A Catholic analysis finds this answer too simmaterial ones. That insight informs a Catholic analysis plistic. School shootings don’t happen simply because of gun violence in America. That isn’t to say, however, people can get their hands on more powerful weapons that material circumstances don’t contribute to the than they could in 1900, 1945, or 1990. Although not problem of gun violence. referring to gun violence, the words of Benedict XVI Indeed, advances in weapons technology mag- are insightful: “It is man's darkened reason that producnify the impact of mass shootings. Pope Francis writes es these consequences, not the instrument per se. Thereof technological advance, “Never has humanity had fore it is not the instrument that must be called to acsuch power over itself, yet nothing guarantees that it count, but individuals, their moral conscience and their will be used wisely, particularly when we consider how personal and social responsibility.” We cannot put the it is currently being used.” It’s an observation that Second Amendment in the dock for Parkland, or Las holds true of almost any sphere of technology—- Vegas, or Newtown. The problem primarily concerns
moral culture. Francis makes the same point: “our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.” Moral culture is collapsing, not developing, and it kills people as it falls. First, a toxic individualism prevents society from establishing moral ideals, desirable characteristics which individuals ought to pursue. We believe that the norms toward which society directs us prevent us from being individuals; we must rebel against them to be more authentically ourselves. Society has no right encourage us to be courageous, just, or selfless. But, since we will nonetheless imbibe these ideals to some degree, society shapes our consciences, and works to constrain us from within. As a result, we can ignore the conscience, too. It is shaped by the preferences of others, and is consequently worthless. It becomes legitimate, even necessary, to ignore the moral ideals that try to impose themselves upon our lives. In this regard,
Our vicious individualism has made killing the innocent a human right, or even a moral necessity. American culture makes people vicious, and begins to predispose them towards violence. Second, unbounded individualism makes us consider others valuable only as far as they are useful. By definition, this trait makes ultimate what is good for me. This applies what Francis calls a “use and throw away logic” to other people. Because we care about other people only when they’re useful for us, we can ignore their suffering whenever they’re inconvenient. As Francis writes, “This is the same relativistic logic which justifies buying the organs of the poor for resale or use in experimentation, or eliminating children because they are not what their parents wanted.” When we can ignore the damage done, our culture encourages the worst sorts of violence. We collectively ignore the innocents killed by drone campaigns abroad, the unborn and elderly whose lives are snuffed out by abortion and euthanasia, and the mentally ill
whose lives “death with dignity” laws help to end. None of their suffering matters, as long as we can’t see it. So kill the people who are inconvenient—but keep them out of sight, and call it “choice” or “dignity” or “precision strike.” Our vicious individualism has made killing the innocent a human right, or even a moral necessity. Finally, and most obviously, our culture exults in blood and death. The entertainment industry makes a killing by glorifying violence; take a look at cinema, games, or trashy novels to prove the point. I suspect that all of this desensitizes us, but that’s not the heart of the problem. Most kids who play Grand Theft Auto don’t go shooting up schools. More dangerously, the fascination with violence inevitably shapes our cultural ideals. It’s one thing to call a veteran’s courage and selfsacrifice heroic. The trouble is, we don’t do much of that. Instead, in film or in reality, we lionize people for how many people they’ve killed. Americans ogle at the “Mother of All Bombs,” and go gonzo thinking about how many bad guys get zapped when it goes off. We love people and machines that kill efficiently; they’re our favorite entertainers. Can we really wonder why nineteen-year-olds murder their classmates? The collapse of American moral culture means that technical solutions won’t cut it. For the Right, the “good guy with a gun” is worthless after Parkland. It relies on the virtues of courage and self-sacrifice: risk your life to save the lives of others. But since nonjudgmentalism claims freedom from such social norms, it’s impossible for society to inculcate them. The Republican solution relies on a citizenry both armed and virtuous—that is, good people with guns. There are exceptions, of course, but a moral crisis doesn’t make good people. In some regard, this explains the appeal of the liberal solution: get assault rifles out of the hands of the citizens. But since the roots of the crisis are cultural, random killings won’t stop because people can’t buy assault rifles. You don’t need an AR-15 to slaughter dozens; a handgun does just fine. Substantially reducing crime by banning guns would require banning almost every firearm imaginable, and repossessing the hundreds of millions currently in circulation. Confiscating legally acquired weapons is politically indefensible;
banning the sale of the vast majority of guns is politically impossible. A Catholic analysis of American gun violence perceives the problem in all its intractable depth. It makes us eschew the logic which promises utopia through a single policy proposal. At the same time, another Catholic principle forbids inaction. John Paul II writes, “Every person...can come to recognize the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end, and can affirm the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree.” The right to life is primary. It makes profound demands of us, and it must shape our freedom. Furthermore, the infinite value of every life means that no reform that prevents a single death is worthless. Recognizing this, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for limitations on high capacity magazines, substantial regulations on the
purchase of handguns, universal background checks, and increased resources for mental health. The right to life demands every possible solution. American culture makes mass shooters. In order to “be ourselves”, we deny the authority of any moral ideal, preferring to be who we are than who we ought to be. Our culture encourages us to be vicious if that expresses who we are. Similarly, our vicious individualism justifies the worst kinds of violence: killing is acceptable so long as it helps me. Finally, death and violence have become our idols, worshipped almost daily in the news or on television. Parkland, Newtown, and Las Vegas aren’t a problem that minor policy changes can prevent. Cultural trends of recent decades have destroyed the moral framework of society in the name of liberation, and given us a society uniquely vulnerable to violence. We are paying the price of freedom in the blood of other people.
Pope Benedict XVI in Portugal, by The Papal Visit (cropped) (CC BY-NC 2.0 https:// www.flickr.com/photos/thepapalvisit/4862335061)
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