Go set the world aflame! Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Volume VI, Issue 8
An Interview with Archbishop Broglio, BC ‘73 DAVID O’NEILL
Photo Credit: US Air Force - Ken Wright
On April 17, The Torch had the honor of corresponding with Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services. A BC alum himself, the Archbishop now leads the most geographically diverse American Catholic diocese; his flock extends across several continents, and his ministry requires extensive travel to reach them. This month, he spoke to The Torch about his undergraduate experience at BC, his challenges and blessings as a bishop, and his hopes for young Catholics.
Jesuit preparatory school that I attended knew that I wanted to attend a Catholic college, but only recommended those sponsored by the Jesuits. Consequently, I only visited those that he recommended. I think that I was very impressed with the offerings at BC, the setting of the campus, and the Honors Program which would allow me to enter Boston College as a sophomore with 18 hours of college credit.
Bishop Broglio. The college counselor at the
B. By the time I graduated from high school, I
was convinced that the Lord was calling me to the diocesan priesthood, but I had two almost conflicting ideas. The first was to get about my Father’s business as soon as possible. The second was to prepare in a way that would allow me to be effective. Hence, I thought that a non-seminary Catholic university experience would be most beneficial. It would allow me to spend more time with my peers.
T. Did you know you had a vocation to the T. Was the University helpful in your discernThe Torch. What led you to choose to attend priesthood before coming to Boston College? If ment? BC? so, what led you to come to BC? Continued on Page 2
Boston Cathedral Reopens to Public OLIVIA COLOMBO On April 11, for Palm Sunday Mass, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston opened to the public for the first time after two years of renovation. The site is the seat of the cardinal archbishop of Boston and the largest cathedral in New England, and has undergone major upgrades, most notably to the flooring, pews, and sanctuary. With a budget of $26 million provided by private philanthropy, the renovation benefits not only the worship space for the “mother church” of Boston, but also its many ministries, which aid the homeless, hungry, and sick in the area. One hundred and fifty years ago, responding to the need for a larger cathedral, renowned architect Patrick Keely designed the Gothic church
to seat 2,000 people and house what was then the largest organ in North America. The cathedral had received few improvements until the major renovation began in 2017. The construction was requested by the Archbishop of Boston, Seán Cardinal O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap. and was led by John Fish of Suffolk Construction and David Manfredi of Elkus Manfredi Architects. Renovations included the removal of pews and pew platforms, which were replaced by refinished pews and new kneelers that sit flush with the floor. Interior walls were repaired from water damage and repainted, while woodwork in the walls and ceiling was varnished and “edged with gold accent paint to call attention to the elab-
orate detail and craftsmanship,” according to the archdiocese. Columns were repainted; new, lighter flooring was incorporated to illuminate the space; air conditioning was installed, alongside a new light and sound system; and the stained-glass windows were cleaned, while backlighting for the night-time was added. An emphasis was placed on revitalizing the sanctuary space, bringing the congregation closer, adding new marble liturgical appointments, and reconfiguring the space to be handicap accessible and accommodating for more concelebrants. Continued on Page 5
Inside this Edition
CULTURE Unplanned: Movie Review
The TORCH // Volume VI, Issue 8
CAMPUS NEWS Panel Addresses Women in the Church JUSTIN SCHNEBELEN “I’m a woman in the Church—and no one can take that away from me.” These were the words of Ejuma Adoga, one of the female Church leaders highlighted in the April 2nd Campus Ministry event, “Women in the Church.” Held in Stokes Hall, upwards of 60 woman huddled in the cramped classroom, crouching against the walls and sitting amidst the makeshift rows. The men present could be counted on two hands. Prof. M. Shawn Copeland of the Theology Department; Emily Egan, campus minister for retreats; and Kelly Hughes, campus minister and program director for Appalachia Volunteers, joined Adoga on the panel. Copeland, who describes professorship as fundamental to the “lifelong project of mediating the will of God,” spoke early on about the history of women’s role in the Church. To her, women in the Gospels take up the role of providing the momentous “testimonies of faith. They report that Christ has risen,” she said. “They are witnesses to the resurrection. Where’s the other half?” Though acknowledging the role of women deacons, Copeland remarked that women were “either eliminated or rendered servants” amidst what she described as a shift away from the Hebrew thought world, a thought world which believed the woman’s body to be sacred. “We became suspicious of the body,” she charged. But, as she asserted, “The body is good,
even if, culturally, we don’t believe it.” Copeland also noted the “distancing of the institutional Church from the church,” a moment in which she criticized the Church’s “reliance” on hierarchy. “Women want to make a contribution,” she insisted, “But the hierarchy trips them up.” The defining moment of the night came just after when the panel was presented was asked why, exactly, women are not allowed to be priests. It was met by a blaring silence. Emily Egan, who began the night by detailing the “creative tension” between the Church she loves dearly and the institutional Church which has frequently frustrated her, reiterated some of the Church’s traditional reasonings before responding, “It’s hard to turn a ship.” In responding to the next question concerning what full liberation would look like for women in the Church, Adoga called for a vision where “women are equally as visible.” As the conversation moved into addressing the Church’s conception of sexuality, Adoga lamented the immense shame women often feel. Recalling her sexual education courses, she remembered with deep frustration the lessons being addressed specifically for her female classmates. Egan, recalling her own sex-ed experience, shared a story of her teacher instructing each girl to chew a piece of gum and offer it to a male class-
mate. All of them declined. “I found this demeaning,” she said, and for 13year old girls, she found it fostered an unhealthy view of sexuality. Kelly Hughes, spoke about her “ongoing discovery of lay, female leadership” and affinity for the image of the Pieta (the image of Mary holding the body of Jesus) as message of strength and hope for women in the Church. She also stressed the “beautiful capacity for relationship” present in everyone’s sexuality. The night was colored by frustrated questions from the audience, each seemingly too difficult to respond to. One woman asked, “What can I actively do instead of just waiting around for some old bishop to decide to finally be on our side?” Another wondered, “What can we actually do?” One student even expressed that she couldn’t imagine sending her future daughter to a Catholic school. It would be too painful for her. Egan cited a recent event in March when the entire editorial board of Women Church World, the women’s magazine of the Vatican, resigned when a male Vatican representative attempted to make edits to a story detailing clerical abuse of nuns. In considering this and the swathe of issues for women in the Church and whether or not change is imminent, Egan responded somberly, “Maybe we aren’t ready yet.”
Interview with Broglio, Cont. B. The University in 1970 was a child of its age. It had been shut down by a strike in the spring of that year. Protests against the Vietnam War were common. A short-haired, clean-shaven student stood out a bit. I think that the situation and student life outside of the classroom convinced me to go ahead regardless of the trends in student society. In a certain sense, my values were galvanized by the experience. At the same time, the professors and the class work were extremely rewarding. The professors who frequented the Classics Department were truly fine.
out to you in their witness to Christ as chaplains or professors?
B. I mentioned Fr. Shea, but there was also Fr. Sidney MacNeil who “watched over me” during my years at BC. He had taught in Baghdad and retired to BC when the Jesuits were expelled from Iraq. Dr. Margaret Schatkin was a vibrant professor who engaged me both in class and in an occasional activity (such as indexing a festschrift). Prof. McCloud was another inspiring professor who encouraged my Latin studies. There are many T. Did you ever think about joining the Society more, but those along with Fr. David Gill stand of Jesus? out. Through the Boston Theological Institute, I B. In high school I explored that idea, but re- also took an Old Testament course at St. John’s ally felt called to the Diocese of Cleveland and Seminary with Fr. Philip King, one of the contribwanted to spend the rest of my life there (at pres- utors to the Jerome Biblical Commentary. ent, I have only spent two years of active ministry in Cleveland!). T. Being that you serve on the board of Catholic Distance University, what do you think the T. What was the Catholic community like at purpose and role of a Catholic University ought BC while you were a student? to be in today’s world? B. It was almost as if there were two Catholic communities. I generally participated at Mass at St. Mary’s Hall (the Jesuit residence) where Fr. Richard Shea celebrated the noon Mass. There were many Jesuits on campus who had been a part of the mission to Baghdad. There was also Campus Ministry, which was more contemporary. I was not particularly active there, but my roommate for my first two years at BC was and kept me abreast of activities there. T. Were there any priests or faculty who stood
B. Fundamentally, Catholic universities were founded to deepen the faith and the intellectual training of Catholics. I think that, as St. John Paul II makes very clear in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the Catholic university should pursue excellence in scholarship, but also form women and men in how to evaluate the world around them, how to make moral decisions, and how to grow in their faith. If the Catholic university is simply a carbon copy of what other institutions of higher learning accomplish, there is not much sense in expending energy and funds to maintain it. The Catho-
lic identity is key. That does not mean excluding those who do not share the faith, but it does mean ensuring that those who graduate know what the Catholic faith is and what the Church teaches. T. What led you to study classics at BC? Were you involved in any student organizations or sports? B. I wanted to have good Latin and Greek skills for my future study of theology. After my first year at BC I learned about the Philosophy requirements necessary to enter a seminary school of theology and so I made certain that I met those requirements, as well. I confess that trying to graduate in three years led me to concentrate on my studies and prayer life. I did not really belong to any organizations. Once the swimming pool opened, I would go down and swim laps late every afternoon. T. Based on your own experience at BC, what are some tips that you would give to current Boston College students about growing in the faith while in college? B. I would encourage students to take advantage of Mass and the sacraments and to learn as much as possible about Jesuit spirituality, the Spiritual Exercises, and the process of discernment. There is a tremendous richness there that will mold people for a life time. T. What would you urge young Catholics to pray for? Continued on Page 9
The TORCH // Volume VI, Issue 8
Summer Philosophy Class Takes On the Camino QUENTIN BET Blisters, sore legs, and a sense of spiritual rebirth are all common side effects faced by travelers of the Camino de Santiago. Sprawling across the hills and fields of Europe, the Camino is a network of paths leading to the shrine of St. James in northwest Spain. Otherwise known as the Way of St. James, it was first used as a Christian pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in the Middle Ages. For centuries, the Camino has attracted pilgrims near and far, becoming a symbol of contemplation, self-reflection, and transformation. To this day, the Way of St. James is traversed by approximately 300,000 people of various religions, cultures, and backgrounds every year. With the Camino’s popularity increasing in recent decades, travelers have flocked to Europe in droves to experience its beauty and transformative nature. Boston College has joined the movement, offering students the opportunity to experience the Camino in a profound way––not merely as a retreat, but as an educational and immersive experience. “Self-Knowledge and Discernment: The Experience of Pilgrimage” is a three credit philosophy class, currently led by Professor David Storey, that allows a group of BC students to undertake the contemplative journey for themselves. Applications for this semester’s pilgrimage course were due in the fall of 2018, with ten students being accepted into the program. Taught for the past several years, the course is uniquely structured into three distinct, yet interconnected, parts. The first portion consists of eight class
meetings during the spring semester, which teach students about the history of pilgrimage and the philosophy of walking. Students explore the writings of figures like St. Ignatius, as well as practice spiritual exercises like Buddhist meditation. This preparation gives students context to understand the significance of the Camino, as well as to appreciate the importance of self-reflection and examination. Upcoming in May after the semester ends, the second portion of the class is a two-night weekend retreat to foster a sense of contemplation and community amongst the students. The final portion is a 17-day hike across 200 miles of the Camino, which takes place in the summer. According to Professor Holly VandeWall, who has led the course in the past, the program was initially formed to “give students the time and space for self-knowledge and reflection.” She explained, “You have so little time in college to reflect on what your experience is doing.” Amid the stress of pursuing schoolwork and making life plans, few students can catch their breath and analyze who they are becoming, so providing the time, space, and community for pilgrimage is important and powerful. In order to combat the stress and potential superficiality of college life, BC offers students a variety of retreat opportunities, such as Halftime and 48 Hours retreats; however, the Camino is unique in that self-reflection is manifested in a physical way: by walking. The pilgrimage is a long contemplative activity, a kind of walking medita-
tion that exercises the mind, body, and soul. As Professor Storey puts it, “It’s a program that’s taking what BC is already doing well with reflection and retreat culture, and taking it to another level.” The purpose of the Camino varies between individuals. While some go on the pilgrimage to leave behind a guilt, sorrow, or vice, others may undertake the journey to challenge themselves physically and mentally. Students are encouraged reflect on an intention during the trek, but this intention does not always remain constant as the journey unfolds. Sometimes what one hopes to gain from the Camino shifts as time goes on and new doors open. While the purpose of the Way of St. James is subjective, VandeWall hopes students “have the space to think not just about religion, but about themselves and their place in the world.” Though the destination of the pilgrimage is the tomb of St. James, one does not need to be religious to experience the grandeur of the Camino. The pilgrimage draws in a massive array of people—individuals from opposite ends of the world walk side by side in a sense of community that transcends borders, languages, and faiths. Regardless of one’s beliefs, Professor Storey hopes the pilgrimage will “give students a chance to become intentional over their own spiritual, intellectual, and emotional development.” The journey is sure to be impactful for Professor Storey and his ten students as they begin their pilgrimage next month.
Univ. Presidents Discuss Church Revitalization ALEX WASILKOFF As part of the Church in the 21st Century Center’s Easter Series, three presidents of Catholic universities engaged in a discussion on hope for revitalization for the Church. The event took place on March 28, and the speakers were Rev. William Leahy, S.J. of Boston College; Sr. Janet Eisner, SNDDEN, of Emmanuel College; and Rev. Joseph McShane, S.J, of Fordham University. Karen Kiefer, director of the C21 Center, moderated the discussion. After a brief introduction, Kiefer invited the participants and audience to begin the event with a Hail Mary. The prayer was followed by the first question, “How would you describe the state of American Catholicism?” Sr. Janet noted that the Church in America, “is at the center and the edge.” She explained that certain parts of the Church like Catholic universities have a large influence on the Church, but other parts, like migrants at the border, are on the edge. Fr. McShane described the Church as being in a St. Paul in Athens moment—the Church is misunderstood by our postChristian culture. Fr. Leahy said, “The Church is wounded and in much disarray.” Despite this, he said, “Students have faith; alumni have faith.” The question remaining is how to move forward. Kiefer then asked the panelists, “What advice do you have for Catholics, especially the hierarchy?” Fr. Leahy proposed that dioceses might adopt lay boards of trustees like Catholic universities have done. He explained that bishops maintain complete authority on doctrine in the diocese, while the board could manage construc-
tion, finance, etc.. Sr. Janet added that women need an increased role in the Church. Specifically, she advised that more women be assigned to run parishes. Fr. McShane suggested that leadership seminars and discernment retreats might be key resources universities could offer the hierarchy. In response to the question of “How does the Church change her culture of leadership?” a ll three presidents emphasized the role of Catholic education. Fr. Leahy proposed reorganizing the seminaries so that seminaries study alongside lay men and women. Sr. Janet noted that service in relation to the Gospel is an attractive aspect of the Church. Both Fr. Leahy and Fr. McShane cited listening sessions as a way for the Church to assist the Church in long term planning. Following these listening sessions, Fr. Leahy said, “Leaders have to provide vision and mission,” and he called for “actions, definite programs.” In terms of the Church’s current planning and vision, Fr. Leahy pointed to the data about Mass attendance. “We’re playing too much defense. We have to get out there and share the roots of our faith.” Next, Kiefer questioned the presidents about the best methods of student formation at their schools. Sr. Janet identified the sense of community as a key element alongside service. Following her, Fr. Leahy responded that formation with core curriculum is essential. “Look at the curriculum. It is engaging the big questions about what is important and what Christianity has to offer.” Fr. McShane agreed with him. “Every freshmen hates the core. Every senior appreciates it. Every gradu-
ate brags about it—because it opens their mind in a structured way.” He continued, “We plant seeds and have faith in the power of faith to work itself out.” Fr. McShane cited the fact that graduates often seek out Jesuit parishes as sign of successful formation. “[Graduates] go back to where they were first fed.” Before the Q&A, the Kiefer invited the presidents to share their hope for the future. Sr. Janet said, “The passion that many generations have had will be caught and transformed by this generation of students.” Fr. Leahy answered, “The core of the Church is strong. It’s up to us to make it even better and stronger.” Finally, Fr. McShane replied, “I want the Church to have such transparent love of the lord that He is loved, served, and experienced in the Church at this time.” Much of the Q&A focused on the finding the opportunity present in the current crisis. Fr. McShane opened, “It is to discover Christ and be discovered by Christ. To get back to the core.” Sr. Janet added that Pope Francis and his works are very attractive to young people especially. Fr. Leahy said that the possibility for change is so great because the previous system is collapsing. Both Sr. Janet and Fr. McShane pointed to the large number of former Catholics as a fertile ground for evangelization. In closing, the presidents mourned sharp decline of women religious in the life of the Church, and again called for a thought to be put into the role of women in the Church.
The TORCH // Volume VI, Issue 8
WORLD NEWS Boston Cathedral Reopens, Cont. The cathedral reopened for Holy Week, beginning with an invitation-only consecration of the space on Saturday, April 13th. The public was able to enter for Palm Sunday Mass on April 14th, and a regular multilingual Mass schedule resumed. On Tuesday, priests, religious, and laypeople gathered to celebrate the annual Chrism Mass, in which the priests renew their vows and chrism oil for the upcoming year is blessed. At the conclusion of this Mass on April 16, Cardinal O’Malley announced to the congregation that the rector of the cathedral, the Very Reverend Kevin O’Leary, had been appointed Reverend Monsignor by Pope Francis. Cardinal O’Malley presented Monsignor O’Leary with a purple-tufted biretta (the hat which denotes a monsignor) and explained, “Wherever he has served, he’s done it with joyful generosity, with energy and creativity. More than the great talent to clean and beautify broken down buildings, Kevin is a real pastor.” The reopening of the cathedral came just a day before the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. In the wake of this disaster, Cardinal O’Malley stated that the images of the
burning cathedral were “horrifying, but I’m glad He hopes that Boston’s cathedral renovations they were able to save as much as they did, as I can be a sign of hope, as “we were able to restore thought they were going to lose the whole struc- this cathedral, built by working-class immigrants ture.” of great faith, to be able to pass this treasure on to future Bostonians.” As for the celebration of Boston’s renovations, rector Monsignor O’Leary remarked, “It’s a joyful occasion, though we really do feel solidarity with the people of France.” Cardinal O’Malley assured the press that he was “very grateful we were able to do this renovation at this particular time,” as a sprinkler system and new fire alarm system were added–– and those who reviewed the previous system said it was “a miracle the place did not burn down” in the years prior to the renovation. The cardinal stated that he remains grateful for the new fire suppression system in the cathedral, and he continues to urge pastors in the archdiocese to “be attentive to their churches” and the needs and upkeep of the structures and related codes. He added, “It is an amazing place, and I hope For more information on renovations as well as it can be restored, but I can only imagine the dis- the Mass schedule for the Cathedral of the Holy tress of the French people.” Cross, visit their website.
Supreme Court Sparks Pro-Life Legislation PATRICK STALLWOOD With a conservative majority in the Supreme Court, a series of pro-life legislation has emerged, with pro-choice proposals to counter. Here is a summary of abortion bills currently being debated and laws that have recently been passed. Massachusetts On January 9, bill S.1209 (the ROE Act) was proposed. It seeks to “remove obstacles and expand abortion access,” specifically in regard to late-term abortions. After 24 weeks, a doctor may perform an abortion “to protect the patient’s life or physical or mental health.” The language is vague, which could lead to more late-term abortions for non-life-threatening cases. The bill also removes the requirement for parental consent for minors. The bill was back in public debate on April 2, when Governor Charlie Baker claimed that he opposes it. He still supports the current abortion law saying “It’s worked well for decades for women and families here in Massachusetts.” Georgia On March 29, Georgia’s House narrowly passed a bill criminalizing abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically occurs three to six weeks after conception. This would make the window for a legal abortion significantly shorter than the current law, which abortion within 20 weeks. Governor Brian Kemp is currently reviewing the bill but is expected to sign it soon. Once ratified, it is likely that the law will be challenged in courts. Many pro-life groups consider the bill a victory. A point of praise has been the language of the bill defining a fetus as a person with human rights. However, some pro-life groups are not satisfied with the exceptions of rape and incest, medical
danger to the mother, and an inviable pregnancy highlighted in the bill. The bill has sparked widespread protests from abortion supporters, especially those in Hollywood. Mississippi also signed a heartbeat bill into law on March 21, with Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas expected to propose bills later in the year. Kentucky On March 26, Kentucky passed what has been called a “trigger bill.” Trigger bills are legislation stating that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion will be made illegal in the state. Kentucky’s law also has a clause that could criminalize abortion if an amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants states the authority to determine local abortion laws. Earlier, on February 19, Arkansas passed a trigger bill into law. Currently, six states have trigger laws: Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Mississippi. Each law has a unique combination of exceptions for cases of mother endangerment, rape, and incest. Missouri and Tennessee have recently introduced trigger bills, on February 27 and February 6, respectively. All trigger bills and laws list abortion as a felony charge for the physician with varying sentences attached. Oklahoma & South Carolina In early February, Oklahoma and South Carolina proposed “personhood acts.” The bills define the beginning of life as conception and assert that the life in the womb is a person with human rights. These personhood acts are a first step for pro-life legislation, as changing the definition
of human life allows for future abortion limitations and bans. Alabama On April 2, Alabama proposed a bill that would outlaw all abortion, regardless of the federal government. Roe v. Wade would be deemed invalid in the state. Abortion would be a felony charge for the physician, with a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. The bills provide an exception for severe health risks. Indiana proposed a similar bill in January, but with no exceptions. Texas and Washington have also proposed full abortion bans earlier this year, with one major difference. They include potential murder charges for the physician and the mother. During a public hearing in Texas on April 8, many abortion supporters were quick to point out that Texas has capital punishment for some murder cases, leading them to state that abortion will be a crime punishable by death. Punishment of the mother disturbs both pro-life and pro-choice groups. Many prolife groups consider the mother a second victim, rather than a perpetrator of abortion. South Korea On April 11, the Supreme Court of South Korea deemed a 66-year-old law banning abortion unconstitutional, leading to the decriminalization of abortion by 2020. Abortion after 20 weeks will still be illegal. Abortion was a crime punishable by fines and up to two years in prison for the mother and physician. This law was rarely enforced. Parliament has until 2020 to revise the current law, or it will be made null and void.
The TORCH // Volume VI, Issue 8
Relics Rescued as Notre Dame Cathedral Burns DAVID O’NEILL On April 15, the world watched as the Cathedral of Notre Dame burned. The Cathedral— whose construction began in 1260—caught fire at 6:20 P.M. Security guards could not locate a fire at the time, but the evening Mass for the Monday of Holy Week was called off and the church was evacuated. Twenty-three minutes later, the fire was seen burning between the stone vault ceiling and the lead roof. The flames had invaded a lattice of over 1,300 extremely flammable wood beams, which dated back to the Middle Ages. The fire burned for five hours as 400 firefighters attempted to quell the flames and rescue sacred artifacts from within the church. French authorities have yet to determine the cause of the fire. The fire led to the destruction of the roof and the famous flèche, the oak spire which stood over the crossing and which itself dated back to the 19th century. As Notre Dame burned, the Archbishop of Paris, Monseigneur Michel Aupetit tweeted a message to all of the priests in Paris, stating, “The firefighters are still fighting to save the towers of Notre Dame. The frame, the roof, and the flèche are destroyed. Let us pray. If you would like, you can ring the bells of your churches to invite people to prayer.” As the flames rose higher, groups of young Catholics gathered at the Fountain of St. Michael, praying Rosaries and singing hymns to Notre Dame de Paris, or Our Lady of Paris. The firefighters were not only concerned with saving the structure of the church, but also the Blessed Sacrament and the many holy relics contained within Notre Dame. Rev. Jean Marc Fournier, chaplain to the Paris firefighters, was on
his way to dinner when he heard the news about the fire and rushed to the cathedral. In an interview he stated that he had two priorities, “the relics of the Passion and the Blessed Sacrament.” Some of the most prized relics in Christendom, including the Crown of Thorns, were trapped within the burning church. Because of the priceless nature of the crown, it was locked in a safe that requires a key and a code—which are held by separate people for added security. While Fr.
Fournier tracked down the two individuals to save the Crown of Thorns, a group of firefighters formed a human chain to save other relics and icons from within Notre Dame. Fr. Fournier was able to open the safe and save the Crown of Thorns as the ceiling fell around him. Next, Fr. Fournier set out to save the Blessed Sacrament. After rescuing the Eucharist, Fr. Fournier used the Real Presence to bless the burn-
ing building. He said “I asked Jesus…to fight the flames and preserve the building dedicated to His Mother.” The next morning, it was revealed that much of the interior of the cathedral—the famous rose windows, the high altar and altar cross, the organ, and even many of the pews, remained intact. Following the fire, President Macron has vowed to rebuild the Cathedral within five years. Generous donors from around the world have already raised nearly a billion euros to contribute to the renovation efforts. Under French law, the Cathedral of Notre Dame and all other churches built before 1905 are property of the French State, rather than the Catholic Church. The French government will therefore have the ability to dictate how renovations are carried out. In a radio interview two days following the fire, Msgr. Aupetit criticized Macron’s response to the fire, which excluded any talk of the nature of the cathedral as a Catholic Church. “We are aching very badly because of the loss of our cathedral,” he said. “It would’ve been nice if there had been a little word of compassion for the Catholic community, because after all, it’s the Catholics who make the Cathedral of Notre Dame live: it’s not a museum. …The word ‘Catholic’ is not a swear word!” Reflecting on the fire of Notre Dame, Marie de Roualle, MCAS ’22, who is from Paris, remarked. “It’s been through so much since the 12th century and yet it’s still standing. To me, the cathedral is a living testimony that no matter how much the world changes, faith is always going to be a constant in human lives.”
Pope Emeritus Releases Essay on Scandals MATHIEU RONAYNE On April 11, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI published an essay analyzing the Catholic sex abuse scandal and the resulting impact upon the Church. He prefaced the work with an outline of its three parts. He writes, “In the first part, I aim to present briefly the wider social context of the question, without which the problem cannot be understood.…In the second part, I aim to point out the effects of this situation on the formation of priests and on the lives of priests.…Finally, in the third part, I would like to develop some perspectives for a proper response on the part of the Church.” The essay was published in Klerusblatt, a monthly German magazine. Benedict wrote the essay as a contribution “to a new beginning” around the February meeting of bishops in the Vatican, which addressed the sexual abuse crisis. He stated that he contacted Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Pope Francis prior to the essay’s release. Public reception of the essay has varied between self-proclaimed liberal and conservative Catholics, as well as in the wider secular media. In the first part of the essay, Benedict elaborates on his introduction, writing, “I try to show that in the 1960s an egregious event occurred, on a scale unprecedented in history. It could be said that in the 20 years from 1960 to 1980, the previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely, and a new normalcy arose that has by now been the subject of laborious attempts at disruption.” He indicts the “Revolution of ‘68” and the
broader sexual revolution of the 1960s in the negative trends. This claim has been the most scrutinized, as many critics cite widespread sexual abuse cases dating far earlier than the 1960s. He criticizes governmental sexual education, namely in Germany and Austria, and the increased public access to pornography. Within the Church, Benedict addresses a collapse of Catholic moral theology and subsequent dissent within the Church from Her teaching. He writes, “In the end, it was chiefly the hypothesis that morality was to be exclusively determined by the purposes of human action that prevailed. . . Consequently, there could no longer be anything that constituted an absolute good, any more than anything fundamentally evil; (there could be) only relative value judgments.” He explains the broad transition in moral theology away from a foundation of natural law and towards the Bible. Further, he writes of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor and subsequent dissent even prior to its release, namely from Franz Böckle. In the second part, Benedict addresses the effects of this climate on the formation and lives of clergy. He describes “homosexual cliques… which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries.” Such changes included allowing candidates for priesthood and lay pastoral specialists to live together, and the showing of pornography in seminaries. In response to such problems, an Apostolic Visitation was arranged by the Vatican for seminaries in the United States. Benedict writes, “The Visitation that now took place brought no new insights, ap-
parently because various powers had joined forces to conceal the true situation. A second Visitation was ordered and brought considerably more insights, but on the whole failed to achieve any outcomes.” The second part transitions to the role of canon law in addressing pedophilia. Benedict writes, “As a counterweight against the often-inadequate defense options available to accused theologians, their right to defense by way of guarantorism was extended to such an extent that convictions were hardly possible.” He further asserts that a balanced canon law must provide both “legal protection of the accused [and] legal protection of the good at stake.” He goes on to analyze the relationship between proper criminal proceedings and penalties, specifically expulsion from the priesthood. He admits that the Holy See was “overwhelmed” by the process of finding appropriate criminal processes. He finalizes the essay in the third part by elaborating upon proper responses to the crisis. First, he asserts, “the Lord has initiated a narrative of love with us and wants to subsume all creation in it.” Christians, he writes, must enter into that love. Second, he claims pedophilia has reached such proportions because of “the absence of God.” Christians “must learn again to recognize God as the foundation of our life” and must renew their celebration of and reverence for the Eucharist. Lastly, they must enter again into the “Mystery of the Church.”
The TORCH // Volume VI, Issue 8
Be “Vigil-ant”: The Church’s Longest Mass ADRIANA WATKINS It’s a Saturday night in early spring, and a few hundred Catholics are crowded around a fire pit outside the church doors. Don’t be fooled; you won’t find marshmallows or hot dogs at this family gathering. Instead, you’ve stumbled upon the beginning of the Easter Vigil, the lengthiest Mass in the Catholic Church—and undoubtedly the richest, the most profound, and the most anticipated, the crown of the year. Now, that said, the Easter Vigil is perhaps a Catholic child’s worst nightmare. Usually clocking in between two and two-and-a-half hours (keep on adding, if you’re Orthodox), it’s no surprise the Roman Missal calls this Mass “the mother of all vigils.” Parishes have the option to include seven Old Testament readings, compared to the usual single passage; new Catholics are received into the Church; there’s quite a bit of processing and candle-lighting, and enough incense to fill your contact lenses with a holy fear. But there’s a reason for all this—the Vigil is the first Mass to open up the doors of Easter. In other words, going to the Vigil is a little like being the first person at the empty tomb. There would be a lot you would want to say and do if you discovered someone had risen from the dead. In fact, there would probably be no other occasion in your life when you had more thoughts, more prayers, more poetry in you than in that moment. You might want it to last forever. And last it does—there’s no shortage of any of those things (thoughts, prayers, poetry) at the Vigil. It begins as all vigils do, after sundown, marking the start of the new day just as Friday night marks the beginning of the Sabbath in Judaism. The large Easter fire is shared with all the churchgoers, who pass the flame to one another, lighting each other’s candles (sometimes more than once,
if it’s a windy Vigil, which it always seems to be). Everyone goes inside, and in the darkness of the Church—the physical darkness of night, and the spiritual darkness of Good Friday—the priest or deacon sings three times, “The light of Christ!” And, finally, the real festivities have begun. After this, a cantor sings a long poetic prayer called the Exsultet. You’ll recognize the English word that comes from that: exult, be happy, be glad. This is the invitation of the Vigil: to think about humanity and its fallen state, but to use this
All of that history, of course, leads to the Gospel. Having just heard the Old Testament, the congregation can truly appreciate the significance of the Resurrection. (Then they sit back down to truly appreciate Father’s homily, with any luck.) From here, the Mass takes a significant turn. Catholics-to-be, who have been preparing for months to be baptized or received into the Church, are finally given the sacraments. The renewal of life that was just proclaimed in the Gospel is now on display for the congregation to see—it’s a very intelligent way to organize the Mass. The baptized Catholics are given white garments and candles, and some are confirmed as well. At any rate, the Mass goes on with more Catholics, more brothers and sisters, than it started with. Between the Baptism and Communion, there are plenty of interesting things that go on, quirks and traditions and blessings. There’s a “Sprinkling Rite” wherein the priest goes through the church shaking holy water onto the congregation with a long stick called an aspergillum. And there is incense, singing, kneeling—but most importantly, the Eucharist, where Catholics receive the real Body and Blood of Christ into their formerly tomblike hearts. After this, there is not much left to do. So why go to the Easter Vigil? Beknowledge of the world to rejoice all the more in cause you have a chance to experience what it’s its rescue. like to discover Christ risen in the darkness of the By now, the parishioners have blown out their night—why wait until morning? Children rarely candles, to the relief of every mother who was have the patience to sleep until sunrise on Christwatching her five-year-old play with fire. Mean- mas, and this should be even more so on Easter. while, the readers piece together human history There will never be a better place to spend two chapter by chapter, from Creation to the Flood to hours than the threshold of an empty tomb. the Exodus from Egypt. Sung psalms, dispersed between each passage, renew the praises of the generations.
Double Effect: Save, Kill, or Both? LOURDES MACASPAC
If, in the process of self-defense one kills another, would that be a sin? St. Thomas Aquinas discussed this issue in the Summa Theologica (II-II, Q. 64, A.7). In this text, the origins of the principle of double effect are found. This principle recognizes that, when dealing with issues of morality, there may be beneficial as well as harmful (though unintended) side-effects. So, when is an action that has the potential to lead to negative effects justifiable? The principle considers four conditions: 1. The act itself must be indifferent, if not good; 2. The action itself should be the direct and immediate cause of both effects; 3. Bad intentions must be absent, and the harmful effect should be avoided, if possible; 4. The good effect must be, by reason, proportionately equal to or greater than the bad effect. To speak more concretely, we can apply the principle of double effect to self-defense. Aquinas recognizes two potential effects of self-defense: saving one’s life and killing one’s assailant. Considering these two effects, Aquinas claims that it is justifiable to defend oneself even if the aggressor is harmed. The following are the criteria applied to defense: (1) the act of saving one’s life is either
an indifferent or good effect; (2) the act of saving one’s life directly causes both life preservation and unintended harm to the aggressor; (3) the negative effect of harming the assaulter was not intended, and unnecessary harm was avoided; and (4) the harmful effect to the aggressor is proportionately equal to or greater than the good effect of selfdefense. To support this, Aquinas states that because it is natural to preserve one’s life as much as possible, self-defense is permissible. However, he also states that self-defense becomes “unlawful if … a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence.” It is important to note that the principle of double effect does not find it permissible to pursue a good end by morally harmful means. In fact, the principle defies the notion of “the end justifies the means.” There is a significant difference between using a negative effect in pursuit of the good and a negative effect being a side-effect. Why does it matter if one grasps such an abstract concept? The answer is because the principle of double effect is not as abstract as it seems. After all, the principle was formed by pondering concrete, life examples such as self-defense. It is likely that life has presented you with a situation
in which you faced moral questions and concerns when the principle of double effect could have provided guiding light. There has most likely been at least one moment in your life when the “right thing to do” is not clear or is questioned. As an imperfect society, we are bound to experience morally grey incidents. Therefore, as a society striving for self-improvement, we can find benefit in living with the principle of double effect in mind.
The TORCH // Volume VI, Issue 8
Hymns Fit for the Queen GERARD DEANGELIS “It is not by isolated, extraordinary acts that we show love.” St. Therese of Lisieux says, “Rather, frequent, small acts of love are the true substance of any real charity”: for friend, for spouse, for God. In fact, grand acts of love are impossible if they are not preceded and nourished by the building blocks of frequent, daily renewals of devotion. It is only fitting, then, in our devotion to the Queen of Heaven—the shortest, easiest, and surest way to her Son—that we stalwartly commit ourselves to small renewals of our love for her. Practices such as saying a daily rosary, reciting the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, “The Angelus,” or “Regina Coeli,” praying the Litany of Loreto, and many other devotions serve as brilliant examples of how to in small ways tell our Queen, “I love you.” One traditional and beautiful way we can continue to foster love for Our Lady is through the recitation or singing of the four seasonal Marian antiphons. Although normally prayed after Night Prayer, these short hymns to the Mother of God can also make a great thanksgiving after Holy Mass, a subject for meditation, or even something to help “set your mind on things above” (Col. 3:2) while walking around campus. Dating back to around the 12th century, these hymns are usually sung in Latin but can also be prayed in English. What is most important, however, is not how we pray with these time-honored antiphons, but how we let them draw us into the prayer of Holy Mother Church, bringing us closer to Mary, which is to say, closer to Christ. 1. Salve Regina: Most likely the best known of the Marian Antiphons, the “Salve Regina” is
prayed after Pentecost until the first Sunday of Advent. Held in wide esteem, it is prayed at the conclusion of every rosary and served as the outline for St. Alphonsus Liguori’s work The Glories of Mary. It is also prayed at the end of Extraordinary form Low Masses. Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Hail our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, Poor banished children of Eve; To thee do we send up our sighs, Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, Thine eyes of mercy toward us; And after this our exile, Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. 2. Alma Redemptoris Mater: Prayed from the First Sunday of Advent until February 2, the feast of the Purification or “Candlemas.” In the liturgical calendar before 1969 (and still today in the Extraordinary Form) this would cover the entirety of the Advent and Christmas seasons. Loving mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again, To the wonderment of nature, you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before, You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners.
3. Ave Regina Coelorum: This antiphon is prayed after the feast of the Purification until Holy Thursday. Note that from Holy Thursday until the Easter Vigil, there is no Marian antiphon; during these sacred days, no antiphon is sung. This not only draws our attention to the fact that something is special about these days, but also heightens our anticipation for the Easter Vigil, where once again “the season of singing has come!” (Song of Songs 2:12). Hail, O Queen of Heaven. Hail, O Lady of Angels Hail! thou root, hail! thou gate From whom unto the world, a light has arisen: Rejoice, O glorious Virgin, Lovely beyond all others, Farewell, most beautiful maiden, And pray for us to Christ. 4. Regina Coeli: After the Salve Regina, the Regina Coeli is likely the second most known antiphon. It is prayed from the Easter Vigil through the feast of Pentecost. This prayer also replaces “The Angelus”—which is traditionally prayed at 6:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. (see article “Prayer: The Angelus” by David O’Neill)—during the season of Easter with an additional collect at the end. Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia! For He Whom you did merit to bear, alleluia! Has risen as he said, alleluia! Pray for us to God, alleluia!
Holy Oils: Explaining the Chrism Mass MATHIEU RONAYNE Time seemingly stands still during Holy Week. We anticipate the climax of our faith as we celebrate Christ’s institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, His Passion and Crucifixion on Good Friday, and His Resurrection in the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses. Between Palm Sunday and the Paschal Triduum, one can unknowingly overlook a more subtle, yet important, facet of Holy Week: the celebration of the Chrism Mass. According to the Ceremonial of Bishops, “[The Chrism Mass], which the bishop concelebrates with his college of presbyters and at which he consecrates the holy chrism and blesses the other oils, manifests the communion of the presbyters with their bishop.” The bishop ordinarily celebrates the Chrism Mass at the cathedral on the morning of Holy Thursday. However, if it is difficult to assemble with the clergy and people, the bishop may celebrate it on an earlier day. Additionally, it may be celebrated at another church for pastoral reasons. The timing of the Mass has undergone changes throughout Church history. According to Fr. William Saunders writing at Catholic Exchange, “This tradition is rooted in the early Church as noted in the Gelasian Sacramentary (named after Pope Gelasius I, d. 496), but was later absorbed into the Holy Thursday evening Mass; Pope Pius XII issued a new Ordinal for Holy Week, which reinstituted a special Mass of the chrism distinct from the evening Mass.”
The oils the bishop blesses are the Holy Chrism, Oil of Catechumens, and Oil of the Sick. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Each prayer of blessing includes an explanation of the power and effect of each oil.” Additionally, the Chrism is mixed with “with fragrances or other aromatic material,” which is typically balsam. The blessing of the Oil of the Cat-
echumens and consecration of the Chrism is done following the Prayer after Communion. During the blessing, the bishop breathes on the chrism, recalling when Jesus Christ breathed upon the disciples with the blessing of the Holy Spirit (Jn 20:22). A more in-depth explanation of the process can be found within The Order of Blessing the
Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism. The chrism and oils find use in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick, as well as consecration of various objects such as altars, chalices, churches, and others. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “The head of the newly-baptized is anointed with chrism, the forehead of the person confirmed, the head and hands of a bishop at his consecration, and the hands of a priest at his ordination. So are the walls of churches, which are solemnly consecrated, anointed with the same holy oil, and the parts of the sacred vessels used in the Mass which come in contact with the Sacred Species, as the paten and chalice.” Theologians have debated whether such use of chrism was instituted “immediately by Christ,” or if it has an ecclesiastical origin. Regardless, the process of anointing with oil has roots in the Old and New Testament, such as when Samuel anoints David king (1 Sam 16:413) and in the instruction to anoint the sick (Jam 5:14). Because the oils are used during the remainder of the year following their blessing, they are distributed to parishes within the diocese. In accordance with the Roman Missal, “The reception of the Holy Oils may take place in individual parishes either before the celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper or at another time that seems more appropriate.”
The TORCH // Volume VI, Issue 8
The Torch is a Catholic student newspaper produced by members of the Boston College community. We report on Catholic news both on campus and in broader society, and probe the vast riches of the Church’s intellectual tradition. Taking Boston Newspaper || Established seriously the valuesCollege’s to whichCatholic Boston College is committed as a2013 Catholic university, The! Torch desires an active and healthy exchange of ideas. Moreover, its chief end is to be a tool forWhat’s the new evangelization, spreading faith in Jesus Christ as a your passion? source of conversion and new life. !
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The TORCH // Volume VI, Issue 8
Features Interview with Broglio, Cont. B. First and foremost, I would urge them to pray for peace and justice. Educated Catholics must make a difference and contribute to a more just world. We have to elevate discourse in our society so that it is civil and that all people recognize in others the image and likeness of God. I would also urge them to pray for ecclesial vocations (to the priesthood, religious, and consecrated life).
alumni who had fallen in the service of our Country. May Almighty God give them rest.
T. What most touches you about the faith of the Catholics in your diocese?
T. What about that ministry has been most fruitful for you?
B. The fidelity of those who spend long weeks or months without seeing a priest touch me. The ability of military families to step in and meet needs is also most evident. T. With such a large diocese, is it difficult to connect with individuals? If a member of your diocese could only know one thing about you, what would you want it to be?
T. You returned to campus not too long ago to speak at a Veteran’s Day Ceremony. How has your ministry to the military community challenged you in different ways? B. A primary challenge is the shortage of priests in the chaplaincy. There are some 200 in uniform. Some 300 more are needed. I have no hope of plugging that gap. An additional challenge is constituted by the distances which are the reality of a personal archdiocese. My faithful are literally in every corner of the globe. Travel is a constant. Despite having four Auxiliary Bishops who are most diligent, I spend 200+ days on the road every year. Of concern also are those who suffer from Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD). 153 Veterans Medical Centers are also a part of the AMS. We must respond to the needs of these good people. Touching also about the Veterans’ Day Ceremony was hearing the list of names of fellow
B. As I mentioned, one of the challenges is the extension of the AMS. I think that I would want the faithful entrusted to my pastoral care to know of my deep concern for them and my desire to walk the extra mile with them. I am not a manager or a CEO, but a pastor.
B. Pastoral care for men, women, and families who have been enduring the rigors of war for almost eighteen years has allowed me to reach out to them, to assure them of the Church’s care and interest in them, and to be with them in the moments of their reception of the sacraments. Certainly Holy Week in Iraq and Afghanistan and Christmas in Afghanistan have been high points of my tenure.
T. What can Catholics who are civilians do to help the Archdiocese for the Military Services? B. Civilians can pray for peace, for the military, and for vocations (the military is the largest source of priestly ordinations in the USA today). Secondly, the AMS is totally supported by freewill offerings. Consequently, any support received is used wisely and greatly appreciated.
Cont. from Page 2
Senior Staff Book Recommendations Amanda Judah // Life Together Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Christian Rodriguez // Accidental Saints Nadia Bolz-Weber
Adriana Watkins // The Habit of Being Flannery O’Connor
Fr. Juan Carlos Rivera // The Trinity: An Introduction to Catholic Doctrine on the Triune God Giles Emery, OP
Gjergji Evangjeli // On the Incantation St. Athanasius
Ejuma Adoga // 33 Days to Merciful Love Fr. Michael Gaitley
Noella D’Souza // Life of Pi Yann Martel
Gerardo Martinez Cordeiro // The Silence of Mary Ignacio Larrañaga
The TORCH // Volume VI, Issue 8
CULTURE Pilgrim’s Progress: The Mission Church DAVID O’NEILL A few weekends ago, I found myself near Fenway with no plans. After making an unsuccessful trip to a very busy Isabella Steward Gardener Museum, I opened up Google Maps in an attempt to discover something else nearby—and I noticed how close I was to Mission Hill. The neighborhood is named for the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as The Mission Church. Seeing that they had Saturday Confessions (which I needed) and a vigil Mass, I made it my mission to set out towards the basilica. Mission Hill is aptly named: the beautiful Romanesque church is located on a hilltop at the intersection of Tremont and St. Alphonsus Street. As I approached, I was struck by the beauty of the exterior. The present structure is built of Roxbury puddingstone taken from a quarry down the block when the church was built in the 1870s. Back then, the building was intended as a base for missionary priests who travelled to spread the Gospel throughout New England and Canada— but it quickly grew to be a mainstay of the Boston diocese. From its beginning, the Mission Church has been administered by priests of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). The Redemptorists are especially devoted to Mary as Our Lady of Perpetual Help (O.L.P.H), giving the Mission Church its name. The basilica quickly grew due to the fervor of the priests¬¬ and an influx of Catholic immigrants, leading to the construction of the present church and its subsequent promotion to a full parish—and this only a few
years after the Redemptorists came to Boston. Walking towards the church, I was immediately struck by a stunning tympanum above the main door depicting O.L.P.H —an image of Mary and the infant Christ flanked by Archangels Michael and Gabriel. Her gaze beckons passersby to come and pray, and indeed, the Basilica is open from 8am until 6:30pm during the week. Before entering, I could see two spires, which are exactly as tall as the church is long—an impressive 215 feet. These 1910 additions make the church not only visible for miles around, but also audible, as the western tower boasts twelve bells. Between these lie a rose window, nearly invisible from inside the Church because of the towering organ—a model hailed by the Boston Globe as one of the “finest [musical instruments] in the world.” Upon entering the nave of the church, the sense of the sacred in this monument to Our Lady is pervasive. Two levels of windows enlighten the whole church, giving it a certain airiness. The nave is marked by high vaults in the center, and lower vaults in the aisles, drawing the eyes along towards the apse and the altar. The circular dome shows Christ in the center surrounded by various scenes of healing—specifically, the healing of those who prayed through Our Lady of Perpetual Help. At the north transept of the church stands the altar of O.L.P.H. At the time I went, dozens of lit devotional candles indicated the active devotional culture at the basilica. The apse behind the altar is painted gold to mirror the icon of Our Lady,
which hangs above the altar. Each Wednesday of the year, prayers and hymns are sung to her here at services in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole, revealing the great diversity of the parish. The two pillars flanking the altar are filled with crutches, testifying to the historically documented healings of those who prayed the Novena to O.L.P.H. on nine consecutive Wednesdays at the church. A report by the City of Boston notes that between 1878 and 1884 alone, over 330 healings were recorded. The church also features a beautiful purgatorial altar, the paintings on either side of which show angels carrying souls towards heavenly Jerusalem. Directly above, a mosaic of the Crucifixion reveals that the only way to the resurrection is the Cross. Beneath each of the three reredos, prayers for the souls in purgatory are written—reminding us of the need to pray for the dead. Sitting in the church, you may also notice a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows above the tabernacle, chosen because there was never a statue made of O.L.P.H. Above her, a carved replica of the dove from St. Peter’s Basilica reminds us of the presence of the Holy Spirit here, and of the universal nature of the Catholic Church. Whether for the Wednesday Novena, Mass, Confession, prayer, or because the line at Isabella Stewart Gardner is unbearably long, make sure to take a pilgrimage to this beautiful basilica. More information can be found at bostonsbasilica.com.
Drink of the Issue - Nuptial Cocktail In the spirit of St. Ignatius’ teaching to find God in all things, including all areas of college life. Each month we will be featuring one drink, inspired by a saint (typically the Saint of the Issue when there is one). All recipes are borrowed from the book Drinking with the Saints: A Sinners Guide to a Happy Hour by Michael Foley.
Nuptial Cocktail 1/2 oz. gin 3/4 oz. kirsch 1/4 oz. orange curacao 1/4 oz. lemon juice 1/4 oz. orange juice Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass. For an added treat, rim the glass with sugar (powdered for granulated) beforehand.
St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) was the youngest of twenty-five children. She was so cheerful as a child that her family nicknamed her Euphrosyne, the Greek word for “joy” and the name of an early saint. Catherine began receiving visions at an early age and consecrated her life to God at the age of seven. She resisted her parents’ efforts to have her married, cutting off her beautiful hair to make herself a less desirable prospect. Catherine eventually became a tertiary in the Dominican order and practiced extraordinary asceticism. On Mardi Gras of 1368, while the townsfolk were living it up outside, she had a vision in which Jesus Christ mystically married her. You can have a mixed drink in honor of St. Catherine’s mystical marriage to Our Lord, such as a Nuptial Cocktail.
Enjoy Responsibly. For those 21+
The TORCH // Volume VI, Issue 8
“Unplanned”: One Woman’s Story ANNEMARIE ARNOLD Unplanned opened in select theaters around the US on March 29. The movie is based on the 2009 memoir by the same name by Abby Johnson. In her book, she tells of her experiences with Planned Parenthood, where she was a promising employee. In the opening scene, she watches the dilation and evacuation abortion of a 13-weekold child. She sees the baby in the ultrasound moving away from the tools, the woman squirms in pain, the doctor says, “Beam me up, Scottie,” and the fetal tissue whirls in a blender-like contraption. In her book, Johnson compares the baby to “a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed,” continuing, “The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone.” The movie, which highlights Johnson’s journey to become pro-life, experienced its share of obstacles. The day before its premier, the Unplanned Twitter account was shut down. After an hour of posts accusing Twitter of censorship, the account was restored. Other Twitter users took to the web to decry Google’s classification of the movie’s genre as Drama/Propaganda. The movie’s challenges began in February, when it became the first PureFlix movie to be rated R. Ironically, in twelve states it is legal for a woman under 18 to obtain an abortion without parents’ knowledge, whereas no person under 17 could see Unplanned without the accompaniment of an adult. The movie portrays Planned Parenthood (PP), its friends, and its enemies compassionately. A
young Johnson wants to help women, and in an interview with America she confirms this saying, “I had a lot of drive and ambition, a desire to do good.” Her coworkers are passionate about helping women, except Cheryl. Cheryl, as head of Planned Parenthood, explains to Johnson, “Abortion is our fries-and-soda.” Cheryl is the face of the industry attitude Johnson described in an interview with Fox News: “Every meeting that we had was, ‘We don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough money—we’ve got to keep these abortions coming.’” In the depiction of Johnson’s own RU-486 abortion, she cries in agony as she bleeds and expels fetal tissue. She is left curled on her bathroom floor covered with blood, and suffers 8 weeks of pain afterwards. Surgical abortion is portrayed in another scene, as a girl bleeds out from the perforation of her uterus. As doctors try to stabilize her, the director of the clinic refuses to call an ambulance. Luckily, the girl is saved, as is the clinic’s reputation. Women seeking abortions in the movie are not all alike. One walks in calmly as her family stands at the fence, crying to her. A teen is pressured by her father to have an abortion, and another swallows her RU-486 as she leaves the clinic alone. Likewise, different types of enemies of Planned Parenthood are also depicted: the “graphic-images-in-your-face” protesters and the praying sidewalk counselors. By including both, the film does not deny that the Pro-Life movement can also
have an ugly side. In a purely quantitative sense, Unplanned was a David-and-Goliath victory. Because all publicity is good publicity, a film projected to bring in $2-3 million has now made $12.5 million. The R rating that Unplanned received was not unjust, particularly for post-abortive women and families expecting a tidy PureFlix movie. The reasoning behind the rating—violence against women and children—is also justified, given that abortion in real life should have an R rating across our nation, too. The story itself is everything for Unplanned. Even the actress who portrayed Johnson has her own story of abortion survival, which may explain the sincerity of her character in the movie. The fact that Unplanned is based on the experience of one woman excuses it for not covering every facet of abortion and gives the movie more strength, despite the sometimes-corny attempts at breaking tension that come with every PureFlix film. In terms of making a real difference, Chuck Konzelman revealed to the Senate subcommittee that since the film’s debut, 94 abortion clinic workers have contacted And Then There Were None, Johnson’s ministry to help such people leave the industry. Asked about her goals on Catholic Radio, Johnson replied, “This is not about making abortion illegal in our country. This is about making abortion unthinkable in our country.”
Crucifixes of Boston College ETHAN STARR Rarely does a day pass for a Boston College student where he or she does not see a crucifix around campus—whether in one of the chapels, some of the dining halls, or most of the classrooms. The symbol of Christ’s suffering is largely ubiquitous around campus today, perhaps to a degree that they remain unnoticed by many students. However, as important symbols of the university’s Catholic identity, their substantial presence on campus is worth considering. Conversation surrounding the campus crucifixes reached a peak a decade ago during the 2008-2009 school year, when, over winter break, crucifixes were placed in almost all classrooms in North and South Stokes Halls, as well as in some of the other buildings. The episode drew intense attention from both students and faculty upon the resumption of the school year, with several outspoken professors complaining of the measure’s “insensitivity.” Others complained about a lack of campus-wide notification preceding the installation of the crosses. These few disgruntled professors attracted widespread media attention, as their quotes appeared in the Boston Globe and Herald, in Catholic media outlets across the country, and in publications as distant as the St. Louis Dispatch. Critics of the University’s Catholic identity have seemingly lost interest in the crucifixes’ presence in the intervening years. Most members of the BC community, if they have not embraced the University’s Catholic identity, at least respect its
prerogative to display Christian art in an academic setting. In fact, many of the crucifixes installed in the early 2000s around campus are products of foreign craftsmanship, brought to campus from mission trips abroad. They constitute legitimate artworks worthy of display, regardless of their religious nature. Unfortunately, most of these crucifixes that have reached BC’s classrooms from international origins lack descriptions regarding the cultures that produced them. I include below explanations of some of the more intriguing crucifixes of Boston College. After a survey of the classrooms of Lyons Hall and Stokes Hall, I catalogued each of the many crucifixes that spawned the 2009 controversy. While many classrooms display small icons in place of Jesus on the cross, most are adorned with either a souvenir from a service trip or a more mass-produced, standardized cross. In only a few cases, additional context for the crosses includes small plaques specifying only “Immersion Trip Honduras 2004,” or “B.C. Immersion Trip Mexico 2000.” Multiple instances, unfortunately, reveal only a residue of where a crucifix was once glued, the cross having presumably fallen off. A tour of Stokes reveals a few rustic crucifixes, fashioned from overlapping sticks and featuring crisp plant materials for Jesus’ garments and hair. These assemblages of flammables are ironically placed next to the fire alarms. A recent ungluing resulted in the disappearance of the crucifix popularly known to students as “Cowboy Jesus,”
so called for what resembled a cowboy hat atop Jesus’ head. Stokes Hall also features several painted crosses, done in a fashion I would label Latin-American, which depict Jesus among villagers and workers. In one, Jesus is flanked by a cohort of children who are holding hands standing on all sides of a globe. In another, Jesus stands below a stylized dove, arms outstretched on the flanks of the cross. The most common crucifix throughout Stokes Hall consists of a silver-clad Jesus upon a plain wooden cross. His disproportionately large hands and arms are well-defined, as are his textured crown and ribs. Finally, one of the more interesting crucifixes of Boston College resides above the door of Lyons 202, typically a linguistics classroom. Carved from the exceptionally strong African blackwood, Jesus hangs directly atop the wall, not backed by the planks of a cross, although they are implied by Jesus’ nailed arms. The arms, head, and hands are screwed directly into the wall behind. The black Jesus is rendered with an intricate, cratered pattern of hair, flattened nose amidst a beardless face, and a neatly folded loincloth. While surely West African in origin, it is impossible to determine the crucifix’s precise region of production without further information. Perhaps a renewed interest in the campus’ religious art will someday result in greater understanding not just of the reason for their presence, but their histories as artworks as well.
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FAITH FEATURES Reframing NOELLA D’SOUZA Earlier this semester, I broke my glasses frames after hitting a dip too aggressively while social dancing (ahem, Swing is life). Thankfully, the new pair I ordered just came in- and I’m obsessed with them. So, as I turn the page on my old frames, and soon on my junior year, I think now is the perfect time to assess my old prescription, set my vision for the future, and do some general reframing (… of how many glasses puns can I fit into one paragraph, which remains to be seen). Here are some things that are on my mind during this transition (that’s five). First, friendships. One of the things that I pride myself on is being a good friend and choosing my friends carefully. I am such a believer that friendship, done properly, can be one of the most transformative components of a person’s life, which some of my best friendships have been for me. As such, I carefully choose the people with whom I want to build close-knit friendships because it’s an investment of time, emotional energy, and vulnerability that I don’t want to go to waste. In my past three years, that method has initially worked for the most part, but what it doesn’t account for is change. People grow so much over time, and exponentially it seems within the college time frame, that there’s no way to predict if freshman year BFF Alice is going to be the right “friendship fit” for you come second semester, junior year. As many of my close friends are abroad this semester, I have found that the physical space helps you realize who you have become and are becoming, and the ways in which that trajectory of becoming brings you towards or away from certain friends, each on their own trajectories of becoming. It’s like two gas molecules, who for a certain period of their lifetimes are on trajectories that bring them
closer until they collide/interact, after which they go their separate ways, on paths altered by their interaction with the other molecule. I’ve given up on trying to control the intermolecular interaction of friendship as aggressively as I have in the past. One should make time for the people that matter, but by that same token, the people meant to be in your life will end up staying in it. I also find myself reorienting my motivations in several area. It’s no secret that college is a grind, especially at BC. During my earlier years, fuel for the academic rat race was just fear of being at the bottom of the class, and I quickly discovered how unsustainable that was. It’s difficult to want to keep up with demanding coursework if you’re not at least somewhat fundamentally interested in the material, so this year I began the process of converting my academic motivation from fear to wonder. For me, I really love the process of learning and coming to understand/consider why things work or are the way that they are. Ever since I was little that’s always come from my sense of curiosity, which has evolved over the years into a general sense of wonder and brings God into the picture. The human capacities to understand, reason, and evaluate come from God, so preserving a sense of wonder is deeply tied to the quality of my faith life. The more present God is in my day to day, the more I feel in sustained contact with this motivating wonder. Of course, sometimes that contact is variable, so the current challenge for a more permanent reframing is to “catch the cloud and pin it down”, to borrow a phrase from The Sound of Music; that is, to cross a threshold in my faith life to reach a point where I feel consistently present to God in the workings of each moment of the day.
My new frames are a gradient blue, just about the color of the early summer Atlantic Ocean beating against the rocky Massachusetts coast, a sight people might have seen from landing at Logan Airport. I absolutely love flying, and that specific sight of the Massachusetts coast brings me this beautiful sense of peace after a long trip because at last I’m home. Based on this year, I expect senior year will consist of making that reframing concrete and a letting go, allowing myself to ebb and flow through BC with the turn of the tides.
Faith as a Stronghold EJUMA ADOGA Throughout the course of my time at BC, many people have asked the same questions: “How do you still maintain your faith and keep it going? Why do you still believe?” Every time that these questions are asked of me, I find myself giving a variation of the same answer every time. For me, my faith is something that has kept me going in the darkest of times. Yes, I did grow up in a family that held strong Catholic values, but my faith was not truly mine until I came to BC. To this day, I still do not know the exact moment as to when I decided to take my faith and make it my own. It started for me in what used to be the Gasson chapel during the renovations at St. Mary’s Hall during the fall semester of my freshman year. I attend mass daily at 12 pm Monday Wednesday and Friday and at 11 am Tuesday and Thursday. Mass was a quiet time for me to deeply connect with my faith and it was something that I could reassure my mother about during her check-ins but it gradually grew into a time a reflection and quiet time. It also helped me get reacquainted with God because going to mass was my own personal choice. After a while, I began to go to the chapel earlier to just extend more of my quiet time with God and I started to talk to him more and more in my head. Eventually, I had established a relationship with God that was more personal and intimate to me. Throughout my undergraduate career, my
nificant losses, social injustices within the church, and struggles with friends all challenged my faith. When things are going well it is easy to just talk to God fondly about all that is right in the world, but when difficulties arise, that’s when real faith and character is built. During each of these moments in my life, I have had so many questions for God: “why does He allow such things to happen? Why have things not changed?” Many times in prayer, I have found myself just pondering these questions over and over in my head but I have come to realize that answers may not always come. I have realized that I have to be comfortable with ambiguity and push through those moments of discomfort. I am a person that ruminates over issues when I am feeling troubled but I always try to remind myself of the incredibly power nature of God which surpasses my own limited understanding. Even though I do not have all of the answers, I can say that I continue to believe because my relationship with God has been something for me to rely on. My faith is what has remained constant throughout my life at BC and it continues to grow each and every day. In times of struggle or when I relationship with God remained constant though feel overwhelmed, it brings me comfort in knowmany things around and within me changed. ing that I don’t have to figure life out on my own. Having a strong relationship with God did not That alone brings me solace in times of strife and mean that I was immune to hardship or chal- darkness. lenges. Racist incidents on and off campus, sig-
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A Lesson in Faith AMANDA JUDAH During my semester in Ecuador, I’ve been volunteering in a local elementary school a few mornings a week. The Bible is filled with examples of child-like faith, and so while it might be a bit cliché, getting to know the students has allowed me to reflect spiritually. Being “in charge” of the students has caused me to consider the importance of having, and being, positive role models. While I’m currently emphasizing an academic lifestyle, it’s just as important to have spiritual models, which is one of the most powerful aspects of church community. Being able to connect with other individuals whose spiritual trajectory reflects personal goals is incredibly encouraging and enriching. As I attempt to act as a mentor, I’ve had to recognize the hypocrisy of my own actions and truly reflect on what values I hold strongly enough to impart onto others. It’s easy enough to talk about the importance of certain morals, but actions truly do speak louder than words. Constantly in the classroom, I encourage the students to stop getting distracted in order to complete their work. Each time I do so, I recognize that this is also a struggle I face when completing my own homework. If I’m disciplining the kids, I need to be disciplining myself,
so that my daily actions can be a testament to my values. Of course, the students themselves have also taught me a lot, including the importance of discerning and following your God-given vocation. Although it’s easy for the students to get discouraged in subjects they don’t like, they all have their own passions that I’ve been able to learn about outside of the curriculum. I’ve become especially close with one boy, Nicolas, who wears his Marvel vest every day over his school uniform and often spends recess telling me about his favorite movies. Seeing his eyes light up has convinced me of the importance of acting out the passions God has put on our hearts, especially once we are older and have the tools to actualize them. Lastly, the students have taught me to appreciate every individual day as a gift from God. They come to class with such energy, and every experience has the potential to be very formative for them. As we grow older, it’s easy to slip into a pattern of seeing every day as a series of boxes to check off, and to believe that every day contains “more of the same”, since we’re not experiencing it anew with childlike wonder. However, it’s been important for me to learn that every day God is
teaching me something new, if only I’m open to hearing it. My time in the classroom has taught me that with a supportive community, discipline, and an open mind, we can get a bit closer to actualizing God’s kingdom.
Learning How to Ride My Bike CHRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ
When I was little, my parents took me to the park to learn how to ride a bike. They rode their bikes so effortlessly and without training wheels! “Wow!” I thought to myself, “How could I do that?” They were having so much fun, and I wanted to join them. It was absolutely thrilling when I started to get the hang of how to ride my bike. That is until the fear set in: What if I fall? What if I can’t move in time and hit something? What if I break a bone? It was the second that those fears popped into my head that I began to wobble and fall. I hit the ground with a thud and scraped my
knee. I called for my parents who helped clean me off and assured me that I was doing everything right, that I simply forgot to trust in myself. That experience for me resonates with so much of what I hear in the story of Peter walking out onto the water (Mat. 14:22-33). He sees Jesus doing something incredible and wants to emulate him. He walks out onto the water and after the fear sets in, he sinks and begins to drown. Jesus comes to save him and says, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Certainly there are times in our lives where doubt is appropriate: pondering our legitimate shortcomings and failings when we know we could have done better, thinking about the meaning of suffering and pain in the human experience, considering whether or not we see God working in our lives. There are other times that such doubt is rooted in our own fears, scrupulosity, and workings of the evil spirit: We offer a presentation on a topic we work hard on and still question about whether or not it went well, a person gives us a compliment, and we think they’re lying to us, because we do not see our own giftedness; we see that we’re actually riding the bike without training wheels but then realize that we are still only learning. Peter’s story is inherently about trust. It challenges us to trust in our own gifts and talents which we work hard to cultivate, to trust that others aren’t lying to us when they recognize our giftedness, and ultimately to trust that God will always be there for us when we feel like we are
drowning. When I was learning how to ride my bike, I didn’t start riding it once I understood everything that had to be known about weight distribution and velocity. No, I started riding it because I knew my parents believed that I could do it and that because they believed in me, I could start to believe in myself. Yeah, there were a couple of bumps and bruises along the way, but when I was finally able to trust, I could stop thinking about when I might fall next and start thinking about where I would go. Learning to trust myself was a product of my belief in myself and the support of others. It was also the result of actually trusting that God is working in my life, even when that doesn’t seem apparent to me. While the story of Peter is often used to illustrate the importance of faith in Christ, I would want to take it one step further. It seems to be a story of how Peter’s inability to trust himself is the result of his not believing in God’s trust in him. As one of the many people graduating this semester, the challenge of Peter’s story is to recognize the ways that God and others have placed enough trust in us to know that we will make it in the world. Stepping out onto the water like Peter can only happen when we trust that others trust in us, that when things get scary there is always a hand extended out to us with a voice gently and sweetly saying “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
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The Gap in College Healthcare ADRIANA WATKINS When I got an awful cold my freshman year, University Health Services provided me with enough cough syrup to start my own pharmacy. When I returned with pinkeye, they gave me antibiotics. When norovirus hit, they shrink-wrapped the food in the dining halls. BC students have generous access to medical care and precautions, but at the same time, I’m concerned that we don’t pay enough attention to the fastest-spreading disease on campus: apathy. This vicious little bug is easy to catch, difficult to get rid of, and goes straight for the heart. It comes in lots of strains, some of them seasonal (the middle-of-February strain, the two-in-themorning-on-a-weeknight strain), but its most prolific time is the summer—which is why I want to talk about it now, in the last column of the year. Apathy is one of the only diseases that almost always has to be self-diagnosed in order to be beaten. Each of us can see the symptoms in ourselves to some degree: investing little effort in everyday conversation, reading half an article and giving up, making jokes about situations we know are serious, staying awake into the early hours for no reason, scrolling through social media without retaining information, devoting only half our attention to the people around us. The list goes on. You know it when you feel it—or, more accurately, when you don’t feel anything. But why is this mindset so rampant? As college students, we’re as busy as anyone; if schoolwork doesn’t keep us occupied, entertainment will (think of all the time and preparation poured into Marathon Monday, for example). And yet it seems like we’re ambivalent to both these things. We wait for each minute of class to go by, but after the weekend is over, I hear plenty of conversations between people who don’t seem excited about
what they did with their free time. I’ve even heard people talk this way about their relationships. I don’t know if the explanation for this is really too complicated: we haven’t found underlying meaning, underlying passion to animate our day-to-day routines. If we do have it, even the mundane aspects of our lives light up; if we don’t, even the most important parts—careers, relationships—fall flat. So what can we do to keep ourselves healthy during apathy season? University Health Services, believe it or not, has already given some decent advice in their instructions for avoiding the flu. Here are some slightly modified regulations: 1. Don’t cover your mouth. Apathy is extremely contagious. You’re likely to pass it on to your friends and loved ones—so, especially when interacting with others, be creative. Ask active questions. Bring up something controversial. Prevent the spread of indifference. 2. Clean surfaces regularly. Like termites, rodents, and almost everything else unpleasant, apathy thrives in a dirty environment. Organize your stuff—take a look at old notebooks and photos, reminisce, and get rid of stuff you don’t need. Cleanliness is not next to godliness, but maybe it’s next to clear-headedness. 3. Do not stay home if you show symptoms. The worst thing you can do for yourself when you slip into apathy is to stay home and rest. Get moving—to a park or a bookstore or a friend’s house. 4. Do not drink lots of fluids. It’s a lot easier to fight apathy sober. Fixing this problem isn’t as easy as simply taking up a new hobby or moving to a new place. An enthusiasm for swimming or photography or music, by themselves, won’t be enough to get to the roots of apathy—that would be like fixing leprosy
with a box of band-aids. Indifference sinks deep; it’s almost genetic. That said, keeping ourselves intentionally (and not evasively) active is a good way to start to discover the truth and the beauty that will beat apathy. The key here is to be selective: instead of getting swept up in the incredible number of choices available to us, we have to restrict ourselves in some way. I’m going to learn a perfect breaststroke this summer. Or, I’m going to take a picture of each sunset. Or, I’m going to write an entire musical about a Founding Father. If we pick one thing and get excited about it—really search for what it is that draws us to it—that’s the beginning of a great discovery. By the end of the summer, if we can start to answer the question, Why is this beautiful to me?, we’ll know we’re in remission. Have a good summer, and stay healthy—there’s no vaccine for apathy.
On Donkeys and Kneeling GERARDO MARTINEZ CORDEIRO There is a popular tale around Catholic communities with devotion to St. Anthony of Padua. The saint once encountered a man that was obstinate in his sinful ways and did not believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He tried to convince the sinner about the real presence and to get him to convert. While he was able to get the sinner to doubt, he was not convinced about the Eucharist. The man developed a test to see if what St. Anthony was saying was actually true. He would starve his donkey for three days, and on the third day he would bring it out and place it between St. Anthony and the Eucharist and a barrel of oats. If the donkey recognized the presence of Christ and adored it, the man would convert and leave his sinful ways. St. Anthony agreed and, three days later, the test was set up. As the donkey was put in place, St. Anthony emerged from the chapel with the Blessed Sacrament and, before the whole town, said, “By the name and virtue of your Creator, whom I have in my hands, even though I am unworthy, I order you, wretched animal, to come without delay and humbly kneel before the King of Kings. It is necessary that those men recognize that all creatures must submit to God the Creator, whom every Catholic priest has the honor of making him descend upon the altar!”
Immediately, the donkey ignored the oats and prostrated itself before the Sacrament. The owner of the donkey repented and became a devoted son of Holy Mother Church. This story left me thinking about a problem I
Can they not recognize their Savior? Is there no place in their hearts for reverence and belief? Or are they subject to social pressures and new trends that consider human beings above the “unworthy” act of kneeling? In kneeling during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and during Consecration in Mass, we recognize the presence of Christ in our midst. We are also able to show him the reverence he deserves and, while it may be the case that kneeling is seen as degrading and uncomfortable, it is but a small price to pay for everything Christ has done for us and for everything he continues to do for us. There is also something beautiful about the devotional act of kneeling. It is offering yourself to God in reverence and then raising up to meet him and to carry out his will. It is recognizing our frailties and imperfections before a perfect God and then beginning again with his help and compassion to spread the Gospel and lead by example in our communities. It is something beautiful that must not be lost have experienced during Mass: ever more con- out of a regard for ego or comfort. If a donkey was stantly, people do not kneel. The question then able to recognize the Divine Presence within the rises in my mind: if, as the story goes, a donkey Eucharist and properly revere it, will you? was able to recognize the Blessed Sacrament and show it its due reverence, then why are some people seemingly incapable of doing the same thing?
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No Mercy Without Justice GJERGJI EVANGJELI Over the Easter season, we are often reminded of the great beauty of the fact that God chose to have mercy on us. As St. Paul says, “The wages of sin is death.” If God had given us what we really merited, we would all have deserved Hell. “But,” St. Paul continues, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:23). Elsewhere, he points out just how merciful God is when he says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). It seems, however, that the fact that God is merciful brings about a problem. If God is perfect and has all perfections, then it follows that He must be perfectly just. Mercy, on the other hand, seems to be a particular case of injustice. If we are all owed death, but God gives us life, it appears that God is being unjust—though admittedly, this is an injustice that no one would complain about. Humans, too, are capable of this kind of specialized injustice. I myself have experienced it many times, and I assume this is the case for most others. God, however, could not possibly be capable of doing the same. If God is eternal, He must be unchangeable. This is not merely a Christian notion—long before Christians existed, Aristotle too argued that this is the case. If God is unchangeable and He is perfectly just, He cannot be a little less just every now and then. He must always be perfectly just. God, therefore, must be just and merciful at the same time. In fact, I’d argue that the only way to be merciful, ultimately, is to also be just at the same time, even in our case. Let us consider what justice really is.
stand. He proclaims to His Apostles, “Take courage, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). Appearing in a vision to John, He proclaims, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). In going to the cross willingly for us, Jesus cancels out the disharmony—not only all the disharmony up to that point in time, but all of it, for all time. Justice has been restored. He can be merciful, therefore, not because He unjustly cancels our debt, but because having taken on Himself its full payment, He can forgive whomever He wills. If this is correct, however, another problem follows. Why is not everyone saved? The answer, I believe, is the same as the above: God must be both perfectly just and merciful. None of our sins are too big for Him. If we sincerely ask for forgiveness, He will grant it freely. He will not, however, forgive us without our cooperation. He is ready to give mercy, but He will not give it if we do not A popular definition for justice is “giving each ask. As He puts it, “Behold, I stand at the door [person] what is due [to him or her].” This defi- and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens nition works well for the inter-personal scenari- the door, I will come in to him and will dine with os we reason through every day, but it does not him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). If told to go away, however, He will. As C.S. seem that it is the best definition overall. Plato, for example, does not ultimately think of justice as Lewis puts in in The Great Divorce, there are ultransactional, but as harmonious. Injustice strikes timately two groups of people: those who say to a discordant note in the harmony of the universe. God “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God The work of justice, therefore, is to bring back the says, “Thy will be done.” The former are in Heavharmony. Our injustice toward God and each oth- en, and the latter are in Hell, the only place where er very clearly throws the world into disharmony their wish to be away from God can be fulfilled. As we experience the joy of the Paschal season, in the Bible. After Adam and Eve fall, the whole therefore, let us always remember God’s love and material world falls with them. God’s creation is mercy for us and that always—no matter what—if marred, its beauty and goodness wounded. When the Son comes into the world, howev- we desire His mercy, we have but to ask. er, He declares that this situation can no longer
Recognizing the Resurrected Lord FR. JUAN CARLOS RIVERA, S.J. We just recently entered the most important liturgical season of the year, namely, Easter. During these days we hear the story of Jesus’ apparition to Mary Magdalene in John 20. In this passage we read these words: “Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.” But why would the Church present to us a weeping Mary Magdalene during a time when we should be rejoicing? Can we make any sense of this for us? Why is Mary weeping? Is she crying out of joy? It doesn’t look like it from what we read. Is she hurt? Or, perhaps, is she weeping because her joy has become grief? Think about this: She walked with Jesus, heard His voice and spoke with Him—but she saw Him die. Now, her beloved, her Lord is no longer present; her consolation is gone…has someone taken Him away? Consequently, Mary’s faith is suffering, and where faith suffers, there follows a crisis in charity and hope. In Mary’s tears outside the empty tomb we see a reflection of ourselves. We, too, experience in our life the desolation that comes upon us when God seems to be dead or gone. Therefore, we become obsessed with a dead body, and we no longer move. Like Mary, we stop from proclaiming Jesus: we stay weeping outside the tomb, too. And there is nothing in this Earth, not even an apparition of angels, who can free us from our pain. Nevertheless, John 16:20 provides the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to 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.” Therefore, let us admire and behold how Jesus restores faith to Mary, for He wants us today to learn that in Him alone we found true consolation, faith, hope and charity. In order to understand that He wants us to learn this lesson, we need only to remember Paul’s words: “And if Christ has not
been raised, then empty [too] is our preaching; empty, too, your faith.” Moreover, we read that Jesus asks Mary: “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” These questions are not meant only for her—Jesus is asking them to every one of us: Why are you weeping? Have you forgotten Me? Have you forgotten all those times when I was taking care of you? What happened to that faith which you so boldly proclaimed when everything was going fine for you? Why are you looking for happiness where there is only death? Truly, why do you weep if you have known me? During this blessed time of Easter, let us consider that our life is short and we must use every minute of it to listen to Our Lord’s voice. We need to identify the ways in which we can tune in with Jesus so that we can hear Him: only His voice will “make us turn”—that is, give us faith. The Gospel tells us that when Mary recognized the living Jesus, she immediately went to proclaim His message to the Apostles, thus earning the title, “Apostle of the Apostles.” Therefore, let us not sit down, let us not be afraid; instead, recognizing everything that Jesus has done for us, let us run like Mary and proclaim to the four corners of the Earth: “I have seen the Lord.”
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Carrying The Torch: Summer Edition! The staff of The Torch is excited to announce its first Summer Edition, where the staff will report periodically during the school vacation. This edition will feature personal reflections and news updates from a variety of locations, including Paris, Rome, and the U.S.-Mexican border. Read the new articles as they appear on our website (thetorchbc.com) and subscribe to our periodic newsletters to see featured stories!
Adriana Watkins, Editor-in-Chief Will split her time between Raleigh, NC, and Boston. From Raleigh, she will write reflections on the rapidly growing Catholic population in some Southern states, speaking to clerics who minister to the expanding flocks. From Boston, she will provide updates on the work of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies. She will also keep tabs on events at BC.
Alex Wasilkoff, Managing Editor Studying in Paris, France, taking a class called “Modernism in the 20th Century.” He will provide personal reflections on his experiences, as well as potential updates on the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Ethan Starr, Culture Editor Visiting Catholic-run shelters at the U.S.-Mexico border, and will write about his time there.
Olivia Colombo, Campus News Editor Teaching ecology at the Duxbury Bay Maritime School and working on youth ministry projects with the Archdiocese of Boston. She will write about their popular Discipleship Week in June.
Patrick Stallwood, World News Editor Working in Tampa, FL, providing continued updates on Catholic news worldwide. If any mass conversion of the alligator population occurs, he will be the first to break the story.
David O’Neill, Website Editor Working as a Congressional intern in Washington, D.C. He will write about Catholic news in the nation’s capitol.
Gerard DeAngelis, Staff Writer Corresponding from Rome, Italy, where he will be studying with Msgr. Liam Bergin of the BC Theology Department. He will also provide personal reflections from the center of Roman Catholicism.
Lourdes Macaspac, Staff Writer Living in Riverside, CA, where she will write personal reflections.
Mathieu Ronayne, Staff Writer Interning at the Abigail Adams Institute in Arlington, MA. He will write C101 articles and reflect on his experiences with the Institute.
The Torch, Boston College's Catholic Newspaper's 38th Issue. More at thetorchbc.com