More Letters to the Editor
Thanks for the wonderful article on Cathy Springfield and the Xavier Players. I was an avid member of the theatre department when I attended XU in the early 90's and am so pleased to see them getting the respect and facilities they deserve. Cathy has long been on my list of "people who've made a great impact on my life." Bravo and break a leg.
Becky Crist Johnson
Xavier Magazine has to be one of the best in the country, and I have seen many, including my wife's alma mater, and by her admission, Xavier's is better. So congratulations on the fine, outstanding publication. I read it from cover to cover asap as it arrives, which some times takes me a couple of weeks. I enjoy the closings with the alumni profiles. The thought crossed my mind when I read them this time, that I might make the suggestion to include profiles of retirees, those who have gone before, the lay the ground work for those presently. When [University President] Fr. Graham has his very nice Christmas Mass and reception for the retirees, he always says we are the people who sometimes struggled to make the University what it is today. These profiles should be both faculty and administrators, and I might say that selfishly because I was an administrator for my whole career at Xavier, but also taught. I am thinking of a person like Irv Beumer who worked a couple of different positions before he retired as vice president of financial administration. He tells of times when they struggled to make payroll. But also faculty members like Dr. Johnson in chemistry, Dr. Anderson in psychology, etc.
Offended and Excited
I recently saw the spring issue of Xavier magazine, including the related articles by John Bookser Feister and the quoted comments of Howard Gray, S.J., of John Carroll University, and I was deeply offended. As a 66-year-old Catholic, born into Catholicism, and educated in the 1940's and 1950's, I took grave offense at Gray's comments of when he said "Certainly the weakest theology we taught was in the period of 1940 to 1960. It was all too frequently catechism instruction with more notes." According to your "mission statement,” Xavier magazine is supposed to "engage, educate and excite" us. You excited me, all right, but perhaps not in the way you expected. That mission statement also says that you "strive to...treat all topics and issues in an objective, balanced manner." You sure missed the mark with these articles. Both Feister's and Gray's remarks reek with post-Vatican II bias. Their comments reek of triumphalism, elitism and hubris. A better headline for the articles might have been "My Catholicism is better than your foolish, old, out-dated Catholicism."
Feister opined that "Ignatius Loyola would be jumping up and down with joy" [at the climate at Xavier today]. How does he know? Ignatius might just take after Feister with his sword. He's dead, and we can't ask him. Feister's and Gray's comments are opinion, and only that. If you have any intention of being true to your "mission statement,” let some folks from "Crisis" magazine and "Adoremus Bulletin" have their shot at responding to Gray and Feister. Xavier puffs out its academic chest with pride and boasts about its "inclusiveness." Let's see a little of that vaunted inclusiveness when it comes to Catholics of a "traditional" bent—those who know, for instance, that the ecclesiastical authorities have asked that all teaching staff at Catholic University show their faithfulness to Church teaching through such things as a loyalty oath, compliance with which has not been forthcoming. Finally, I'd like to challenge Gray to be specific with regard to what he claims was "the weakest theology we taught" during the 1940's to 1960. According to people like this, the Catholic Church wasn't invented until the Second Vatican Council. It was during this period that my own Catholicism was formed.
Under a photo on page 27 were these words: "In past eras, attendance at Mass was mandatory. Today, Mass is voluntary—and more widely attended." This is patently untrue. The Church regards the deliberate missing of Mass on Sundays and Holy Days as a grave (mortal) sin. If you want a better gauge of the "effectiveness" of today's "theology,” take a look at the lines for confession in our churches on Saturday afternoon and compare those to the ones in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. I was there then, and I'm here now. I can tell you about the difference.
There is no way that if I were a non-Catholic, I would convert to the Catholicism I see today in this country. The pre-Vatican II theology produced many saints, including my own mother and father, and several of my siblings. I resent the sentiments expressed in these columns, and I would like to see an apology and an opportunity afforded to qualified people to respond in an "objective, balanced manner."
Is there some ironclad rule that every article in your magazine has to have a "clever" pun as its title—even an article on Auschwitz? When you occasionally print something that can make people feel and think, there is no need to coat it in cuteness.
Department of philosophy