Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pax Christi: Leading students astray?

One of the student religious organizations at Holy Cross is that of Pax Christi.

Pax Christi is organized at Holy Cross in order to promote peace and justice. Nationally, Pax Christi also claims they are an organization committed to peace and nonviolence. Yet their involvement in the election this past November makes it seem as though they serve as a front for Catholic confusion on essential moral teachings. In fact, they put their pursuit of peace and justice at odds with other Catholicism, and claim that Catholics ought to look at 'other issues' other than a 'single-issue' they don't name, but is easily understood as abortion.

Several of the students involved with Pax Christi at Holy Cross don't even refer to themselves as Catholic. There's an Episcopalian, a "transcendentalist mystic", a self-described "whatever" and one who qualifies their Catholicism with an amendment: "Catholic - Jesuit" to their identity. This ought not be blown up to be more than it is, but at some level certainly represents the way in which traditional Catholicism is held as not representative of these "social justice" concerns. And it presents students with false choices, that their legitimate concern for the poor has to come at the cost of supporting poor women who are sadly considering abortion. Mother Theresa said it best, that it is poverty that a child must die so that we can live as we wish. Poor women don't need abortion, poor women need the financial and emotional support to choose life. Barack Obama, whom they are tacitly building support for through mitigating the importance of life, has pledged to remove all regulations on abortion which will increase both the number of abortions and the abortion rate. Obama's economic policies are sure to deepen economic problems, just as the New Deal worsened the Depression, so he will not help the poor either.

And instead of opposing war and racism, Pax Christi instead spent most of their time in the past election cycle confusing Catholic voters as to what Catholic teaching involved. Certainly there are moral responsibilities to the poor and to prevent racism, but the moral wrong of abortion is unlike any other moral question. Pax Christi's handout "Life does not begin at birth" is pretty obvious that it intends to mitigate the moral wrong of abortion. The flyer even comically repeats the lie that 700,000 civilians have died in the Iraq war. Every death is tragic, but it seems quite odd that Pax Christi would resort to these lies in order to confuse people about the 1,500,000 abortions in America happen every year.

Pax Christi seems to be actively promoting confusion and sowing division within the Church and the Catholic community.

Holy Cross Debate: in the past

In the past, Holy Cross used to have a debate club and would annually host a "Bishop Healy tournament" for high school students in the area. This existed from about 1986 to 2000, and has not resurfaced. It's sad that such a group no longer exists, as it would protect the college against much of the groupthink and uncritical acceptance of much of what the professors preach.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holy Cross Social Justice: Demeaning to blue-collar workers

Megan Skwirz, '12, wrote in the Oct. 31st issue of the Crusader about Mountaintop Mining in Appalachia. Her article "The Human Side of the Coal Debate" has several interesting paragraphs, which I doubt she means to be as demeaning as they come across. Miss Skwirz says:

"The residents of the often poor and marginalized mining communities in Appalachia, many of which Holy Cross students have met on Spring Break trips to Appalachia, are for whom we should be the most concerned."

and then goes on later to say:

"Toxins released into public water supplies during MTR (Mountain top removal) processes also plague these communities. Not only do these toxins exterminate all life in local river ecosystems, but the same residents that work in the mines, making a living the only way they know how, turn on their faucets in the morning to a black sludge. Others take a dozen prescription medications to stay alive."

Not only are people in Appalachia not ones whom you should reference as being scenery during your vacation, these are certainly not the "only jobs" they "know how" to do. Social Justice teaching at the school ought to reinforce the inherent dignity not only of every man and woman but also of every job and every profession. There is certainly dignity in every job, and we should always be careful not to denigrate the living of anyone, no matter where they live or how foreign their trade.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dorm Development: Wasted funds

Holy Cross is planning a major development of a dorm to house 156 students that was recently approved for construction. This dorm will cost $20.4 million to create space for 156 students. Doing simple math, that works out to $130,769 per student. Housing two students in each unit, therefore, works out to $261,538 each. They are obviously not being very responsible or sensible with the funds. In fact, the houses on Caro street are valued at about that $250k price each, and certainly each house could house more than two students at a time. $20.4 million would get you 81 properties at 250k each, about enough to buy the entire neighborhood.