Univ. of St. Thomas requires freshmen to read Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Here is a dreadful story from Lifesite about something that ought to bother everyone, not only Catholics.

Let’s not have university students at a Catholic school read important literature… oh no.  Not something like Brideshead Revisited or Don Quixote or The Red Horse or The Canterbury Tales.  No.. no… Let’s have them read a second rate novella.

Minneapolis Catholic College Requires Reading of Sexually Explicit Anti-Catholic Novel – A Handmaid’s Tale

By Hilary White 

ST. PAUL, Minneapolis, October 11, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Catholic parents of students at a Catholic college in Minneapolis are outraged that their children will be forced to read the sexually explicit and anti-Christian novel, A Handmaid’s Tale by Canadian author and far-left feminist Margaret Atwood. The English Department’s faculty at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minneapolis, has voted to use the book in all sections of freshman English as this year’s “common text”.
 
Catholic columnist Matt C. Abbott has reported that concerned parents have informed the university of their objections and been ignored. The group has formed to convince the university administration to drop the “sexually offensive” book and reform its English curriculum in favour of more serious literature.
 
Atwood is known in Canada as a major figure in the ultra-feminist, anti-religious and largely state-funded literary establishment. When it was first published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985, the book was heavily criticized, largely outside Canada, as an anti-Christian screed relying for its appeal on the titillation provided by its frequent expletives and graphically depicted sex-acts, and a heavy-handed feminist ideology.
 
Despite this, the book remains at the top of charts in literary circles and has received and been nominated for numerous literary awards, including the prestigious Booker Prize. It is featured as part of the high school literature curricula in the UK, the US, Germany and Australia. It has been listed as No.37 on the “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000” by the American Library Association, as parents continue to object to its anti-Christian and sexual content.
 
The parents’ group, UST Class Action, says the book has no place on the curriculum of a Catholic university. They are seeking not only to have the book removed from the curriculum, but for the university to apologise and review and reform its policy. They accuse the university of deliberately choosing the book for its “anti-Christian/anti-Catholic indoctrination value”.

UST Class Action calls the book “insultingly vulgar, boorish and obscene.” The story of A Handmaid’s Tale revolves around an oppressive right-wing Christian totalitarian state in which women are forbidden to be educated, work, hold property or vote. They are separated, according to their fertility and social status, into three classes: wives, domestic servants and “handmaids” who are used as breeding stock for the ruling class of white Christian men. The story follows the adventures of “Offred” a handmaid who is given as a state benefit to a member of the elite and ritualistically raped to produce a male heir. Handmaids who attempt to resist or escape are publicly excuted as enemies of the state along with abortionists and homosexuals.
 
UST Class Action says, “Reading and analyzing this book is a profligate waste of the parent’s or student’s money, and a waste of the student’s time. It cheats the students of a truly quality education that includes great Western literature by Plato, Dante, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, [and] Chesterton”.
 
The group wrote to the chairman of the English Department, Andrew Scheiber, on September 4, 2007. They were told that the objections were brought to the attention of Father Dennis Dease, the President of St. Thomas University who “said he would not intervene”. The group is taking their concerns to the university’s Board of Trustees.
 
Visit the UST Class Action website [Warning: site contains excerpts of book’s graphic content]
http://www.ustclassaction.com

GO TEAM!  SINK THAT POLICY!

This is not the first year in which a dreadful book has been foisted on the students.

2007 Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale
2006 Barbara Ehrenreich Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
2005 Michelle Cliff Abeng
2004 Ariel Dorfman Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey
2003 Ralph Ellison Invisible Man
2002 Olaudah Equiano The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or
Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself
2001 Louise Erdrich The Antelope Wife
2000 Oscar Hijuelos Mr. Ives’ Christmas
1999 Mark Doty Heaven’s Coast: A Memoir
1998 Maxine Hong Kingston The Woman Warrior
1997 Sandra Cisneros The House on Mango Street
1996 Mike Rose Lives on the Boundary: A Moving Account of the Struggles and
Achievements of America’s Educationally Unprepared
1995 Carlos Fuentes The Old Gringo
1994 Toni Morrison Beloved
1993 Bharati Mukherjee Jasmine
1992 Rudolfo Anaya Bless Me, Ultima
1991 Toni Morrison Beloved
1990 Louise Erdrich Tracks
1989 Homer The Odyssey [How did this moment of sanity happen?]
1988 Nadine Gordimer July’s People
1987 Flannery O’Connor Wise Blood
1986 Eudora Welty The Optimist’s Daughter
1985 William Faulker Light in August

Everyone… right now… stop what you are doing and say a prayer that they will review and revise the policy.

MEMORARE, O piissima Virgo Maria,
non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia,
tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia,
esse derelictum.
Ego tali animatus confidentia,
ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater,
curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto.
Noli, Mater Verbi,
verba mea despicere;
sed audi propitia et exaudi.
Amen.

In English translation, the prayer is:

Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection,
implored Thy help or sought Thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother;
to Thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in Thy clemency, hear and answer me.
Amen.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Univ. of St. Thomas requires freshmen to read Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”

  1. Jenny Z says:

    College? Heck, my little sister was required to read that for her HIGH SCHOOL Advanced Literature class….

    I read it out of curiousity… waste of time is a good description.

  2. TO says:

    I wasn’t forced to read that one in high school as many of my Canadian friends were, but instead got Margaret Laurence’s dreadful “The Stone Angel.” I did see Handmaid’s Tale as an opera set by the COC, and didn’t particularly care for it. I much prefer Robertson Davies…

  3. Jonathan Bennett says:

    My High School Literature class was based around Atwood. I had assumed when I signed up for the course that we would be reading the classics- instead, as I learned on the first day of classes, the provincial school board wished to “expand our minds” with unconventional pieces and authors. Pretty much the same thing happened in all my English classes throughout High School- we had the mandatory play by Shakespeare, sometimes a “conventional” piece, such as Death of a Salesman or To kill a Mockingbird, but always with the radical stuff, like Atwood.

    Sad. Schools need to be teaching the classics of literature- Homer, Virgil, Horace, Dante, Chaucer…

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    The Odyssey [How did this moment of sanity happen?]

    Could there be a radical feminist version of The Odyssey that we’re unaware of?

  5. Michael R. says:

    I’ve read it, and it’s garbage. Fortunately, it’s so obviously garbage that any college student with half a brain will be able to identify it as such. On the other hand, a freshman English instructor at a Jesuit colege in the 1970s made us read “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”, and I was the only student in the class who thought that reading it was a waste of a perfectly good hour of my life. I had to pay $12.00 (in 1971 dollars) for the damned thing, too.

  6. Ronald McCloskey says:

    Mr. Edwards asks if there could be a feminist “Odyssey.” Why of course! By our dear Ms. Atwood herself:

    :-)

    http://www.amazon.com/Penelopiad-Myth-Penelope-Odysseus-Myths/dp/1841957178

  7. Andy K. says:

    While the University of Dayton does something similar, they only use the book during freshman orientation. Beyond that, it’s unread.

  8. PNP, OP says:

    I did my PhD work in American lit. in the 90’s. There was one constant in literary studies at the time: no reading list approved unless it had works from racial minorities and gay/les/trans on it. It didn’t matter who you put on the list or what work of theirs you chose…the only question asked: where’s the black woman and the gay guy? To even suggest that we choose lit based on some objective literary criteria was heresy. It was all about politics, politics, politics. I’m sorry to see that our Catholic universities have fallen for this nonsense. Anyone wanting a good, solid education in the western tradition, come to the University of Dallas. You can take Literary Tradition with me in the spring! Fr. Philip, OP

  9. Jean-Delacroix says:

    Hold up now…”Wiseblood” (and Flannery O’Connor in general, along with Walker Percy and Thomas Merton) is EXACTLY the kind of stuff that needs to be taught in our Catholic Colleges…Modern Catholic voices who are not closet Episcopalians…O’Connor was a life long devout Roman Catholic growing up in and writing about the anti-Catholic South…a woman who defended the Real Presence by stating “Well if it’s a symbol then to Hell with it…that was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

    JLD

    To lump her in the same pile as Margaret Atwood is ludicrous.

  10. The book listed for the previous year is Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.” I’ve read this book, and would personally recommend it to others, as a commentary on the challenge of a large segment of the American population in earning a living wage, the endeavor of which is a tenet of Catholic social teaching. If you’ve never had to clean toilets, wait tables, or stock shelves for a living, you’d be wise to learn how “the other half” is forced to live.

    That’s at least one more “moment of sanity” accounted for.

  11. Mark says:

    My freshman year at St. Thomas I had to read the same book. Please PRAY for the University of St. Thomas. There is a real conflict on campus and it seems that the faculty are polarized. It is a conflict between the reign of Christ the King, and the “spirit of the world” with its modern liberal relativism. At times the university seems poised for a grass-roots renewal of Catholic identity, but this renewal is vigorously opposed by liberal sectors. These sectors want to define Catholic identity as refering primarily to having elements of an intellectual tradition but basically open to all ideologies, rather than a safe place within the kingdom of Christ to engage the liberal arts. The real issue seems to be spiritual. The year perpetual (more or less) Eucharistic adoration was introduced appeared to be a year of unprecedented ideological conflict, and it is hard for me to see this as coincidental. It seems that there are significant groups of students dedicated to a Catholic renewal and very signifant groups who, as typical college students, are not so concerned. Then there are smaller but aggressive groups of students opposed. However the faculty is another story (and they are not without a hand in fomenting the aggressively opposed student groups). They seem to be compartmentalized and clearly divided. These divisions have gone so far that some professors post ideological messages from their office windows, or wear ideological lapel pins. There are also appears to be quiet conflicts in acceptance and the preservation of faculty. There are rumors that there have been attempts by one or other sector to inflitrate the other. But in the end it really seems to be a spiritual conflict. Please pray for the University of St. Thomas, and pray for Fr. Dease. This is certainly an issue related to the salvation of souls, as many freshman enter somewhat clueless in this area, and are shaped (I know that college students are supposed to be critical and intellegent, but human nature is what it is) by what they encounter at the university. A.M.D.G.

  12. Michael says:

    David,

    Ehrenreich is a socialist, a Marxist. It’s one thing to have sympathy and appreciation for the lower classes and the work they do, it’s quite another to demand that the state give them a more comfortable lifestyle with someone elses hard earned money. Ehrenreich came to speak at my commencement ceremony last year. Everything she said was watered down communism. She’s not an ecomonist and doesn’t realize that raising the minimum wage only hurts the poor, and she is by no means a Christian. Marxist economic theory is incompatible with Christianity.

  13. Michael:

    I am familiar with the other views espoused by Ehrenreich. My endorsement was confined to the book alone. The case could also be made, and has been by more than one pope (and Bishop Sheen on television in the 1950s, as I remember), that unchecked capitalism is also incompatible with Christianity.

  14. dcs says:

    You know, I like Flannery O’Connor’s work, and I realize she was a devout Catholic at a time and place where that wasn’t exactly fashionable, but I don’t like Wise Blood at all and would never recommend it to anyone.

  15. mike says:

    Wise Blood

    Read it many times – an excellent story and more wonderful after every read. This woman was/is a saint in my mind. (Walker Percy freaks me out – in a good way.)

    m

  16. Dionysius Harriedopolis says:

    Note the date when Flannery O\’Connor was read–1987–20 years ago. Since then most of the works listed here are feminist-post-colonial-gay-lesbian-transgendered-poke -a-sharp-stick-in-the-tradition\’s-eye sorts of stuff. Sure, O\’Connor is a classic, faithful Christian writer. But she hasn\’t been read in this shared-text program for 20 years.

    English departments are frequently the worst-of-the-worst as far as PC garbage is concerned.

  17. Fr. Brian Stanley says:

    With Doris Lessing winning the Nobel Literature prize this week, she opens the door for Margaret Atwood to win in the next five to ten years. You heard it here first, folks.

  18. RBrown says:

    For those Walker Percy fans I recommend Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter’s Son by Will Percy, the man who raised Walker.

  19. Danielle says:

    I was really mad that in high school, I was never forced to read any type of classics in the mandatory English classes. However, my Humanities teacher (who was Catholic) made us read Dante’s Inferno (sadly not all of it) on top of every classic Greek and Roman story or poem. He also made us read about and learn about the Catholic Church and all the schisms and breakaways. We also had to learn about the areas in a Catholic Church since it had to deal with architecture of that time (at least that’s what he told us).

    Luckily I’ve been spared in college from having to read tasteless books and novellas. So far.

  20. MB says:

    I graduated from a Catholic university four years ago. (I will simply say that it was NOT St. Thomas.) That university, in my opinion, failed in almost every way to live up to its supposedly “Catholic” identity: liturgically, theologically, intellectually, and morally. These failures came both in terms of the “morals” and political policies that it promoted and in the tolerance, even acceptance, of real immorality–such as the homosexual advocacy club, complete with its faculty advisor, who was/is a priest, the first year theology book that seemed to take every possible opportunity to foster doubt in the Catholic Church and in Jesus Himself, the presence of pro-abortion speakers…and that’s just getting started.

    It is because of my undergraduate experience that I am not shocked in even the slightest bit that a book like Atwood’s would be required reading in a Catholic university in the United States. Sadly, it is simply par for the course; it is what I would expect. And that is what I find especially troubling: the fact that Atwood’s book is required reading at St. Thomas SHOULD shock me, it SHOULD surprise me, and it SHOULD be seen as unusual, but it does not do any of these things because it fits perfectly with my Catholic university experience and that of friends who went to other Catholic universities. While there are certainly a few faithful, intellectual Catholic universities that I know of in the United States (some of them quite new), they are certainly a minority and certainly do not receive much attention.

    In my opinion this is a serious problem for our Church. Simply put, students who go to most “Catholic” universities end up receiving four years of nonsense that seems intentionally designed to undermine their Catholic faith, or at least to seriously misinform them about it. It seems to work most of the time, too, at least in my experience. Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t stop at these universities’ negative affect on the faith of Catholics: I knew a number of moral, faithful Protestants who went into my Catholic university (and another one nearby) merely ambivalent towards Catholicism and left actively disliking it because of the intellectual and moral nonsense that was fed to them for four years. The general acceptance and practice of immoral behavior among the student body was also scandalous to these Protestants–as it should have been! In other words, these Protestants left with a view of Catholicism that had almost nothing to do with what the Church really believes, and I consider that a sad state of things. (And, by the way, how is a Catholic student who is faithful to the Magisterium supposed to tell these Protestants that they really aren’t getting an accurate view of Catholicism when all of the priests, faculty, and students around them are doing/saying things that are quite the opposite of that accurate depiction?)

  21. Franklin Jennings says:

    Never read “A Handmaid’s Tale”, but “Oryx and Crake” was one of the best dystopian novels I have ever read.

  22. Dionysius Harriedopolis says:

    MB,

    Tell your friends (including the Protestant ones) to write a letter to the president of the university and copy it, if you can track down the addresses of the chairman of the board of trustees, and to the bishop of the diocese. Students and parents’ voices have far more weight than faculty. Most faithful Catholic faculty have been saying what you say here for years and are now simply written off as crackpots.

    Most fake-Catholic university presidents believe that the “market” of Catholic parents out there simply is too dumb to know the difference, and that by diluting the Catholicness of their schools they open up a new market share among non-Catholics and Muslims and Jews etc. who would never have come if the school were confessionally Catholic. They are convinced (and their market research tells them) that donors, parents, students want what they are offering. And they may be right–it may true that people like you are the tiny minority. But all you and those you know who think like you do can do is to make your voice heard. The trustees, the president, and the bishop are the key players here.

    Since John Piderit’s book and similar commentary in recent years, Catholic university presidents are beginning to see the “market” shifting–they realize that the totally un-Catholic approach since the late 1960s has run its course, that a new demographic that grew up since Vatican II and feels deprived of their Catholic heritage is now entering the college-recruitment pool. But they believe that this “market” can be recruited by a slight shift back toward “Catholic identity,” so as not to lose the non-Catholic market share gained over the last 30 years or so. Their goal is a kind of Commonweal/America Catholic identity, not a WDTPRS/Ignatius Press/Crisis/Ratzingerian Catholic identity.

    Anything that you and others like you can do to instruct them otherwise will be to the good. As more and more bishops begin to hint that they have the guts to withdraw the “Catholic” label, presidents and trustees will get the message.

    However, just to be realistic about it, even after trustees and presidents get the message, the final hurdle to real change is the faculty, as witnessed by this English department choice of Atwood’s garbage. Even after presidents and trustees begin to put the squeeze on faculty to hire real Catholics, departments made up of 1970s -era delayed adolescents now in their 50s and 60s, will resist. Still, the pressure, if kept up, will eventually begin to bring about changes or at least set the stage for bishops to withdraw the Catholic name. Some of the biggest, most prestigious schools may well just go secular and abandon the Catholic label but most of the middle-range ones will take it seriously.

    I speak as a long-term faculty member at a major Catholic university. I have fought year after year for Catholic identity and am now simply written off as a crackpot. However pressure from the president is being heard. My department doesn’t have the faintest idea how to respond to it–they realize they do need to but they are so hopelessly confused about what it means to be Catholic (they are all products of secular PhD programs at major research universities in the 1970s and 1980s) that their efforts to respond to the president’s pressure would be amusing if they were not so sad. And my department is a theology department. In the social sciences or even the rest of the humanities faculty have even less of a vague idea of how to be Catholic.

  23. Dionysius Harriedopolis says:

    I don’t know what happened in my previous comment, but the struck-through section was not struck-through by my intentional coding, so please read it as if that portion is part of the comment. I guess an HTML tag must have slipped in, but I know I didn’t type one. It’s strange. I did have a lot of trouble getting the anti-spam word to work.

  24. MB says:

    Dionysius Harriedpolis:

    Thank you for your comments. I actually graduated four years ago, so I cannot really write to the bishop or the board of trustees, etc., about anything I am currently experiencing. The approach you suggest certainly seems like the right one, though, and I wish I had taken that approach while in college. Instead, other than an editorial in the city’s newspaper and speaking out in class and at some meetings on campus–thus making myself the “crackpot” on campus, I guess–I really did not do all that much to fight the problem, and admittedly contacting the local bishop never even occurred to me as an option (mainly because I was certain that he was quite fine with the way things were at the college). Instead, I mostly disengaged from the university and tried to live my Catholic faith out away from campus. That was, in hindsight, a mistake.

    The low point in my Catholic faith life was, without a doubt, the three and a half years I spent as an undergraduate at that “Catholic” college. It was only after leaving that the vibrancy of my faith began to return to what it had been before entering.

  25. Dionysius Harriedopolis says:

    MB,

    It’s not too late. You are now an alumnus/a and as such, probably have a greater voice than you did as a student. Ask for a progress report from the president. Put the burden of proof on the university to demonstrate that they have a strong Catholic identity. Don’t let them fob you off with Commonweal-type boilerplate. Surf the online syllabi for courses that are public knowlege. Surf the university website to see which speakers are being invited to campus etc.

    I also want to be clear that the bishop is the secondary contact. Ex corde ecclesiae says that Catholic universities have autonomy. They are obligated to nurture a Catholic ethos on campus and the responsibility to see that this happens rests with them–president, trustees, students, alumni. The bishop cannot and ought not try to govern universities in his diocese to see that they do this; he can admonish those that he thinks are failing but the “fixing” still rests with them. Only as a last resort, if they steadfastly refuse to fix the problem, can he withdraw the right to call themselves Catholic. (Diocesan and pontifical universities are in a very different relationship with bishops.)

    So the trustees and the president are the first people to contact. They are the ones most attune to “market” shifts. Faculty are parochial, tunnel-visioned, bull-headed self-centered clueless–in most cases–as far as “market” conditions are concerned.

    But copying a letter to the bishop lets the trustees and president know that you know that their autonomy is not total, that they can’t simply ignore the Church.

    Finally, the one area where the bishop does have more direct authority is in worship and catechesis on campus (though this too may to some degree be mediated via superiors of religious orders–still, the bishop has a say here that he does not have in the academic or even the social life of a non-pontifical university). Liturgical abuses and catechetical distortions and abuses may rightly be reported to the bishop (perhaps with a copy to the university ministry head). Or one begins with a complaint to the university minisitry head (going through channels) but if a forthright corrective is not forthcoming, one may quickly inform the bishop.

  26. Maria says:

    We had to read it at my notsoCatholic high school too. They did mention something dimly about being able to opt out of reading it… way to take a stand, not.

  27. Matt says:

    A good article outlining how Handmaid’s Tale is NOT Anti-Catholic, and, in fact, is in line with Catholic viewpoints and ethics: http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/016092.html and then http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/016101.html#more

  28. Dionysius Harriedopolis says:

    The article is less than helpful. It’s a set of half-truths.

    It is correct to point out that A Handmaid’s Tale has as its villainous protagonists a vaguely Protestant Fundamentalist set of vaguely Christian tyrants. They are not remotely described as Catholic.

    It is not true, however, that because the book stands up for women it coinheres with Catholic principles. The book uses the “people who really believe something are Taliban” principle, long before Taliban was a household word. It’s a feminist screed, not a defense of women. It employs the common feminist assumption that if one doesn’t sign on to “reproductive freedom” one hates women. And Catholics most certainly do come under the gun when that artillary swings into action.

    Beyond that, it’s just shoddy writing–as Matt notes. It would never have won the acclaim it has were it not a strident feminist screed. Even if it were true that it is not anti-Catholic, it still would be a stupid choice for required reading. But it is a feminist screed that drips with hatred of traditional religious believers. Anyone who thinks that only Protestant Fundamentalists were Atwood’s target has already succumbed to the divide-and-conquer strategy.

    And I’m not sure that a radically libertarian website is the place to go for oracles about what counts as Catholic and anti-Catholic.

  29. mary martha says:

    It was required reading at my Jesuit High School.

    It’s not such a surprise that most of my HS friends are atheists… and I am only returned to Catholicism after a long time as an atheist as well.

  30. Federico says:

    At the risk of angering everybody on this blog…I respectfully disagree that reading such a book in a Catholic university is a bad thing. Let me explain before you reject me out of hand.

    I will begin by telling a story. A few years ago, I was at a friend’s house, a good, solid Catholic man. On his coffee table I saw a copy of The Da Vinci Code. Appalled, I asked “Why are you reading this trash.” To which he responded “if you battle the enemy, it pays to know him.”

    I realized he was right.

    Catholic college students should have a decent level of maturity and Faith formation (I have a daughter who’s a sophomore at Franciscan so I have first hand knowledge that it’s at least possible). Given that, and given that we expect them to graduate and become defenders of the Faith, should we not arm them with knowledge of the enemy and expose them to his tools of deceit and persuasion?

    We are called to go out and convert the world, not live in isolated Catholic enclaves (”Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”). This may require us to speak the world’s language and understand prevailing errors, illusions, and deceptions – so we can be prepared to fight them. We must master modern media (like this blog) and turn it to advantage (John Paul II knew this well and it was at his request that the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce established a school of media communications).

    In this context then, it is not only reasonable, but also laudable to expose young adults to the world’s folly. It provides them the tools to enter the world armed with the best tools to evangelize it. Knowledge of the enemy is a weapon in the battle (and a deadly battle it is); what general would refuse accurate intelligence?

    Furthermore, studying such material in a controlled environment (such as a Catholic institution) provides defence. Is it not better that young people be made aware of deception by those who will point out the deception, rather than by those who will attempt to deceive them? You can tell somebody about a danger all day, but it’s another thing entirely to show the danger in all its gore. Properly done, this too is a valuable lesson to the young.

  31. supermanreturns says:

    You are right federico. It’s easy to condemn.
    I read the book in question, it isn\’t anti-catholic by any means.

    People posting here may be identifying the catholic church with a nazi state, which it isn’t. The nazi state in the book is not catholic at all.

    One should be able to study the book to understand it, its good ideas and if there are bad ideas, to understand what they are too.
    We don’t need anti-intellectual catholics. That’s purely stupid.

  32. supermanreturns: The point is that, with all the truly important books that there are to be read and known in the Western canon, the choice of this book was an ill-advised and probably intentionally tendentious waste of time and money.

  33. Jason W says:

    I was forced to read the first Harry Potter book as a freshman in a Catholic university in southwestern Pennsylvania. I would say that this is nowhere as bad, were the course a simple literature course. Oh no, this was a course in LOGIC and RHETORIC. Needless to say we learned nothing of either that semester.

  34. Picking a nit: Lifesite is confused as to the location of St. Paul, and of the location of the University of St Thomas. St. Paul is not in Minneapolis. It is a city. Minneapolis is a city. Both are cities in Minnesota. While a branch of the campus of St. Thomas is in Minneapolis, the main campus is entirely in St. Paul.

    As a journalist, such blatant and silly inaccuracies really bother me. But I’ve come to expect such sloppy writing from Lifesite, being that it still pushes the big lie that Pope Benedict has condemned the Harry Potter books.

    And regarding St. Thomas, that it promotes this femtard filth does not surprise me either. I am still amazed that it allows us to hold our annual Chesterton conference on its campus every year.

  35. Richard T says:

    Odd that the only decent book set in 22 years of an English course is in Greek.