Boston College and the Crucifix

This is in from the Cardinal Newman Society:

Students and faculty returned to Boston College (BC), a Jesuit Catholic institution, for the Spring 2009 semester to find that crucifixes and icons had been placed in many classrooms that had been long bereft of sacred art. This move, which helps strengthen the university’s Catholic identity, came by direct request of President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., according to a campus newspaper editor. …


I would shout the "A" word… but this is now the tempus Septuagesimae.

Read the rest of the piece here.

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  1. Frank H says:

    My joy was tempered when I read the article and found this…

    “Now with the addition of several crucifixes and icons, many are reacting strongly. The Observer reports that some professors and students were upset by the administration’s action, with at least one professor “refusing to teach in classrooms adorned by a crucifix even if he should have to move his class to a different room at his own expense.””

    It’s reassuring to see, later in the article, that some students applaud the move!

  2. pb says:

    Now if they would only do something about their theology department.

  3. Brandon says:

    About time. That’s where the seminarians from Boston study, mostly. It’s nice to see that their education might progress toward a more Catholic atmosphere. Then again, with the way Boston seems to desire their seminarians, anything that smacks of an authentic Catholic Culture is likely to make them change educational venues.

  4. mpm says:

    at least one professor “refusing to teach in classrooms adorned by a crucifix even if he should have to move his class to a different room at his own expense.”

    I say, call his bluff!

  5. pb says:

    That’s where the seminarians from Boston study, mostly.

    Some of the seminarians with a BA may do their philosophy there, but college seminarians were being sent to SCB in Philadelphia. (At least this was the case 2 years ago–I don’t know if the archdiocese has changed this since then.) The theologate is still an independent institution, though some have wondered whether it might not be rolled into Weston in the future.

  6. Steve says:

    President Rev. William P. Leahy should follow USMC Chaplain Father Lawrence Lynch’s lead and deal with any professor refusing to teach in a classroom with a crucifix in the manner listed below: (The WWII Marine gained a popular reputation by backing up his ministry.)

    Concerned about the spiritual state of his Marine charges, the chaplain sent his assistant to the mess tent to tell the Marine major in charge to announce that confessions would be heard after dinner. The unpopular and overbearing major, known as “Herman the German,” made light of the announcement and intimated that going to confessions was for wimps. Apprised of the situation by his assistant, the stocky and enraged Father Lynch took matters into his own hands and stormed directly into the mess tent, decking the unprepared officer with one single punch, rendering him unconscious. Father had made his point and had a long line of Marines, Catholic and non-Catholic, for confessions.

    “Father Cyclone” known also as “Champ” and “Butch” and “Holy Hurricane” shortly later was killed as he ministered the last rites to one of his boys under fire on Okinawa.

  7. Brandon says:

    but college seminarians were being sent to SCB in Philadelphia

    I was one of them. After two years they ordered three of us to Franciscan University. Two of us are subsequently no-longer seminarians and the third is at OLP in Rhode Island. And the two sems left at SCS are graduating and none are being sent there again.

    And my understanding of the Theologate is that it’s PRIMARILY an house of formation with a few core classes being taught on the “grounds” (such as are left) of the seminary, but most of the classes being taken across Mass Ave at BC…

  8. William says:

    Gaudeamus! (Tempus Septuagesimae withstanding) Praise God the trend will spread to all Jesuit institutions. Anyone know the status at Georgetown?

  9. ad abolendam says:

    Boston College theology grad student here. I noticed this a couple of weeks ago and was quite surprised. I’m just waiting for the day that the EF of the Roman Rite is celebrated on campus. I won’t be holding my breath.

  10. RBrown says:

    The Observer reports that some professors and students were upset by the administration’s action, with at least one professor “refusing to teach in classrooms adorned by a crucifix even if he should have to move his class to a different room at his own expense.””
    Comment by Frank H

    Evidence of what kind of faculty infests some Catholic schools.

  11. Bobby Bambino says:

    This is wonderful, but it’s so sad that having a crucifix in a Catholic College classroom isn’t necessarily a given.

  12. Brother Juniper says:

    This is very good and encouraging news. At the campus, which I attend, there is always a crucifix in the classroom. At least, the ones that are located in the Administration Building have them in the classrooms and also in some other parts of the campus. But not in EVERY classroom or laborartory.

  13. boston seminarian says:

    With regard to St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, MA, it is now on the campus of Boston College, but both the pre-theologate and the theologate are taught entirely in-house. The seminary is completely owned and run by the Archdiocese of Boston, and is very orthodox these days. . It is possible to take classes with the Weston Jesuit school, but there is no reason to believe that Boston’s seminarians will ever be formed by Boston College, despite how much Boston College might want that to happen. As far as I know, Boston’s policy is now to send all of its college seminarians to Our Lady of Providence.

  14. Megan says:

    The Observer quotes sophomore student Billy Cody arguing that having a crucifix or icon in the classroom “fits perfectly with the Jesuit motto ‘Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam’ (For the Greater Glory of God) because its presence reminds us that even in the classroom, we act for His greater glory.”

    Hoorah! At least some of the students approve of the small but significant step. Many prayers are needed.

  15. Ubi Petrus Ibi Ecclesia says:

    ad abolendam- You’re right, don’t hold your breath. I’m also a student at BC, and I know personally that there have been many unsuccessful attempts to get the administration to acknowledge its Roman Catholic tradition and heritage in this way. But if there are enough of us out there who desire it, maybe they will start to listen.

    Megan- there is a small but vocal and active group of Catholics on the BC campus, and we’re growing, and our effects are being felt increasingly. We certainly do need your prayers!

  16. BCatholic says:

    Please send thank you notes to Fr. Leahy if you are associated with Boston College.

    Boston’s seminarians (St. John’s Seminary) do not study at Boston College. If someone has an elective, they may take one at BC. Almost everything they take is in house.

    Also, Ubi Petrus Ibi Ecclesia, it’s not a matter of making attempts at acknowledging our tradition. You make it sound as if Father Leahy is unwilling. Father Leahy is a good man and a fine priest. It’s a matter of baby-steps. There are more than enough faithful people at Boston College both studying, teaching, and in the administration. Situations are just more complex than they appear to the outside world.

    -Donato Infante III

  17. supertradmom says:

    After reading the longer article, I have a question. Why does Boston College hire professors who object to religious art? Odd to hire persons who are against the supposed mission of the university.

  18. Fr. Steve says:

    Wow! Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ king of endless glory!
    Padre, How’s that for Septuagesiame?

  19. Thomas says:

    As a 2004 graduate of Boston College I can assure you that you can get an authentically Catholic education at the school, but only if you actively seek it out. If you blindly pick your classes and professors the odds are against you. Ask graduates and faithful faculty for their guidance. Professor Kreeft and Father Tacelli are two good men to start with.

    I got lucky. When I took “Perspectives” (a 2-semester philosophy/theology core course) freshman year I had an Anglican Priestess as my professor. Early on in the first semester she disappeared for a couple classes and then the program head came and told us she was being replaced due to illness.

    Her replacement?

    Peter Kreeft. Jackpot.

  20. ad abolendam says:

    Thomas says: “As a 2004 graduate of Boston College I can assure you that you can get an authentically Catholic education at the school, but only if you actively seek it out.”

    You can even get a graduate degree in theology, and still remain an orthodox Catholic, if you’re careful.

  21. Thomas says:

    Ad abolendam,

    Good luck to you! I started as a double major in philosophy and theology, but finished with a degree in just philosophy. I found the theology department to be a wasteland.

  22. Ubi Petrus Ibi Ecclesia says:

    Donato- Yes it is possible that Fr Leahy is a fine priest and man, and perhaps baby-steps are being made to help BC rediscover its Catholic heritage, even though I’ve seen very little evidence of this. And you are right that situations are complex and require careful action. I would, however, disagree that there are “more than enough faithful people” in the Boston College community to get things done, when there are constant obstacles and impediments put in place by some in the community (from the administration all the way down). If there were more than enough people of true Catholic faith around, terrible things like having the Vagina Monologues performed on campus or having Support Love (read: Support Same-Sex Attraction) rallies with the support of the administration would not be repeatedly occurring. The school likes to do some things here and there to create a facade of Catholic orthodoxy, but their other actions contradict this. If we are to bring back a true sense of Catholic identity, Catholic institutions like Boston College need to be Catholic unequivocally, through and through.

  23. Jayna says:

    Good news, indeed (despite some of the negative reactions, at least something has been done). BC is one of the schools on my PhD shortlist.

  24. Roland de Chanson says:

    The Crucifix has been removed from BC classrooms? By the goddess, I hope the Mary Daly pentagrams survived the damned Casuists’ Falò delle vanità. Ecrasez l’infâme! The University, not the Church.

  25. Steven says:

    clearly the other ‘A’ word is also appropriate ‘AMEN’

  26. English Catholic says:

    I’m used to these situations, and fully expect the usual suspects to grumble when crucifixes are restored. But this quote:
    “The Observer quotes the BC chemistry chairperson on the placing of the crucifixes, “I can hardly imagine a more effective way to denigrate the faculty of an educational institution.””
    – quite literally left me speechless! Why wasn’t this person sacked on the spot?

  27. BCatholic says:

    Thomas, one can take ten theology classes (the major) at BC with only faithful professors. It can be done. Any incoming student who wants help selecting classes should contact Fr. Ron Tacelli and have him help get the student in touch with more of the right people.

    And Ubi, there are things going on behind the scenes that people don’t see. Maybe some new hires are people that the public doesn’t see. The Monologues is a red herring. Also, I would suggest that we all keep in mind that doing something too controversial might get someone fired and that goes all the way up. Even the president answers to the board. And I’m not saying that I know the board to be problematic for the president, I’m just saying it is more complex than we understand.

    That is not to say that I recommend parents send their kids to BC thinking they are going to get the same education as at Franciscan or Christendom. Students who aren’t strong in their faith and wouldn’t be careful in picking and choosing classes or clubs should not be sent to BC. At the same time, those strong in their faith will get the benefit of confronting the culture while still being safe with very learned professors and priests around to help get us through.

    In the meantime, keep praying.

    -Donato Infante III

  28. RBrown says:

    BC Catholic,

    How about Steve Brown and Tom Wangler?

Comments are closed.