Boston College is a university, and a fairly good one at that. It’s a Catholic institution, stating that it “is committed to maintaining and strengthening the Jesuit, Catholic mission of the University.” Like many Catholic universities, BC has to balance being a religious institution with having a large and diverse student body that is no longer expected to necessarily be of the Catholic mold.
BC is very committed to its Catholic mission and, as such, it will not stand idly by as students violate one of its most important and emphasized doctrines. Refusing to help the poor? No, of course not. Not tending to the infirm? Wrong again! The intolerable violation was the distribution of free condoms:
Boston College officials are threatening to take disciplinary measures against a group of students who are distributing condoms out of their dorm rooms, calling the act a violation of the university’s mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution.
Boston College officials sent a letter to students on March 15 demanding an end to student-run “Safe Sites,” a network of dorm rooms and other locations where free contraceptives and safe sex information are available.
Students living in the “Safe Sites” were told in the letter that the distribution of condoms is in conflict with their “responsibility to protect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.”
Now, I know most of readers of this blog will find this to be utterly insane. Who needs condoms and good information about safe sexual practices more than a bunch of 18- to 22-year-olds who are outside their parents’ reach with doors that lock from the inside for the first time in their lives? These kids will benefit enormously from condom availability, especially considering that many will come from “abstinence-only” educational backgrounds, carrying with them a whole package of ignorance and misinformation that needs to be undone.
But you could say that BC is simply being true to its values. After all, students know they are entering a Catholic institution, and so they should expect Catholic rules to be strictly observed.
Feminists from Boston College, past and present, gathered on Thursday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC). The event, “Still Fighting the Good Fight,” welcomed a panel of speakers ranging from a professor to a current undergraduate to discuss the meaning of feminism on campus and advocate for change.
The Women’s Resource Center, by the way, is a university funded group dedicated exclusively to issues pertaining to women at the university. They have a “featured feminist,” promote healthy body-image programs, and have an array of resources to confront the issue of sexual assault. Reproductive choice is strangely missing from their list of issues, but it’s clear that BC is comfortable straying from the strictly patriarchal Catholic model in this case.
So they’re okay with the empowerment of women.
But surely BC won’t step on the biggest of Catholic landmines: homosexuality. This is non-negotiable! Current “pope emeritus,” then-Bishop Ratzinger, famously declared homosexuals to be “intrinsically disordered” and the church has been nothing if not clear that being gay is most certainly not okay. Homosexuality is a sin and, at the very best, homosexuals should be treated with “compassion” so they can resist and reject their sinful desires.
Boston College cannot dance around this stark prohibition, right…?:
Allies serves the role of a gay-straight alliance at Boston College. We are a group of GLBTQ and straight students working to foster a better community for everyone. Tolerance as an attitude towards someone of a different sexual orientation is not enough; the group promotes acceptance of all and equal rights.
I’m sure the church hierarchy thinks that’s just peachy. The college is not merely tolerant of this group on campus; they’re promoting it. The website is, in fact, hosted by the college itself and the group is listed as an official student organization. Beyond that, BC actually has an entirely separate organization dedicated to LGBT staff. That’s right, not only are activist LGBT students welcomed at BC, the staff that makes up the pillars of the community are welcomed no matter their sexuality.
Boston College has decided that Catholic doctrines about the roles of women are not very important while explicit Catholic orders about homosexuality and not important at all.
Yet, they somehow find the piety to prevent their young students from being able to access methods to keep them STI and pregnancy free. Because, you know, Jesus.
So remember: feminist lesbians are welcome with open arms at BC and they have some dynamite gay professors that will help shape you into the leaders of tomorrow. But make sure you don’t bring any condoms for your straight and bi friends, since moral consistency on Catholic teaching is awfully important at BC.
(Image via Shutterstock)