Posts Tagged “Jesuits”
It might be tough to consider the abstract merits of Georgetown’s curriculum this week—you’ve got papers to write and tests to take, after all.
But, that’s not stopping some Jesuits who recently released (…hold on, Vox is taking a deep breath…) A Distinctive Education: Reflections by Georgetown Jesuits on Education at Georgetown. If the title somehow didn’t clue you in, the document is the Jesuit Community’s best suggestions as to how reshape the University’s curriculum.
The document, which was collaboratively written by 27 members of the Jesuit Community, outlines aspects that the community feels are necessary to strengthen a Georgetown education.
In an interview with Vox, Christopher Steck, S.J., a member of the Provost’s Ad Hoc Working Group on the Curriculum, said that despite changes with departments and majors, a “systematic redoing of the curriculum [for the University as a whole] hasn’t happened in a long, long time.”
But, don’t expect to find any arguments for or against Map of the Modern World in A Distinctive Education, because the Jesuit Community’s recommendations don’t dive into the nitty-gritty of University academics.
Inspired by Spiritual Exercises, a text by Ignatius Loyola, A Distinctive Education hones in on three themes that the Jesuits feel are important for the University to address when reforming the academic curriculum.
First, the Jesuits advocate for “a world richly understood and religiously explored.” (Vox‘s translation: Georgetown’s Catholic identity isn’t prominent enough.)
“This doesn’t mean [classes] will be like catechism … [we're] not trying to tell you what to believe,” he noted.
Steck mentioned that Catholic influence isn’t just in theological areas, but is also found in philosophy, art, literature, architecture, as well as a variety of other disciplines, meaning that it is possible to further incorporate Catholic tradition within the University.
“[Georgetown's Catholic identity should be] fostered in tandem with a broad and respectful pluralism,” according to the A Distinctive Education.
After the jump, read about the Jesuits’ other suggestions, as well as A Distinctive Education in its entirety.
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H*yas for Choice and United Feminists’ announcement that they were undertaking a joint campaign to pressure Georgetown into changing its reproductive rights policies has upset or confounded a number of students.
Now, members of several Catholic groups on campus have responded with a letter to President John DeGioia in support of the University’s current policies, in which they aim to refute the arguments made by HFC and UF that a Jesuit University can and should provide contraceptives, comprehensive sexual education in its medical facilities, and allow for greater dialogue about related topics.
“The students who are currently advocating this ‘Plan A’ campaign fail to understand our identity; they use terms such as ‘Catholic,’ ‘Jesuit,’ and ‘cura personalis’ without a basic understanding of their significance. Although perhaps not grounded in a willful ignorance, their argument nonetheless demonstrates a thorough and pervasive hostility for Georgetown as a Catholic institution rooted in the rich tradition of the Society of Jesus,” the letter states.
Here’s the full letter, which was sent to Vox by Georgetown Academy Editor David Gregory (COL ’10):
Dear President DeGioia,
It has come to our attention that United Feminists and H*yas for Choice have recently submitted an open letter to your office and the University community at large. We are writing in response in order to point out the errors within their campaign and thought process. We do this not to over-dramatize this issue – which has resurfaced on a regular basis over the past two decades – or to belittle the University’s competency with regards to handling this campaign. We simply write to support our beloved University’s ideals and identity, which inhere within every facet of Georgetown’s operations and campus life.
The students who are currently advocating this “Plan A” campaign fail to understand our identity; they use terms such as “Catholic,” “Jesuit,” and “cura personalis” without a basic understanding of their significance. Although perhaps not grounded in a willful ignorance, their argument nonetheless demonstrates a thorough and pervasive hostility for Georgetown as a Catholic institution rooted in the rich tradition of the Society of Jesus. They advocate for “dialogue,” yet fail to engage in true dialogue given their ignorance of Catholic Social Teaching; there can be no dialogue without preliminary understanding, only empty accusations.
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February 2, 8:53 p.m.: Reverend John Langan, the Rector of the Georgetown Jesuit community, has sent out an e-mail explaining that Witek passed away at 76 years old after struggling with cancer for several years.
“The funeral Mass for Fr. Witek will be held in Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart on Saturday, February 6, at 10:00 a.m. The Jesuit Community will also welcome guests to Wolfington Hall for visiting hours from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. and from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Friday, February 5,” he writes.
Father John Witek, a professor and Jesuit who taught at Georgetown University for over 40 years, has passed away. University Spokesperson Andy Pino said that Witek died Sunday morning.
A former PhD student at Georgetown University, Witek’s areas of expertise were East Asia, China, and Japan, with a particular focus on Jesuits in Asia. While at Georgetown, he edited a Portuguese-Chinese dictionary originally produced by the first two Jesuits in China, Matteo Ricci and Michele Ruggieri. Only one original copy of the dictionary exists today. He was also involved in the enormous undertaking of editing the Monumenta Sinica, a volume of letters sent among Jesuits traveling in East Asia in the sixteenth century.
According to his faculty biography, Witek could read eight other languages besides English. Last semester, he taught History of Asian Cultures I and History of Japan I. He taught History of Asian Cultures II and History of Christianity in China in Spring 2008.
Voice news will have more this Thursday.
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It all adds up!
Who knew that Georgetown’s administrators, professors, and graduates had so much power and influence?
Vox has been following VaticanAssassins.Org, a Jesuit conspiracy theory website, with great amusement for a while now. The website’s editor, Eric John Phelps, is a noted “black pope” conspiracy theorist who holds that a cabal of diabolical American Jesuits control U.S. foreign policy at the direction of Jesuits in Rome—including Jesuits at Georgetown.
So to finish out the year, here are the site’s Top 10 Conspiracy Theories about Georgetown from 2009.
(10) The Georgetown Jesuit Edmund A. Walsh established Columbus Day in 1934, and the Knights of Columbus, Freemasons, and Skull and Bonesmen then began to control the United States.
(9) The Council of Foreign Relations is ruled by Jesuit influence and Georgetown University affiliations.
(8) President John DeGioia and Professor John Gannon create Department of Homeland (“Romeland”) Security
(7) “911 Demolition” carried out by Georgetown University Professor George Tenet and the CIA on the Archbishop of New York’s orders.
(6) Georgetown Jesuit research fellow Thomas Reese promotes the Pope’s “alien, Roman Catholic, Latino/Mexican invasion.”
The top 5 stories after the jump…
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About 50 students, alumni and other members of the Georgetown community attended Tuesday evening’s impromptu 11:15 p.m. Mass in honor of Father Thomas King. Father King, who passed away earlier that evening, was renown on campus for hosting late night Mass everyday during the school year.
Addressing the crowd, the Priest conducting Mass in Dahlgren Chapel said, “It is a difficult moment for all of us. It is a difficult thing to have to come at the spur of the moment to mourn. And yet, we are here. We join together to remember him.”
The Priest also said that he had spoken to Father King’s brother, who told him that the funeral will be held on Saturday, but that the exact time has not yet been decided. It will take place at Dahlgren Chapel, unless a larger than capacity crowd is expected.
After Mass, mourners gathered in Dahlgren Quad to share their memories of King.
“He really embodied something for the Georgetown community,” Michael Bober (SFS ’02) said. “It meant a lot that the [11:15 Mass] was here every day, even if you weren’t.”
Others remembered King as a “wonderful” and “saintly” man who was “eminently caring and understanding.”
Matthew Smith (COL ’09) recalled the lecture Father King gave in his final Problem of God class.
“When he talked about dying, he talked about letting go of everything and being one with God ,” Smith said. “He was fascinated by the mystery [of the afterlife] and it’s comforting that now he knows.”
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This evening, Father Thomas King, S.J. passed away at 80. According to Voice photographer Helen Burton (COL `11), he is rumored to have died of a heart attack. Representatives from the Office of Communications could not be reached at the time of this post.
Fitz Lufkin (COL `11), the vice president of College Democrats, confirmed that he died. Lufkin was reached while he was waiting for a memorial Mass to begin for Fr. King [Edit] . The memorial Mass is now in progress at Dahlgren Chapel; it began at 11:15, the same Mass that Father King said daily at Georgetown for forty years.
Father King was well known on campus for holding late night Masses. Earlier this year, he reflected on 40 years of the 11:15 Mass in the Voice:
I have been teaching and preaching here these many years. I like that double arrangement, for I think our academic life and our faith life need each other to be complete. This is who I am, and I gladly share this in both chapel and classroom. Faith and reason is the unity John Carroll had in mind in founding our University.
I look back on 40 years of teaching and preaching and know they have been happy years. I truly have been blessed. I love the University and the two-fold work it has enabled me to do.
Blog editor Juliana Brint is currently attending the memorial Mass and will report on it shortly after she returns.Vox will keep you posted as we learn more.
Update (2:35 p.m. Wednesday): Georgetown’s Director of Media Relations Andy Pino just confirmed that Father King passed away yesterday at around 5:30 p.m. due to a heart attack.
A wake will be held at Wolfington Hall on Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The funeral will be held at Dahlgren Chapel at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.
You can read the full text of the University Broadcast email that will be sent out later today after the jump.
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Georgetown’s Sex Positive Week garnered a lot of attention, some of that being Catholic ire. Coupled with the vandalism of the statue of the Virgin Mary, Sex Positive Week led the Catholic blogosphere (oh, it exists) to blast Georgetown for its abandonment of Catholic values.
But wait! As a Jesuit University, we’re not alone in our infamy, the Cardinal Newman Society reports:
“These obscene abuses of Catholic values come just as Christians begin a holy season of penance, fasting and almsgiving,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Faithful Catholics have good reason to be outraged and heartbroken at what is happening at Georgetown, Loyola Chicago and Seattle University, three historic, Jesuit institutions.”
Now that’s ire.
Loyola University showed another film in its semester-long film series “The Color of Queer” and the University of Washington Seattle campus Seattle University hosted Transgender Awareness Week.
This is good news for fans of Sex Positive Week—as we can see, last week’s hosts aren’t alone in trying to challenge what some see as traditional or stultified notions notions of sex and orientation. This is bad news for proponents of Catholic identity, however— it looks like more Jesuit institutions have given up the ghost on maitaining theirs.
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It’s Jesuit Heritage Week, which means it’s time to analyze Georgetown’s Jesuits steadily declining numbers!
News will have updated numbers later this week, but the numbers above, which Fr. John Langan provided last year, reveal that as of 2008, Georgetown housed 55 Jesuits, as opposed to 85 in in 1986 and about 100 in 1966.
The little red dot, as noted by the frustratingly small key, represents the number of Georgetown Jesuits actually teaching in Georgetown classrooms—35—as opposed to simply housed in Wolfington Hall. Obdura!
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