Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Cross Hated and Loved

I teach in a Christian school. I have 4 crosses in my classroom, one at each corner of the room. One hangs over the door to bless all who come in and go out. Not a problem!

In Spanish schools crucifixes are being removed by order of the courts, but at Boston College they are bring put into all the classrooms!

Read this:

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.

“Bravo for Boston College!” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “For Catholics, outward signs, symbols and practices of our faith are an important part of relating to God in a material world.”

Over Christmas break, Father Leahy had employees hang the images in classrooms around campus, according to Donato Infante, executive editor of The Observer at Boston College. He told The Cardinal Newman Society that during a “State of the Heights” address two weeks ago, Father Leahy, responding to faculty and student complaints about the move, asserted that the administration did not need to consult professors about this decision and that the crucifixes and icons will not be taken back down.

Crucifixes and sacred art have had a scattered presence on campus since the 1970s. Two years ago, a new statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), was erected on campus.

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.”

Professors have cited examples of even Christian students taking offense to the crucifixes and icons.

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. If that has been the purpose of the administration of Boston College, I congratulate them, as they have succeeded brilliantly.”

Reilly said that Father Leahy should ignore naysayers. “By what logic would someone expect a Catholic college or university to be non-Catholic?” Reilly asked. “The complaints are a sad consequence of the mixed signals from Boston College over several years. At times Catholic teaching and tradition are celebrated, other times they are scorned and undermined. But the crucifixes are a very happy movement forward!”

Others are pleased with the new classroom additions. “Some classrooms always had crucifixes in them,” Infante said. “I always found it nice to be able to look up at our Lord during class and to take moments during the day to call to mind God's presence. Now, at the request of our president, Father Leahy, we have such reminders in every room…. Father Leahy, please keep the beauty coming.”

“As for the… professors who are opposed, I ask them to understand what these symbols mean to us,” continued Infante. “The hanging of the sacred art had nothing to do with asserting power. It had everything to do with honoring our God and being constantly reminded of His love.”

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.”Junior student Michael Williams said, “Although seemingly a small gesture, rest assured that these symbols give great joy and confidence to me and many of my friends for the direction the school is taking as becoming, as Father Leahy has put it, the nation's leading Catholic university.”

Read it here.

St. Paul was right that the Cross is an offense to those who are lost, but it is glorious to those who are being saved.

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