Friday, November 2, 2007

Outrage at a Catholic College

As this is my first official post, allow myself to introduce...myself. Ok, no more lame jokes. I'm a student at Emerson College in Boston, pursuing my Masters in Publishing and Writing. Emerson is a far-cry from Holy Cross , the small liberal-arts college in Worcester where I got my Bachelor's degree. For example, I don't think anyone with pink hair or sleeve tatoos attended Holy Cross (at least while I was there...). That's not where the differences end.

The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy held its annual conference at Holy Cross, the oldest Catholic college in New England, on October 24. Though no students or faculty were involved in the Conference, the move sparked an outcry from alumni and the Catholic community. The College's President, Michael McFarland, SJ, defended the College's decision to rent space to the organization. In an official statement, McFarland said, "It is the College's position that providing rented meeting space to a conference of professionals from a variety of Massachusetts organizations discussing the safety and care of at-risk teenagers does not represent a disregard of Catholic teaching."

While Holy Cross, as a Catholic institution, is officially opposed to abortion and contraception (I was surprised to find open distribution of condoms on the college campuses of friends I visited, since they could not readily be found anywhere on the HC campus), it is also a progressive institution devoted to the open exchange of ideas. It is shocking that even today, certain groups can remain so closed-minded. Given the response of some communities, you would think the College was setting up abortion tables in the dorms rather than renting space to an organization that promotes awareness and responsible family planning for vulnerable teenagers!

I respect Fr. McFarland's choice to defend his decision and stand up for the rights of Massachusetts teenagers to be aware of their options. It makes me proud to call myself a Holy Cross Crusader (ok, so maybe they have to work on their mascot...)

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