Tag Archives: catholic

Defending S.F. Archbishop Cordileone’s Support of Traditional Marriage

A new archbishop has been appointed to the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco—Salvatore Cordileone, former bishop of Oakland and well-known supporter of traditional marriage, i.e., marriage between one man and one woman. With shouts of bigotry, discrimination, and even oppression from gay marriage advocates, it is easy for the public to think that Catholic teaching is incorrect, unfair, or even cruel. In order to prevent people from misunderstanding or misrepresenting what Church teaching says, I would like to make a few points.

There is no need to take the Church’s teaching on sexual morality and turn it into personal judgment. Sexuality is one dimension of our lives; it does not, or at least should not, determine all of who we are or what we do. Life is not one-dimensional. It is an error to place sexual relations at the forefront of our lives, as if we could define ourselves by our sexuality. This is a distortion of what it means to be human. The Church rejects all forms of discrimination towards anyone.

The Church’s public support of traditional marriage is based on what it means to be a man and a woman and what it is for a husband and wife to become one in marriage and then raise a family. When the Church engages in public support for traditional marriage, the reasons for support are not only religious but also moral and social.

As the new Archbishop has pointed out in a June Catholic News Agency interview, “Marriage is about fundamental justice for children,” because “children do best with a mother and a father.” His reasons are clearly social and personal—for the good of society and the good of the family as a whole. No matter how it happened, it is an indisputable fact that each and every one of us was born from the union of one man and one woman.

Supporters of gay marriage cannot say that the Church, or that Archbishop Cordileone, is “oppressive” or “unjust” to gay or lesbian individuals, but they can say that the Church does not approve of any other definition of Marriage other than that it is between husband and wife. The Church is no more anti-gay than it is anti-straight in that both are incorrect if they distort the meaning of marriage by creating their own definitions—be it by polygamy, gay marriage, or multiple divorces and attempts at new marriages.

If you believe that humans were made in the image and likeness of their Creator and if you believe that God instituted marriage between a man and a woman, then you accept that human beings do not have the right to ignore what God has blessed, let alone attempt to re-create it in misguided attempts that ignore human nature and God’s will.

Identifying as a Catholic University

Have you ever wondered what the ‘Catholic’ part of USF means? You might ask: Is it actually important?
Recalling the beginning of USF’s Mission statement: “The core mission of the University is to promote learning in the Jesuit Catholic tradition”, USF clearly claims the title of ‘Catholic,’ but one may wonder what the essential elements of any Catholic college are and the implications that follow.
In 1990, former Pope John Paul II gave the adress Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church). The foundation of the document’s message can be captured here: “It is the honour and responsibility of a Catholic university to consecrate itself without reserve to the cause of truth.” This may seem broad and well accepted even at non-Catholic universities, so we must dig deeper into what makes a Catholic University unique in its identity.
In another section, John Paul II specifically argues that a Catholic University ought to promote the message of Christianity and adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church. It should be noted that the recognition of the Christian message includes promoting or at least respecting the Church’s stance on “matters of faith and morals.” This may be actualized in official University programs and promotions of certain organizations or individuals. One may then ask what happens when a University sponsored organization or University policy violates these morals and values?
John Paul II says something regarding this matter directly: “If need be, a Catholic University must have the courage to speak uncomfortable truths which do not please public opinion, but which are necessary to safeguard the authentic good of society.” What is striking here is that his address includes an institutional voice to the ‘uncomfortable’ truths of the day. This may include social issues such as the injustice of high unemployment or the unfair treatment of non-citizens in our own country. It may also include other moral issues such as the immorality of homosexual relations and the promotion of the virtue of chastity. Both students and the Institution have a right to speak up against the immorality and injustices of our vurrent times, and to promote authentic Catholic values and morals.
One learns from the Papal document that the Christian message lives at the heart of any Catholic University, including USF. How then is the ‘Catholic’ identity of USF reflected in its members, faculty and students included, and in its institutional voice? Do people outside of the University view USF as a college that remains true to the teachings of the Catholic Church? There are numerous examples at USF which reflect its ‘Catholicity,’ and perhaps there are areas of improvement.
Either way, I personally urge every Catholic at USF to examine more carefully Ex Corde Ecclesiae and continue to promote the richness of the Catholic Faith in all ways possible. And I urge all, Catholic or not, to grow in awareness of what the ‘Catholic’ part of our Mission and what that implies. We are USF, we are a Catholic school, and we ought to always learn about and remember our school’s identity. If we are to change the world from here, then we first and foremost need to know who ‘we’ are.

The Heyer Score: The Church of Sports

Being at a liberal arts college means to be well rounded in the classes you take. One of those classes required by USF is a theology class. I will not hesitate to say that I was less than excited to take this class and learn about something that usually makes people feel uncomfortable when talking about it outside of their place of worship. Being Catholic, I have only really learned about that religion and how it works, but after learning about what qualifies something as a religion, I can safely say that sports fit the description. I am a proud member of the church of sports.

Sports fans in general are very passionate people who are very protective of their teams. The more I thought about it the more I realized that people worshiped teams and different sports just as they would their religion, with different rituals, attire, foods, and history.

The rituals of most religions are prayer, going to church, doing special things for different holidays, etc. Sports are very similar. Prayer is also usually involved when your team is down two points with seven seconds to go or the game is tied and there are two outs with a man on third. Attending your place of worship whether it is a baseball stadium, football stadium, hockey arena, or a basketball court there are many places of worship for sports fans and there are usually as many sporting arenas around as there are churches. Once in those sporting arenas it is a lot like going to church. There is a lot of sitting and standing and various call and response traditions. When the priest stands up in church, the congregation usually follows. And when a three point shot is thrown up at the buzzer, the stands go to their feet. When the priest says, “Peace be with you,” the response “And also with you” usually follows. When someone in the stands of Fenway Park says, “Here we go Red Sox! Here we go!” two claps are usually the response of the crowd.

Fans are not the only ones with rituals. Some players do the same stretching routine before every game. Some players wear the same protective pads without washing them because they feel it gives them a little bit of luck when they are out on the field. Some baseball players refuse to touch the lines when going on and off the field because they think it will bring their team bad luck. Some may call these things superstitions, but these are rituals inside their arena of worship.

The phrase “looking your Sunday best” usually refers to people being dressed for church by wearing nice pants and a nice shirt. Looking nice going into church is expected, and seeing someone on the street on Sunday in the afternoon looking nice, you usually think, “They’re probably just getting out of church.” Same goes with people going to a sporting event; they are expected to show what team they are affiliated with. When there is a Giants game and you see people wearing a Tim Lincecum jersey you are probably thinking, “They must be going to the game.”

Being Catholic, I am aware that there is food that is associated with my religion: bread and wine. There are also quintessential sports foods like hot dogs, cracker jacks, and beer. When at church you receive these foods at communion; when at the game you receive these foods while tailgating in the parking lot. Although the rituals are not as serious and elegant as the ones done in church, they are nonetheless rituals that go along with being a part of the church of sports.

The Bible has taught many people the history of Christ and Jesus’ travels and miracles. When practicing your religion it is important to know the history of your religion to know what you are worshiping and why. Sports are no different. For example, the history of the Red Sox is very important for fans to know. The Curse of the Bambino is the story of the Red Sox’s failure to bring a World Title home to Boston for 86 years. Fans still stayed loyal even after year after year of disappointment. Fans who consider themselves “practicing Red Sox fans” should know this history to actually feel true jubilation for the day when the Red Sox’s World Series title would become a reality. Thankfully that day came in 2004 and made the whole city of Boston rejoice. Their savior that year was David “Big Papi” Ortiz with his clutch hitting and walk-off homeruns.

Sports can supply feelings, passion, and loyalty like religion can. Finding something bigger than yourself to look to that gives you hope and makes you believe in the impossible is a very healthy thing. Looking at sports, an objective onlooker could not say that religion is not very tied into it. Where else would the term “hail Mary” come from? And why do pitchers point to the sky after throwing a no hitter?

Although some people think that being that involved with sports is a bit silly and not a very religious experience, sports fans know different and love every minute of their time in the church of sports.