Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Humanity’s Best Qualities Needed

By performing acts at worst malicious, and at best unthinking, several students in the past few weeks have reintroduced religious intolerance to the Georgetown campus. Some shouted obscenities during a Good Friday Stations of the Cross ceremony; others desecrated the Muslim Prayer Room. A candlelight vigil on Tuesday night demonstrated the strength that comes from the simple faith of a dedicated community.

University Chaplain Adam Bunnell, OFM Conv., and Vice President for Student Affairs Juan C. Gonzalez released a statement in response to the latter incident, describing the act as “completely counter to our core values of diversity, inclusion, respect and understanding.” (“Students Must Respect Sacred Places,” April 24, p. 2) If these are the values that define Georgetown, a closer inspection of them is merited to influence campus culture in a positive direction.

Diversity of thought, opinion, religion and culture is the world’s great historical fact. It is not an end but a means to an end. It is preparation for a pluralistic world, not just an exercise in pluralism. Like gold in fire, the diverse environment is the great testing ground for truth. It is a logical necessity stemming from that great human gift, freedom of will. It is the fabric through which God weaves the tapestry of his plan through time. It is a definite plan; it results in a definite pattern.

The individual threads differ in every particular, and the thoughtful observer will not shirk from making distinctions between them. Some are bare, some tattered, some randomly intertwined. Some threads are coarse, others fine. Some are peripheral and constitute the fringes. Others make up the various patterns. Some are so central to the whole project that they exist to bind the other threads together. Without them, the tapestry would lie in rags. Some are strong in color, others weak. But all form an ordered and coherent whole when viewed from a distance. The worthy individual will spend his life inspecting the weave, diligently finding traces of the artist in the artistry.

Inclusion is not mere acceptance. Nothing could be easier than acceptance, and nothing worth anything is easy. Leave the clay un-molded, and the day’s work is completed before it is begun. This is not an inclusive mentality; it is an indifferent one.

True inclusion will have none of this. True inclusion is not a passive sigh but an active endeavor. It does not reach its end in calling off the Inquisition. It does not rest easy with the end of the Crusades. Inclusion is the start of a crusade. It is the building of community, the finding of common ground. It is a joint effort in the search for truth. It seeks out unity wherever it can. Its handmaidens are dialogue, debate, persuasion, encouragement, hard work, dedication and commitment. Its foundation is charity. It is a zealous attitude that counts not one human soul as lost; not the lowliest criminal nor the cleverest sophist. It tolerates the sinner, but is intolerant of the sin. It tolerates the ignorant but is intolerant of ignorance. It does not shirk from proclaiming what is necessary for human beings to survive and thrive, be virtuous and be happy. It sets rules of conduct to ensure the future. It records great deeds to remember the past. It nurtures the young and preserves the old.

Respect is an act of humility because it acknowledges the worthiness of others. It is an act of pride because it attaches to what is great. It loves what is worthy and knows what is good. It recognizes the things in this world that are to be praised. It upholds the principles of democracy, by granting a voice to our contemporaries and also to our ancestors. It defers to tradition and values custom. It is not hostile to religion or distrusting of authority. It sees the good that exists in the world around us and calls us outside of ourselves. It bows before truth and works in its service, looking always to increase its stature and height.

Understanding is first and foremost aware of its own incompleteness. Understanding seeks faith, and faith seeks understanding.

The understanding person yearns always for wisdom but is the first to acknowledge he is not himself wise. He is aware of his own limitations and sympathetic to the limitations of others. He knows the strength of his faculties and also their weakness. He knows the province of reason, its extent and its limits. In the goodness and virtue of others, as in their suffering and sinfulness, he sees a reflection of his own nature and nothing of which he is not himself capable. He is gentle and kind but firm and persistent. He is unwilling to compromise on what he knows in his heart to be true. He knows the value of a good education and a good learning environment. He seeks to improve that environment while he is a part of it. He loves his university and its spirit will stay with him always.

For What It’s Worth Appears Regularly in The Hoya.

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