Fr. Thomas Rausch S.J. began his teaching career at LMU in 1967. A prolific author, Fr. Rausch holds an endowed professorship as T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology. Fr. Rausch has also served LMU as the Director of Campus Ministry, Chair of the Theological Studies Department, Associate Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, and Rector of the Jesuit Community.
Fr. Robert Caro, S.J. retires this semester as Vice President for Mission and Ministry. Before coming to the upper administration in 2006, Fr. Caro spent 30 years as a member of the English faculty, teaching, among other courses, Shakespeare, the Poetry of Meditation, and Women in the Bible. His research and publications focused on the Jesuit poet G.M. Hopkins and on links between the Ignatian Rules for Discernment and characterization in Shakespeare.
We commend these two Jesuit priests for their generous service to so many LMU students as well as to innumerable faculty and staff. Combined, they have given the University more than 80 years of service. May God richly bless them for all the good work that they have done, and may God grant them many golden years of healthy and happy retirement.
Since the time of Father Thomas P. O’Malley, S.J., the President of LMU has sponsored a week-long summer seminar for faculty to help them gain a deeper understanding of the Catholic character of LMU. This annual event, sponsored since 1996, once provided a collegial setting in which to explore an aspect of LMU’s ethos as a Catholic, Jesuit-Marymount university. It was one of the few institutionally provided opportunities for LMU faculty to better understand and explore the distinctive Catholic mission and identity of the university.
President Snyder has canceled this program for 2017. With fewer and fewer Catholic professors, and more and more signs of loss of Catholic identity, LMU needs programs like the Summer Institute now more than ever. Under President Snyder, LMU’s Catholic identity is moving from the magis to the minus.
In response to events on campus, LMU President Timothy Law Snyder ordered, “Facilities Management to create additional all-gender restrooms.” As the Loyolan reported, “The Student Housing Office replaced the traditional signs that depict a man and woman on eight different individual-use bathrooms at the beginning of August in the Leavey apartments, McKay Hall, Tenderich apartments and the Doheny, Desmond, Rosecrans and Whelan freshmen residence halls.” In the words of one student, “This is big, not just for [LGBTQ+] students, but for all LMU students. If one group feels more included — if they feel they are more a part of the LMU community — that will strengthen LMU as a whole.”
One group who feels more excluded as a result of President Synder’s action are the LMU students, faculty, donors, and alumni who agree with Pope Francis who has repeatedly urged that people accept the goodness of their bodies as created male or female. Rather than following the lead of Pope Francis and urging students to “accept the body God gave them,” President Snyder has decided to institutionally support what the Pontiff calls “gender ideology.” For now, however, it remains the case that “The University is institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism” when it comes to appealing to parents of prospective students, asking alumni for donations, and promoting LMU in PR campaigns.