We are grateful to the hundreds of people who signed our petition to restore the statue of St. Junípero Serra to a place of honor on campus. We are also impressed by the thoughtful comments and messages that we have conveyed to President Snyder, Archbishop Gomez, and other important members of the LMU community.
“The statue dates back to the 1990s, when it was placed outside the campus library as a gift of William H. Hannon, a Catholic philanthropist and passionate admirer of Serra. Hannon was a major benefactor of the campus, an honorary trustee, and regent emeritus. Many campus buildings are named for him at the university, which claims affiliation with both the Society of Jesus and the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.”
Claims is exactly the right word, but only when convenient.
LMU was built with the money of Catholic donors and parents. President Snyder wants to keep what is convenient (the buildings, the donor base, the cash) and reject what is inconvenient (the statue, the BCLA mission statement, anything Catholic which is contrary to woke ideology).
The article continues:
“In a Nov. 24 statement to CNA, the university said: ‘In summer of 2020, the statue of Rev. Serra on LMU’s Westchester campus was removed to conduct repairs. When the campus reopened from the pandemic in fall of 2021, the university convened a task force to invite feedback from the community and to develop recommendations on future plans. No final decisions have been made, and the university remains committed to a thoughtful process of open dialogue.’”
Those on campus who want to ban the statue consider it a symbol of tyranny, oppression, and racism whose presence is “triggering trauma” for students rather than providing “a safe and welcoming place” for everyone on campus.
This argument for removing the statue of St. Junípero Serra applies even more forcefully to Sacred Heart Chapel. The beautiful chapel is built in the Spanish Mission style. But according to woke ideology, the Spanish Missions were expressions of European colonial oppression, racism, and white supremacy. The Chapel is even painted white, a blatant attempt to glorify white supremacy and to marginalize Black and Indigenous people of color.
Since Sacred Heart Chapel is so much larger and more prominent than the Serra statue, the Chapel must be an even greater threat of “triggering trauma” for those who chose to come to LMU. If they go into the chapel, things go from bad to worse because right in the center of the chapel is a large crucifix. Think of the oppressive symbolism that the crucifix entails for Jewish students whose ancestors suffered pogroms, Muslim students who ancestors suffered under Christian crusaders, and Protestant students whose ancestors suffered under the Spanish inquisition. And what about the atheists on campus? Non-believers showed us what they thought of Catholic places of worship when during the Reign of Terror they took down the crucifix and turned the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris into a storage warehouse. They also knew exactly what to do with priests and other Catholics who stood in the way of their pursuit of utopia. These Catholics got to experience a new invention named after Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. Now that’s moving beyond words to taking action for Liberty, Equity, and Inclusivity! So, if we are to be consistent advocates for inclusive, non-triggering “safe spaces,” we should remove the crucifix immediately and then before Easter, at the latest, demolish Sacred Heart Chapel or at least rededicate it to Michel Foucault.
Apparently, some people who chose to come to a Catholic university hate Catholic symbols. They won’t feel “safe and included” until everything they dislike about Catholicism is removed from their sight. Should we make our “campus a safe and welcoming place” by means of removing every last vestige of Catholic identity? Should a Jewish university scrub itself clean of every Jewish symbol to avoid traumatically triggering those who choose to come to a Jewish university?
On the other hand, maybe those who are triggered by Jewish symbols at a Jewish university should check themselves for latent anti-Semitism. And maybe those who come to a Catholic university and are triggered by Catholic symbols should check themselves for implicit bias or the virus of woke ideology.
LMU’s administration under President Snyder is institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism when fundraising with donors, recruiting students with parents willing to pay, and appealing to alumni.
LMU’s administration under President Snyder is institutionally committed to woke ideology when hiring administrators, recruiting professors, and fundraising for Planned Parenthood.
LMU is Catholic when convenient.