The Twilight of the Jesuits at LMU

 

Unfortunately, recent years have brought the deaths of many LMU Jesuits, such as Fr. Thomas Maloney in Political Science, Fr. Herbert Ryan in Theological Studies, and Fr. Ernesto Sweeney in History.  Other Jesuits have left LMU taking up missions in other educational endeavors, such as Fr. Thomas Sherman in Philosophy, Fr. Dorian Llywelyn in Theological Studies, and Fr. Michael Caruso in the School of Education. Still other Jesuits are quickly approaching their 80th year, such as Fr. Thomas Rausch of Theological Studies and Fr. Bill Fulco of Classics.  Other professors have left the Society of Jesus, but remain on the faculty.   For a variety of reasons, fewer Jesuits are coming to LMU and fewer are remaining.
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We hope that the Jesuit order sends many men to LMU so as to reinforce the Jesuit community, the heart of LMU’s mission and identity.  We fear, as personnel continue to be diminished, that Jesuits fit for ministry as professors will increasingly be sent to Santa Clara University and elsewhere. In 2016, let us pray for a fresh harvest of Jesuits devoted to serving the greater glory of God at Loyola Marymount University.

LMU Ignores Respect Life Month in October 2015

During the month of October, Catholics in the United States celebrate Respect Life Month.  Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez called it a time of prayer and action to “defend the dignity of every human person, from conception until natural death.”

Recent news made this October an especially important time to educate the campus about the intrinsic value of every single human being. The undercover videos made by The Center for Medical Progress exposed the selling of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood. On October 5th, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill legalizing physician assisted suicide.
So, with all these life issues in the news, how did LMU celebrate Respect Life Month? Did they have pro-life lectures, a film series, or perhaps make extra efforts to help women with crisis pregnancies or to reverse the legalization of physician assisted suicide?  Did they attempt to influence campus opinion on these topics, perhaps by a debate, or posting pro-life quotations from Pope Francis around campus, or hosting reading groups for the Jesuit statement “Standing for the Unborn”?
LMU observed Respect Life Month in exactly the same way in which they celebrated the Year of Faith which Pope Francis brought to a close.  LMU did nothing. Not one lecture, not one retreat, not one banner.  Doing absolutely nothing for Respect Life Month is a longstanding tradition at LMU, but some traditions are worth changing and worth challenging.
To paraphrase, “Standing for the Unborn,” it is our desire that our Jesuit university begins to offer a consistent message of respect for life, especially for unborn children.
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Will LMU do anything to promote the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis starting December 8, 2015?
Will LMU do anything to promote Respect Life Month in October 2016?
We’ll let you know.  We are hopeful.

Ignatian Heritage Month at LMU

A positive development on campus is that November has become Ignatian Heritage Month at LMU. Students had a chance to view the inspiring movie The Mission starring Robert De Niro, to learn how to practice the Ignatian Examen, and to see beautiful images on banners throughout campus celebrating the insights of St. Ignatius.  Ignatian Heritage Month is a welcome element of renewal at LMU. Kudos to all the good people who made this happen.

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Prejudiced Remarks from Former LMU President Fr. Robert Lawton, SJ

Imagine if a person of color were appointed to be President of a university, and the former President of the university said of him, “He is an African American but also has great academic abilities in his subject. He also knows a lot outside his field of study.”  Such a remark would be immediately and rightly condemned as negative stereotyping of African-Americans as intellectually inferior. Or imagine if a woman were appointed as president, and the President Emeritus said, “She is a woman, but also has great mathematical abilities. She also is good at science.”  This remark suggests negative stereotyping of women as mathematically and scientifically inferior. Now, here is what LMU’s former President Fr. Robert Lawton SJ, said in the Loyolan about LMU’s new President Timothy Snyder, “He is a devout Catholic but also has great respect for other religious traditions. He also respects non-believers.”  Fr. Lawton’s negative stereotyping of devout Catholics suggests that they are morally inferior, not extending respect to those of other religious traditions and non-believers.  Bigotry against Catholics of a certain kind is common in the academy, but one hopes for better (magis) from a former president of LMU.

Director of Bioethics Institute at LMU Defends Use of Undercover Videos to Expose Planned Parenthood

Roberto Dell’Oro, the Director of the Bioethics Institute at Loyola Marymount University, was recently quoted in the Orange County Catholic defending the use of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress in exposing Planned Parenthood’s grotesque trafficking in human body parts.

From the OC Catholic on August 10, 2015:

Dell‘Oro said that while it is always best to be above board in seeking the truth, there are instances when “a conscientious objection to morally unacceptable practices” can be justified.

“Throughout history, we have numerous examples of those who have lied or broken the law because they conscientiously objected to, and sought to expose, a deeper moral evil,” he said, citing those who hid Jews from the Nazis during World War II. “And I don’t see why this shouldn’t be the case here.”

In a related article in Catholic News Service dated July 31, 2015, Dell’Oro suggested Catholics acquaint themselves with “Donum Vitae” (“The Gift of Life”) and “Dignitas Personae” (“The Dignity of a Person”) issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Dell’Oro was selected as Director of the Bioethics Institute in 2013 after the university first considered two abortion advocates for the position. RenewLMU launched a petition drive that forced the university to drop the existing candidates. Shortly, thereafter, LMU hired Dell’Oro, a professor in LMU’s Theological Studies department. RenewLMU commends Dr. Dell’Oro for his vocal stance in defense of human life.

LMU Announces the Selection of New President

On March 27, 2015, Loyola Marymount University announced the hiring of its 16th President. Dr. Timothy Law Snyder, a lay Catholic, will replace David Burcham effective June 1st. Most recently, Dr. Snyder served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Loyola University in Maryland. More information about the presidential selection can be found on the LMU website.

RenewLMU congratulates Dr. Timothy Law Snyder on his new position. And we look forward to working with him to cultivate a vibrant Catholic identity at LMU.

We are hopeful that under Dr. Snyder’s leadership, LMU will effectively address the serious decline in the number of Catholic students and faculty. And we are optimistic that, as a Catholic, he will demonstrate a commitment to promoting the Catholic intellectual tradition in guiding students in their pursuit of truth and virtue.

Jesuit University Terminates Abortion Coverage Citing Church’s “Unequivocal” Moral Teaching

According to a recent article by the Cardinal Newman Society, the University of Scranton’s president announced that the Jesuit university will no longer be providing abortion coverage to its employees. President Father Kevin Quinn, S.J. cited the Church’s “unequivocal” moral teaching on abortion as the reason for the decision. The article reports that the University of Scranton had previously provided abortion in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother in compliance with state law for traditional health plans. Since the university is self-insured they are able to dictate the terms of their coverage.

LMU currently provides abortion coverage to its employees. Neither President Burcham nor the LMU Board of Trustees has publicly opposed California state regulations requiring employee health plans cover abortion. The university has given no indication it is researching a self-insurance option in order to abide by the Church’s teaching on abortion.

LMU Campus Ministry Establishes Student Pro-Life “Programming”

RenewLMU has previously noted on our website and in our direct communications with the university’s administration that LMU lacks a student pro-life organization, while secular institutions like USC and Stanford have robust student pro-life groups. We are delighted to report that the LMU Office of Campus Ministry is now promoting on its website “Seamless Garment: Pro-Life Programming.” Activities associated with this programming include student participation in the OneLife LA Walk on Saturday, January 17, 2015 in Los Angeles and attendance at the Requiem Mass for the Unborn at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral on Saturday, January 24, 2015.

We commend LMU Campus Ministry for its initiative in establishing programming that advocates for protection of the unborn as part of the Church’s teaching on social justice.

LMU Political Science Dept. Promotes Student Internship Program with Pro-Abortion Organization

The LMU Political Science Department is promoting a student internship opportunity with the non-profit organization Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), a pro-abortion organization. The internship opportunity is posted on the Political Science Department website. Led by long-time abortion advocate Eleanor Smeal, the FMF, on its own website states, “Abortion is a necessity for millions of women worldwide, for their health, for their well-being, for their dreams of a better tomorrow.”

According to the internship posting, student interns working in the Los Angeles office of FMF will have the opportunity to work on the National Clinic Access Project, “the nation’s largest and oldest clinic defense team.” There LMU students can “research and collect data on anti-abortion violence directed at health care workers and patients; monitor anti-abortion websites and literature.”

No student internship opportunities with non-profit organizations dedicated to the protection of the unborn child could be found on the LMU Political Science Department website.

The Political Science Department Chair, John Parrish, is serving on LMU’s Presidential Search Committee at the request of Kathleen Aikenhead, Chair of the LMU Board of Trustees, to assist in the selection of LMU’s next President.

The link to LMU’s student internship posting can be found at: http://bellarmine.lmu.edu/politicalscience/studentopportunities/internshipopportunities/governmentpolitical/feministmajorityfoundation/