23 October 2011

About the non-discrimination policy

It is unreasonable for the university unilaterally to decide who is qualified to represent the Catholic faith on campus. According to the proposed interpretation of its non-discrimination policy, the university maintains that anyone is qualified, regardless of religious profession. Religious profession is a rational basis for determining leadership in a religious organization. It is not invidious discrimination. I cannot bend on this principle. I have talked with the Bishop, and he is in agreement. The Catholic Church could not sponsor an organization at Vanderbilt under these conditions. I hope that the university will decide to make it possible for there to continue to be a Catholic student organization at Vanderbilt by deciding not to apply its policy in an extreme and unreasonable manner.

18 October 2011

17 October 2011


Well, yesterday was a happy Sunday indeed. I had been very worried about the transition of the 5 p.m. Mass to Cathedral. There are still some things to work out, but I think we can manage it.

The 9 p.m. Mass also seemed alive and well. Those two Masses are the biggest things we do all week and so I want to reach out as best we can.

On a different level, we now have a "home theater" in the Frassati House, donated by a parent. That should bring even more activity around the house.

Greater things are yet to come!

16 October 2011

Happy Sunday!

I want to encourage this greeting for the first day of the week. There is a greeting for Sunday that I heard a good bit in Italy: "buona domenica." I think that is where I got the idea. It seems to me that "Happy Sunday" is a good English equivalent. Sunday really should have its own special greeting, as it is a special day.

For Christians, of course, Sunday is a special day. I am not so sure how special Sunday is in our culture anymore. At Vanderbilt, Sunday is study day par excellence. I often have students ask me about studying so much on Sunday: does it violate the sabbath rest? I don't think it does, and I kind of like Sunday being such a day of the intellect. Intellectual work was never considered to be servile labor, the kind that violated the sabbath; but I don't want to get into a discourse/dispute about the sabbath. I am mainly using this as an example of how Sunday is still different for some of us.

The main way that Sunday ought to be different is the happiness of the day. It is the day of the resurrection, of the new creation. It is the pre-eminent day of worship. So whatever we choose or have to do on Sundays, let's be happy and worship. For me, during the school year Sundays are kind of grueling. Starting one of the main events of the day at 9 p.m. makes for a long day, especially since I still begin pretty early. But I love Sundays. There is something to them that is different. I find a finality on Sunday night that can't be beaten.

So, whatever your day holds for you: Happy Sunday!

12 October 2011

"Captus ab Uno"

Here is a speech that the Holy Father gave on his recent visit to a Charterhouse (Carthusian monastery) in southern Italy. The Carthusians were founded by St. Bruno, whose feast we just celebrated in the Church's calendar. In this article, Pope Benedict talks about the pressing need for solitude in our world today. He talks about the need to escape from virtual reality. He talks about the need, quoting St. Bruno, of being "grasped by the One" -- the Latin title of this post. God as the One is my greatest consolation. Go read the article.

11 October 2011

Where things stand

Yesterday, there was a meeting of upper levels of the university administration with the affiliated chaplains about the application of the university's broad non-discrimination policy to religious groups. I am happy that the meeting happened. I believe that some real communication went on. I think that there is the possibility for a better and more authentic organization of religious expression at Vanderbilt to come from all of this. Of course, that might not happen also. Pray!