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A defense of criticism

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Monday’s viewpoint, it was asserted that criticizing the Pope is “ridiculously and offensively arrogant.” It was stated the college students do not have the right to question the authority of the Catholic Church. This opinion could not be any more wrong or dangerous. If you take a group of 18-22 year olds who are making the transition from home life to real life, and tell them never to question or criticize, you create the kind of stagnant mind that this nation and world definitely does not need right now. I understand that, as a Knight of Columbus and fervent Catholic, Mr. Metzger feels the need to defend Pope Benedict, but I will never understand and never support anybody who tells an entire university that they should blindly accept what they are told. If the students of Notre Dame fear to question authority, how are they supposed to make a difference?

We are told that we are all unique and capable of doing great things, but anybody who pushes against the status quo is instantly chastised. This can not be allowed to happen. If it is a loss of faith that you fear: don’t. If people are allowed to question their faith, and decide it is the correct path for them, their faith will become stronger in the end just by the act of questioning. If they decide on a different path, well, at least they were able to find their sense of self. And isn’t that ultimately what the college experience should be about? We are not only on a search for knowledge, but a search for identity. That identity may not please everybody, but a school with an intellectual reputation as great as Notre Dame’s should not be bothered by that. If you are unwilling to accept criticism and different beliefs, perhaps this isn’t the university for you.

Tim Ryan



Feb. 9