A misunderstanding, indeed
Letter to the Editor | Monday, March 2, 2009
In response to Tommy Maranges’ not-so-recent Viewpoint “A Clear Misunderstanding” (Feb. 19), I must offer some words of advice to Mr. Maranges. One who prides himself on the ability to fashion language (superfluous though it may be) into logical arguments – as Mr. Maranges appears to be – should know that an argument’s closing remark is supposed to be the proverbial “nail in the coffin,” a verbal stab that erases all doubt of the argument’s validity from the audience. Instead of adhering to this rule, however, Mr. Maranges exposed a gaping hole in his thought process by saying that “we don’t need to ‘balance the Catholic nature of this institution’ with anything. Catholic is a designation from which everything else should flow, not one against which everything else must balance.”
While Catholicism is a characteristic inseparable from the University of Notre Dame itself, it is certainly not the only one that warrants attention. In fact, one of these other aspects is revealed simply by examining the name of this institution: we are at a site of education. This education is not to be limited to memorizing theorems from math textbooks and studying classic works of literature, but must extend to learning from our fellow Irish.
Coming from a high school community that prides itself on strong relationships between culturally diverse groups, I have been witness to this on a very personal level. The greatest lessons I learned in high school were not taught by professors and could not be tested by The College Board. My moments of greatest learning were in being able to understand and relate to others whose lifestyles I had not (and likely would never) experienced firsthand.
I agree with Mr. Maranges on one point. We don’t need to balance the Catholic nature of this institution. This University would not exist if its founders did not believe that education and Catholicism could interact harmoniously. However, this is as much an institution of education as it is a vessel of Catholicism. Since one of the most important forms of learning comes from being able to interact with those about whom you know very little, by depriving its students of the opportunity to experience homosexual culture in a way that they probably haven’t before, the University is failing to provide us a true education, thus not fulfilling one of its greatest obligations.
There is more than enough prejudice and ignorance in the world. We don’t need more to arise from failing to recognize that Catholic schools are not simply glorified monasteries, but institutions of a human education