It has long been policy at many Catholic universities that condoms may not be sold or distributed on campus. For Georgetown, this means that any group with access to benefits cannot distribute or sell condoms, although organizations like H*yas for Choice still may make free condoms available even within the front gates. However, at a peer Jesuit school, Fordham University, the administration does not permit people — affiliated or unaffiliated with the university — to hand out condoms on campus, claiming the defense of Jesuit identity.

A petition at Fordham demanding progress in the areas of contraception and sexual health was recently presented to Fordham President Fr. Joseph McShane, S.J., with 1,100 signatures. This petition is a laudable move by students to demand the free choice and free judgment that universities should give to students, regardless of the school’s religious affiliation.

Pursuant to its identity as an institution of learning and understanding, Fordham is obliged to explore contemporary issues of social justice and to inspire the wide-eyed leaders of tomorrow, who are able to make judgment calls regarding what is appropriate, inappropriate, ethical or unethical entirely on their own.

While Georgetown’s model is far from perfect, acknowledging that some students do not adhere to every tenet of the Catholic faith or, even, to the faith at all — and should, therefore, have access to contraception — is an important distinction that allows for more personal freedom. Hopefully, Fordham will take this petition seriously and see that it is possible to adhere to and promote Jesuit identity without imposing impossibly strict regulations on an entire campus.

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3 Comments

  1. “Fordham is obliged to explore contemporary issues of social justice and to inspire the wide-eyed leaders of tomorrow, who are able to make judgment calls regarding what is appropriate, inappropriate, ethical or unethical entirely on their own.”

    Several things wrong here. First off, using the term “social justice” in relation to the distribution of contraception completely misses the point of what “social justice” actually is. The liberal establishment here essentially uses the term as a placeholder for “anything that is open-minded, good, progressive, non-judgmental, and affirming.” Casually throwing around the term diminishes its meaning, and also distracts from the real nature of social justice preached by Jesuits such as Fr. Pedro Arrupe and our very own Fr. O’Brien.

    Secondly, I take issue with the view that students are completely able to to make moral decisions on their own. It smacks of a liberal arrogance, a view that you always know what is best for you, and that you do not want “morality forced on you.” This attitude has led to a highly relativistic worldview: that which is good is that which the majority says is good, or even worse, that which is good is that which I personally believe is good, for me. There is no consideration that perhaps you are not the supreme arbiter of the good.

    Finally, I’d like to remind the authors that those students attending Fordham, and the ones attending Georgetown, for that matter, freely chose to do so. When you freely choose to attend a private institution committed to a certain set of foundational precepts, you make the commitment to abide by those, or at least to respect them.

    Before someone calls me a conservative patriarchal ignoramus, let me make some concessions: Should contraception be given out at public universities? You betcha, more the merrier. Should institutions of higher learning, regardless of religious identity, provide protection for all (reasonable) forms of speech? Yep, definitely. But, if a Catholic university is to remain in keeping with its foundational precepts, it cannot logically condone the distribution of contraception.

    Now quit your belly achin’ and take a hike to CVS.

  2. Concerned student. says:

    It wouldn’t be a Hoya issue if there wasn’t an editorial about contraception or homosexuality. What a shame. This is a sham newspaper.

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