“Give up on Georgetown. It’s not a Catholic university anymore,” an alumnus told me recently.

Yes, yes, I’ve heard, and participated in, the “Georgetown is losing its identity” lament for years, but why such cynicism? Do people only attend this university because of its U.S. News and World Report ranking? Look at the crucifixes in the classrooms; Jesus’ words, “My God, why have You forsaken Me?” hold an entirely new meaning. We have come to the point where our own alma mater’s identity is as shallow as the butt of a poor Jesuit joke.

Georgetown’s “Catholic and Jesuit identity” is not a mere pitch for the Admissions Office and should not be defined as simply “Jesuit professors,”social justice” or “why my student group gets no money.” y alma mater has struggled to find herself as a university as she has grown in size and scope, expanding her faculty and stretching from the Hilltop to the other Hill across the District.

Georgetown needs to reclaim it’s rightful status as the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, and there are several necessary steps to do so.

Firstly, don’t fund things that contradict the Catechism. Georgetown tuition funds should not go to support or promote interests that contradict Catholic values directly or indirectly, such as providing bandwidth for the LGBTQ marriage agenda (in the form of Georgetown Law professor Chai Feldblum’s Moral Values Project), as that would be support for activities directly contradicting Catholic values by a Catholic institution. If anyone disagrees with the Pope or Catechism, there are venues to discuss the issues, such as tabling in Red Square, holding class discussions or writing into the newspaper about it, rather than using Georgetown’s official resources intended for the creation of Georgetown’s official representation.

Being respectful and accepting of Catholic values should be an integral part of the campus life. Why did Jane McAuliffe, the dean of Georgetown College, feel the need to explain the actions of Cardinal Francis Arinze for opposing homosexual marriage made at the College commencement ceremony in 2003? I hardly have to mention the issue of the Law Center funding internships for students working for organizations promoting abortion. But this is not a stand-alone issue, and is symptomatic of Georgetown’s divergence from its Catholic identity.

The Society of Jesus has been recognized by the Pope as a Roman Catholic order ever since 1540, and since this university was founded by the Society of Jesus, and is still considered a Jesuit institution, there should be no reason to explain for a member of the clergy articulating the official stance of the society. If Georgetown is seen as a Catholic institution, there should be no shame in members of this institution, and especially high-profile representatives of the institution, to publicly uphold the values of the Catechism.

As an institution that prides itself as one of the premier institutions for diplomacy education, we must be conscious of the fact that inter-faith dialogues don’t always result in unity. Dialogues are important, but we often must recognize our differences and agree to disagree. We don’t all have to be Roman Catholics. Many Christians do not listen to the Pope: They are members of other sects of Christianity, and Georgetown’s Campus Ministry already accommodates many faith traditions (and even welcomes those with none) by providing lay and religious chaplains for a variety of faiths. We can live together and still have our own worship space.

Finally, when in doubt, the institution shouldn’t do anything. In response to those who argue that it is unfair to fund one student organization and not another, I offer a very simple solution: How about the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university fund neither? Don’t fund either Progressive Alliance for Life or the Law Students for Choice. As done in other universities, such as Columbia University, the institution should just refer students to outside funding, whether it is bar association grants, government programs, scholarships, fellowships, loan forgiveness programs or stipends. If a student wishes to fight for the right to abort the unborn (explicitly opposed by the Roman Catholic Catechism), or convert to a different faith (non-Catholics cannot receive the Holy Eucharist until they receive the sacrament), Georgetown can and does provide them with assistance, and can point them in the right direction. But there is no need to advocate for external interest groups or entities.

Regardless of the particular beliefs of each individual student, we all decided to attend an explicitly Catholic university, and the institution that holds true to its identity, especially its public identity, will be more respected than one that quickly accommodates external pressure to change.

Maya Noronha graduated from the College in 2005 and is a second year law student at Georgetown’s Law Center. She is also a former contributing editor at THE HOYA and served as regent of the Georgetown University Catholic Daughters.

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