According to a popular proverb, the more things change, the more they stay the same. It has been seven long years since the I was a freshman at Boston College, and yet, the Students for Sexual Health (SSH) are still advancing their misguided project and The Heights is still doing all that it can to support them. Once again, both groups have shown a lack of respect to the Catholic character and mission of BC.
A recent survey conducted by SSH revealed that a whopping 44.3 percent of BC undergraduates do not know where they can receive contraception. This statistic would certainly be compelling, if not for the fact that a measly 4.2 percent of the undergraduate population took the survey at all. With a sample size that small, the phrase “not completely representative of the student population” in no way begins to cut it. These numbers are practically meaningless, yet somehow they warranted a front page article and an editorial to go along with it.
The debate over distributing contraception comes down to one simple question: Should BC strive to instill moral excellence in its students, or should it not? If not, then we can toss out some of our favorite phrases, such as “men and women for others” and “go set the world aflame.” If so, then we need to acknowledge that a university that values moral education must be rooted within a moral tradition with a concrete sense of what it is to live the good life.
BC, a Jesuit Catholic university, is rooted in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. This tradition teaches that human flourishing is inseparable from the virtue of chastity. Sex outside of or before marriage is wrong, not because it breaks some arbitrary rule, but because it prevents the person from truly being happy in the classical sense. BC would be doing a disservice to every one of its students, past and present, if it allowed the distribution of devices that discourage chaste living. In essence, BC would be abandoning its role in guiding the moral formation of its students.
I don’t want to insinuate that SSH is deliberately malicious. I am sure these students believe their cause is just. However, the reality is that if they ever got their way, it would cause more damage to this university then they could possibly realize. Their accomplishment would only work to undermine the moral foundation of BC—the same foundation by which BC instructs its students to serve the poor, care for the ill, and fight for racial justice. If the Students for Sexual Health cannot sincerely embrace this Catholic moral tradition, I do hope they can at least bring themselves to respect it.
Ethan Mack A&S ‘15
Featured Graphic by Nicole Chan / Graphics Editor