For these students, Catholic means morality, service and tolerance
By ARTHUR JONES
What does being Catholic mean at Xavier? For one thing, it means a focus on morality.
Said Deirdre Labat, a Biology professor, I tell them, The choices you face are far more dangerous and challenging than the ones I faced -- as a scientist and as a young parent. You want a son whos 6 feet 2 inches with these characteristics? We can do that. You want to be a person whose kids wont have genetic diseases? Those things are going to become routine.
We want to prepare Xavier graduates with the moral capacity -- not tell them whats right or wrong -- to come to their conclusions in handling these questions. We want our premeds to talk now about how theyre going to handle those questions in the future, said Labat.
Theyre working in a hospital, and the patient says, I want to abort, I dont want another girl, I want a boy. They need to know theyve thought about this. The greatest tragedy is to be put into these situations and have to make a decision youve never even contemplated.
Xavier is one-third Catholic. Arts and Sciences dean Harold Vincent is also a Catholic deacon who takes a Wednesday prayer service and preaches once a month at Mass.
Where are Xaviers students as Catholics?
Not conservative Catholics like we used to know. They are active Catholics. Its service more than the liturgy. ... Retreats are very well-attended, he said.
The students are also into living their religion, Vincent said. Theyre active in MAX -- Mobilization at Xavier -- volunteering in the community in many different places.
As individuals Vincent finds them tolerant, not particularly aware of the bishops or the Vaticans issues -- they dont voice their opinions on church matters unless asked. Many are probably sexually active, he said. They respect homosexuals as individuals and would not want them forced to change. Theyre more tolerant than I was in my younger days, he added.
What catches their attention when Vincent preaches? I end each homily with implications, suggestions as to how you can live what Jesus means by this or that. They listen, they respond, theyve heard the lesson. I think they go out and try to live it.
National Catholic Reporter, October 16, 1998