BC SealBoston College Magazine Fall 2004
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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BCM welcomes letters from readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and must be signed to be published. Our fax number is (617) 552-2441; our e-mail address is bcm@bc.edu


WOMAN'S FATE

After reading the last few issues of BCM, and especially Elizabeth Johnson's "Women's Place" in the Summer 2004 issue, I've come to wonder whether the editors are trying to fashion the magazine as a journal of radical feminist theology. Does Johnson really think she speaks for all (or even most) Catholic women when she writes that because the Church ordains only men, "women come to the Eucharist hungry for the word of God and the bread of life, and they leave still hungry, even starving?"

The Church is one of the last remaining institutions that recognizes the deep and enduring distinctions between men and women. These distinctions, discussed in the Vatican's May letter to the bishops, underlie the Church's teaching on ordination, not to mention the Church's beautiful embrace of the unique, godly, and otherwise unappreciated vocation to motherhood. I don't think I am alone when I say that when I leave the majestic altar hungry, I have only myself to blame.

Erika Schubert Bachiochi MA'99

Norwood, Massachusetts


Reading "Women's Place" was an occasion to reflect. The reforms of Vatican II were first implemented during my years at BC, but even before that I had hoped that I might be among the Church's first "Jesuettes." The Church may still not be an equal opportunity employer, but Christ remains ever and preeminently an equal opportunity lover. If you are leaving the Holy Eucharist feeling "hungry," it is because you are not focusing on the sublime gift that is being given, the gift of Christ Himself. The key here is "humility, humility, and again humility." It matters little who is on the altar offering the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

Sandra Vuono Bondhus '69

Farmington, Connecticut


Ever since the fifth century, when St. Augustine, classically educated in the Greek traditions of separating the mind from the body, won his personal battles with the married clergy of his day (most notable the married Bishop Julian of Eclanum), sexual intercourse and sexuality have been tied to his theories of original sin. In other words, the Church has treated our sexuality as sinful. Over the last five decades, the Church has done a much better job of embracing our sexuality. Nonetheless, the Catholic Church today remains steeped in institutionalized sexism that impedes the spiritual growth of not just women, gays, and lesbians, but all its members.

Long ago I decided to remain a Catholic despite the institution's earthly flaws, the enormous good far exceeding the bad. However, raising two daughters in today's Church is often an act of cognitive dissonance, particularly because the leadership is denied to females.

With the decline of available priests, it appears that the Holy Spirit is starving the Church into submission. Eventually, women and married priests will be fully accepted into the priesthood. They too will be imperfect, but it will be a good step toward more fully embracing our sexuality as a tremendous gift from God.

Michael Murphy '80

Portland, Oregon


Kudos to Elizabeth Johnson for her insightful article, "Women's Place." For too long women have been excluded from the policy making arm of the Church hierarchy. A patriarchal Church is a Church for men only, and Christ did not intend this to be.

Ed Nagle '40

Pittsfield, Massachusetts


LANDSCAPES

I loved the cover and pictorial essay on BC's new land in Brighton ("Overview," Summer 2004). Absolutely beautiful photos by Gary Gilbert.

John J. Passanisi '50

Hyde Park, Massachusetts


The pictures of Boston College's new Brighton campus made me cry. As a Boston Catholic, I cannot understand how the archbishop could come into Boston and sell the patrimony of the Church. As a Franciscan, would he sell Assisi? Sad as many of us are about losing our parishes, we know there will be another church to go to, but we have lost our soul with this sale.

Joan D. Sheridan MA'63

Needham, Massachusetts


I read the account of BC's newest land grab with a mixture of sadness and anger. Scarcely anything is said of the reason it is now available, namely that lawsuits by victims of sexual abuse against the Archdiocese of Boston led to a financial crisis. As Archbishop O'Malley said, "It is good that we have been able to keep the property within the Catholic community." But how can BC allow itself to benefit from other people's suffering?

Chet Jones '81

Provincetown, Massachusetts


OMNIBUS

Thank you for another excellent edition of Boston College Magazine, with the Summer 2004 issue.

I developed an enormous crush on Ellis Paul ("For a Song," Linden Lane) when I saw him perform in Concord back in 1996. Such a sweet, soulful voice, meaningful lyrics accompanied by the ultimate sexy acoustic guitar. His performance is a gift.

As for "Station Master" (Linden Lane): Way to go, Ms. Alves. I applaud your vision and beliefs.

"Women's Place" was another in a series of articles about the Catholic Church that have given me hope for the future.

And I haven't yet read the fiction or expansion articles!

Barbara S. Peirce MA'74

San Pedro, California


SWEET TALK

Re Steve Almond's essay, "Bar Mode" (Summer 2004): In his piece on that delicious Clark candy bar by Necco, Steve Almond omitted an important fact that should be of interest to our Boston College family. The president and chief executive officer of Necco is Domenic Antonellis '63. The oldest multi-line candy company in the United States, Necco has grown dramatically due to Dom's 36 years of leadership.

P.S. The Sky Bar candy is the best.

Harry M. Kushigian '64

Warwick, Rhode Island


From the perspective of Boston College's Irish roots, it is appropriate to give recognition to the enterprising teenage entrepreneur who launched a confection empire from humble beginnings in Pittsburgh-David L. Clark, Irish immigrant and inventor of the Clark Bar.

James J. Brogan '65

Somerville, Massachusetts


I will keep this short because I must go out and buy a few Clark bars thanks to your issue that just arrived. After I get back I'm going to read "Woman's Place" and the article on the Brighton campus from your online version. Then I'll refuel with some Necco wafers, so I'll have the energy to push my mouse around a bit more and read the rest.

Kevin Garvey P'99

Deerfield, Illinois


PEOPLE'S CHOICE

Reid Oslin, in excerpts from his book Tales from the Boston College Sideline ("First Team," Linden Lane, Summer 2004), is in error when he lists a member of BC's first football squad, lineman John Douglass (class of 1893), as the first Boston College graduate to be elected to the U.S. Congress. That honor went to Joseph F. O'Connell (class of 1893), a captain of the team, who was elected to the 60th Congress in 1906. Mr. Douglass was indeed elected to Congress, but not until the 69th Congress.

Neil J. Savage

West Roxbury, Massachusetts


Editor's note: Mr. Savage is the author of Extraordinary Tenure, a history of Massachusetts men and women in government.


BACK STORIES

Brian Doyle's "Goodbye to All That" (Linden Lane, Summer 2004) prompted a trip to the basement where a print of Towers on the Heights has gathered dust along with other films given life with the help of my late father, Dr. Frank Murphy. My dad worked to establish Boston College's first audio-visual department in the School of Education while on the faculty during the 1950s. Towers was a project in which he took particular pride.

Thank you for preserving the film electronically. It has been years since my father projected it on the living room wall for my mother, my sisters, and me. I look forward to watching it again.

Rev. William F. Murphy

Cambridge, Massachusetts


I was astonished that nowhere in Brian Doyle's review was there any mention of my husband, Frank Murphy. Reading that Towers on the Heights "was produced by a volunteer crew of faculty and students in 1956" sounds like a Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movie where they decide, "Let's put on a play." Frank did have help, but the concept and production were his. He planned, interviewed, filmed, and edited it over many months, including evenings and weekends. He did not have a big ego, but he was proud of this film.

Margaret Murphy MA'48

North Falmouth, Massachusetts


Brian Doyle's delightful article kindles memories of the spring morning during my junior year when I began to give tours of Boston College to prospective students. During an orientation session for new campus tour guides, I saw Towers for the first time. The film depicts scenes that were already dated to me and other viewers from the 1970s.

Mr. Doyle's article is a timely reminder that while we alumni may mourn the passing of our belle époques, we must not lose sight of a Boston College that is still evolving and growing. Its recent acquisition of land from the Boston Archdiocese attests to BC's continued growth. Boston College is now grappling with third-rail issues, such as the state of the Roman Catholic Church, and human sexuality, which were avoided during the 1950s and 1970s. Towers on the Heights, along with other resources that tell stories of a smaller Boston College, provides valuable evidence of an institution that had a strong spirit of optimism and confidence. Mr. Doyle's conclusion is apt. Boston College continues to realize Thomas Gasson's vision of a great university "city" on Chestnut Hill. It no longer looks out toward the world at large; it is itself the "messy and glorious world." And it's a fine mess.

Thomas H. Alton '80

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


The author of "Goodbye to All That" made some interpretive errors. Mr. Doyle writes, "The claim is made straight-faced that there is an archery bow on campus for every student." The archery team was made up of women in the School of Ed and the narrator was playing on words: These women did indeed have ample opportunity for beaux [and bows] in 1954 when the film was made-they were in the second class of women, with men outnumbering them 12 to 1. The chemistry professor is a layperson, not a priest, and he is doing a normal experiment, not turning "wine into water." Ophelia is seen beautifully costumed coming down medieval-looking stone steps to meet Hamlet. She looks neither "oddly ecstatic" nor "tipsy."

The film managed to include many students who were at BC in 1954–55 and so makes a marvelous memento. Is there a possibility that BCM could offer the DVD for sale?

Joan Driscoll Lynch '57

Berwyn, Pennsylvania


Editor's note: In addition to being produced by Frank Murphy, Towers featured the work of English professor John Sullivan (script) and Bernard Senick '58 (narration), with John Foley '56 and music professor Barbara Bennett collaborating on the audio. Readers interested in obtaining a DVD of Towers on the Heights should contact the editors of BCM.


GRAND THEFT

In "Mid-term" (Spring 2004), Gail Friedman cites Fr. William Davis, a lobbyist, as believing that there is a "need for Catholic schools to go after the federal dollars to which they are entitled."

Parochial schools may be entitled by law to get federal dollars, but they are not entitled by the Commandments, which state, "Thou shalt not steal." If I were to steal from my neighbor in order to send a child to parochial school, that would be considered sinful. So why isn't it sinful if I get the government to do it for me?

Elizabeth C. Goldin '64

Stone Mountain, Georgia


BETTER BUSINESS

Re the article on BC's new Carroll School of Management dean Andrew C. Boynton ("All Business," Linden Lane, Summer 2004): From a recent papal encyclical I recall the line, "If you want peace, then promote justice." My fervent hope is that CSOM will do just that under Mr. Boynton's leadership. If we Americans really want peace, then we should correct those international business practices that pillage poorer nations in order to enrich wealthy ones like our own.

Philip G. Stephan P'99

North Clarendon, Vermont


NEWMAN'S OWN

Over 50 years ago as a Boston College student I had the opportunity to read John Henry Newman's classic, The Idea of a University. Among its many cogent passages was the following: "It [the university] wins the admiration of the young by its celebrity, kindles the affections of the middle-aged by its beauty, and rivets the fidelity of the old by its associations."

My wife and I had the recent opportunity to visit the campus and celebrate the 50th anniversary of my graduation. I can only speak for the "old"; however, Newman's observation was never more timely. The Alumni Association's tireless Grace Cotter Regan and John Griffin, their staffs, and those students who served in various capacities are owed both admiration and thanks. Of added dimension was the session hosted by Fr. Leahy. It is one thing for a university to have a man who has proven to be both a skilled president and academician. It is even more fulfilling to see in action a born teacher.

Gerard A. Carey '54

East Harwich, Massachusetts


FOLKARD IN WAR

Jack Crowe's letter of tribute to the late Professor Al Folkard (Winter 2004) causes me to write about a less visible dimension of the man who directed the Honors Program from 1946 to 1995. Al was thrice wounded as a U.S. Army officer in Europe in World War II. Among his decorations was the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery, which he received for his mission as part of the invasion of Normandy. More than decimated within minutes after landing, his unit, having trained on the cliffs of Scotland, moved inland quickly to capture and return high-ranking German officers for interrogation.

Arthur J. Doyle '64 MA'66

Milton, Massachusetts


Editor's note: In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Mr. Doyle was Boston College's first lay director of undergraduate admissions.


GAME DAY

I received my master's degree from Penn State, and I attended the recent football game between our two schools. I would like to commend BC for the halftime 9/11 ceremony. Reading the names of alumni from both schools who died that tragic day was quite moving. It served as a reminder that while our football allegiances are different, we are all united in a much greater cause. Penn State fans began talking with nearby BC fans about our families, what we remember about 9/11, and how important it is for us to win the war on terror together.

I would also like to apologize for the few Penn State fans who were disrespectful during the moment of pre-game silence. Many PSU fans were upset by their actions.

Mike Meyer

Wake Forest, North Carolina


Update: The 2004 edition of Best Catholic Writing, published by Loyola Press, contains "The Lunatic in the Pew," by Alice McDermott, an essay that first appeared in BCM's Summer 2003 issue. The anthology also features the writing of BC Professor Paul Mariani (English) and Ben Birnbaum, BCM's editor. The book may be ordered through the BC Bookstore.


 

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