- Brian Braman's talk, "Our Faith, Our Stories" (pg. 42)
- The complete "Our Common Home" conference on Laudato Si' (pg. 42)
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“Sports talk,” “Papal activism,” “Number 21,” “Open books,” “New school,” “Juvenalia online,” “Jazzed,” “Schooling lawyers,” “March on,” “Well clad”
Re “Sophomore Year” by Dave Denison (Fall 2012): With all due respect to basketball coach Steve Donahue, ex-coach [Al] Skinner (“not known for active recruiting,” according to Mr. Denison) always seemed to find the unheralded players who emerged as true stars: Jared Dudley, Craig Smith, and Reggie Jackson, all lightly recruited players now in the NBA, come to mind. There were memorable upsets of North Carolina, Duke, and Syracuse and numerous NCAA appearances, including in the Sweet Sixteen.
Peter Zheutlin, JD’79
Given all the wonderful academic and intellectual achievements of Boston College that should be celebrated, I was dismayed by the sports orientation of the cover article. Enough about sports and more about academic striving.
Robin Kenney ’74
Peterborough, New Hampshire
Re “On Authority” by Richard Gaillardetz (Fall 2012): Professor Gaillardetz claims that, “into the 19th century, the pope and the bishops played a relatively peripheral role in the resolution of doctrinal disputes.” But if this were so, why, over the centuries, were there so many councils consisting of bishops (and sometimes patriarchs and popes) that pronounced on doctrinal matters in order to resolve theological disputes?
Gaillardetz argues that it was only in response to Enlightenment rationality and modern liberalism that “the papacy was transformed from the doctrinal court of final appeal to the supreme doctrinal watchdog.” This ignores, though, the numerous papal interventions on doctrinal and disciplinary matters going all the way back to Pope Clement I’s Letter to the Corinthians, circa 96 A.D. Prior to the 19th century, interventions by the pope and bishops were not always “discreet” as Gaillardetz claims, but often direct and forceful. The Eucharistic errors of Berengar of Tours in the 11th century were not resolved by theologians but by the Synod of Rome of 1059 under Pope Nicholas II and again by the Synod of Rome in 1079 under Pope Gregory VII. It was the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, under Innocent III, that authoritatively condemned the errors of the Albigensians, Cathars, and Joachim of Fiore—not a group of theologians.
Professor Gaillardetz cites the distinction Aquinas makes between the teaching authority of the masters of theology (magisterium cathedrae magistralis) and the pastoral teaching office of the bishops (magisterium cathedrae pastoralis). Aquinas, though, was quite clear: “The very teaching of Catholic doctors,” he writes in his Summa theologiæ, “derives its authority from the Church. Hence we ought to abide by the authority of the Church rather than by that of an Augustine or a Jerome or any doctor whatsoever.”
Robert L. Fastiggi
The writer is professor of systematic theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
Richard Gaillardetz responds: Nowhere in my essay do I dispute the fact that popes and bishops have found it necessary to address doctrinal questions throughout our history. My argument was simply that, relative to our contemporary situation, these doctrinal interventions were quite rare. Today Catholics stand under a veritable deluge of papal pronouncements (not only encyclicals but apostolic letters and apostolic exhortations). We are subject to the publication of a plethora of curial decrees, notifications and pastoral letters issued by one Vatican dicastery or another and read about all too many doctrinal notifications by episcopal conference committees on doctrine. We are the recipients of synodal pronouncements and pastoral letters issued by episcopal conferences. Many of these documents have a genuine pastoral value but what cannot be denied is that we live in a period of unprecedented magisterial activism.
I would certainly agree with Aquinas (and Fastiggi) that the teaching authority of the bishops plays a normative, doctrinal role not shared by the teaching authority of theologians. However, when Fastiggi goes on to cite Aquinas’s opinion that one must abide by the “authority of the Church” over that of an individual theologian he gives the impression that “the authority of the Church” and “the authority of the bishops” are one and the same. This cannot be the case. Many of the contemporary misunderstandings regarding the appropriate exercise of magisterial authority today stem from this propensity to identify the hierarchy and “the Church” as if they were equivalent terms. The authority of the “Church” surely must refer to the authority of our great tradition, and as such, it is an authority sustained not only by bishops and theologians but by the testimony of the entire people of God.
Re “Campus Digest” by Ben Birnbaum (Fall 2012): The report of the retirement of the number (21) of running back Lou Montgomery ’41 noted that Montgomery would be benched when the Eagles played segregated teams from the South at Chestnut Hill and that he was left in Boston when the team played in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans against Georgetown for the national championship, and again when it played Clemson in the Cotton Bowl.
The far more moral action by the football team, and by implication, the Jesuit administration, would have been to refuse to play in any of those contests.
Bill Bond ’52
Bonita Springs, Florida
Re “From the Burns Library” (End Notes, Fall 2012): The rare books shown in the photograph on page 45 may be seen even after the exhibition Fine Specimens of the Bibliopegistic Art closes. They can be requested for viewing during our regular hours.
Barbara Adams Hebard, Conservator
David Richtmyer, Senior cataloguer
Burns Library, Boston College
Re “Presences” (Fall 2012): The big issue for Boston College when I joined the board was indeed bankruptcy. The success of the last 40 years was basically due to the Boston College Jesuit Society in 1972 making sure the conjoined board was effected and to the hiring as President of J. Donald Monan, SJ.
Joseph F. Cotter ’49
The writer was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1972 to 1979.
Re “Under Age” by Fintan O’Toole (Summer 2012): In writing Love and Death, the young W.B. Yeats did not lack models to emulate and reject. The same cannot be said of the architects of the Love and Death digital archive. The specific technologies and practices that constitute today’s vision of the digital humanities are scarcely a decade old. To bring works of literature and culture to a larger audience, we must remain critically engaged with this new medium.
Andrew A. Kuhn, Ph.D. student
English department, Boston College
Re “Surround Sound” by Tim Heffernan (Fall 2012): I had the pleasure of playing jazz in BC bOp! with Shelagh Abate for four years. It is great to see Boston College alumni making a living and excelling in the world of fine arts.
Patrick Osborne ’97
Re “Learning Experience” by Vincent D. Rougeau (Fall 2012): I agree with the propositions that formal models of apprenticeship represent a worthwhile endeavor for the legal profession. It would also be imprudent to ignore the workable alternatives presented by our legal cousins above the 49th parallel north and across the pond.
The legal profession must continue to take responsibility for the adequate development of its junior members.
Juan Concepcion ’96, MBA’03, JD’03
Re “Shapeshifters” (Fall 2012): A few hours after my parents dropped me off at Boston College, I was handed a 40-odd-page binder containing my dot book. I had never been in a marching band, and my section leader might as well have handed me the Rosetta Stone and asked me to translate. I had absolutely no idea where I was supposed to be, a fact that became evident to my peers as I spent the next few days barreling into them with a trombone. I soon learned how to march and play at the same time without sending anyone to the infirmary. Many of my closest friendships were forged during marching band.
Thomas Kolman ’12
Niskayuna, New York
Re “Stone Face” (Summer 2012), Thomas Cooper’s article about the Stokes Hall masonry: The numbers are incredible—the amount of stone, the weight of each, the time taken to create 400 square feet of wall. What a project!
Jane McCarthy, P’12, ’14
Clarification: Jack Maguire ’61, Ph.D.’66 (“Presences,” Fall 2012) sends word that he began in the Office of Admissions in 1971, not 1973. He adds that if transfer applications are included when calculating the number of undergraduate applications, the total number of applicants increased even more dramatically in his first 10 years—Ed.
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 email@example.com.
March on, continued
As a four-year member of the Boston College Marching Band (BCMB), I can say there are few organizations on campus that match its intensity, camaraderie, and overall excellence. At every outing, from oppressively hot summer rehearsals to frigid game day performances, the BCMB strives to capture the full spectrum of musicality . What’s more, the BCMB encourages qualities of discipline and expressiveness that benefit us well beyond the field. The article stirred excellent memories, not the least of which was playing Alma Mater at the end of each football game.
Craig Noyes ’08
Office of Student Services
I was one of the many band members who had never been in a marching band, and that first year of preseason camp was a lot more work than I had anticipated but certainly worth the effort. The first day we quickly learned marching technique, how to read the dot book, and then proceeded immediately into learning the halftime show, one set after another.
Brian P. Zunner ’10
San Francisco, California
During the summer camp, we spent nine or 10 hours a day for two weeks in the hot August sun, with temperatures on the field often hitting triple digits. We practiced set after set, then reset to the beginning to do it all over again, all in an effort to get those lines just right. It really made one long for those cold nighttime practices in November.
As rough as it sounds, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The band was the single most influential group of my four years on the Heights. The band taught teamwork, stressed excellence and integrity, and fostered an environment where you were proud to be a part of something greater than yourself. More than anything, the friendships we built while toughing it out on that hot field last to this day.
Grant Salzano ’10
East Hampton, Connecticut
There is no easy way to summarize the amount of hard work and dedication required to produce those 10-minute performances on game day. It is the strong leadership of director Dave Healey and the guidance from the section leaders that enable 174 musicians with varying skills to come together in just two weeks of camp and create the beautiful shows fans see. I have never felt more a part of the Boston College community than I did when I was under the bright lights performing with my fellow band members and closest friends.
Sarah Woodnorth ’11
I arrived in August of 2007 never having been in a marching band. I had no idea what to expect when I joined, but it seemed like a great way to start my college career. Little did I know I’d meet my closest, life-long friends and be challenged in ways I never foresaw. The true joy is coming back to the games and watching the band in action. During four years, we never had the opportunity to witness what it’s like in the stands.
Anthony G. Papetti ’11
Mendham, New Jersey
I remember seeing a “dot book” for the first time. I remember frantically trying to find my place on the field when everyone else was already set. As a freshman, I didn’t think I would make it through band camp. Then, during the band’s annual harbor cruise, I saw 30 seniors crying because their last band camp had come to an end. I knew that in a few years I would be one of those seniors, and as a senior making that cruise, I was sorry my last band camp was almost over but thrilled to be surrounded by friends. I found comfort in knowing that while I may not ever be learning dots again, there are friendships formed during the band experience that don’t end.
Siobhan McKenna ’11, M.Ed.’12
The dot book’s primary purpose is to instruct the musicians about their positions in each geometric design, but I found it most helpful for mapping the location of the cute girl in the color guard.
My time spent with the BCMB was more informative and relevant to life after college than any lesson learned in class, especially the charge to “be flexible and adapt to change.” I’m grateful for the many experiences and instruction provided as a member of the band, and for the fact that it led me to meet my beautiful and loving wife. M6 married C8, August 2012.
Nick Herbold ’07
I joined the BCMB as a piccolo player with minimal marching experience. Upon graduation, I was the lead snare drummer and section leader for the drum line. What the program sets out to do during band camp takes other bands entire summers to accomplish. Under the instruction of David Healey, the process maximizes the potential of those with little marching/musical experience. During my first two days of camp I learned how to roll my feet, play in formation, march in different directions, and use the yard lines to mark dots on the field. Before I knew it, the season was about to begin.
Christopher Flores ’12
Bronx, New York
When I arrived at band camp I was given a uniform, music, and a book full of dots, and just as importantly, I was given an identity. I belonged to one of the most visible student organizations on campus. We moved as one and made music for many. Being a member of the Marching Band taught me determination and encouraged me to persevere. I travelled to new cities, learned a new instrument, was a part of some fabulous football games, developed cherished friendships, and was engulfed by the roar of the crowd at Alumni Stadium. I carry these experiences with me every day.
Holly K. Sheldon ’00
While there were many memorable performances, it was the process of putting together the show and the experience of being part of the organization that provided the most enduring lessons. On scorching 10-hour rehearsal days in August and bitterly cold game days in November, we learned to take in stride circumstances beyond our control, to engage in constructive problem-solving, and to maintain focus whether it was glee or disappointment that surrounded us. Director David Healey had a clear vision for the BCMB. Over a number of years, he sustained a strong organizational culture, enabled a rewarding experience for a diverse group of students, and raised performance standards. We are grateful for his dedication and that of Bands Program Director Seb Bonaiuto.
Darcy (Roberts) Ronan ’05
Stephen Ronan ’05
I was given a binder on the first day of my freshman band camp. In it was the dot book, which we called a Band Buddy. It would end up tattered, ripped, and all but destroyed when it was returned in December. But during those days of band camp and the weeks of rehearsal that followed, it was a marcher’s best friend. I play trombone, so I had an O dot: O20. I studied that dot book constantly—before moves, in between moves, at night.
The BCMB taught me lessons I will not forget: Always give your all and then some. Breathe well. Play smart. But most important: Your Band Buddy is not your only band buddy.
Joshua King ’12
For a band member, there are few things more exciting than receiving the dot book at the start of band camp and finding out what visual art the band will be creating on the football field in the coming season. Committing one’s spots to memory, learning how to move between them, and then combining these visual aspects of the show with the music was a challenge that I looked forward to at the start of every band camp. Though those August days were long and hot, performing the show for the first time was always an extremely rewarding experience and the perfect kickoff to the new academic year.
Daniel Ruvolo ’11
Ottawa Hills, Ohio
All over campus, undergraduates form groups in which they celebrate their individuality and collective differences. The Marching Band, however, gathers under the lights of Alumni Stadium to define similarities. The band strives to be so precise in performance as to give the effect that 174 individuals are one unit. During hours of rehearsal, members slotted to stand next to one another on the field share countless experiences. Prancing onto the field for the pregame show is just one such experience. To partake in such an unfailingly embarrassing moment with 173 other students may be the easiest way to find 173 new friends at Boston College.
Jessica M. Dever ’11
As one of Dave Healey’s former student assistants, I was responsible for ensuring that none of our 24 trumpets got out of step and “tore the line.” The BCMB taught me trust, teamwork, and dedication—skills that have been integral in my career in medicine with the military. The values and knowledge that I gained from my time as a Screaming Eagle set the foundation for success I have found after leaving the Heights.
Dominic Kim ’08
The dedication required to put on a seamless show is often overlooked. The Screaming Eagles Marching Band is the pulse of the stadium on game day, and together with the Superfans, it provides a unique and electrifying game-day atmosphere.
Ben Geisler ’08
Cortlandt Manor, New York
The personal benefits—discipline, teamwork—are dwarfed by the feeling of contributing to the game-day experience. All of our gear bears the phrase “Be The Spirit,” and Alumni Stadium would be incomplete without the passion and energy of the BCMB. I hope everyone who attends a Boston College football game enjoys the band’s performances as much as I do now as a spectator.
John Culmone ’11
Wading River, New York
Aside from academics, my time with the BCMB was the most formative part of my undergraduate experience. The friends I made, the skills I learned, and the experiences I had have stayed with me after my departure from the Heights.
Suzannah Lutz ’11
As a freshman, I thought about trying to shed my band-geek image, but instead embraced band in a new way—by learning how to play a new instrument. I took up the trumpet, becoming the only freshman girl in the trumpet section. Needless to say, the beginning was difficult—learning a new instrument, balancing my schedule, and adjusting to college life. Yet, band really helped me tie everything together. When you have to balance two three-hour rehearsals, seven-hour game days, and countless other performances, you learn to manage time. Socially, the band gave me a leg up on other freshmen. I had a group of friends before everyone else arrived. I attended band-family dinners, section outings into Boston, and away-game screening parties, where we sang the songs we would have been playing if the game were at home.
Jennifer Yoo ’12
Garden City, NY
When we arrive at band camp, we are handed a black binder (Band Buddy) containing the dot book, and we spend more time with it than we do our actual instruments. While plenty of fans compliment the sound of the band on game day, it seems like the execution of the maneuvers gets overlooked, and I am pleased to see the dot book getting attention. The sound of the Screaming Eagles combines with the precision of the pre-game and halftime shows to separate any old band from the “Big-B Band” on the Heights.
Jared Collins ’12
There is something unique about the combination of artistry and athleticism required to perform a show like “Carmen” at this level. The students spend six hours a week through the semester working out every performance detail in synchrony, from the length and style a note is played, to the angle of your right foot on a specific beat of music. In the BCMB you learn to collaborate across class years, fields of study, and levels of experience to achieve a standard of excellence on the field that is easily transferable to other areas of life. Learning to breathe, move, and perform in sync with 180 colleagues is an experience unique to the band, one that shaped my time at Boston College, and laid a foundation for my future.
Tom Spataro ’01
West Roxbury, Massachusetts
Mr. Spataro is executive director of the Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps.