Letters to the Editor
Recently a friend loaned me a copy of Xavier magazine, Spring 2003. You publish a professional, top quality magazine, in some respects. I would like to comment, however, on some negative aspects of this issue. I was appalled at seeing the cover. I hope it does not reflect the views of the entire Xavier community, as your masthead declares. At first glance, one would think this was just another “tabloid-type” magazine. Using the chest of a female to show the crucifix is in poor taste. Why not on a young man or a young couple? Your art director designed this image to draw attention downward to the open shirt of a young woman. I find this to be shocking, appalling, provocative and, frankly, very disheartening.
In one article in the magazine, it states that the priests on campus today do not wear any clerical garb and cannot be distinguished from anyone else—leaving the impression that this is a good trend. But then we are to admire the wearing of a crucifix by a young woman. There is a double standard here. Wearing a crucifix to remind ourselves of our salvation is a good thing. I personally would like to see priests showing some such identification. But if priests do not want to identify themselves as priests, why do you admire a woman who does? Let us not be naive. The manner in which that cross is worn is not for religious purposes. If it were, it would have been done in a more modest manner.
One of the magazine’s articles speaks of having to be “engaged in contemporary culture” to spread the Gospel, but that does not mean joining into or approving all that the secular society does. We certainly need our Catholic universities, and I appreciate much of the work you do to keep the Catholic faith alive, but we, as Catholics, must lead the way to what is moral, right, just and tasteful, and discard what is not. It means we must be very discriminating about how we choose to adapt to popular culture, and to have the courage to just say “no” when warranted.
In the article “Branching Out,” you speak about the Catholic identity of Xavier University as having “taken themselves in new directions, but beneath the surface they’re still rooted in the Catholic tradition.” New directions—yes, but why is our Catholic identity a “beneath the surface” matter? Evangelizing calls for us to make our faith open and inviting to others, not vague and secretive.
On page 27, the caption under the photo is misleading. It reads, “In past eras, attendance at Mass was mandatory. Today, mass is voluntary and more widely attended.” Was the author referring to Sunday Mass or daily Mass? That should have been made clear in the caption. We as Catholics still see attendance at Mass on Sunday with our communities as an obligation for observing the Sabbath. And could it be that Mass attendance is up due to greater participation by the laity, for the Mass being in English, as a result of the terrorist attack of September 11 or the war in Iraq? Many things contribute to the result of greater attendance.
Again, I wish to state that I think your cover is in very bad taste, and I hope your editors will be careful in the future as to how you depict living our faith. Thank you for your attention to my letter. God bless the good work that is being done at Xavier University.
Mary A. Schilling
South Bend, Ind.
Words of Praise
Words of praise necessarily fall short of a desired goal as this note of praise comes to all of you from this grad (M.A. ’55) for your Summer issue 2003 (Xavier magazine). Diversified and well-written content within professional design/layout combined are superb!
Of special poignancy to me as a (St. Xavier High School) grad of ’44 and associate of Frs. Ed Bradley, Bill Topmoeller and Ted Thepe during the 40’s and early 50’s was the sensitive portrayal of Ed’s life and death. Words of praise here are by no means intended to detract even the slightest from excellence in any of the remaining content.
I marvel at how you people accomplish your task—each edition seems to outdo the quality of the previous one. Keep up the good work!
Fr. John Donnelly