I am responding to a letter I read last week by Paul Franta about not allowing a pro-choice group on campus. Although I agree with Franta that Catholic traditions do not and have not supported abortion and it’s important to hold on to those traditions, I would like to offer an alternative perspective.
To begin, only half of the student population at CSB/SJU is Catholic, and many of the Catholic traditions are not expected to be practiced by the non-catholic half of the institution. That being said, the ideas of the group do not necessarily have to be supported by the school itself, however their ability to be a group should be protected by the school.
In fact, if students are withheld from the opportunity to practice their beliefs, this contradicts many of the traditions of the Catholic faith. In fact, one of the Benedictine values is community. Not allowing part of the community to have a voice limits the institutions’ ability to flourish.
Just because someone has a different opinion than your own doesn’t mean they should be silenced. Respect for persons is another fundamental value of the Catholic faith, which states “to respect each person regardless of class, background or professional skill.”
A pro-choice group may represent something different than the Catholic tradition is accustomed to, however their voice still needs to be respected and heard. I suggest, therefore, if the institutions will not allow a pro-choice group, it is against Catholic traditions to have a pro-life one.
Faye Williams ’20