Editors' Note - May 2018

posted May 8, 2018, 1:42 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review

           Dear Reader,

We have come, at last, to the end of the year at Holy Cross—another semester, another sequence of months, an arbitrary measurement of elapsed time.  But it is far more than that, as you invariably knew we’d say. It’s the end of a time together, by turns terribly stressful, thrillingly contentious, and wondrously exhilarating. So too this year, for this publication.  A sponsored lecture in Rehm Library, a published interview with a prominent public intellectual, six issues, a substantially expanded readership, a growing list of alumni supporters.  As one of our predecessors put it, “All in all, not a bad run.”

The Fenwick Review has been around for twenty-nine years.  When it was founded, publications like this one had been springing up for a decade across the country. Many of the social changes of the last few years were inconceivable.  Much of that has changed.  Iraq and Afghanistan discredited the neocons; social conservatives have lost on most of the issues they ever cared about; the neoliberal economics of Hayek and Friedman, once conservative bread and butter, now face increasing criticism from the Right, and particularly from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.  Does a magazine built on this synthesis still have anything credible to say?

We believe we do.  “Traditional Catholic principles and conservative ideas” are perhaps less popular in academia today than they were thirty years ago, but they aren’t any less relevant.  Thirty years ago, the Right was all about freedom. While the contemporary left might claim the banner of liberation, it continues to fundamentally undermine the authentic sense of freedom.  It isn’t merely a political problem, either: the de rigeur understanding of human beings is extremely toxic in this regard.

That is precisely where this magazine becomes important. We’ve taken our stands in defence of life, conscience, and religion.  We’ve published cultural criticism and spiritual reflections. We’ve touched frequently on contemporary politics, particularly on the relationship of freedom and the common good.  All of these resist the identitarian flattening of human beings into acronyms or protest movements. All of them communicate the freedom and the dignity of every human person.  In our lives on this hill and beyond it, there are truths to be discovered, and choices to be made. We have to seek them freely, and make them truly.  We hope that we have sometimes helped to do that.

Petite Veritatem,

Claude Hanley ‘18

William Christ ‘18

Editors in Chief


10 Years Later: Re-Examining Montserrat - May 2018

posted May 8, 2018, 1:40 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review   [ updated May 8, 2018, 1:41 PM ]

By Seamus Brennan '20

Montserrat holds a unique place at Holy Cross.  The first-year program is extolled by school officials as a key facet of a Holy Cross education and is advertised to prospective students as a foundational academic experience for studies in the liberal arts.  Yet many current students and alumni seem to loathe the program and frequently cite it as one of the low points of their time at Holy Cross. Clearly there remains a disconnect between administrators and students regarding the purpose and practicality of the Montserrat program: what the College describes as “an enduring quest for intellectual, personal and spiritual growth” represents a frequent source of disappointment within an otherwise collectively esteemed academic experience.  As the College commemorates the program’s tenth anniversary this year, the Montserrat program remains noble in intent and appealing in principle, but it has three primary problems: inaptness of structure, ambiguity of purpose, and incongruity of curriculum.

While criticisms of the Montserrat program are varied, the most common relate to the program’s length and structure.  During the summer before their freshman year, incoming students are asked to select their top five seminar choices, in one of which they are guaranteed a spot.  However, the course descriptions available to incoming freshmen are vague and make no mention of the course’s professor, class readings, or assignments. If a student is placed in a course he or she does not enjoy or find worthwhile, that student is more or less “locked in” to an undesirable class for two full semesters, or 25 percent of their freshman year.

“I don't think reducing the academic component to a semester would be a bad idea,” said a member of the class of 2020.  “After a half of a year passes and we get back from winter recess, I do not see the need to extend the program into the second semester.  It occupies one fourth of the overall courses one can take freshman year, which seems a bit excessive. I think the proposed goal of community and discussion will have been accomplished after one semester if it will be accomplished at all.”

A member of the class of 2019 added, “I think most students right now see [Montserrat] as something that is in the way of them taking more classes that could benefit them, so being very clear about the skills that a student should gain through their Montserrat program and why it is beneficial to move forward in college and life is important.”

To be sure, the “living and learning” component of Montserrat is a desirable one: the notion of spending the entirety of one’s freshman year in an intellectual  residential community is attractive and commendable, and it is difficult to imagine that any academically serious students would be opposed to such an arrangement.  The Holy Cross website describes Montserrat as an environment in which “big ideas addressed in the classroom or at cluster events serve as springboards for conversations that continue over dinner or during a late-night study break—which in turn give rise to enduring friendships.”  As captivating as this description may be, is a structured academic environment that lasts for a full academic year really necessary to foster the sense of community and intellectual engagement the College deems so important? Most colleges that require a freshman seminar require only one semester, and many of those are not taken for academic credit and are focused solely on the communal aspect.  A “lively intellectual and social community that encourages engagement with a broad range of themes and issues” can be every bit as lively and engaging if the academic component of Montserrat were removed or even limited to one semester.

Because Montserrat is a required first-year seminar lasting two semesters, a large assortment of course offerings are available.  During the 2017-2018 academic year, thirty-seven courses or a grand total of seventy-four semester-long seminars within six broadly themed clusters were offered to incoming freshmen.  With enormity of size comes an extremely wide range of themes and syllabi, and having seventy-four distinct courses intended “to accommodate a range of interests,” as stated in the Holy Cross magazine, seems excessive and can potentially lead to extremely narrow curricula.  For instance, one may wonder how previously offered Montserrat seminars like “Images of the Latino in American Cinema” fulfill the program’s self-proclaimed mission of serving as a “dynamic introduction to the liberal arts.” As a Holy Cross professor suggested, “One might wonder, if we are going to have required freshman seminars at all, shouldn't they be of a sort that are grounded in serious, even classic books that introduce students to liberal education, rather than focusing on narrow topics that happen to be of interest to a particular instructor?”

The problematic potential for thematic thinness within the Montserrat program likely stems from various professors’ different approaches to their respective seminars and syllabi.  Holy Cross students have long complained about the inconsistency of academic rigor between various seminars. “I think Montserrat could be improved by having the curricula of the different seminars looked at more closely.  Having a common format and grading system could help the fact that many students feel like they landed themselves a ‘harder’ or ‘easier’ seminar than someone else,” said a member of the class of 2019.

The wild discrepancies in academic expectations between each Montserrat course have more than likely left a negative impression on some professors.  “Years ago a stalwart member of the faculty taught in the program and reported it was the worst mistake of her academic career here, as she was teaching a regular academic course and students kept complaining to her that she was making them do serious academic work while their classmates in other courses had very little work to do yet all earned high grades,” said a Holy Cross professor.  “The fact is, in my observation many faculty simply have little interest in teaching in the program, so the Montserrat director, even with the best of intentions, is compelled to accommodate the wishes, course-wise, of those who agree to take part.”

For a self-described foundational program at a highly ranked liberal arts school, this model of narrowly focused, specialized seminars with a captive audience of first-year students who signed up based only on a short description creates a dangerous possibility for extreme bias and subjectivity within each seminar.  “My Montserrat is shockingly biased. While I do not mind having an atheist professor, it is certainly hard to be in a class where [an] egotistical professor proclaims his atheism at every available irrelevant moment. All the readings we are given slant toward his personal beliefs and when we are given supposedly alternate viewpoints, he does not pick available respectable ones but goes out of his way to make the opposing side look bad,” said a current first-year student.

Despite the program’s potential to exist as a unique and immersive first-year experience for all students, Montserrat rests on a framework that mistakes narrow and potentially ideologically slanted professor-specific interests for a rudimentary introduction to the liberal arts and life at Holy Cross.  In doing so, whether it intends to or not, the program tolerates partiality, compromises its mission, and ultimately collapses upon itself. One must ask, for a program that is supposedly so foundational, so life-changing, and so intellectually riveting: why are many Montserrat seminars focused on relatively narrow topics as opposed to studying truly foundational texts and raising major questions that should be a foundation of liberal education?  Why are rising freshmen given close to zero information—beyond course titles and vague descriptions—about what the course will involve and what the syllabus will entail? Why are rising freshmen unable to know who is teaching a given course before they sign up so they might research the instructor's publications and interests prior to enrolling? Why must Montserrat last for two full semesters with no opportunity to switch courses or professors, especially considering that Holy Cross students only have room for thirty-two classes?

Like so much else at Holy Cross, the answers to these questions are unknown, but the potential for greatness still lingers.  Due to these shortcomings, the Montserrat program has failed to deliver the values it promotes and thereby ceases to maintain any sense of value at all.  As the Holy Cross website states, the program is named after the mountain at with St. Ignatius of Loyola decided to begin “a new life devoted to study, teaching, service, faith and purpose.”  Unfortunately, until Holy Cross can clarify its own purpose for the program and its supposed values, most students won’t be able to either.

Catholicism and Secularism in Europe's Public Square - May 2018

posted May 8, 2018, 1:38 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review

By Jack Rosenwinkel '21

In early April, French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech to his country’s bishops, urging them to use their Catholic faith to engage France’s political system. Macron’s speech comes amid debate over several controversial issues, like in vitro fertilization for lesbian couples and the future of euthanasia. It’s especially remarkable since Macron is no supporter of the Church’s teachings on either issue.  Nonetheless, he finds the Catholic voice valuable in the public square. In that regard, his statement has implications for political life beyond the Fifth Republic.

Macron’s viewpoint would be controversial in America.  In France, it’s about as revolutionary as the guillotine.  France prides itself on its secularism, and has for many year.s In 2004, the French government made it illegal to wear “conspicuous” religious symbols in government operated schools, which meant young Muslim girls couldn’t wear head coverings in public schools.  More recently, the 2016 “Burkini Ban” saw armed police force a Muslim woman to remove her clothing on the beach, for “not respecting secularism.”

The United States is not so tyrannically secular, but many Americans are quick to downplay the importance of faith in making political decisions. People give two key reasons for this decision. First, they argue that the First Amendment calls for a separation of church and state. Trouble is, it doesn’t. Instead, it asserts that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The purpose of the amendment was not to ban religious people from politics, but to prevent the government from establishing its own church or persecuting specific religious groups.

Second, people justify strict ideological secularism by arguing against imposition. In other words, they claim that while they personally believe in a particular religious doctrine, they don’t want to impose this view on others. Yet society has no hesitation about condemning other evils, like murder, theft, or child abuse. We have no qualms about telling people that something is wrong if we truly believe it is wrong. Personal opposition is just indecision, fear, or a lack of moral conviction dressed up as politeness. People are afraid they may be wrong, or they are afraid of being stigmatized or condemned for holding a belief that modern, liberal society deems unacceptable. And so they stay silent, depriving the public square of clear voices, informed by conscience and a sense of the common good.  In that regard, Macron’s speech serves as a call to action for religious people across the West.

In a diagnosis that is also applicable to America, Macron said, “What strikes our country is… not only the economic crisis, it is relativism, it is even nihilism.” In a world full of violence, confusion, pain, and nothingness, people are desperate “to hear from another perspective on man than the material perspective.” The Church can provide this perspective since it has a “voice which still dares to speak of man as a living spirit.”  If this is true in France, is it not truer in America?

The world suffers, obviously.  Our politics becomes ever more divisive, people on both sides of the aisle are concerned with “fake news,” and the #MeToo movement has revealed the prevalence of sexual assault in this country. Marriages are falling apart, there’s a raging opioid crisis, and it’s very possible that Kanye West will run for president. People can’t even talk about disagreements anymore, because everyone is furious and we don’t even agree about what truth is.  What we’re doing isn’t working.

This political moment needs the Catholic voice. We need a voice that is going to stand up and speak out. We need people to emerge from behind the façade of correctness in order to stand for truth.

This may be interpreted by some as a pointed attack on a particular political group. It isn’t. Because if Macron got one thing right, it’s that everyone needs to hear the Catholic perspective. This isn’t about Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal. The Church’s perspective transcends those divisions. It offers an entirely countercultural message. That’s why this is so difficult for some people. News reporters would love to claim that Pope Francis is basically a Democrat. He isn’t a Democrat. He’s a Catholic. And to confine the ideological richness of Catholicism to one political movement robs it of its universality. That said, not every vote is justifiable.

The teachings of the Church aren’t easy. No one said they would be. That isn’t an excuse to disregard them. On top of that, too many people write off difficult teachings because they don’t understand them. So do your homework. Figure out why the Church teaches what it teaches. The result will often be more logical, applicable, rational and convincing than you ever imagined.

But bear this in mind, too: you can justify anything. You can even warp the Bible or Church teaching to do it. Just because some rogue theologian supports gendercide abortions doesn’t make them Christian doctrine. Find credible theologians, papal documents, and legitimate reasons that explain the truth, goodness, and beauty of Catholic teaching. And then go out into the world and be the hands and feet of Christ.

At the end of the day, we simply have to step back and realize we don’t have all the answers. Maybe, just maybe, the Church can help us out.


A Reflection on "Finding God in All Things" - May 2018

posted May 8, 2018, 1:37 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review

By Greg Giangiordano '18

“Finding God in all things” is the catchphrase of Ignatian spirituality.  But what does it mean? To understand Ignatius, we need more than the buzzword version of his popular ideas.  To begin with, then, St. Ignatius tells us in his Spiritual Exercises that “Love consists in a mutual communication between two persons.” When this mutual communication is between myself and God, I can know with certainty that God loves me. I can know that He continuously gives Himself to me. He says through St. John, “In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him”; through the prophet Samuel, He declares “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” Thus, I know two things about God—He said that He loves me, and He is not a liar. His love is true and unconditional, and it is constantly communicated to me in every moment of my life. He has given me the freedom to “find Him in all things.” It is then entirely up to me whether I choose to freely reciprocate or freely reject His love.

The first time that I truly felt God’s personal love for me was in high school. It was the summer before my senior year, and I was out for a walk with my dog. It was early evening—the sun was just beginning to set, and the sky was a blend of purplish-blue and fiery orange-gold. The air was pleasantly warm and dry, and the crickets were chirping in the bushes lining the street. I remember my dog ambling along happily beside me and sniffing here-and-there at foliage as the fancy took her, and I remember listening to music and feeling quietly at peace. Coming to a fork in the road, I turned right, and, as the road led west, I had a clear and unobstructed view of the sunset as it turned the sky a rich orange-rose.

A deep wellspring of joy exploded within me and rolled down my limbs. The feeling was so strong that I nearly collapsed; I remember gasping, leaning on my knees, and immediately bursting into tears. At the same time, my surroundings seemed to shift slightly—I can’t quite describe it, but it felt as if everything had physically trembled and fallen into place, whereas before it had all been slightly off-kilter. Everything felt new; it was as if I had been blind and then could see. The world around me had come into sharper focus, and I felt that each blade of grass and each leaf had a new brilliance, heard the cricket-song as if it were a symphony and smelt the sweetness of the air as if for the first time. I felt as though our Lord had touched my heart with the very tip of His finger and said, “Look at what I have made, out of My love for you.” I was overcome—obliterated, by a dewdrop of His Grace.

Everything that exists is born of God’s love for us. While many of us have heard that idea, we rarely stop to ponder it. I never look at the pansies lining the Hoval and think, these were created out of God’s love for me. St. Ignatius aims in his Exercises to make us aware that creation is one of God’s many acts of love for us: “I will consider how God labors and works for me in all the creatures on the face of the earth; that is, he acts in the manner of one who is laboring. For example, he is working in the heavens, elements, plants, fruits, cattle, and all the rest—giving them their existence, conserving them, concurring with their vegetative and sensitive activities, and so forth.”  St. Ignatius makes it clear that God’s labor in keeping creation in being is done “for me.” He had each one of us personally in mind when He made reality.

In high school, I only knew that, in nature, God had touched my heart, and I had felt a deep and abiding joy. Nature, God and joy—that was as far as the reflective process went. Now, through the words of St. Ignatius, I can begin to see meaning behind the experience. I now see that God hadn’t shifted the world; He had shifted me within the world. He had touched my heart and shifted my perspective, so that I could begin to see and respond to His love at work in creation. By means of creation, God had made His presence known to me, in order that I might come to know and love Him.

As beautiful as experiences like these are, they don’t occur on a regular basis. I won’t try to predict how many moments like these God will choose to give me, but it probably isn’t many. Since that time five years ago, I can only point to two other instances where God, by means of His Grace, made His presence known to me, and neither of those experiences were in natural settings. Usually, I feel about as spiritually sensitive as a bag of hammers. I do not routinely feel God’s presence in my life: I do not feel His presence every time I step outside into the sunshine, nor do I get the warm-fuzzies every time I see the pansies outside of Hogan. However, that does not mean that God is not actively present in my life. I may not be aware of it, but He is everywhere and holding everything in being.

Not being spiritually sensitive all the time isn’t a bad thing; trusting that our Lord exists and loves me personally, even when I don’t feel it, is essential to a strong faith. As one priest frequently tells me, it is important to remember the words that our Lord said to St. Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. Our Lord makes it clear that we should not expect or demand profound spiritual experiences. In fact, Christ considers those people who do not receive many grace-filled moments and yet remain strong in their faith to be especially precious to Him. He calls those people “blessed.” I must admit, there are times when I wish that God would reach into my life and give me definitive proof that He exists, as He did with St. Thomas. But then I remind myself that faith involves trust. I remind myself of the words of Samuel and St. John—that God loves me, and that God is not a liar.


Sincere Tips for Study Abroad - May 2018

posted May 8, 2018, 1:35 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review

By John Buzzard '19

Next September, the class of 2020 will head to their various overseas destinations, while the class of 2021 will begin the process of applying for Study Abroad.  As a veteran of the College’s study abroad program, I thought I’d offer a few tips about how to make the best of the experience. They are, I hasten to add, absolutely sincere.  I’ll be as truthful as a Huffpo “news” article.

First, go for a year. The College does not have enough space for you here because we have to build more athletic facilities, so you really have a duty to get off campus. If you miss the Hill, be sure to keep in touch by sending in your tuition payments promptly.  For interior decorating, you could keep the form from the Bursar Office and hang it up with some pictures of your Holy Cross family, to show your friends all the wonderful things that are waiting for you in the U.S. For the rising sophomores, try to pick a program that costs substantially less than Holy Cross—that way, the College gets to pocket the difference, and spend your money on things that don’t matter to you.  The College will appreciate your generous gift, even if nobody ever acknowledges it.

When the time comes to leave,  make sure to see your friends one last time; there’s no guarantee that you’ll be the same person after your study abroad experience. One fun activity you can do with your friends is to book your trips ahead of time. Say you’re studying in Ireland—well, Dublin Airport is just a convenient bus ride away! It’s so easy that every weekend you can just book a new trip to somewhere around Europe. Why spend time in your host country when the Lennon Wall in Prague is all the rage right now?

Once you’ve reached your destination, the next thing to do is post about it on social media.   People need to know everything about your experience, from the food you eat to the funny way that people talk. Now the difficult part of this guide is the “studying” part. I mean, who studies abroad for the coursework!? Every class is optional. Professors don’t care about some dime-a-dozen American student anyway, so why connect with an abroad professor in the first place?   Skip that boring Roman art course. You’ll learn more by grabbing an espresso at that cute little hole in the wall downtown.

The best part about studying abroad is exploring your host country, so you should save it until the last week you’re there.  Your home country will always be there for you. If you’re only studying abroad for a semester, this suggestion still applies because you’re never going to have the same freedom to explore again. You’re there to learn something new! You’ll learn about your host culture at some point, what’s more important is to make sure your Airbnb for Oktoberfest is still valid. Explore a different part of Europe every single weekend you can. Why rest or stay in the local area?  You can do that in America, or during the week. Have some fun and take advantage of cheap airlines. That non-touristy photo of Amsterdam isn’t going to snap itself.

The Americans you meet in Europe will become some of the closest friends you’ll ever make. Who cares that you’ll never see them again? They’re here skipping class with you too. Everyone needs a partner in crime and only other American students get that. Now, you can always bring your new bestie to clubs and organizations at your school, but what is the point in that? You’ve got so much time to go to meetings, you’ve got to go out with them on the town and make them a staple in your Insta posts. The locals will understand.

If you follow these tips, your time abroad will truly change you as a person. You’ll find yourself more cultured, more intellectual, and you have a better grasp on the socioeconomics of the world today. You might have some regrets in the end, for example, never making it to all the cafes in your host city or even spending time with your international friends. It’s not possible to do everything in a year and that includes exploring your own country. It’s just not possible and anyone telling you that you need to spend more time ‘learning about the culture of the country you’re studying in’ just doesn’t get it. At the end of the day though, this was a monumental step forward in your life. At some point you may get the chance to do it again, and this time, maybe you’ll be able to get a better angle on that Tower of Pisa picture.


Core Principles - May 2018

posted May 8, 2018, 1:30 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review

        By William Christ '18

        Since its foundation in 1843, the College of the Holy Cross has dedicated itself to educating young men and women in the Jesuit tradition. The core of the Jesuits’ humanistic mission has been to educate people in a variety of subjects, theories, and points of view. Through this community of open expression and free intellectual debate, students and people learn not only about opposing views, but also how to question and strengthen their own deeply held beliefs. 

        Without this free exchange of ideas, the liberal arts mission becomes corrupted, as students self-censor their speech or become reluctant to express their opinions. While this particular trend has not manifested itself strongly on this campus, across the country a growing movement makes it permissible for people to condemn opinions that fail to align with their own.

        With the current political environment encouraging activism against the Trump administration, opposite views get drowned out by the overwhelming presence of protesters. Acts of resistance immediately arise after the latest uproar at a Trump administration policy, tweet, or cultural issue.  This trend has bolstered anti-Trump activists. Seeing these acts of defiance and protests constantly in the news enables liberals who believe that they are a part of a movement that has overwhelming national popularity. Moreover, the protest and activism culture only serves to censor or quiet the voices of those supportive of the administration’s policies, because they feel as if they are vastly outnumbered. More importantly, the presence of progressive-led protests and the absence of conservative marches provide some conservatives with the belief that their views are extreme and not socially acceptable. The liberal activists and protesters who rightfully champion free debate and discussion have led to the subconscious censorship of conservative speech. However, more vocal ways of condemning opposing views have resulted from the production of subliminal messages during protests and marches.

        Recently, the American left ridiculed Kanye West for being insufficiently anti-Trump. Facing backlash from the militant thought police of the left, Kanye tweeted that he respects the President because he has energy and can identify with that. Kanye also summed up the view of the liberal censorship with his tweet that said “you don't have to agree with Trump, but the mob can’t make me not love him…I don't agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.” He also articulated differences of opinion with President Obama over what his policies did for the city of Chicago and tweeted his support for the African-American critic of Black Lives Matter Candace Owens. Within minutes of offering his opinions, Kanye faced tweets and adverse reactions that questioned his mental health with the goal of undermining and delegitimizing his words.

If the leftist mob dislikes something, they will use any tactic, whether it is false accusations of racism, assertions of sexism, or allegations of unstable mental health, until it is gone. Like Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, or any non-white supporter of the Trump administration, Kanye is not considered a proper representative of the minorities’ opinions. Additionally, the critics who condemned Kanye’s Twitter dialogue with Present Trump for saying that presidents should not engage in policies debates with celebrities fail to mention President Obama’s relationships with the highest class.  Defenses of free thought, like Kanye’s, are crucial to the survival of the American republic. Without them, Americans will begin making political decisions without thinking critically about the issues.

The vilification of people for deigning to think for themselves contradicts the founding of America. The Founding Fathers created a republic through vigorous debate. That debate has continued throughout American history until the present. Institutionally, the offices of the presidency, the Electoral College, and the Senate were constructed in order to calm passing crazes and prevent popularity from subverting the nation. Now, in America’s current culture, people restrict their opinions or emulate the “popular class” in order to gain approval from others in society. This form of restriction of free discussion is equally dangerous because people lose their sense of individualism and begin the march towards a collective identity. Standing against the winds of popularity and social approval is necessary because difficult decisions, ideas, and policies are required to calm a crisis. While it is difficult to maintain one’s opinions in the face of overwhelming social pressures, it is necessary for effective and authentic discussions.

        While Holy Cross maintains free intellectual debates, the world outside of Mt. St. James may not. Threats to one’s identity and beliefs will be ever-present as society will try to manipulate or eliminate them. Pressures to interfere with one’s beliefs emerge from partisan politics, trends in popular culture, and from all religions. However, the College of the Holy Cross has provided the same principles that, for the past 175 years, have succeeded in educating students with a strong sense of civic duty, personal identity, and Catholic principles. These principles—a thirst for knowledge, respect for passionate and free debate, and the strong sense of Catholic identity instilled by the College into every crusader—are essential for the survival and growth of the American republic. Armed with these tools every crusader will, when faced with obstacles to free discussion, conquer in the sign of the cross. 


Emotional Chastity - May 2018

posted May 8, 2018, 1:24 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review

By Cassandra Brouillard '18

“What are you writing about?” my grandmother asked me with curiosity as I sat typing away on this article. “Emotional chastity,” I said, as I watched the puzzled look that began to form on her face. In the past couple of weeks, I realized that not too many individuals have heard this phrase before. However, we have probably heard it in other ways: how to “guard our hearts,” expressing prudence in our speech, and even speaking “appropriately” for our settings.

           So what exactly is emotional chastity? Lisa Cotter helps to put Pope John Paul II’s words from Love and Responsibility into everyday language:

There are two types of attraction, sensual attraction and sentimental attraction. Sensual attraction has to do with the material value of a person, what we find physically attractive about them (she’s hot). Sentimental attraction has to do with the non-material value of a person, what we find emotionally attractive about them (he’s fascinating). Both of these types of attraction can spark in us the instant we meet someone or grow with time and they are both necessary for attraction to turn into love.

Cotter continues to explain how just as we must take care to use prudence in our sexual relationships (which is another topic altogether!), so we must also use prudence in our emotional relationships. It can be as easy of a temptation for us to use others to satisfy our emotional needs as it can be to use others to satisfy our sexual needs. Both can be equally destructive to our relationships.

Take ABC’s show The Bachelor. Often during the season finale, the bachelor is severely conflicted about which girl to choose. He claims that he is in love with two people, and because of this, no matter which decision he makes, he ends up hurting one of the women. Was it ever justified for him to be dating so many women from the beginning? Of course doing so would lead to complications, drama, broken hearts. Regardless of whether or not this man is physically tied to more than one woman at once, emotionally, he has invested serious feelings in too many women. So how exactly are we to discern whether or not we are using another person for our own emotional gain in an unhealthy manner? We need to distinguish which emotions are appropriate for which relationships in our lives.

To state the obvious, there are differences between the relationship I have with my sister and the relationships I have with my good male friends. Let’s start with the relationship between my sister and me: We are both adults and we are sisters. We know each other’s faults (well, most of them!). We know each other’s weaknesses, great struggles, and great joys. To keep it short, we share most of our emotional, spiritual, and mental feelings, thoughts, and questions with each other. I can cry with her, laugh with her, and open up in depth about my deeper spiritual struggles and emotional challenges as a woman.

This relationship differs dramatically from one that I share with one of my male friends. I would not share with him the same thoughts and feelings that I share with my sister. Our conversations would probably be more centered on the activities and interests that we share—school projects and tests, inside jokes from our favorite movies, or memories. To be clear, I am not saying that it would be wrong for me to have deep and meaningful conversations with my male friends, but rather that I am always aware of my intentions behind such conversations. Am I seeking to learn more from my brothers in Christ in order to advance the Kingdom of God on Earth?  

Furthermore, as a woman, God has certainly put me in their lives to encourage them in their own journey. Are my conversations an encouragement in their lives, or are they merely a temptation to play with emotions?  God created us so as to encourage one another to move ever closer towards Him. First and foremost, then, our greatest call in life is to love God first and to love others second (Mark 12:29-31), although with differing and appropriate levels of affection depending on the relationship.

Thus, the intention of our words and thoughts becomes the most important tool for us in discerning whether or not we are using others to meet our own personal emotional needs. Philippians 3:14 encourages us to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” The reality is that we will never truly be satisfied until we are united with Christ in Heaven. Even when we are married, although we will have a deeper emotional attachment to our spouse, it is important to realize that we should not use him or her in order to fulfill our greater emotional and physical needs. Only God knows our heart in its fullest sense. In recognizing this profound truth, we are able to give ourselves more fully to our spouses as well as our families, because God is at the center of these relationships. The goal no longer is self-gratification, but rather, self-giving, to draw the other into Christ.

So how exactly do we move forward in the hopes of living out emotional chastity? Here are some helpful questions to start: First, am I going to benefit from telling this person this information? In other words, will telling this person relieve me emotionally or create more complications in the process? Second, is the other person going to benefit from hearing it? Is it fair to share my feelings and emotional burdens with this person? Will it burden them or create an unnecessary attachment? Third, boundaries are important.  They allow us to distinguish our relationships from one another. They also give us the freedom to decide who we desire to share our hearts with and how deeply we desire to do so. In limiting the amount of information that we share with one person, we give our hearts the space to share more intimately and fully with another individual (ie. in a committed relationship, marriage, and even the consecrated life). As always, this involves a great deal of discernment (which means time in reflection or prayer) as to what level of attachment is appropriate for a relationship. This can help us to avoid many problems, teach us where we want to invest the bulk of our time and energy, and more importantly, with whom we want to share and entrust the most intimate pieces of our heart.

Having different people whom we can confide in for our mental, physical, psychological and spiritual well-being can be helpful in caring for our whole persons, but also in understanding that only God knows our whole heart. In setting boundaries and guarding our hearts (Prov. 4:23), we can begin to give our hearts most fully to Christ (Phil. 4:7).


Sex, Freedom, and California's AB-2943 - May 2018

posted May 8, 2018, 1:23 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review

By Claude Hanley '18

In recent years, eleven states have passed laws banning the use (on minors) of “conversion therapy,” a medically debunked and morally bankrupt practice which seeks to change the sexual orientations of LGBT people. Most recently, California’s assembly passed a similar bill for adults, AB-2943.  Like the others, it’s enjoyed broad support from the mainstream left and various LGBT lobbying organizations, like the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the psychotherapist association for gender and sexual diversity, Gaylesta. The bill tells us a great deal about how certain factions in this country think about sex, sexual orientation, freedom, and human nature.  And while banning conversion therapy for minors is good policy, what the bill ultimately reveals isn’t pretty.

Every ban of “sexual orientation change efforts” relies on a very similar definition of the term.  In 2009, the American Psychological Association defined this term as “methods that aim to change a person’s same-sex sexual orientation to other-sex, regardless of whether mental health professionals or lay individuals are involved.”  That seems like a workable definition, because it means exactly what the term says. “Sexual orientation change efforts” means, well, actually trying to change a person’s sexual orientation. But the APA, apparently, wasn’t good enough.  According to more than 20 percent of state governments, and the lobbying groups which helped draft the bill, sexual orientation change efforts include “any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”  This definition implies that human beings are slaves to their desires, and indeed little better than animals.

The devil is in the definition.  Efforts “to change an individual’s sexual orientation” include efforts “to change behaviors or gender expressions.”  In uniting these two efforts, the bills identify an aspect of personal identity—the unchosen sexual orientation—with particular behaviors or expressions.  The two form a logical continuum. If a person has a particular desire—say, being attracted to people of the same sex—acting upon that desire is naturally necessary.  In fact, trying to change the behavior is akin to trying to change the orientation.

That is, to put it nicely, absurd. It makes the human person a slave of sexual desire, entirely compromising any meaningful claim to moral freedom.  To be clear, I suspect that I agree with every one of the bill’s supporters on one point: sexual orientation isn’t freely chosen; nobody elects to be gay or straight or otherwise.  But their schema leaves no place at all for moral choice, the process by which a person chooses to pursue a particular course of action. They would have us believe that if a person is gay, his or her moral choice is already made.  Sexual behavior will inevitably express the orientation; there’s no conception that free choice would involve itself at all. Whether you have sex with someone is a matter of biological necessity, not a moral choice.

But this bit of legalistic mumbo-jumbo isn’t just stupid.  It’s also morally cancerous. What does it say about human beings to claim that sexual orientation inevitably determines—indeed, logically compels—a  person to have sex with someone else? It means the person can be identified simply with desire. Our sexual appetites become who we are, not a minor facet of our richer and more complex identity.  When moral freedom disappears, we have neither control over nor responsibility for our own lives. What separates rational human adults from wind-up toys, marching to the gear ticks of a prefabricated sex drive?  If AB-2943 (and a dozen bills just like it) gets it right, every single one of us is hopelessly imprisoned to our lusts. We can’t choose our behavior without denying who we are. This vision of the person doesn’t make us more ourselves.  Instead, it would reduce us to nothing more than animals. It claims that we’re subhuman, in the full sense of the word.

And yet, we dare to call it “liberation.”  That was the rallying cry of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, re-echoed by its heirs for decades since. With that term, our culture signifies a purely political liberty.  Since the type of person we sleep with is (supposedly) who we are, liberty becomes the right for our sexual desires to express themselves in actions. Freedom is expressive sexuality.  It can only be threatened from outside, either by government actions or by cultural norms which condemn particular sexual behaviors. In this regard, the moral objections of others pose a fundamental challenge to our liberty.  By condemning a behavior, they discourage sexual self-expression. Thus, we’re told that cultural norms imprison us, and prevent us from being authentically free. It gives the left a cudgel to hit the Christians with. So what if it defiles human dignity along the way?

Christianity decries this reduction of the person to his or her sexual orientation, and proposes a fuller understanding of human freedom.  Freedom intervenes in the logical progression from desire to action, claims the philosophical tradition of the Christian church. Freedom falls between sexual orientation and sexual behavior, between who we’re attracted to and whether we have sex with them.  After we experience a desire, but before we act upon it, there is a moment of moral choice. In that moment, the person finds himself addressed by the choice which lies before him. In the silence of the human heart, we come face to face with our consciences, with the stable and uncompromising moral truth.  And we possess the terrible freedom to deny, reject, or ignore that truth, and to live with the consequences of our choice. In the depths of who we are, free from both the pressures of our culture and the insistence of our flesh, we possess the capacity to choose for good or evil.

Assertions of traditional morality seek to influence this choice, but they do not try to undermine it.  For instance, the Catholic Church makes moral arguments, on the basis of scripture, tradition, and moral philosophy, that any sexual activity outside of the relationship of a husband and wife is gravely wrong.  By presenting a rational argument, the Church seeks to shape the moral lives of her people. Nonetheless, each person possesses the ability to reject the Church’s teaching, or to affirm it. The moral act will follow from this choice, whether one chooses to remain chaste or to violate the norm.  But the assertion of a moral claim has another purpose: it calls attention to our freedom, to the choice that we must make. If the Church deems an action illicit, but contemporary culture applauds it, the individual is presented with a moral dilemma, whose final outcome only he or she may determine. Controversial Christian teachings reveal the choices before us, and so they liberate us from enslavement to our appetites.

AB-2943 and its companions across the country don’t speak for every LGBT person, and I don’t claim that they do.  But the logic of these bills is the logic of the sexual revolution. It is the logic of our society, too: that we are freer when we enact our desires, that in fact those same desires make behaviors necessary.  This is sexual predestination. The Catholic faith rejects this as the negation of our freedom. So does most anyone afflicted with a drop of common sense. We are not animals, or wind-up toys, or biological automatons. To claim otherwise is morally despicable; it’s the death knell of the trait that makes us human.  Virtue or vice? Good or evil? God or nothing? That is the choice before us. We ought to make it freely.


John Paul and Jessica - May 2018

posted May 8, 2018, 1:20 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review

By Elinor Reilly '18

Contains spoilers for Marvel’s Jessica Jones Netflix series.

              In superhero movies and shows, hope is complicated. After watching three Marvel movies with ever-increasing stakes, one might yawn when New York City teeters on the edge of destruction—again. Maybe the heroes will save the day this time, but there isn’t much of a point in expecting things to be better by the time Avengers 5: Super-Mega-Armageddon comes out. A repeated cycle of villains, antiheroes, and excessive violence is the name of the franchise. Marvel’s Netflix shows don’t fit quite as tidily into this narrative. Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, The Punisher, Iron Fist, and The Defenders are on a slightly smaller scale, with fewer city-destroying machines and zero Norse gods. The first four shows in particular focus on an only slightly fictionalized New York City and its unsung heroes and small-time villains. Collectively, these shows function as a very odd love note to the city they’re based on. By interweaving stories and characters on a more intimate level, they give the dramatized New York a sense of community.

In the first season of Jessica Jones, readers are introduced to the troubled and superpowered titular character (played by Krysten Ritter), a private detective who struggles with the effects of having fallen under the power of the sinister, mind-controlling, villain Kilgrave. By the second season, she has (mostly) escaped his abusive influence, but the trauma she suffered lingers. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the mistakes she makes seem to reveal that healing and fulfillment are not found through the hedonism of casual sex and excessive drinking.  

The show slowly abandons the “cope with trauma through sex and whiskey” trope that dominated the first season. Instead, it asks “What does genuine recovery entail?” Clearly, part of the answer is family. Jessica’s childhood, especially her close relationships with her biological mother and her adoptive sister, figures prominently in the second season. The show demonstrates the importance of family and genuine relationships to its main character’s development, while managing to avoid treating the other people in the relationships as means to an end. As St. John Paul II writes in his masterwork on human relationship and sexuality Love and Responsibility “a person must not be merely the means to an end for another person… every person is by nature capable of determining his or her aims. Anyone who treats a person as the means to an end does violence to the very essence of the other.” At the same time, the show acknowledges the emptiness of a life without other people.

The “big twist” of season two is that the superpowered killer terrorizing New York is Jessica’s long-lost mother. In true comic book fashion (they had to put a bit of outlandish science fiction in there somewhere), Alyssa Jones was believed dead in a car accident, but actually fell into the hands of an unscrupulous scientist who unintentionally gave her super-strength and a lot of anger issues. Much of the dramatic tension centers arounds this fraught mother-daughter relationship. Jessica cannot bring herself to turn in her mother, no matter what horrible crimes the other woman commits.

Disturbingly, we see in a flashback that Alyssa even killed Jessica’s boyfriend, Stirling, years ago. In the present, Jessica still wears a leather jacket and boots that remind her of Stirling. She hasn’t had any other meaningful romantic relationships since he died. As the show repeatedly makes evident, she finds comfort in whiskey and hookups. Yet, she seems to desire something more. One of the most uneasy moments in the season is when she attempts to initiate sex with the building super, Oscar. Oscar’s own history and family life are far from perfect, but he cares deeply for his son, Vido, and has a close relationship with his own mother. He is almost shocked at Jessica’s advances. He prioritizes stability for his child, and therefore for himself. Casual sex and immediate pleasure are not a part of that stability, a reality that Jessica is forced to confront and come to terms with.

Few viewers would call Jessica Jones loving. She is uncomfortable with her unwanted superpowers and pushes away Vido and his fascination with her gifts. Her relationship with her own biological mother is painful, and her relationship with her adoptive mother is nonexistent. Her attempts to care for her adoptive sister end in disaster. Her neighbor-turned friend, Malcolm, is forced to end their friendship. I can sympathize with such personal difficulties, even though my mother isn’t a serial killer and I don’t have superpowers.  To even speak of love in these circumstances is difficult. To actually understand what it means in the midst of difficulty is seemingly impossible.

In the end, Jessica Jones is a story of responsibility.  In Love and Responsibility St. John Paul II says, “The greater the feeling of responsibility for the person the more true love there is.”  As Jessica spends more time with her biological mother, she feels accountable for her mother’s safety. No matter what horrible crimes Alyssa Jones commits, her daughter’s love tethers the two women together, even when their broken and flawed relationship inevitably ends in tragedy.

As the season ends, Jessica begins to take on a role of greater responsibility outside her immediate family, too. Instead of self-medicating, she starts to acknowledge her own longing for relationship. She even goes to have family dinner with Oscar and Vido in their apartment instead of drinking Jameson’s alone in her own. As she explains in a voiceover in the closing moments of the season, “I’ve gone through life untethered, unconnected. I wasn’t even aware that I’d chosen that. It took someone coming back from the dead to show me that I’ve been dead, too. The problem is, I never really figured out how to live.” As John Paul wrote,  “the complete and definitive creation of [mankind]…is expressed in giving life to that communio personarum that man and woman form.” However unintentionally, this Netflix series gives voice to this desire for completeness in true communion which we all possess.


New Ways in Theology at Holy Cross - March 2018

posted Mar 26, 2018, 4:15 AM by RSO The Fenwick Review   [ updated Mar 26, 2018, 5:32 AM ]

By Elinor Reilly ‘18

A little over ten years ago, on the occasion of their 50th Reunion, alumni of the College endowed the Class of 1956 Chair of New Testament Studies, a distinguished professorship associated with the Religious Studies department.1  In the autumn of 2013, the College appointed professor Tat-Siong Benny Liew to fill this position. Professor Tat-siong Benny Liew received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Olivet Nazarene University and completed his doctorate at Vanderbilt University.2  Prior to his appointment at Holy Cross, Professor Liew had been Professor of New Testament at the Pacific School of Theology, and before that taught at Chicago Theological Seminary. According to the Department of Religious Studies webpage, his fields of specialty include “synoptic gospels, gospel of John, cultural and racial interpretations and receptions of the Bible, apocalypticism, and Asian American history and literature.”3

Professor Liew's numerous publications reveal an unconventional approach to gender, sexuality, and race in the biblical texts.  The 2004 article “Mistaken Identities but Model Faith: Rereading the Centurion, the Chap, and the Christ in Matthew 8:5-13,” provides a representative example. Professor Liew and his co-author, Theodore Jennings, argue that Matthew 8:5-13, the story of the centurion who goes to Jesus to ask for healing for his servant, ought to be interpreted in terms of a sexual relationship.  Matthew’s account, runs the argument, does not concern a centurion and his servant, but a centurion and his lover/slave. “The centurion’s rhetoric about not being ‘worthy’ of a house visit by Jesus (8:8) may be the centurion’s way of avoiding an anticipated ‘usurpation’ of his current boylove on the part of his new patron [Jesus],” they assert. Furthermore, “The way Matthew’s Jesus seems to affirm the centurion’s pederastic relationship with his παῖς, we contend, may also be consistent with Matthew’s affirmation of many sexual dissidents in her Gospel.”4

In 2009, Professor Liew edited the volume They Were All Together in One Place?: Toward Minority Biblical Criticism.  A copy of the volume is displayed in a case in the Religious Studies Department.  Professor Liew’s contributions give shape to this volume: along with serving as the primary editor, he wrote the introduction to the volume and contributed an essay.  As such, the volume as a whole sheds particular light on Professor Liew’s interpretations of the biblical texts.

Professor Liew’s contribution to this volume, a chapter entitled  “Queering Closets and Perverting Desires: Cross-Examining John’s Engendering and Transgendering Word across Different Worlds,” demonstrates the centrality of sex and gender to his way of thinking about the New Testament.  In the chapter, Professor Liew explains that he believes Christ could be considered a “drag king” or cross-dresser. “If one follows the trajectory of the Wisdom/Word or Sophia/Jesus (con)figuration, what we have in John’s Jesus is not only a “king of Israel” (1:49; 12:13– 15) or “king of the Ioudaioi” (18:33, 39; 19:3, 14– 15, 19– 22), but also a drag king (6:15; 18:37; 19:12),” he claims.5 He later argues that “[Christ] ends up appearing as a drag-kingly bride in his passion.”6 

Professor Liew continues:

In addition, we find Jesus disrobing and rerobing in the episode that marks Jesus’ focus on the disciples with the coming of his ‘hour’ (13:3– 5, 12). This disrobing, as [Colleen] Conway points out, does not disclose anything about Jesus’ anatomy. Instead, it describes Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. As more than one commentator has pointed out, foot-washing was generally only done by Jewish women or non-Jewish slaves. 12 John is clear that Jesus is an Ioudaios (4:9, 22; 18:33– 35; 19:40); what John is less clear about is whether Jesus is a biological male. Like a literary striptease, this episode is suggestive, even seductive; it shows and withholds at the same time.7

Professor Liew asserts that Jesus’s “excessive” and “deceptive” speech would be considered “feminine” in the culture of the time.8 In defense of this claim, he states that in Greco-Roman culture:

Women pollute since their moist and soft nature is also more susceptible to the assaults of wanton desires, erotic or otherwise. In short, women are wet and (thus) wild. I am suggesting that John’s constant references to Jesus wanting water (4:7; 19:28), giving water (6:35), and leaking water (19:34) speak to Jesus’ gender indeterminacy and hence his cross-dressing and other queer desires…9

He clarifies that he is not suggesting that Christ is actually a woman, but that he is neither male nor female. “I want to suggest that John’s crossdressing Jesus shows that a so-called ‘core’ is but a(n significant) effect of bodily acts,” he writes.10

Professor Liew’s understanding of Jesus in “Queering Desires” suggests an unusual  interpretation of the Holy Trinity:

Suffice it to say that not only does this exchange of desires place the Father’s identity in question but also that the Father-Son dyad in John is always already interrupted by and dependent on the participation of a third party. One may, as a result, turn around Jesus’ well-known statement in John, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6c): Jesus himself needs others to cum with the Father. Jesus’ statement that “I in them [his followers] and you [the Father] in me” turns out to be quite a description. What we find in John is a Jesus who longs to be “had” by the Father…Things do not get less queer as one gets to the other parts of John’s Gospel. It is noticeable that throughout the Gospel Jesus and his Father form a “mutual glorification society” (5:41; 8:50, 54; 12:28– 29; 13:32; 17:1, 4– 5). This constant elevation or stroking is nothing less than an exciting of the penis, or better yet, phallus. Its consistency is then explainable, since “we all know that after … an orgasmic dissemination or circulation, the phallus, like most penises, becomes limp” (Sifuentes-Jáuregui 2002, 159). Fast forwarding to the passion narratives, Conway observes that John’s Jesus is a “quintessential man” because he “reveals no weakening to the passions that might undercut his manly deportment” (2003a, 175). If this is so, there is also something quintessentially queer here. During the passion, Jesus is not only beaten (18:22– 23; 19:3) and flogged (19:1); his body is also nailed and his side pierced (19:18, 23a, 34, 37; 20:24– 28). Oddly, John defines Jesus’ masculinity with a body that is being opened to penetration. 24 Even more oddly, Jesus’ ability to face his “hour” is repeatedly associated with his acknowledging of and communing with his Father (12:27– 28; 14:12, 28; 16:10, 17, 28; 17:1– 25; 18:11), who is, as Jesus explicitly states, “with me” (16:32) throughout this process, which Jesus also describes as one of giving birth (16:21– 22). What I am suggesting is that, when Jesus’ body is being penetrated, his thoughts are on his Father. He is, in other words, imagining his passion experience as a (masochistic?) sexual relation with his own Father.11

Professor Liew’s editorship of the volume reflects the same method of interpretation. In the introduction to They Were All Together in One Place?, he and his fellow editors explain the idea of “minority criticism,” admitting that the “dominant criticism” will at times “outright dismiss” minority criticism. One of the stated goals here is “relativizing” the “dominant criticism” which exists.  Other chapters in the volume include such titles as “‘That’s Why They Didn’t Call the Book Hadassah!’: The Interse(ct)/(x)ionality of Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality in the Book of Esther” and “Incarnate Words: Images of God and Reading Practices.”

Readers will note that They Were All Together in One Place? and “Mistaken Identities but Model Faith” were published in 2009 and 2004, respectively. Professor Liew's more recent works reflect similar lines of thought. For instance, the 2016 essay, “The Gospel of Bare Life,” describes obedience to God as “troubling” and “infantilizing.” Professor Liew writes, “If John’s Jesus, as well as those who follow John’s Jesus, are supposed to be fully subjected to the will of the Father to the point of death (6:35–64; 10:1–18; 15:1–16:4; 21:15–19), then are we not back to a scenario in which a Caesar-like head sits comfortably in a choice seat and watches bare life performing death for his purposes and his enjoyment?”12

Professor Liew is often responsible for teaching “New Testament,” the College’s primary New Testament class. Its course description lists three texts: The HarperCollins Study Bible; The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, by Bart Ehrman; and The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, by Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King. In addition to this class, Professor Liew has also taught “Sex, Money, Power, and Sacred Texts” and “Apocalyptic Then and Now,” according to the College’s student registration website.

Professor Liew’s unconventional readings of Scripture has brought a new theological perspective to Holy Cross. The position and prestige which accompany an endowed chair in Religious Studies testify to the esteem in which his work is held by the College’s administration and academic community. He continues to be held up as an example and a bold successor to the learned and discerning tradition of our Catholic and Jesuit College of the Holy Cross.


Psychoanalytic Mediations Between Marxist and Postcolonial Readings of the Bible in the College of the Holy Cross Religious Studies department bookcase.
They Were All Together in One Place? in the College of the Holy Cross Religious Studies department bookcase.


They Were All Together in One Place? and Psychoanalytic Mediations Between Marxist and Postcolonial Readings of the Bible in the College of the Holy Cross Religious Studies department bookcase. Photos courtesy of author.



1. (page 12)


3. and

4. Theodore Jennings and Tat-siong Benny Liew, “Mistaken Identities but Model Faith: Rereading the Centurion, the Chap, and the Christ in Matthew 8:5-13,” Journal of Biblical Literature 123, no. 3 (2004): 491.

5. Tat-siong Benny Liew, “Queering Closets and Perverting Desires: Cross-Examining John’s Engendering and Transgendering Word across Different Worlds,” in They Were All Together in One Place: Toward Minority Biblical Criticism, ed. Randall C. Bailey, Tat-siong Benny Liew, and Fernando F. Segovia (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009), 253-254.

6. Ibid., 257.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid., 259-260.

9. Ibid., 278.

10. Ibid., 260.

11. Ibid., 265-266.

12. Tat-siong Benny Liew, “The Gospel of Bare Life,” in Psychoanalytic Mediations Between Marxist and Postcolonial Readings of the Bible, ed. Tat-siong Benny Liew and Erin Runions (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016), 160-161.

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