Lexi Santoro / Gavel Media

A Religious Call to Do Right

Even though you may not always tell by my actions, I consider myself to be religious. Specifically, one might say that my language is Christian with a Catholic accent, although there are some facets to other traditions and ideologies which I find attractive. Therefore as you can expect, Boston College’s Jesuit identity and its promise to enliven and “make me whole” had a role in bringing me here. There is something very attractive about the mission of BC and its Ignatian values. This, I believe, to be positive, since the skills and mindsets to live an amazing life, which BC encourages, seem to be universally desired. In this sense, the “spiritual” side to our education is a unifying force.

The Catholic Church and some of its teachings do ignite controversy and thus wave red flags to several students. As such, it is lucky that the major teachings of Jesuit education (such as discernment, service, and recognition of “something greater”) can be taken “as far Catholic” as one desires. Religion is a “hands off” approach, and students are granted the agency to enact spirituality how they choose. For example, “God” can be Buddha, Allah, “love,” or “goodness.” “God” does not even need to be in the picture, as one can opt to reflect for the sole purpose of self-conceptualizing or self-care. 

I think that the general nature of religion on campus should inspire the institution to act justly and in accordance with its promotions. For instance, divestment from the fossil fuel industry is a measure which students of all kinds recognize as a Jesuit-inspired practice. The same goes for responding explicitly and caringly to an anti-Black hate crime. Therefore, all students, not just the ones who are Catholic or who understand Biblical theory, have the expectation that Boston College will act appropriately.  

I must mention that some of my most substantial moral and physical growth has occurred in the three semesters I have been a student here. This is undoubtedly a testament to the university’s excellence in faith-seeking education and resources. I argue for correspondence of values and actions on the part of the administration and Board of Trustees not because of bitterness or ungratefulness, but because I think it would aid other students in “rising” to greater fulfillment as well. Additionally, there would be an opportunity for greater learning and deepening of faith when it comes to some of the areas where we all are a bit “fuzzy,” such as Christian social teaching or environmental justice in a spiritual lens. I always have my critiques, but I have come to know Boston College as a great place with some magical people. I do believe that, with courage, we are capable of reaching the goal and catalyzing institutional change.

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Daniel Pacella