, Oklahoma: Ever heard of it? Me neither, until last month, that is. It’s a small, a very small, Catholic school in Oklahoma, with only 800 students on its two campuses. No big sports teams like the famous Catholic universities; but apparently no weak theology department either, like some of the big famous campuses; and no weak student body or student government either. Let us all stand and pray: “Please Sir, can we have some more?”
The Student Government Association of St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Oklahoma presented to its community on January 20, 2009 A Resolution Concerning a Community for Life, which could serve as a model resolution for all Catholic institutions of higher education in America. It is a concise, single page, statement of and a call to a concrete commitment, by the Catholic community for which they speak, to an uncompromised, unadulterated commitment to the first principles of the sanctity of life: it is from God, it is good, the summum bonum from which all others derive. How sweet it is.
Look at the resolution and ask yourself, could this resolution make it through most Catholic College and University Student Government Associations in America today? And if it did, would it be welcomed by the faculty, staff and administration? That such questions need be asked is sad enough. What good is salt if it has lost its flavor? No need to ask the questions about public universities or colleges. There it is moot.
The St. Gregory’s University Student Government Association is the voice of its community and its resolution is a perfect example of the laity acting in its proper sphere of influence and apostolate. It is a laity formed, supported and strengthened by its Benedictine sacramental ministers and their collaborators, sent out to convert the world, starting within its own community, calling it to be light and leaven in a dark and heavy culture and calling it to put its money where its mouth is. May the work of its hands prosper.
From the beginning, in the Didache, also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, the Church has taught: “There are two ways: a way of life and a way of death, and the difference between these two ways is great…. you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten” Various moral and spiritual battles face each generations, some are perennial, some cyclical, some stretch over decades, generations, even centuries.
To a battle weary generation, the bugle call from St. Gregory’s lifts the spirit, refreshes the soul. New troops are answering the call, taking up the banners. It is a message to those who promote and facilitate the culture of death in language they will recognize, if only as an unexpected echo. “We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you . “
As Campion, at the cost of his life, spoke truth to power in his generation we too say of our struggle: “The expense is reckoned, the enterprise begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood.”