President Benjamin Goodman’s Address on Ignation Heritage Week (1/30/17):
Esteemed members of the John Carroll community,
In this week of Ignatian Heritage, we reflect on the values of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Jesuit Order, and the Catholic Church. This week celebrates the founding saint of the Jesuit order, who’s statue graces the front of our student center. Ignatius’ core values include learning, leadership, and service, and are values we as a University and student body hold close to our hearts.
St. Ignatius believed in truly learning and understanding the issues of those around us, leading with passion and care for others, and serving those in need openly and selflessly. These values are under siege by the recent executive orders signed into effect by the President of the United States.
Border security, domestic security, and the balance between accepting immigrants and assuring sustainability of USA infrastructure are very important issues and must be addressed. However, deliberately, unjustifiably, and unconstitutionally turning out and turning on entire peoples, many in need of dire aid, does not solve these issues and flies directly in the face of what we as a Jesuit University value and aim to uphold. Let me be clear, this is not a political issue but a Christian and human one.
Matthew 25:45 states: “I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.” In regards to this verse, Pope Francis clearly stated this past week, “it’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help.”
As a University rooted in strong Jesuit values, we as a University cannot accept and must contest the actions of the President. It is our duty as Jesuits, as Catholics, and as human beings. We have a responsibility to protect our fellow brethren here at our University, regardless of race, religion, sexuality, gender, or ethnic background. As the March for Life which occurred this past week reminded us all, we must assure protection and respect for all human life, from conception to natural death.
We as a Student Union affirm our acceptance for all people of all backgrounds, as is our duty as Christians and human beings. We will not turn away those in need, but in the values of St. Ignatius of Loyola will learn of the struggles of those in need and the best solutions to help them, we will lead those around us to care for others and protect our fellow students, and will serve the neediest of our community diligently and tirelessly. This is our Jesuit duty and tradition, and refusing to do so would violate the basic Christian principles we are charged to live by.
This is a message to all those who are scared, who are unsure about what their future may hold, who are affected by these executive orders: You are welcome at this University. You belong here. We are here to support you. Please take advantage of the opportunities for support at the University, including the counseling center http://sites.jcu.edu/counselingcenter/ and the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion on the second floor of the Lombardo Student Center. Of course, my office door is always open to those in need as well.
In this celebration of St. Ignatius of Loyola, let us remember what he stands for and what values he has entrusted in us to uphold. Thank you and I hope you all have a wonderful Ignatian Heritage week.
President Benjamin Goodman
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