Letter: Student weighs in on Catholic campus contraceptives
Published 5:32 pm, Wednesday, May 31, 2017
I hope this note finds you well. My name is John Hirschauer and I am a rising senior at Fairfield University, of which you just ran a piece discussing the ongoing controversy surrounding the distribution of contraceptives at the college. I am a conservative opinion columnist for The Fairfield Mirror who has been published in The New York Times andThe Hartford Courant. I wrote a (controversial) piece on just this subject in my column The Other Side in the Mirror earlier this year that I would be happy to provide as an opposing viewpoint on the issue. It is reproduced (with slight revisions) below:
What Makes a School Catholic? (Originally Entitled "Contraceptives on Campus Defy Jesuit Values")
I am utterly unsympathetic to the delirium of many at Fairfield who brood over the supposed injustice of a campus without contraception. Despite rhetoric attempting to medicalize the issue, sexual relations are fundamentally different than conditions like typhoid fever or osteoarthritis, in that there is no ethereal force beyond one’s control compelling two individuals to fornicate. If the concept of pregnancy or impregnating another breeds terror, the remarkably simple solution to avoid such an occurrence is to abstain from sexual activity. This, of course, requires self-control, a phrase whose injunction has become synonymous with “intolerance.” If, then, one feels the burden of temperance too great, the local CVS, a five-minute car ride from campus, routinely stocks birth control and contraceptives. Opponents then quiver about the imbalance of vehicular access between upper and underclassmen. The University, of course, offers an hourly shuttle that stops in the CVS plaza. But this is not enough for some students clamoring for Fairfield to fundamentally contravene its moral mission in pursuit of their own personal convenience. The Stag Bus, the University’s free shuttle, runs hourly, forcing students without cars to either wait a daunting 45 minutes for the bus’ return or worse yet, call an Uber. While we’re at it, why don’t we have a deli for cold cuts on campus? How dare the University force freshmen and sophomores to brave the formidable shuttle ride to Stop & Shop when we could easily stock an entire produce section in the Barone Campus Center with a farm and slaughterhouse on the Quad to consolidate the supply chain? If an inconvenient wait time is enough to deter you from buying a condom, I posit you ought to examine your level of commitment to pre-marital copulation.
There is no omniscient force driving individuals at gunpoint to pay tens of thousands in tuition to attend a Catholic university. Fairfield University exists specifically to, according to the University mission: “foster in [students] ethical and religious values” and emphatically states the University is “Catholic in both tradition and spirit.” I would be the first to join critics who say it is impossible to detect Fairfield’s Catholicism, for too often Fairfield bends at the waist to multicultural and gender ideology and forsakes their supposed commitment to the church. But while it goes without saying that non-Catholics attend Fairfield University, that fact is a complete non-sequitur when these same non-Catholics voluntarily pay money to an institution whose mission is openly submissive to the dogmas of the Catholic Church, irrespective of its impotence in professing those values. More plainly, if you don’t like the Church’s teachings and a Catholic university’s willingness to follow them, you’re welcome to attend one of the over 4,000 other universities across the United States, many of which are more cost efficient than Fairfield and concurrently have enough condoms in the campus center to satiate even the most pubescent levels of libido.
Why does this matter? Why not just pacify the student body that, to my knowledge, overwhelmingly supports the placement of contraception in the campus center? Because, for whatever reason, Fairfield has divested itself further and further from its Catholic heritage. I have an inkling that this is due in part to a deep shame about the moral clarity of Church thought as regards standards of morality. The Church’s belief that the only way to eternal life for individuals cognizant of the Truth is through the Roman Catholic Church is inescapably divorced from the kumbaya-singing postmodernism that runs roughshod over colleges nationwide, which has all but jettisoned any objectivism in morality. But if Fairfield does this final act of caving to populist catechetical disdain, it will have forfeited one of its final remaining vestiges that legitimately demarcates it as a Catholic school. It is a moral and intellectual tradition worth preserving, even if a riotous student body decries its inconvenience.
Thank you so much for your work on this very heated topic and please do let me know if you plan to use the article; I can then provide you with a biographical statement if required.
Fairfield University Class of 2018