Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Introducing Benedetto!

Thanks to the lovely people at the Rhode Island SPCA, my family welcomed a new furry member today. His name is Benny and he is 8 weeks old. He was born on March 19th (St. Joseph's Day). He is a brown tabby and white with a van pattern. His mother is a brown tabby domestic shorthair and his father is unknown. Whatever the mixture, this little guy has stolen our hearts.

If you are in the New England area, Benny has three adorable brothers who are also looking for homes.

All Photos by Domini Sumus

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fr. Spags

I found this in the newspaper last week. Please pray for his soul.

Dominic George Spagnolia, 70, of 41 Maple St. and a former Franklin resident, died peacefully at his home on Tuesday, May 6, 2008.

Born in Cambridge, October 24, 1937, a son of the late Domenic and Eloise (Nugent) Spagnolia, he was raised and educated in Belmont, and was a 1956 graduate of Belmont High School.

He is survived by his sister, Maryjanice Ingram and her husband, David of Saco, Maine; 2 nephews, Jason and Justin Ingram; and his devoted partner Richard Connor of New Bedford.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral Saturday, May 10th at 2:00PM at his late residence, 41 Maple St., New Bedford, and may call on Friday from 6-9PM and Saturday from 10AM to 2:00PM. Interment will take place in the family lot in Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge Monday at 11AM.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory sent to the Olive Branch, 10 Main St., Franklin, MA 02038 would be appreciated.

Funeral arrangements are under the care and direction of the Charles F. Oteri & Son Franklin Funeral Home, 33 Cottage St., Franklin.


Dominic George Spagnolia is Fr. D. George Spagnolia, a priest formerly of the Archdiocese of Boston who was removed from his pastorate, at St. Patrick's in Lowell, 6 years ago by Cardinal Law after allegations of homosexuality activity and sexual abuse of a child were made against him.

Fr. Spagnolia had been a main critic of Cardinal Law's, and his predecessors, handling of the sexual abuse crisis in Boston. Spagnolia was portrayed as a hero in the movie "Our Fathers" where he was played by Brian Dennehy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Kingdom for a Kingdom

Would you trade an eternal kingdom for a almost non-existant chance to gain an earthly kingdom? I wouldn't but Autumn Kelly did.

Autumn Kelly is a Canadian woman who married Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne and is 11th in line for the British throne. Great Britan still holds to the archaic rule that anyone who becomes Catholic or marries a Catholic loses their claim to the throne. Kelly is a Catholic who renounced her faith and joined the Anglican church so Peter wouldn't lose his place in line. No matter what the media claims, she didn't have to renounce her faith. Other British royals have given up their unrealistic claims without problems. They aren't beheading anymore.

If either of them think Peter Phillips has any chance of becoming king, they are kidding themselves. Unfortunately, there is a real kingdom is in their reach, but the allure of gold and jewels and a royal life has seduced Autumn. I hope she has a happier life as a member of the royal family than the others who have gone before her.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Sang Tan, Pool

Wedding Season

Wedding Season is here. I have a wedding next weekend and I met with two couples this weekend. I am tired of the "traditional" wedding repertoire, but my attempts to persuade couples away from these tired selections is in vain. They all seem to want the soap opera wedding. I am often tempted to ask them if they also want what comes after. Yes, the soap opera or fairy tale wedding is lavish and some may consider it beautiful (I don't), but how many couples ask for the soap opera marriage?

Most of the couples who come through my office hold the delusion that love will get them through anything. They are so much in love that nothing could possibly ever rock them. As great as that feeling is, it's not reality.

We don't know what happened after Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, or Snow White married the prince, but we do know that their courtship left much to be desired. They fell madly in lust and decided to marry. They know nothing about each other, but they marry anyway. Then Prince Charming carries his bride off into the sunset on his white steed. We never find out what happens next, but I have my suspicions that it isn't happily ever after.

Couples getting married today do much of the same. The Church requires that couples participate in marriage prep classes and in my diocese they also must take the FOCCUS. Prospective brides and grooms tend to view this as an unfair hoop they must jump through to satisfy the Church. They never consider that this may help prevent future problems. The FOCCUS results are often frightening. Many couples have never discussed the simplest matters of faith, children, and finances.

I don't understand how a couple can marry without knowing anything about the other party. I have even met brides who didn't know what their fiances did for work! Still, they claim to be in love. They aren't! Then are in lust, infatuation, excitement, anything you want to call it.

Many couples walk into marriage blindly and their plan their wedding Masses the same way.

Couples: Reconsider the "traditional" wedding that you want and ask yourself if it really sends the message you want to say. Consider walking into the church together. The bride and groom are equal partners in marriage, but are unequal during the wedding. The tradition where the groom stands near the altar while the bride walks down the aisle with her father goes back to the days when a woman was considered the property of her father or husband. It is literally a delivery and transfer of property. Of course, that isn't how brides think of it. They see themselves as the princess. The center of attention. They are going to meet their prince at the altar.

When both the bride and groom walk in the procession together or with their parents, they demonstrate that they are equal partners. It's not all about the bride and she isn't becoming the property of the groom. They are entering to marriage as equals and are exercising their roles as the ministers of the Sacrament. Yes, a bride and groom marry each other with the priest there to solemnize and bless the bond.

Of course, that sort of wedding makes "Here Comes the Bride" sound a little ridiculous. The processional hymn which was played at my Nuptial Mass was also used as a processional at the Papal Mass in Washington DC. You can hear it here at 4:50. The hymn is "Go Up to the Altar of God" by Fr. James Chepponis. It was played at my wedding on organ, trumpet and tympani and it truly said how we intended to begin and live our marriage together.

Don't want into marriage blindly and don't allow your Nuptial Mass to be planned blindly according to traditions of questionable quality.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Puppy Names

I am looking for names for a male black lab puppy. We don't have him yet, but hope to have him soon. So far JP's favorites are Salty and Athanasius. Yeah, I know...quite a difference. He's an eclectic sort of kid. :-)

Put any suggestions in the combox.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Prayer Request

My blog was found today by someone in Texas who was searching for post-abortion care information. Please pray for this person and all those who have had abortions, are considering one, and will consider one in the future.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pope Well After Fall

For all of you who have wondered why the Masters of Ceremonies hold the hem of the Holy Father's alb when he climbs stairs, here is your answer.

It's a long garment which needs to be lifted so one doesn't step on the alb and fall. It's something I have seen many times at Mass and Pope Benedict gave everyone an example of exactly how it can occur last Sunday at the Pentecost Mass.

Rome Reports has the story and video.

The good news: The Holy Father was unhurt and continued his day as planned.

Cardinals Face New Trial in Pollution Case

From USA Today:

Italy's top criminal court overturned the acquittals of a Vatican cardinal and another top churchman accused of environmental pollution involving a Vatican Radio transmission tower near Rome, news reports said Tuesday night.
The Court of Cassation ordered a new appeals trial for Cardinal Roberto Tucci, formerly head of the radio's management committee, and the Rev. Pasquale Borgomeo, its former director general, the ANSA and Apcom news agencies said.

Calls to lawyers and to Vatican Radio were not answered late Tuesday.

The two churchmen were acquitted last year after in an appeal of their 2005 conviction in a lower court, which sided with consumer groups representing people living near the tower who claimed its electromagnetic emissions were a health hazard and violated environmental limits.

The lower court had sentenced the two each to 10 days in jail, but sentences were immediately suspended during their appeals.

It was not known when the new appeals trial would take place, as the Court of Cassation must first publish its reasoning for the decision.

A Vatican-Italian government commission was set up as part of a 2001 agreement between both sides to monitor tower emissions. The Vatican has said that measurements show it has respected limits since signing the agreement.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Halfway There

I have finished my second year of college. When I first started it seemed like it was going to take forever. It didn't help that everyone in one of my first courses was a senior. Listening to them talk about graduation just made it feel like an endless process.

Now, here I am half way through. There is something about the halfway point that makes it seem like the end is coming too quickly. I am starting to check out grad schools and will be taking the GRE in just about a year. Wow!

I have two weeks off before I get back to school because I take summer classes, but I get the entire month of August off. I plan to spend the next two weeks reading things I actually want to read. So far, I have read two chapters of Archbishop Piero Marini's latest book, A Challenging Reform.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Convert Baptized by Pope Writes Book

Here are some excerpts which were published in Corriere della Sera from Magdi Christiano Allam's new book “Grazie Gesù. La mia conversione dall'islam al cattolicesimo” [Thank You Jesus. My Conversion from Islam to Christianity] . In the book, Allam, who converted from Islam to Catholicism recounts his road to conversion. In these excerpts he describes his baptism:
It was the best day of my life. Receiving the gift of the Christian faith on the day of Christ’s Resurrection from the hand of the Holy Father is a matchless privilege and inestimable blessing. For me, at the age of almost 56, it was a unique, unforgettable historic event that signalled a radical, definitive change with respect to the past. During the night of 22 March 2008, on the occasion of the Easter Vigil, at the solemn liturgy celebrated in the magnificence of the Basilica of St Peter’s, the cradle of Catholicism, I was reborn in Christ. At the end of a long, protracted struggle, lived out as a Muslim by reason of the legacy inherited from my parents and with a personal history of lacerating doubts and torments, there ignited within me, by divine will and responsible choice, the light of the true Christian faith. My spiritual metamorphosis unfolded from nine o’clock over three hours that seemed as if they would never end. I passed those hours in uncontrollable excitement, outwardly betrayed by my tingling nerves, over the radical nature of the life experience that was taking place inside me and, I admit, in part because of the cold that gripped me and stayed with me from the beginning of the imposing ceremony in the atrium of the Basilica, accompanied by rain and icy temperatures.

Inside the Basilica, the lights had been extinguished. I was outside with six other adult catachumens waiting to receive the sacraments of Christian initiation, seated on the part of the parvis most exposed to the wind. It was in that damp cold, which usually makes me a little agitated and means I have to concentrate more to listen, reflect, assess and elaborate concepts, that I began to relive the film of my inner life. Half a century was reviewed frame by frame and sliced up with the now uncompromising, now compassionate scalpel of religion, calm enough for one last unconscious confirmation of a decision already taken consciously yet at the same time with sufficient urgency to recompose the overall framework of my existence into a harmonious whole, joyfully to register the image of the long-awaited, soon to be accomplished, Event, as I reinterpreted my past while redefining and revolutionising my future. (...) From the atrium, Benedict XVI led the procession towards the altar after the deacon, chanting the Lumen Christi for the third time, had brought the splendour of light back to the Basilica.

Then began the crucial stage of my conversion to Christianity, to which evidently I was called by the grace of God that had accompanied me from my youngest days, bringing into my path a series of “coincidences” that were anything but fortuitous, concealing as they did the will of the Lord that discreetly comes to meet us without making its presence palpable. As I slowly walked down the nave at the rear of the procession, my mind at once went back to the key event that started me on the route of interior spirituality at the age of four, and would more than half a century later culminate in my conversion to Christ. It was September 1956. I still have clear in my mind the day on which my long travails began. I had burst into tears as my mother Safeya, aided and persuaded by the Caccias, the family of wealthy Italian textile magnates resident for generations in my native Cairo, handed me over to Sister Lavinia. She hid me under her habit so I would not see my mother entrusting me to the education and affection of the Combonian sisters and their devotion to St Joseph. Later on, from the last year of primary school to the last year of my scientific secondary school, I studied at the Salesian Don Bosco Institute.

For fourteen years, I lived in boarding schools run by Catholic religious orders (...) I was able to gain first-hand experience of the lives of women and men who had chosen to devote their lives to God in the Church by serving their neighbours, regardless of religion or nationality, and who bore witness to their Christian faith in works for the common good and the interest of the community. There I began to read the Bible and the Gospels with interest and involvement, particularly enthralled by the human and divine figure of Jesus. I was able to attend the church of St Joseph opposite the Combonian sisters’ school and the church of Don Bosco at the Salesian Institute. Every so often, I went to holy mass and once I actually approached the altar and received communion. From the religious point of view, it was an act without significance since I hadn’t been christened but it clearly signalled my attraction for Christianity and my desire to feel myself part of the Catholic community. (...) My conversion did not come about in a flash after some traumatic, joyful or sad event, nor was it merely a rational adherence prompted by reading sacred texts, or a purely intellectual confrontation with supporters or opponents of the Catholic faith.

Instead conversion was the ripe fruit of a long journey through a life of study and direct familiarity with the sources of wisdom but above all, with experiences of otherness that involved me entirely, slowly laying down in my soul and mind ever thicker layers of spiritual and rational adherence to the love and faith of Jesus. (...) Finally came the crucial moment of Baptism. I was being reborn in Christ and was about to take my first steps as an authentic Christian. I stood up and walked to the baptismal font, accompanied by my godfather. For the first time, I stood before Benedict XVI. I knew that at that precise moment, the destiny assigned to me by divine grace fifty-six years earlier, from my birth, was being fulfilled. I bowed with the respect and humility of a believer in the religious primacy of the Pope as Christ’s vicar on earth. I approached the font, stooped and Benedict XVI poured the blessed water over my head. “I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”. (...)

The moments immediately preceding my baptism and the baptism itself I experienced as an authentic liberation. For fifty-six years, I perceived myself as a Muslim and others around me identified me as a Muslim. At the age of fifty-six, I was born again as a Christian, cancelling out the Islamic identity that I have consciously and deliberately rejected. Inside me and outside, everything will change. Nothing will remain as it was before. For those who, like me, consider religious faith and the sphere of absolute, universal, transcendent values to be the foundation of life, thought and action, adherence to Christianity takes the form of a radical change in the whole of personality and existence. Naturally, it will take some time for this adherence to faith in Jesus to grow increasingly full and heartfelt. I feel like a child taking his first hesitant steps in his new Christian life. But I have a great desire to walk and run as a Christian! Thank you, Jesus.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Humans vs. Pre-Humans

Catholic News Service reports that in the May 5-6 edition of L'Osservatore Romano, was written by Italian evolutionary biologist Fiorenzo Facchini claims that although apes evolved pre-human creatures, but God that turned them into humans.

"The formation of human beings necessitated a particular contribution by God, though it remains that their emergence was brought about by natural causes" of evolution, it said.

Rather than saying that humans evolved from chimps, Faccini wrote,

"No, it might be better to say that at some point God willed a spark of intelligence to light up in the mind of a nonhuman hominid and thus came into existence the human as a being, as a subject capable of thought and the ability to decide freely," it said.

In other words, pre-humans did not become human until their recieved the breath of God.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Fire at Our Lady of the Lake

There is currently a fire burning in the main building at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. The fire was contained an hour and a half ago, but please keep those affected in your prayers.

WOAI TV reports:

Firefighters continue to battle a fire at Our Lady of the Lake University on the West Side.

The call came out just before 8 p.m. on the 400 block of SW 24th Street. Thirty-eight fire units have been dispatched to the scene.

The fire is believed to have started on the fourth floor of Main Building on the campus. The building was evacuated. Some people had to be treated for smoke inhalation. The flames appear to have consumed the roof of the building.

Firefighters have prevented the fire from spreading to other nearby buildings.

Students and staff gathered across the street from the school. Many were in tears as they watched the flames.

"This is definitely going to be a loss to the city of San Antonio," Chief Randy Jenkins.

A woman who was inside the building when the fire started told News 4 she did not smell any smoke prior to being evacuated. The student said they didn't think it was anything serious until they got outside and "saw the flames shoot up from nowhere."

The Red Cross has dispatched crews to help the firefighters. They are also sending a disaster relief team to the scene.

Firefighters went room-to-room to make sure everyone was evacuated. The San Antonio Fire Departrment said all of the students have been accounted for. accommodations are being made for the students who were displaced by the fire.

San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood said it was stubborn fire and that strong winds fueled the flames.

The university was founded in 1895 by the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence, a religious order begun in 18th century Lorraine, France. Construction on the main campus began in 1895 and classes started in 1896.
Our Lady of the Lake University was the first San Antonio institution of higher education to receive regional accreditation.

Photo credit: AP Photo/San Antonio Express-News, William Luther

Monday, May 05, 2008

Toddler Theology - Part 2

Children have a knack for making adults look at things differently. All
the things that we take for granted are brand new to them. The wonder on
their faces when they see the ocean for the first time or find a shiny
rock should make us realize the wonders of creation.

Children also have a knack for coming up with incredibly deep thoughts
right at bedtime. I don't know if it's because the stimulation of the
world is finally turned off and they can think, or the stimulation of the
world is finally turned off and we are paying attention, or if they are
trying anything and everything to stay up for a few extra minutes.
Whatever the reason, sometimes these thoughts give me reason to think.

After several days of balking at the idea of bedtime prayers, JP was very
interested in praying tonight. He sat in my lap and we went through the
litany of petitions which he prays every night.

When that was finished he said, "Mama, I want to talk with Jesus. Can you
help me".

He then started to say the Glory Be. I helped him with the words he
couldn't remember and we moved on to the Our Father. He is just starting
to learn that one. He did his best to repeat after me and to add whatever
words he remembered.

Afterwards, he said, "Mama, I want to kiss Jesus".

So, I took his crucifix off the wall and handed it to him. He covered the
small bronze corpus with kisses, then holding the crucifix against his
cheek he said, "It's going to be ok, Jesus. I love you. My mommy will make
it all better".

JP then sat very quietly looking at the corpus. "Why doesn't he have his
clothes?" he said.

I tried my best to explain that bad people had taken his clothes. The look
of shock startled me. "They took his CLOTHES?" he said. "Why, was he bad?"

"No, JP", I said. "He was very, very good, and he tried to tell the bad
people to be good. They didn't like that".

After questioning and arguing about why Jesus lost his clothes, JP got
very quiet again and hugged the crucifix to his cheek. This time he said,
"Jesus, I want to be good and I promise I won't take your clothes."

Then he handed the crucifix back to me to return to the wall.

Even at the tender age of three, JP knows that taking someone's clothes
away was stripping them of the last shred of human dignity. I think I will
meditate on the stripping of Christ tonight.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Agca to Become Polish Citizen?

Sometimes I come across a story that is confusing. Other times the story is just plain odd. This one is a bit of both.

From the AP via Yahoo:

The Turkish gunman who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II is applying for Polish citizenship because he wants to live in the country of the late pontiff, whom he called his "spiritual brother."

But the Polish Foreign Ministry said the chances of Mehmet Ali Agca getting citizenship are "minimal" since he hasn't provided any "good service" to John Paul's mostly Catholic homeland.

Agca also wants to be transferred to a prison in Poland to serve the remainder of his sentence on a different conviction, lawyer Haci Ali Ozhan told The Associated Press.

"He has chosen Poland because it is country of the pope," Ozhan said. "Because the pope forgave him and paid close attention to him, we believe that the application will be accepted."

Agca shot and seriously wounded John Paul at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on May 13, 1981. Two years later the pope met with Agca in an Italian prison and forgave him for the shooting.

Agca served 19 years in an Italian prison for the attack. He currently is serving a prison term in Turkey for killing prominent journalist Abdi Ipekci in Turkey in 1979 and is due to be released in 2010.

What motivated his crimes remains a mystery, but he belonged to an extreme right-wing Turkish organization, the Grey Wolves, which was involved in political murders in the 1970s.

In a petition addressed to Poland's devout Roman Catholic president, Lech Kaczynski, Agca said: "I shall be proud of becoming a member of the noble Polish nation, if my request to be granted Polish citizenship is accepted."

The petition to the president, who has the power to bestow or revoke Polish citizenship, was made available to the AP.

"I am not a stranger to your country because the national hero of Poland, Pope Karol Wojtyla, is my spiritual brother," Agca said, referring to John Paul by his birth name.

Agca's lawyer said he submitted the application to the Polish Embassy in Ankara on Thursday. It wasn't immediately processed, however, due to some missing paperwork. Ozhan said he would return next week to complete the application.

In Warsaw, Poland, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Piotr Paszkowski, said officials had known for some time of Agca's plan but that chances of him being accepted were slim.

"The condition for according Polish citizenship is residence in Poland for at least five years, prior to applying," Paszkowski said. "I think that at least from this formal point of view the chances for Ali Agca receiving Polish citizenship are minimal."

Paszkowski said the five-year rule "can be waived if the foreigner seeking Polish citizenship has special merits for the country, has done good service to Poland."

"Agca rather has not."

John Paul is revered as a national hero in Poland. After he was shot, priests throughout the country led prayers for him amid fears he would not survive.

John Paul II died April 2, 2005, after serving as pope for almost 27 years.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Few Good Schools

Every so often something happens which makes me very proud of my school. Today was one of those days. Fr. Shanley has done an excellent job since he became president three years ago. In addition to the current solid faculty, the theology department has attracted theologians such as David Bentley Hart. The college has also hosted theology conferences such as was held last year featuring Avery Cardinal Dulles.

From the Providence Journal:
Emphasis added

When Pope Benedict XVI asked to address Catholic educators during his recent visit to the United States, there was much speculation that he would scold Catholic college presidents for failing to remain true to the mission of their institutions. As all of America learned, however, the Holy Father is not a scold. He is a teacher of hope who believes that “the noble goals of scholarship and education, founded on the unity of truth and in service of the person and the community, become an especially powerful instrument of hope.” I returned from my encounter with him filled with hope for Providence College and convinced that it is realizing his vision — and the vision of our Dominican Friar founders — for Catholic education.

Many of the themes addressed by Pope Benedict in his remarks resonate deeply with the mission of Providence College and remind us of the unique place that a Catholic college or university occupies in higher education. For example, Pope Benedict considers one of the church’s roles in the world as a service (diakonia) of truth. In a time where there is widespread doubt about objective truth, a Catholic college such as Providence College (whose motto is veritas, or truth) is seen as countercultural, based on the optimistic proposition that the human mind has been created by God to know the ultimate truth. In opposition to the view that there are only perspective-based points of view, we believe that students can integrate what they learn into a unified view of the whole; we reject the popular assumption that all claims to knowledge are fragments that do not fit together.

Pope Benedict further articulated that knowledge of the truth leads to an appreciation of the good, and that true freedom is not the aimless pursuit of novelty or personal satisfaction, but choosing to embrace the truth about the dignity of the human person as made in the image and likeness of God. Catholic colleges do not focus on students’ intellect alone but equally on their moral character. We explicitly help our students to come to know the good and recognize the dignity of the human person through studies in ethics and moral philosophy and through participation in meaningful community service.

Pope Benedict introduced the intriguing idea of “intellectual charity” as a particularly urgent imperative in Catholic education. He noted the Catholic educator’s call to “recognize that the profound responsibility to lead the young to truth is nothing less than an act of love.” Once this passion for the fullness of unity and truth is awakened in students, the pope observed, “young people will surely relish the discovery that the question of what they can know opens up the vast adventure of what they ought to do.” As a teacher and administrator, I have watched this discovery of God’s providence unfold in countless students. We succeed not when students find employment for employment’s sake, but rather when they know the value of work within the context of a meaningful life that is focused on communion with God and service to others.

One of the most controversial issues on a Catholic college campus is the meaning of academic freedom. Pope Benedict thoughtfully described it as the “freedom to search for truth wherever careful analysis of evidence leads you,” and affirmed that the coherence and identity of a Catholic institution depends on all aspects of its life being consistent with the truth. Rooted in the harmony of faith and reason, a Catholic college is fundamentally optimistic that such a search for truth — undertaken in accord with scholarly canons of inquiry — will not lead to conclusions that contradict faith. So academic freedom cannot be invoked in order to justify positions that contradict the faith — because truth cannot contradict itself.

The remark in the pope’s address that elicited a spontaneous round of applause from all present was his exhortation that Catholic education must remain “accessible to people of all social and economic strata.” In describing the history of Catholic education in America, Pope Benedict notes that Catholic education has “helped generations of immigrants to rise from poverty and take their place in mainstream society.” This aptly describes the historic mission of Providence College. We remain committed to inviting and enrolling applicants from underrepresented populations, including economically disadvantaged students from urban schools and first-generation college students. In recent years, we have reinvigorated this mission by removing the barrier of standardized testing for applicants and by devoting greater resources to need-based scholarships.

Spring is decision time for college-bound students and their parents, who, the Holy Father noted, “recognize the need for excellence in the human formation of their children.” One marvelous feature of the American higher-educational landscape is its rich diversity. Students can choose from a wide array of institutional characteristics and values: public and private, religious and secular, urban and rural, large and small, and so many others. The best way for Catholic education to serve America is by providing a distinctive educational option for students and their parents. Pope Benedict has defined those distinctive features. It is my responsibility to see that Providence College continues to embody them.

The Rev. Brian J. Shanley is president of Providence College.