In the first article, "A Priest in the New Pope's Order Seeks to Move Hearts" (I start the front section in the back with the op-eds and work my way toward the front), the editor of the Jesuit magazine America is profiled. (Boy, the Jesuits are all over the place these days! I guess that's what happens when one of your priests becomes pope.) Father Matt Malone seems like a nice enough young man, but what caught my eye was this (my emphasis):
Jesuits elicit various reactions among Catholics, from a sunny belief that they are the brainiacs of the church...
And I thought, Oh, boy, that old meme again. Whatever.
And then, moving toward the front of the paper was a piece titled, "Ban on Free Condoms Jeopardizes Group's Work With Catholic College," about a student group that distributes birth control devices and advice at Boston College, a -- you guessed it -- Jesuit institution.
There were a couple of funny lines from this article, including:
“Students are going to be having sex regardless, and unless they have the education to know that you need to use a condom every time — for pregnancy prevention, S.T.I. prevention — and unless they have them available, they’re not going to use it,” said Lizzie Jekanowski, a senior and the chairwoman of the group.
And I thought, I'll bet most of the students at a place like B. C. know how babies are made.
And then this:
“Having condoms distributed on campus is the university kind of validating hookup culture,” said Katelyn Conroy, a junior who leads the college’s Pro-Life Club. “The argument is that condoms prevent the spread of S.T.D.’s, but, really, if you hand out condoms on campus, it puts an idea in their head.”
I was in college once. Trust me, the idea is already in their head. (The real challenge is getting anything else in there.)
But the money part of the article was:
“As a Jesuit, Catholic university, there are certain Catholic commitments that we are called to uphold, including the commitment not to publicly distribute condoms on our campus,” Jack Dunn, a spokesman for the college, said in an e-mail.
Both the “Sexually Transmitted Infections” and the “H.I.V./AIDS” sections of the college’s Web site say abstinence is the best way to prevent disease and do not mention forms of birth control. The ban on the distribution of condoms on campus is similar to bans at other universities with Catholic founding missions, like the College of the Holy Cross and Stonehill College, both in Massachusetts, and the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana.
In other words, so much for all that "brainiac" stuff. The Jesuits are -- first and foremost -- a Catholic order. Non-Catholics (and, indeed, most Catholics) would be hard-pressed to find any distinction at all.
Whenever I hear that old chestnut of how well-educated and intellectual the Jesuits are, I always think to myself -- Snark Alert! -- If the Jesuits are so smart, why are they still Catholic?