Laura McLaughlin

Campus News, Editor

Tue

25

Apr

2017

Theology of “Babette’s Feast”

 

by Laura McLaughlin

 

I recently watched the Danish film “Babette’s Feast,” which tells the story of a French maid living in a small, isolated, religious community in Jutland with two aging sisters. The beginning of the film explains this curious phenomenon, starting with the story of the sisters, Philippa and Martina, who gave up the chance at a career as an opera singer and a loving marriage with a young lieutenant, respectively, to help their father run his religious community. Their father, a charismatic Lutheran pastor, “[thinks] little of marriage and family” and so leaves behind two unmarried daughters and an aging community behind when he dies. Babette comes to Philippa and Martina from a politically unstable Paris, where her husband and son were murdered in the Communard uprising of 1871, and begs the sisters to take her in. Unbeknownst to them, she is the foremost chef in Paris.

 

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Advice from Jerry York

by Laura McLaughlin

 

On Wednesday April 19, coach Jerry York spoke to a room of BC students about the role of Jesuit education in his life. York is college hockey’s winningest coach, with over 1,000 wins over the course of his career. He is a triple Eagle, having graduated from Boston College High School in 1963, from Boston College in 1967, and from Boston College’s masters program in counseling psychology a few years later. He has won the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey title five times in his career, four as a coach at BC.

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Wed

29

Mar

2017

The Impracticality of Faith

 

by Laura McLaughlin

 

Naturalists will often try to “explain away” religion by reducing it to a more advanced form of the altruism also found amongst animals. They argue that groups of people who worked together instead of only existing in a state of ruthless competition were more likely to survive, and so passed on the genes and cultural practices, transforming humanity from selfish cavemen to charitable gentlemen. This seems logical, and from experience we know that we cannot only rely on ourselves if we are to survive. And we do indeed see animals help one another: penguins huddle together to keep warm and take turns being on the outside of the huddle, gorillas groom each other, and many mammals care for their young with what appears to be almost human intimacy. It appears that religion is simply a natural phenomenon if religion is essentially altruism.

 

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Wed

22

Feb

2017

SEEK Conference Gathers Thousands of Young Catholics

 

by Laura McLaughlin

 

SEEK is a biannual conference that draws thousands of college students from all over the country to explore their faith and hear from others about what it means to be Catholic. SEEK is a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) initiative that is part of their evangelization mission. FOCUS began as a response to Saint Pope John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization in Denver at the 1993 World Youth Day event. Since then, FOCUS has placed recent college graduates at over 100 college campuses to foster Catholic communities, help Catholic student grow in their faith, and introduce non Catholics to the Church.

 

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Tue

06

Dec

2016

My Architect: A Son’s Journey

by Laura McLaughlin

 

A son loses the father he never really knew and, years later, goes on a quest to know his father through them. He documents his journeys across the globe as he visits his architect father’s buildings, former colleagues and lovers, and his half siblings. Nathaniel Kahn’s film, My Architect: A Son’s Journey, is not so much about the iconic buildings designed by his father Louis Kahn as it is about relationships, family, life and love.

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Tue

06

Dec

2016

Imago Dei

 

 

by Laura McLaughlin

 

Ever since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God has hidden himself from humanity. This has led humanity to resort to its own devices to portray God. At first glance it seems that this poses a great challenge: instead of God being available to us and knowable, He seems remote and inaccessible. We quickly learn that the image of an old man with a long beard that we had a child is inadequate to say the least. 

 

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Tue

25

Oct

2016

Vita Est Flumen

 

 

by Laura McLaughlin

 

 

In the words of Ovid, vita est flumen. “Life is a river, our times flee and are always new.” I have never liked change. I didn’t want to graduate from my K-8 grammar school, I didn’t want to graduate from high school, and now I certainly don’t want to graduate from college. While other people look forward to new experiences and people, I have always wanted my life to remain the same, to keep the same friends, to embrace the familiar instead of the unfamiliar. Yet, so far, these new experiences and friends have always pleasantly surprised me and left me a better person than before. As much as I would like to believe that this trend will continue after graduation, I have extreme doubts: Before coming to Boston College I had not discovered many of the people and ideas who have most shaped who I am and given me the most joy. One of the only fragments of comfort I had before coming to college was listening to Father Himes talk about how we would be “introduced” to all sorts of interesting people from Aristotle to Aquinas to Augustine, a few people who I could at least count on not to dislike me. I have been lucky enough to come to love many (living) people here, many more than I ever hoped to.

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Tue

25

Oct

2016

New Film Portrays the Life of St. Ignatius

by Laura McLaughlin

 

The independent film Ignacio de Loyola tells the story of Saint Ignatius of Loyola from his time as a young soldier to his conversion, delving into his personality and spiritual struggles. The film begins with a brash young Ignatius striving for fame on the battlefield and for recognition from the princess of the royal family. In a panel discussion on Boston College’s campus, director Paolo Dy explained that one goal of the film was to “bring Ignatius down from the altar,” to put “flesh on the myth” and understand his colorful early life.

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Tue

27

Sep

2016

Sainthood Today?

 

by Laura McLaughlin

 

 

 

Even though I have no memories from when Mother Teresa was alive, she has always seemed more alive to me than any other figure in recent history. Perhaps it is because her name was so often invoked as an example of a truly holy person in the modern world or because it was big news each time she took a step closer towards canonization.

 

 

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Tue

27

Sep

2016

Mass of the Holy Spirit Sets Campus Aflame

by Laura McLaughlin

 

On September 8, Boston College continued the centuries-old Jesuit tradition of beginning the academic year with the Mass of the Holy Spirit. This tradition dates back to the Middle Ages, and has always been open to those of all faiths. For sophomores, juniors, and seniors who no longer have Freshmen Convocation to look forward to in the first week of school, the Mass of the Holy Spirit can serve as a yearly benchmark of their progress through Boston College and an opportunity to join together in community with their classmates. This unique opportunity to stop in O’Neil Plaza and experience Mass outdoors in the middle of a busy day is one tradition that forms the identity of Boston College.

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Tue

26

Apr

2016

Pope Francis Releases New Document on Love and Family

by Laura McLaughlin

 

Pope Francis’ latest apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, continues the discussion begun at the two Synods on the Family by addressing a number of issues families face in the modern world.

 

But the much-debated question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics should be able to receive Communion was only discussed in a few paragraphs. Commentators have argued over the exact meaning of Francis’ words, with some arguing that he expresses the possibility of letting divorced and remarried Catholic receive Communion and remarry within the Church. Others, The Most Rev. Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth, maintain that Francis is “totally consistence with Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, with the Familiaris Consortio of St. John Paul II… and Francis frequently cites them. There has been no change in canon law.”

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Tue

29

Mar

2016

Prominent Eco-Theologian Speaks about “Laudato Si”

by Laura McLaughlin

 

On March 3, Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry and its newly formed “EcoSTM” environmental awareness organization, hosted well known eco-theologian Father Sean McDonagh who gave a talk entitled “Laudato Si”: A Prophetic Challenge for the 21st Century.” Fr. Sean is a native Irishman and Columban priest who has been working to raise awareness about the connections between social justice and environmental issues since his time as a newly ordained priest in the Philippines over 30 years ago when he took action to stop the destruction of local forests. He has written many books on topics such as the effects of climate change on the poor, genetically modified food, and nuclear power. An “environmental missionary” according to Vatican radio, Father Sean contributed to the writing of “Laudato Si” as a consultant. He called the encyclical “one of the most important documents to come from Rome in the past 120 years,” as it addresses “everyone on the planet.”

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Tue

23

Feb

2016

Pagan Mythology and Christianity

by Laura McLaughlin

 

 

Everyone knows that our campus is beautiful - from constantly snapchatted Gasson, to its Irish room, to the Bapst reading room. As prospective students, we are impressed by these sights and consciously or unconsciously factor them into our college decision. However, once we arrive, there are hidden places of great beauty on this campus that may take us years to discover: in a small room in the corner of Bapst is the Roche Room where there are three spectacular stained glass windows by Irish craftsman Richard King. On one wall are two life size windows depicting Jesus and the Celtic pagan god of light Lugh, and on another is a smaller one of a medieval scribe.

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Tue

26

Jan

2016

Professor Agbonkhianmenghe Orobato, S.J. Delivers Talk on Christianity in Africa

by Laura McLaughlin

 

On Monday, January 25, Professor Agbonkhianmenghe Orobato, S.J. spoke in a series of lectures on “21st century Christianity in Africa: Promises, Prospects and Pathologies”. The first of his five lectures is called “The miracle of a century: promises and myths of African Christianity in the World Church,” and examined the history of Christianity on the continent of Africa as a whole.

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Wed

09

Dec

2015

CEO of Catholic Relief Services Talks to BC Students

by Laura McLaughlin

 

On November 30, Dr. Carolyn Woo, the CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), gave a lecture called “Working for a Better World: The Story of Catholic Relief Services and Carolyn Woo.” Catholic Relief Services is the official humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the U.S., and serves 85 million people in 101 countries. CRS was founded in 1943 to serve refugees and survivors of World War II. Catholic social teaching maintains a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable, and the sacredness and dignity of the human person. The members of CRS see themselves as part of one human family, in solidarity with all who need their help.

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Tue

17

Nov

2015

SCOTUS Accepts Challenge to Contraception Mandate

by Laura McLaughlin

 

Earlier this month the Supreme Court accepted religious nonprofits’ request to challenge the health care’s mandate requiring them to provide contraceptives to their employees. Several groups have begun lawsuits, including The Little Sisters of the Poor, the Archdiocese of Washington, and Christian colleges. The Supreme Court has consolidated seven similar cases which will collectively be referred to as Zubik v. Burwell, Zubik being the bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Burwell being the secretary of Health and Human Services.

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Tue

27

Oct

2015

BC Holds Our Common Home Conference on Climate Change

by Laura McLaughlin

 

Earlier this month, Boston College hosted the “Our Common Home” conference in response to Pope Francis’ call to care for the environment articulated in his encyclical Laudato Si. Although the Boston College administration has been criticized for being apathetic and dismissive of both climate change and student groups concerned with environmental issues, hosting “Our Common Home” demonstrated a willingness to discuss these issues. In Laudato Si, Pope Francis calls for “a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet” and says,

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Tue

27

Oct

2015

Assisted Suicide Legalized in California

by Laura McLaughlin

 

In September of this year, Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed a bill legalizing the prescription of drugs to end the lives of terminally ill patients, adding his state to the growing number of states that allow this. Assisted suicide laws exist in Washington, Montana, Vermont, and Oregon, the latter’s law being the model for California’s, which will have to be reapproved in 10 years and requires doctors to confirm a patient’s wish to die in a private consultation. However, in Oregon, if a patient is mentally handicapped, or in some other way prevented from conveying that they wish to die, they can be administered lethal drugs as “medical treatment”. The option is only open to patients expected to die in the next six months in California.

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Tue

29

Sep

2015

Pope Francis Reforms the Process of Annulments

by Laura McLaughlin

 

Pope Francis recently announced new procedures aimed at reforming the annulment process within the Church. The Church teaches that marriage is sacred and indissoluble. However, there is a process for those marriages which, due to several reasons, are null and void and thus not binding on either of the would-be spouses. A person arguing that their marriage is null and void seeks an annulment, which states that the couple was never truly married in the first place. Situations such as people saying wedding vows under coercion or children being forced to marry by their parents without understanding the Sacrament of Matrimony make for obvious examples of when annulments are granted, but most cases are more complicated and currently require a lengthy process of a number of people reviewing the evidence in favor of and against someone seeking an annulment.

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Tue

29

Sep

2015

Faith and Comedy

by Laura McLaughlin

 

Catholic comedian Jim Gaffigan is now the star of his own TV series, The Jim Gaffigan Show, which is largely based on his life and even includes one of his sons in the cast of children. Gaffigan is able to create comedy out of the everyday stuff of life- food, family outings, food, child rearing, food, religion, and food- in spectacular fashion. Both in reality and in the show, he and his wife, Jeannie, live in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan with their five children. Much of his humor is centered around his struggle as a lazy, gluttonous father of five, thankfully supported by his “wonder-woman” wife who has given birth to all of her children at home. He paraphrases people’s reactions to his lifestyle with a patronizing, “Well that’s one way to live your life.”

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Wed

28

Jan

2015

FOCUS Holds Biennial Conference for Catholic Students

by Laura McLaughlin

 

SEEK 2015 is a biennial event held for college students looking to deepen their faith by FOCUS, fellowship of Catholic University Students. The organization sends modern day missionaries, recent college graduates, to one of what are now 100 campuses in their network. FOCUS began in 1998 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas in response to Pope John Paul II’s call for a new Evangelization. The first SEEK conference was held sixteen years ago and had twenty-four attendees. This year in Nashville almost 10,000 people came to hear speakers on various topics concerning faith, to pray, and to meet other Catholics from around the country. The event, mostly attended by college students, was energetic despite many of them have had traveled as much as 30 hours by bus. On the first night, keynote speaker Matt Fradd, a Catholic apologist, kicked off SEEK with an animated and relatable talk on his own faith journey and existential preoccupations. From the beginning of the event it was clear that it was aimed at the young, not in a diminutive or silly pop-culture focused way, but in a way that recognizes the unique position of people who are in the process of questioning and having their beliefs questioned in the college environment.

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Tue

18

Nov

2014

Millions Celebrate First Feast of St. John Paul II

by Laura McLaughlin

 

On October 22, Catholics celebrated newly canonized Saint John Paul II’s first feast day. The event drew a large crowd to his shrine in Washington D.C. where the rosary was said and then a documentary on his visits to North America over the years was shown before the Mass in commemoration of St. John Paul II was said. The shrine is home to a blood stained piece of the garment St. John Paul II was wearing during the 1981 attempted assassination. The now permanent exhibit, “A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II” drew large crowds and features artifacts, interactive displays, and facts about St. John Paul II’s spiritual, intellectual, and political impact. It is a place of pilgrimage where people can come to learn about the Saint and grow in their faith through knowledge of his example. It was created with the purpose of being a response to his and Pope Francis’ calls for a “new evangelization”, a place to experience a genuine encounter with God and see how His work was carried out by the Saint. It was designated a national shrine earlier this year by the United Conference of Catholic Bishops. The shrine was filled with everyone from young people to the elderly, from D.C. inhabitants to Polish pilgrims, from lay people and sisters, priests, and brothers. He was Pope for 26 years, but an important figure even before that as a Bishop of Krakow under the communist regime.

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Wed

22

Oct

2014

Saint of the Issue: St. Thérèse of Lisieux

by Laura McLaughlin

 

St. Thérèse of Lisieux was born on January 2, 1873 in France to a formerly aspiring priest and nun. She was the youngest of five surviving children, all girls who also became nuns. Thérèse’s mother died when she was four, marking the first tragedy of her life. Later, she was distraught again when her oldest sister Pauline, who had become like a second mother to her, entered a convent. Soon after, she became very ill, to the point of almost dying, and never fully regained her health. When she was sick she saw Mary smile at her and soon after became well again, but did not want to satisfy peoples’ curiosity by talking about it.

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