Screw U. Want to get laid on the Catholic University campus? Steer clear of the God squadders.

Full Article
Doug Boehm

If there’s one thing Catholics hate more than sex, it’s talking about it. And yet every year, the Catholic University of America (CUA) assumes the immodest task of informing 3,000 undergraduate students of all the sexual activities banned from its holy land.

The “Sexual Misconduct” clause of the university’s Code of Student Conduct prohibits students from engaging in “[p]hysical contact of a sexual nature that is unwanted by either party and/or that is disruptive to the university community.” Weighing in as “disruptive”: “any sexual expression that is inconsistent with the teaching and moral values of the Catholic Church.”

As the official U.S. university of the Catholic Church, it’s no surprise that CUA’s Code of Student Conduct is synced with the Catechism. But applying church doctrine to campus life can cause even a university spokesperson to stumble.

“We are the national university of the Catholic Church, so we follow all the teachings of the Catholic Church, and that is made very, very clear,” says university spokesperson Victor Nakas. When asked which specific behaviors are insufficiently Catholic, Nakas defers to doctrine. “I’m a Catholic, and I’m not exactly sure there’s any debate about what’s permitted,” Nakas says. “Have you read the Catechism? Because the different teachings of the church are spelled out in great detail and in great nuance in the Catholic Catechism.”

For undergraduate students less schooled in church doctrine than the spokesperson for the Catholic University of America, Nakas agreed to get more specific:

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Premarital sex: “I can tell you right now that that is not allowed.”

Condoms: “Condoms are not allowed on the Catholic campus.”

Masturbation: “I don’t think that that’s a debatable issue. That’s something that would be clearly proscribed by Catholic teaching.”

Kissing: “I know of no restrictions on that.”

Men kissing: “That—I don’t know the answer to that. I’ve never seen anything about two men kissing. I’ll have to get back to you on that one. Of course, in different cultures, in other cultures, it is acceptable for men to kiss each other, as a greeting or what have you,” says Nakas. “It’s seen as something that’s very much within the cultural milieu.”

Nakas never followed up with the official Catholic word on men kissing. In an e-mail, he clarified that “CUA supports the teachings and moral values of the Catholic Church without reservation and in their entirety, including the teaching that sexual intercourse is reserved for marriage,” and that “[i]ncidents are reviewed on a case by case basis.” He made one other thing clear: “no followups, please.”

Deference to the catechism spares Catholic administrators from the awkward enterprise of referring to masturbation, condoms, or any other specific of a typical undergraduate’s sex life. What the “great nuance” of the catechism fails to address is how sins of the flesh will be policed in a community of 18-to-21-year-olds newly emerged from beneath their parents’ roofs. After all, violations to the student code can’t be absolved in typically Catholic fashion, with forgiveness administered privately after confession to a priest. At the Catholic University of America, your sins are subject to judicial review.

How can a university that can barely even acknowledge sex enforce a sex policy?

By policing everything but.

PREMARITAL SEX

Fornication is a carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.

The Catholic University of America’s punishment for student premarital sex fits the crime: “It was laid out in no uncertain terms,” says one 2007 graduate. “If you do it, you’re screwed.”

How many Catholic students are getting screwed? In the 2006–2007 school year, CUA recorded 282 alcohol violations, 42 disorderly conduct violations, 14 drug violations, seven harassment violations, and zero violations of the sexual misconduct policy. (Catholic hasn’t released sexual misconduct tallies for any other year.)

Catholic University’s failure to nab even a single coed with his pants down can be attributed to an oddity of campus culture. Under Catholic doctrine, sinners are encouraged to tell on themselves, but not on others, meaning the university has a big problem cultivating snitches.

CUA’s anti-sex indoctrination begins at freshman orientation, where administrators inform incoming students that campus sex is punishable with penalties ranging from probation to expulsion. But the real education begins in the residence halls, where chastity protection is delegated to the most pious. “We had a name for them: the God squad,” says Peter, a recent alum who practiced premarital sex in the dorms for four semesters. “You know, the ones who came to Catholic because they want to go to church seven days a week and go to confession all the time and drink the blood of Christ on Sundays.”

Throughout the year, the God squad actively promotes the religious element in the residence halls. Each upperclassman dorm is outfitted with a student minister. Prayer groups meet weekly. Dorm confessionals are held once each semester, during Advent and Lent. Every year, priests circulate the halls, offering to bless each room. Last spring, CUA’s Chastity Outreach group, which sends wait-until-marriage advocates to local middle and high schools, began reaching out to students on its own campus as well. Participation in on-campus Catholicism is strictly voluntary—and not exactly popular. “There’s a very big social chasm between those God-squad kids, who are very religious, and those that are a lot more liberal in their beliefs,” says Peter. “I’m sure there was a handful of students from each dorm who would do that stuff. But it wasn’t exactly the thing to do on a Thursday night—oh shit, guys, the priest is coming, we have to go down to confess our sins!

With students blowing off confession en masse, it’s no wonder that more public sins—like premarital sex—don’t get aired via official channels. “That stuff, obviously, happens behind closed doors,” says Liz Henaghan, a 20-year-old junior who works as a Resident Assistant (RA) in a freshman dorm. “The times when I have had to address the sexual misconduct policy, it has been because I noticed something, not because anyone explicitly told me that a violation had occurred.”The one program CUA hasn’t implemented in the dorms is an incentive for reporting less-than-chaste neighbors. “I’ve never had anyone from the campus ministry come up to me and say, ‘Bobby and Suzie are hooking up in the lounge, can you make them stop?’” says Henaghan. “I actually haven’t had any experience with tattletales, beyond ‘They’re playing the music too loud, can you ask them to turn it down?’”

Officially, the Catholic University of America mandates snitching. The Code of Student Conduct states that “[s]tudents who anticipate or observe a violation are expected to remove themselves from participation and are encouraged to report the violation.” But the campus contingent most interested in maintaining chastity is actually discouraged from tattling. Student ministers are advised not to reveal personal information about the coeds they counsel. “They counsel that person confidentially, unless they hear of any danger,” says Henaghan—and consensual sins of the flesh don’t cut it. The most devout squad members, at least, are easy to identify: “There was a kid who used to walk around campus barefoot, no shoes on, because that’s how Jesus walked. Four years of that,” says Peter.

Even those most committed to the chastity cause admit that on-campus sexual transgressions are inevitable. Since implementing a sex education program in the dorms, CUA’s Chastity Outreach group has softened its strict anti-sex message for the college set. “Chastity isn’t about a list of do’s and don’ts,” member Karen Mahowald told campus online newsletter “InsideCUA” when asked whether sex and love can be compatible outside of marriage. Senior Jonathon Meyer was more direct: “None of us perfectly lives out our call to chastity,” he told the outlet.

RAs, too, are known to practice forgiveness for sins committed on their territory. Consistent with Catholic tradition, sex isn’t sex at the Catholic University of America if nobody knows about it. “Most RAs were actually fine with students breaking the [misconduct] policy as long as you didn’t do anything that would bring attention to them,” says Tom McIntyre, a 2003 graduate. Adds Peter: “[Most RAs] wouldn’t bust your balls about the rule. They would just look the other way. Their policy was: If they don’t see it or hear it, they don’t say anything.”

RAs who do happen to observe infractions can still sidestep the policy by policing closely related but less-serious rules. The zero “sexual misconduct” violations recorded in the 2006–2007 school year were complemented by 252 recorded violations of “University Regulations,” which include rules governing the residence halls. Obvious sex violations are routinely coded instead as “visitation policy” violations. According to the school’s residential policies, students must vacate classmates’ rooms by midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends, and a “CUA student may not be an overnight visitor in a room in which he/she does not live, at any point in time.”

“I’ve never heard of anyone getting kicked out of school or even getting written up for having sex,” says Peter. “Usually, the infraction is called ‘being on the wrong floor.’”

The punishment-with-a-wink allows RAs to regulate egregious behavior without unduly impacting students’ lives. “They understand that this is somebody’s college career riding on the fact that sleeping with your girlfriend is prohibited in the student handbook,” says Peter. “So you get the noise violation instead of the girl-in-your-room violation, or the visiting violation instead of the girl-in-you-room violation, or the open container violation instead of the girl-in-your-room violation.”

The campus silent treatment helps to accommodate even the most flagrant violations of policy. One male student says he successfully camped out in the female wing of his girlfriend’s on-campus dorm for an entire week, fornicating the entire time. “I was basically living there—I used the showers and stuff, too,” he says. “Once we’re in the room, it was easy—we could lock the door and close the curtains…but her hallway was all female, so it was kind of funny when I’d walk into her room and pass her hall mates. They never would say anything, but it was obvious. We all knew that I wasn’t allowed to be there.”

For some, the anti-sex policy can actually add a welcome challenge to routine campus conquests. “The fact that you’re not allowed to do it on campus makes it a little bit more fun,” says the student. “We’ve done it in places that are inappropriate in general,” he says. “We’ve done it in the Pryz [student center]. We’ve done it in the dorm shower. The rules can be annoying, but you can also get into that danger of being caught.”

MASTURBATION

By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.”

Not everyone is as clear on the theological rules of the bedroom as the university spokesperson. After the policy was enacted in 2002, student Kevin Joyce wrote a satirical letter to the student newspaper, the Tower, suggesting that Catholic also outlaw masturbation with sex in order to fully comply with the Catechism.

“Recently, our university has implemented a new ‘No Sex Policy,’ but they have forgotten to include one necessary appendage— a ‘No Masturbation Clause.’ After all, isn’t sex with oneself still sex?” he wrote. “Students who are caught masturbating or suspected of masturbating would then receive a penalty, and depending upon the severity, could also face expulsion or suspension. In this way we can completely rid our campus of any sexual deviance whatsoever.”

Hey, jackoff—the anti-masturbation rule is already on the books.

While the sexual misconduct policy hasn’t done much to deter on-campus self-pleasure, it has helped keep masturbators anonymous. One 2007 alum, who wished to remain anonymous, denied that the sex policy discouraged any Catholic University students from genitally expressing themselves, solo or otherwise. “No. Not at all,” he says. “Not even a little bit.”

“Are you serious?” one 2003 alum, also anonymous, responded when asked if students denied themselves self-pleasure. “No. No. I don’t see how that would ever be enforced.”

“No,” one current student says. “Absolutely not.” He wouldn’t give his name, either.

CONTRACEPTION

“Every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil.

Though the Catholic University of America shuns traditional forms of contraception, it does offer one morally consistent birth control option. One alumnus, who arrived on campus in 1999, remembers the option vividly. “It was my freshman year. I had just gotten to campus a couple weeks before. And the only thing my RA begged everyone to attend was this talk on Natural Family Planning,” she says.

“This husband-and-wife team came to my dorm lobby and told us all how to avoid pregnancy naturally—by going in and measuring your mucus levels.” The vaginal observation, of course, was to be strictly within the context of marriage. According to the couple, man and wife could have sex for pleasure as long as they scheduled carnal sessions outside of a woman’s fertile period. “They told us that we didn’t always have to have sex—sometimes you could just watch a movie,” she says. The alum, who identifies as “Catholic but not religious,” says she was “shocked” by CUA’s Catholic character when she first arrived. “They never advertised it that way to me,” she says. “I mean, I had never even heard of Natural Family Planning before I got on campus. I was like, what the fuck is that?”

Though Natural Family Planning continues to receive on-campus lip service (Chastity Outreach includes the option in its spiel), the ban on other forms of contraception is less exhaustively discussed. “They never explicitly told us about that,” Peter says of Catholic’s on-campus condom ban. “That’s something that you’d figure out after the first couple months, when you realize that the student convenience store doesn’t sell them.”

It doesn’t take long for students to zero in on the closest condoms to Catholic University: They’re stacked discreetly behind the counter of the 7-Eleven on Hawaii Avenue NE. The convenience store offers trios of either Trojan-ENZ lubricated condoms or Trojan Magnums for $3.99 a pack. Students who wish to secure even more convenient rubbers just need to know the right people.

Each semester, 500 Trojan condoms arrive on Catholic’s campus in a nondescript package. The contraband comes courtesy of the Great American Condom Campaign, which distributes 1 million condoms each year to more than 1,500 activist distributors across the country.

When Stephen Sobhani started the campaign out of his apartment in 2005, the Catholic University of America was one of the first campuses to come on board. The first distributor, a male junior at the university, “signed up right off the bat,” says Sobhani. Sobhani provided him with 100 prophylactics printed with the campaign’s logo, “a kind of flag penis that we lovingly called ‘the Fenis,’” Sobhani explains. “The school, obviously, hadn’t authorized that.”

The Great American Condom Campaign specifically targets schools with on-campus bans or limited accessibility to condoms, boasting that some of its distributors are “even risking suspension or expulsion” by participating. Even among college campuses with complete condom bans, Catholic University’s policy is particularly difficult to navigate. Georgetown University contraception providers are allowed to distribute condoms within the confines of the campus’ “Red Square,” a designated free-speech zone. At Chicago’s DePaul University, where condom distribution was banned in 2005, students pass out prophylactics on a public street just off campus, at a table monitored by a university security guard.

Catholic University distributors are forced to invent less public approaches—usually, spreading the word through networks of friends. “They were very clever in handing out their condoms. They had their own little system of doing it,” says Sobhani of the students he worked with at Catholic. “They were so secretive—but ‘secretive’ makes it sound like they were doing something wrong. They were just very discreet.”

Distributors, of course, take care to steer clear of the God squad. “One thing our Catholic distributor told us was that he was less concerned about being busted by administrators and more concerned about being busted by his peers—by some of the more pious students,” says Sobhani. “Before Catholic, we had never heard that. The fear was always that an administrator would bust you.”

The original distributor has since graduated, but the Great American Condom

Campaign, now administered through Advocates for Youth, currently reports SafeSites at six D.C. campuses, including Catholic University. Though it’s clear that 500 condoms a semester are arriving at one Catholic University student’s door, current distributors behave like good Catholics in one way: They aren’t talking publicly.

Condoms are exchanged a bit more openly at off-campus functions. At one such party, organizers offered a booze-and-birth-control deal for $2: “We sold two shots—one for yourself, and one for someone else—plus a free condom,” says one alum. The condoms came courtesy of a crafty underground distributor. “A friend of mine went down to Planned Parenthood, saying she was from GW,” she says. “She was even afraid to tell Planned Parenthood where she was from.” A Planned Parenthood rep assures Catholic students they needn’t obscure their campus origins to secure condoms. “Our policy is that people should have access to education and to condoms, to prevent sexually transmitted diseases,” says Tim Wahlers, the vice president for development for Planned

Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington. “We do not follow the policies of Catholic University. We follow the policies of Planned Parenthood, which are based in science.”

Speaking of science, a 2001 survey conducted by Catholics for Choice revealed that the university’s medical center does offer contraception to student patients—though only “for medical purposes.” A call to the center last week confirmed the option is still available.

MEN KISSING

Though not covered by the Catechism, this is very much within the cultural milieu, according to the CUA administration.

SEXUAL ASSAULT

Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.

Let’s play a little game of “one of these things is not like the other.” It’s a multiple choice. The “sexual misconduct” policy outlaws:

a. premarital sex

b. condoms

c. masturbation

d. rape

At Catholic University, “Sexual Misconduct” is defined as “[p]hysical contact of a sexual nature that is unwanted by either party and/or that is disruptive to the university community.” Outlawing both consensual and nonconsensual sex in the same sentence is one way to make the seriousness of your anti-sex policy clear—but it also downgrades nonconsensual sex to any other youthful indiscretion. When students are never allowed to consent to sex on campus, how is truly nonconsensual sex punished?

Despite its prohibition of all manner of sexual contact, Catholic University reports single-digit sexual assault figures in most school years. In 2001, the first year the rule was in place, Catholic University reported two sexual assaults on campus. Since then, it’s reported 11 more, peaking in 2006 with four reported assaults. Some of these incidents involve less-than-pious strangers coming on to campus to forcibly compromise the chastity of the student body. Other sexual assaults on campus have originated closer to home.

Last year, two students filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court against the university—and each other—after engaging in on-campus premarital sex.

It was spring semester, 2008. A freshman girl and a freshman boy were living in adjacent dorms in Catholic University’s Centennial Village, a gated collection of red-brick residence halls that circle around a central wooden cross. According to the girl’s lawsuit, the two met at an off-campus lacrosse party in February of 2008, then embarked on a traditional undergraduate relationship—they started hooking up. After the party, they returned to the lacrosse player’s dorm room, where the girl’s lawsuit finesses that “they engaged in romantic and intimate relations.” The pair exchanged numbers and sporadically “spent time with each other.”

On April 5, the girl again attended a lacrosse party with a few friends, knowing the boy would be there. The girl’s lawsuit details how she prepared for the encounter. She started off the night by consuming “between ten and fifteen shots of vodka in her friend’s dorm room.” When she arrived at the party, she continued to drink until “she started to feel overwhelmingly nauseous and sick.” She vomited on the lawn. Unable to form complete sentences or walk straight, she attempted to reenter the party to find her friends.

That’s when she saw the boy, who had come to the party with a few of his friends from home. The crew draped her arms over their shoulders and walked her back to campus. They brought her up the dormitory stairs and onto an all-male floor. The girl, the boy, and his friends entered his bed-room together. What happened next boils down to they-said, she-said.

A few days later, the girl contacted Catholic University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS). According to her lawsuit, she provided DPS a report of the incident and submitted to a medical examination at the University Health Center. The exam “revealed obvious sexual trauma.” On April 23, the D.C. Police Department issued an order of no-contact to the boy. On April 29, the girl attempted suicide. On April 30, the university relocated the boy to another dorm. Four months passed before the sexual misconduct case was presented to a university board for judicial review. The boy was expelled from school.

The girl claims that the sex was nonconsensual. The boy claims the sex was consensual—merely “inconsistent with the teaching and moral values of the Catholic Church.” As far as Catholic University is concerned, both students’ scenarios describe serious student violations of university policy. And so both students are suing the university on the grounds that it mishandled their sexual misconduct cases. “Catholic’s policies on paper and as stated on their Web site seem to really take this stuff seriously,” says Spencer Hecht, the girl’s lawyer. “One of the problems we’ve found is that they’re not practicing what their policies are stating.”

Hecht has a point. The university’s conduct rules border on the unenforceable. But here’s a case where a modicum of collective morality regarding sexual boundaries would have gone a long way—especially in light of the details. According to both student lawsuits, not only did several boys engage in group sex with an intoxicated girl, but they did it with the dorm room door open. Several other students walked through the alleged crime scene as it occurred. The boy’s lawsuit even claims that another student, “Joe,” later joined in the sexual misconduct by having solo sex with the girl following the group infraction. “Joe,” too, didn’t bother to close the door.

The campus reaction was befitting a freshman sex scandal. According to the boy’s lawsuit, the boys, the girl, Joe, and the witnesses weren’t the only students to hear about the incident. The girl, the suit alleges, boasted about the sexual exploits the next day. Within two days, the incident was public knowledge. According to the boy’s suit, the girl “received a computer message on her Facebook webpage from another male student of Catholic University.” The message was an insult in the form of a riddle. It read: “fill in this quote….I’m here for the…”. When the girl showed the message to her friends, they informed her “that the quote was a derogatory statement regarding [her] perceived promiscuity.”

According to the girl, even university officials caught wind of the incident. In a meeting with the university’s Department of Public Safety, Hecht says, a DPS official told the girl that they had received “an anonymous e-mail” written the day following the incident which “referenced our client and said something needed to be investigated,” says Hecht. “No timely investigation occurred.”

The case drives at the breach between what the CUA sex policy purports to do and what it actually does. The group sex, the open doors, the witnesses, the retellings, the Facebook messages, and even the anonymous university tipster—on a prudish campus such as Catholic’s, such an event should prompt a modern-day inquisition. “Clearly, in the context of this set of facts, there were lots of people who knew about it. But no timely action was taken,” Hecht says. According to a CUA spokesperson, the university denies the claims made against it but declines to comment on pending litigation.

The legal mess over the incident is starting to sort itself out: The girl reached an undisclosed settlement with CUA this week, though she hasn’t withdrawn her claims against the boy. The boy’s case, too, is pending. If the case progresses, it will put the Catholic University of America in an uncomfortable position: Whether or not the student claims carry weight, the university will finally be forced to talk about sex.

Amanda Hess blogs for City Paper at The Sexist.

Our Readers Say

GET THAT ASS
Yet another reason not to go to Catholic.
From what I have heard - the enrollment was up drastically this year. The more you try to make someone stop doing something, the more they want to do it. Its the mantra that most Catholics live by.
Thank heavens that there is nothing in the hanbook or cathecism that bans altar boy abuse i the rectory.
I went to Catholic, and I loved it. No I am not a God Squader...and neither was the kid walking around without shoes...
I graduated from Catholic in May 2008. I spent 4 great years at CUA and wouldn't change any of it. The best thing about Catholic is that you can participate in spiritual life IF YOU WANT TO. It isn't rammed down your throat like our esteemed author would suggest.

This article is an unabashed airing of dirty laundry aimed at fostering anti-Catholic sentiment for a liberal readership.

I was no saint at CUA. That is for sure. But there isn't some dichotomy that states you must either a 'God-Squader' or a 'group-sexing-date-raping lacross player.' Catholic is a way better school than that because THE STUDENTS are better than that. Though I admire the authors investigative prowess at finding a few bad apples.

I wrote better papers in freshman English. And I went to the bulk of those classes with a hangover.
I am outraged by this article. This is the Catholic University of America and by why would it not be a sex free campus. That is part of the beliefs of the Catholic church and by attending the university you should respect the beliefs it was founded on. The policy is not able to be enforced, as for the students who do not report, they are just like all the other 18-21 year olds in the world. They are looking for peer acceptance and they do not want to be an outcast. As for the RA's they need to be trained more explicitly on the rules and the importance of enforcing them.
Wow. "Fr. O'Rielly" (your name wouldn't happen to be "Ryan" would it?) - Not everyone appreciates pointless comments like that. Thought you should know.
way to combine catholics and undergrads in a sociological approach that barely manages to appreciate the humanity of either. you write like a 17th century english man who can only identify the locals as quaint savages who possess nothing more than curious rituals.
i don't think jesus should get credit for my footwear habits. this article is libelous.
RA's at Catholic are without doubt the STRICTEST and most supporting of any college campus in this country. This article is filled with fallacies- RA's do rounds down every single hallway 4 times a night- in almost no circumstance does an RA "look the other way"

If you want to talk about not enforcing the rules, look at GW or Georgetown. They are completely out of control. I've been there when the RA parties with the residents, smokes with the residents, and even when residents have paid off RA's and DPS to get away with things. That would NEVER happen at Catholic because the RA would get fired in a second.

There are a lot of things that I agree with, and personally I support any motion of distributing condoms (although I will stay true to my job as an RA and not do this myself).

I'm glad this might stir up some controversy to get the school thinking about how to address this, but don't bash the RA's... I'll write you up!
i am a student at CUA and it must be understood that it is not black and white on this campus. i am a bisexual athiest and take the pill and have consentual sex with my boyfriend... and use condoms just for the extra effect. no one gives me shit. while i do stand in an awkward position on this campus, students are accepting and loving. to be honest, this piece should have discussed the insane speaker policy. there is a strong political presence here which is representative of both democrats and republicans. we can look past what sexual activity happens behind closed doors. what shouldnt be looked past is the fact that cua student groups cannot bring a speaker that does not endorse pro-life or sexual orientation agendas; thats where you would have had a compelling piece. sex happens everywhere, at any university. this was basically an article about how cua doesnt butt into the private lives of their students. if you prefer that administrators enforce this poorly written rule, i will make you pay reparations for the expenses of attending another university, thanks for making it harder for me to have sex on campus.
I graduated from Catholic in 2007 and would also not change a thing - not even the premarital sex I had on campus with my future husband.

While parts of this article (I should say the parts referencing "Peter") are narrow and shallow (god-squadders, indeed) on the whole this article makes a good point:

How do you enforce a rule aimed at protecting your students when you rely on the culprits to come forward? My freshman year roomate would have loud, physical sex on the bottom bunk of our shared bed. When I went to my RA (who lived in the next room) to ask for help, they replied that they couldn't do anything unless they were caught in the act. I would attempt to leave the uncomfortable situation by staying in friends' rooms or trying to move out, but was pretty much left to stay there while no one did anything. I'm not saying my roomate should have been expelled, but a talking-to or a breathing period between partners would have been enough.

Also, combining a ban on consensual and non-consensual sex makes it very hard to protect the people you mean to. Rape isn't a 'childish indescretion,' it's a dangerous and vicious attack by one person to another.

I agree with Joe Cardinal - CATHOLICISM as a faith was never forced upon us - but you should really expect that at CATHOLIC University, you're going to be governed by rules with a CATHOLIC influence.

Rule-breaking is nothing new. Can we talk about the thousands of drinking violations and binge parties practiced on a "dry" campus?
I think many of you are missing the point if you think this article was solely about "ha ha look at those crazy Catholics and their sex". I think the real impact of this article is the contrast between Catholic University's obsession with stopping underage sex and their lackadaisical attitude towards prosecuting sexual assault. Are the two linked? I think that, at least in part, they are. Notice particularly how the student culture at Catholic shuns snitching on one another for violating rules about consensual sex. Does anyone honestly believe that culture had nothing to do with a gang rape happening with the door open at a busy party, and no witness reports being filed?
As a recent graduate, I have to agree with much of the article. There is a strong difference between the University’s official policies that they (and the god squad) try to promote, and what really occurs. In fact, many of my friends who did not go to Catholic, but came to party with us were impressed at the sort of things we did on campus—apparently we were wilder then various state and private colleges and universities.

Until Catholic University learns to take a responsible attitude towards sex, there will be serious problems that occur. Just think about other sexual issues where the church felt silence was the best option. Thank you City Paper for exposing how ridiculous Catholic can be.
Do you understand that the world does not revolve around you and your do whatever it takes, ruin as many people's lives, so long as you can make a name for yourself as an investigatory journalist, no matter how many friends you lose or people you leave dead and bloodied along the way, just so long so you can make a name for yourself as an investigatory journalist, no matter how many friends you lose or people you leave dead and bloodied and dying along the way?
FYI, Catholic University isn't a dry campus. They don't sell alcohol, but students over 21 are allowed to keep it in their rooms and alcohol may be served at official events held on campus... not to mention that they used to have a campus bar, and have plans to replace it.

I agree with Joe Cardinal. The title of this article shows the motivation behind its posting - "steer clear of the God squadders" - give me a break. If there is a chasm between anyone its between people like Peter and mature, intelligent students.

CUA encourages students to try to live as good Catholics, nothing more. The ministry programs mentioned in this article exist to provide an environment where that can happen. Furthermore, students don't need to go to CUA to attend daily mass - merely any university near a Catholic Church.

What happened to this girl is horrible. The people who allowed it to happen should be held accountable. But the mocking of the University's students and policies are insulting and self-serving. It seems clear to me that Amanda Hess has problems with the Catholic church and has used this incident as an outlet for them.
I, like most students, went to Catholic understanding that if the school is called THE catholic university of America, things there are probably based off catholic principles and ideals. While I do not agree with many of these principles, I knew that it would be like that going in and (with a few exceptions like the insane speaker policy) was not surprised by it. I was also not surprised that, hey just like the real world, there are people who take their faith and beliefs very seriously (AKA the "God Squaders"). Just as there are extremes on that side of the spectrum, there are extremes on the other side as well. That's just humanity. Like most of humanity, most students on campus are in the middle of that bell curve.

I agree with "Conrad" that this is more about the administrations See-no-evil/hear-no evil way of deal with Serious issues like sexual assault. This is not the first time the administration had let a serious issue escalate until the boiling point before they were forced to acknowledge it

The general feeling of "staying out of everyone's business" or not wanting to look overly judgemental, snitching, etc, is as prevalent on campus as any. If the door really WAS open, why didn't anyone say anything? Everyone in this instance, the perpetrator(s), victim, administration, witnesses should take a little dose of reality, decency, levity and understanding of how to treat each other and themselves with respect and justice, from this situation.

Something about the "Golden Rule" comes to mind...
As a CUA Alum from 05, I don't even know where to start with this article. My first reaction is that it just makes me really mad at how innacurate a picture it paints of what sort of school Catholic U is.

This article portrays the students at Catholic U as either uptight, prudish, vitorian, oppressive, inquisition type nazi-catholics or completely bohemian, free-love, atheist, hippies. In reality, you will find very few of either at CUA.

Most students have some level of involvement with their faith and varying degrees of compliance with church teaching (although you will find many more dedicated young catholics here than at most other Catholic colleges) . The average grads are talented, dedicated, idealistic young men and women who try to make the world a better place.

Overall this article just seems like a lot of anti-Catholic sentiment. If you are trying to hold the university accountable for perhaps poor handling of a sexual assault case (although, notice, the guy does get expelled) then that is one thing, but that is tucked away in the last paragraphs of the article. This article seems like it is primarily trying to make the University look bad.

On behalf of most of the CUA grads I know, I have to say: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU CUA for being such a wonderful place with such wonderful people. Not that I always agreed with the decisions of the administration, but I know I would not be as happy and fullfilled a person today if not for the caliber of students and staff at Catholic U.Going to school at Catholic U changed my life for the better by leaps and bounds.

and btw, Campus Ministry ( which consistently runs the best and most popular social events on campus in addition to prayer groups, liturgies, service projects, etc) is not a small group of "God squadders," but is a well integrated part of the campus that runs programs for undergrads, graduate students, and faculty and staff. Most students are involved with some campus ministry activity.
Having had a friend endure a similar assault at a smal liberal arts college I spent a lot of time digging around for information on sexual assault on campus.

What I found was that most college's had the same policy as the one I attended: if an assault case is presented and "tried" before the college's judicial commitee/council/etc. and that case seems to be likely or certain to end in expulsion for the agressor, the college makes repeated, grand efforts to suggest the agressor "drop out" _before_ the decision is handed down. The year in which my friend was assault, two other women were also assaulted; all three cases ended with the agressor dropping out before being expelled.

Why does this matter? The college is under no real burden to represent that sexual assaults happened when the "case" never reaches conclusion (indeed, I was told by one dean that it would be unfair to the agressor as they had yet to be "convicted" and were still, therefore innocent). At my college, if you look at the numbers reported, there have been 4 cases of sexual misconduct since it first admited women forty years ago.

Just food for thought.

As an aside, I thought this article, though sometimes funny, seemed to lean very, very heavily on the non-God Squad side of things. Why these people are "in" on what happens and anyone who is actively Catholic isn't seems odd to me.

Also, _I_, a guy, know all about Natural Family Planning. This shows up all over the place. That one student didn't doesn't strike me as particularly informative.
as a Catholic alum, I have to say... get over it. People have been complaining about this topic forever. its not new.

THE CATHOLIC University of America is (SPOILER ALERT!) a university funded by the Catholic church... hello, they are Catholic, they have some views on the world and have a way in which they think it should be led. Is this new to anyone secular or otherwise?

I understand the point you are making about the policy verse the follow through, but this article is about as original as the discussion of students drinking under the legal age of 21...gasp! it happens.
The article is built on series of false premises and smacks of journalistic laziness. Just because the administration doesn't sit students down and say its wrong to have group sex with a girl who is passed out does it cause guys to have group sex with a passed out drunk girl and for other students not to report it. The fact is that the incident was reported the next day to DPS.

As an alum, I am not surprised the administration did a horrible job handling the case and with PR. I would have liked to know why it took the administration so long to resolve this case, but that might have actually taken real investigative work. Instead, the article pointed out policies that are almost universal to ALL Catholic schools, Gerogetown included, and treated the students who attend Catholic as two-dimensional characters.
It is beneath me to respond to such a poorly written article, but I'm going to go with excuse (just for Amanda Hess's sake) that the Devil made me do it.

The thesis of this article should have been "The collapsing of consensual and non-consensual sex categories in CUA's student handbook has resulted in the manifestation of a discursive nightmare; because officials (rightly so) look the other way on the former (consensual) category, they just do the same on the (non-consensual) latter category. CUA ought to separate these categories, talk about sex in a manner that is not consistent with orthodox Catholic teaching despite the mission of the school, and the result will be that rape cases will be handled better."

Only the reader of this article had to fish around for a point amidst all the hackneyed digs Hess took at CUA. My personal favorite: "Some of these incidents involve less-than-pious strangers coming on to campus to forcibly compromise the chastity of the student body." Assumably, phrases such as this were supposed to highlight the supposed thinking process of CUA administrators--that sex violations occur equally in non-consensual and consensual sexual situations. But really, it is in poorest taste to make light of sexual assault.

This could have actually been a piece that looked at the real material and spiritual problems when a community agrees to have a (sexual) reality other than the ideal they have all entered into. It could have given voice to a lot of other students, alums, and administrators who are all very perplexed and disappointed by the poor handling of sexual crimes at CUA. It could have even highlighted the fact that CUA is a unique place in which it is not odd to meet an undergraduate who uses condoms as regularly as rosaries. Using the catechism as a yard stick in which to judge how far off the average student is from the orthodox ideal tells you nothing; Any ethnographer, sociologist, or real journalist would know this.

So, Editors at the Washington City Paper, the next time you decide to cover a topic as important as the mishandling of sexual assault cases on university campuses and the possible religious politics at issue, PLEASE send a real reporter next time--not one who obviously derives sophomoric pleasure at documenting the banal fact that CUA is a place where, as I was told at my freshman orientation, "abstinence and chastity are not dirty words" but college students still like having sex anyway.
As an alum, I have always thought of and will continue to think of CUA as a Catholic University in the heart of our nation's capital, where you really can "do it all."
The Catholic Church does not fund CUA. If the bishops want to maintain heavy handed control over the student body, maybe they should put there money where there mouth is because right now, students are paying the bills around here.
Every few years an article like this comes out about Catholic. It is upsetting and unfair that in a city that often ignores CUA in favor of Georgetown, GW and AU, the City Paper would not only waste time writing an article like this, you would put in on the front page of your publication.

I would like to propose that perhaps the reason the "God Squadders" don't "tattle" on their fellow students is because, as is consistent with Catholic teaching, even if you don't agree, you love and respect your neighbor. Catholic adults don't tattle on other adults under the guise of saving their soul. We leave that to the born-again Christians.

This article has been written (and re-written), discussed at length and then written again. May I suggest the City Paper write about something new and intriguing... like where those kids had sex in the Pryz?
CUA Grad '06: Links or it didn't happen.
ITS TRUE! everything is true, we were lead to believe that catholic was accepting and nondenominational. Instead we come in on the 1st day and the 1st speech they give us is about abstinence and how we cant have people in our rooms past 12. Are we in middle school? This whole school is ridiculous, if they claim there going to allow us to choose if we want to practice, let us!
to CUA written @ 5:31 pm:
The Catholic Church DOES, in fact, fund CUA...There is a collection every year at all the parishes in the country for CUA...please get your facts straight.

to "Its True"
You accepted you invatation to "THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA" What did you expect? NOWHERE does is say anything about being nondenominational...you would think the HUGE CHURCH on campus may have given you a hint...
There are parodies abound, some downright fallacies, and fewer truths within this article. I'm a 2006 CUA graduate. During my four years living on campus, there was a mixing pot of students of various religious backgrounds and temperaments.... my recollection of the "God Squad" kids? They were some of the nicest, most together people on campus (likely due to having different priorities than the average college freshman).

On a different note: while I have nothing but praise for the academic faculty, I can say from personal experience that sexual assault is poorly handled at the school on what I now see as a reoccurring basis. I had my own distasteful encounter on campus, and in a subsequent [frustrating] discussion with a representative of the Dean of Students, the man looked at me and said "I'm so sorry, this whole thing has been mishandled." How awful. I was such a wreck, and too embarrassed to tell my parents; fortunately, had I a close friend attending the University of Maryland who put me in touch with the UMD assault counselors to get help.

A core message of the Church's stance on sexual activities is often lost: the value of life. In handling cases sexual assault, the University staff is woefully under-trained and understaffed when confronted with matters so delicate emotionally and legally.

So Ms. Hess, your article does bring out some unsavory aspects of the University (I would say your 3rd page content is almost dead on), but I would expand your source base to include less cyncial points of view to paint a more accurate portrayal of my Alma Mater. But Victor Nakas......whatever will he say next!
That poor boy. That's all I can say. Everyone knows that girl is lying.
Catholic University Mission statement:
Dedicated to advancing the dialogue between faith and reason, The Catholic University of America seeks to discover and impart the truth through excellence in teaching and research, all in service to the Church, the nation and the world.
It's a university first and has a Catholic affiliation second. I'm not asking for bith control options to be discussed in class, condoms to be sold on campus, or a gay marriage to take place in the Shrine. I'm asking that education isn't restricted because of Leviticus stating that man shall not lie with man or not being able to see former presidential candidate John Kerry speak on campus because of the outcry that he represents pro-choice (when it was fully understood he would only speak on the war in Iraq and environmentalism). While I enjoyed the article I wish it had menioned that the God Squad (while a joke at times) were actually a group of nice people who took part in amazing events other than abstinence teachings. And JC went without shoes becase he didn't like them, it wasn't because of religion. Catholic is a school made up of some great professors and students that are both liberal and conservative, so it's important to note that as well. For you Catholic undergrad students, grad students, and faculty who commented in the passive aggressive nasty manner, I ask you, how many of you are living out Jesus' teaching today? When you do the march for life how many homeless people do you walk by? Are you working alongside the poor or are you telling people not to use condoms because the golden palace tells you to?
The reporter would have been better served if she had some editing. The real story here is the he said/she said sexual assault case. She should have led with that, used the university's policies as background to the investigation, and then ended with the case's resolution, or lack thereof.

Instead, the case is treated as mere window dressing to a story that seems like it's only trying to be both titillating and mocking of the university's (admittedly archaic) policies. I'm guessing the CUA community, and the City Paper's readership, would have been better served with a story that framed the situation in a far more serious light.

I guess it was a nice try, though, which is about all you can expect from the City Paper these days: seemingly good ideas, but terrible follow-through.
I'm a junior at Catholic University, and chose to attend largely on the basis of a sizable scholarship. I have always been angered by CUA's sex policy, but at least reassured by the fact that it was very lightly enforced, if at all. Now, thanks to Amanda Hess and the notoriously self-righteous and whiny Washington City Paper, the response of the Administration and their henchmen will most likely be a crackdown, with myriad students expelled simply for expressing love for one another physically. Thanks alot, DCCP.
I go to the law school at Catholic - and let me tell you, law school is the best way to inhibit your sex life. There's a running joke that you can sue the law school for loss of consortium...
Hahaha, fucking Nakas.
I am a recovering Catholic who was forced against her will to attend a Catholic University, and 20 years later, am still recovering from the sexual phobia and supression of free speech I was forced to live with. However, many posters had a good point...if you to a school called "Catholic University," you should expect all the oppression that comes with Catholicism. So...why do intelligent students who aren't religious go there in the first place? The bisexual athiest sounds like a very interesting woman; surely there were other colleges she could attend. I was forced into a Catholic U...I just don't understand any 18-year old who isn't a Bible thumper choosing a different school. It's a head-scratcher.

Amanda Ness has gotten bashed by many posters about this article, and some moan about the bad press. Please. The Catholic church does an excellent job of creating its own bad press by allowing priests to molest children and then cover it up.

I will never understand why, after the sexual abuse scandal, every intelligent Catholic ran away from this archaic, sexist, sex-obsessed, and homophobic institution as fast as they possibly could.
I'm seeing a lot of comments from fellow CUA alumni...wonder how many were my classmates?

Well, the "God squad" is, thankfully, a small portion of the CUA campus. Does that sound too mean? I don't really care. They were uptight hypocrites, for the most part, that gave the university the kind of appearance that talked about in this article. Most of CUA's students range from "bland" to "insane", with the majority falling in the "chill" or even "fun" categories.

I had sex at CUA. You had sex at CUA. We had sex at CUA...and we still graduated with Honors. This article should be taken with a grain of salt.
For all you haters on here- take a chill pill. You probably screwed your way through 4 years of CUA like everyone else. Amanda is merely pointing out that in this day and age, not even a Catholic school can regulate sex. I think its a n interesting article with some great points. Good job Ms. Hess.

CUA once again gets publicity that will probably help it in the long run. Any publicity is good publicity for a school with a city full of scholarly competition.
Rape is not a problem at catholic. Nymphos like that girl are
I just want to say that regardless of feelings on Catholicism and CUA, this article could have been much better written. I expect better.
My daughter, one of three..... the others went to Georgetown and Fairfield University... had the worst experiences at Catholic . Catholic University has no hearing or trial or anyway for a student to dispute a decision they make regarding a student's record for grades or conduct.They have the attitude that "Catholic " doesn't have to answer or account for any decisions they make concerning a students record. We contested a decision and were told that we had no recourse. We hired an attorney, wrote to the every person on the Board of Trustee and were told that Catholic didn't have to justify or address any decisions that were made, therefore a University in the capital of the USA is above the law, SHAME,SHAME,SHAME
This is an unnecessary article by an unnecessary female. I can say one thing though, that facebook message was hilarious. whoever wrote that is the man. Me gusta Catholic, but this article sucks(hence my name). Nobody has ever heard of this dogsit newspaper until this dogshit article came out. Sweet Amanda, I'm sure the Post is begging to have after this AWESOME article!!
I went to CUA and I have to say the author is pretty dead on about the sexual ethics at Catholic University. I think what she is portraying here is that the students are either liberal, indifferent or conservative and the administration looks the other way even though their official rules might state otherwise. As a student we all went out and partied, had sex in the dorms, had sleepovers, etc. Sometimes we may have gotten in trouble for being on the wrong floor but "parentals" were never strict at CUA like I know they are at some other Catholic Universities.

While I understand that CUA is a "Catholic" university, I think what is most important to grasp is that it is a UNIVERSITY where one is supposed to be educated on everything, not just what fits into the Pope's Handbook. It is a place to dissent, philosophize, and grow in age, education and experience.

The Administration at the University in my time there had a habit of overlooking things, from campus safety to sexual ethics. They spent plenty of time and money on the pro-life march every year but if a student went to Health Services or Campus Security with a problem regarding their sexual health (say date rape or needing contraceptives) well then good luck.

The Administration needs to get with the times, and it won't while it is chartered by the Vatican and the Vatican refuses to get with the times concerning sexual ethics. This is why memberships in Churches across the country are going down and why CUA's academic placement falls yearly too.

CUA was a great time, but I'd hardly send my children there or recommend it to anyone I know.
If it wasn’t for the drunken parties, Stories of Johnny K’s, and premarital sex no one normal would attend CUA…. The god squad should kiss the ass of every manwhore and slut on campus because without them there would not be enough student to fill quota at CUA….
Hear, Hear CUA Alumn 05.

I came back to read more comments, because I was curious as to which direction this debate would take. I have to say, I'm pretty disappointed.

The point is that CUA mishandles and even misrepresents cases in which sexual misconduct is an issue - to the point that a sexual assault victim has to work things out on their own.

However, if we disregard the pointedly belittling comments about "God Squadders" - who were, indeed, the nicest most amiable people; representatives of Jesus, no matter what your faith - and the pithy observations by disgruntled alumni who, for some reason or another, felt bitter towards a school which doesn't misrepresent itself or its policies; then we reach the issue at hand: CUA does need to re-examine and separate out its sexual misconduct policies, and take greater care of those students who undergo a sexually-related crime.

The point is on page 3 - the rest of the article is driven by bias and littleness.

Oh, and "Catholic" would be the modifier to "University" - it comes before it and describes it - no matter what the term "university" means to you, it will have a "Catholic" slant. But it is a college, and it does understand what that means - that 18-21 year olds will roam its halls with the same hormones and independence as other university students have. Other universities have rules, too. While Catholic should be re-thinking the Speaker policy as well (we've been protesting that since I was there) let's start with the policies that have potential to not protect their students' well-being.
The opening line of the policy "p]hysical contact of a sexual nature that is unwanted by either party and/or that is disruptive to the university community"

It's incredibly vague. Responsibility is the issue at hand here. The university provides a lazy policy that tries to ignorantly blanket a wide range, and the two involved in the case have their own responsibility issues. Nothing is defined by saying "disruptive to the university community". What is the university community? Am I a member of it if I'm on campus, but not affiliated with the school? Do I have to be a student? Administration? A Priest? And what is the definition of disruptive in this context? For a University funded by an institution defined by rules and regulations, it's not a surprise that they try to blanket everything. They're lazy in defining the rules, so it's no surprise that they're lazy about resolving this and the students have responsibility issues. It starts at the top.
I relate to the God Squad and the whole environment even though i did not attend CUA. I went to Southern California College now called Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA.

The exact same things, anti masterbation, anti sex, anti dancing. If you date for more than two weeks. The Culture is "Awe, you are going to get married!"
Girls dorms are entirely separate from the guys dorms. Parents specifically choose these schools under the auspices that their baby's chaste will be preserved.

One thing that was not discussed in this article was what happens when a woman becomes prego out of wedlock? At my school, if rumor reached the 'god squad' very soon dean of student affairs was demanding the results of a pregnancy test... if it is positive... expulsion... if refused... expulsion...

So what happened, the preg was hidden, father likely to not be told he has fathered a child, and the woman holds out to complete the semester before leaving. Or, shotgun wedding and mid semester move to married campus housing.

I had protected sex in the doorms, but usually we rented a local motel room for our trysts.

To give my two cents, this anti-sexual expression policy is doing way more harm than good to open and honest self expression. With the HIV rate in DC, there is incredible risk of infection from unprotected sex. and with such a small college campus, the rumor-mill of an infection can be much more damaging than the infection itself.

Attending both a private christian school for undergrad and a state university for graduate school, the rate of sexual exploration is very similar; however the rate of hypocrisy and social trauma is much higher at the christian school.

Oh, one more thing the 'god squad' are the future administration of the campus...

Namaste,
Matt C
If a school treated rape and premarital sex the same, that would be shocking.

The article seems to imply that Catholic U. does...

But 10 mintues on the web reveals that Catholic's sexual misconduct and sexual assault policies ARE separate and have been for several years at least.

Code..., II( R)(1) ("Sexual Misconduct")
Code..., II(R)(2) ("Sexual Assault") (nowhere cited in the article)

(See http://policies.cua.edu/studentlife/studentconduct/conduct%20full.cfm; see also http://policies.cua.edu/Archives/studentlife//conduct3.cfm#864660, and www.archive.org.)
http://engrishfunny.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/engrish-funny-no-fugging.jpg?w=500&h=375
Sigh....

Since coming to DC, I've enjoyed reading the City Paper's coverage of local politics (Loose Lips is the best!) and the arts. What I CANNOT STAND is that City Paper devotes precious copy to "The Sexist" column when it already has Savage Love and the classifieds in the back, and that a column so uninsightful could make it into ANY paper, let alone the independent newspaper in a major city. Here are some specific gripes as they relate to the handful of articles I remember appearing in the column. The list is not very long because (apparently) the columns are not very memorable.

1. 2x columns on where one can and can't get a morning-after pill. Great topic, sure--but how about instead of relating (i) anecdotal testimony from your friends, or (ii) a half-ass personally-conducted survey of a handful of pharmacies, you actually put MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES into the topic, query a LOT of pharmacies in DC and then publish the results in a list. As it stands now, you devoted TWO articles to say what anyone else would be able to say more succinctly: "one cannot get the morning pill at every pharmacy in DC, but here are some pharmacies where one can...."

2. Marines like anything with a vagina and the patrons of lesbian clubs don't like being harassed by Marines. Really? Ya think? You could have said the same thing in a blurb and used the extra space to write about something else.

3. Catholic U doesn't like premarital sex and has poorly-enforced policies regarding the matter. Catholic college students have sex...before marriage?! Really?! And the Catholic church and its unversities still espouse an ideal of sex before marriage? Unbelievable! I can't see how the Catholic U administration is going to maintain its policies now, after such hard-hitting journalism as in this article.

Listen, sex is great, it's fun to read about, etc., etc., but seriously, if the City Paper is going to have a column devoted to things sex-in-the-nation's capitol, it shouldn't just be phoning it in. The columns that I've seen by this writer are just plain mediocre--freshman mimicry of sex columns by better writers. Why not just devote more copy to your food critic than this hack?
Dear Outofplace: Thanks so much for your comments about Washington City Paper. We need every reader, especially careful readers like yourself. Agreed 100 percent about Loose Lips, too. He is a personal hero of mine.

You show quite a mastery of Amanda Hess's contributions to our newspaper---so thanks, again, for reading.

I must, though, take issue with your interpretation of her work. Let's start with the pharmacies: There was never, ever anything half-assed about her execution of the contraception-availability story. She got out of the office and interviewed the people at these pharmacies. She went to the Virginia exurbs to interview the proprietors of the no-contraception pharmacy out there. No phoning it in, at all.

On the question of the bar over there in Southeast that has the issue with Marines: Again, an interesting conflict, IMHO. Amanda tracked down all kinds of people who'd been involved in the bar's door policy, and what popped out was an interesting narrative about a corner of the District that not many people know about.

On the question of Catholic U. sex. If you don't find the social dynamic of what Amanda dug up on this issue interesting, then that's fine. But I found that the gap between the policy and how it's viewed, interpreted, and enforced to be terribly interested. And again, here's a reporter that put in weeks on that campus and endless hours on the phone and in Facebook to get at the issues in all of their complicated glory. I think she did a great job.

One final word: You seek to diminish Amanda's work with these grand rhetorical gestures: Oh, lesbians don't want to be bothered by Marines, what a surprise! I just want to say that you can perform that very same dis on just about any piece of journalism, even stuff that's won the Pulitzer Prize. Let's just try that out on some stuff that the Washington Post won Pulitzers for: "Hey, Dick Cheney is pulling the levers of government in the Bush administration. What a surprise!" (That would be the slam of "Angler," the Post's 2007 series). "Hey, a military hospital is having trouble tracking down soldiers and meeting a high standard of care. What a surprise!" (Walter Reed series) Or: "Hey, the CIA is interrogating people at secret locations---geez, I never would have supposed that an intelligence agency would do that." Or let's take a recent example of distinguished journalism, like the New Yorker's Lauren Collins' superb piece on building climber Alain Robert: "Gee, guy likes to climb things--whoopdeedoo!"

I mean, really, with reductionist snark like that, you can ridicule even the most towering pieces of journalism. Not saying that we are producers of such, but just that we dig into things as deeply as we can. Yes, there are some stinkers in there, but we try to report things fully so that even though the premises of stories may be straightforward---as your mocking suggests---the execution is complicated and compelling.

But most of all, I do want to again thank you for paying attention to what we do. That is a wonderful thing for all of us here.
Catholic U's Law School students also suffer from CUA's awful policies.

As a law student we're required by the law school to have insurance. If you choose to use the insurance that the school provides (Aetna) you will not have birth control (even if it's prescribed for a non-birth control reason such as to alleviate menstrual cramps or acne ) covered by your insurance. nice, huh?
"If there’s one thing Catholics hate more than sex, it’s talking about it." Uh, considering how much Catholics like to have BABIES, and how much we DO, in fact, talk about sex (we have a theology for it: Theology of the BODY), this line is just plain ignorant.
The other MAJORLY ignorant thought running throughout this piece is that Catholics (I'm one of 'em, Bub) are some kind of nut jobs who give up the pleasures of life . . . FOR NO APPARENTLY GOOD REASON. Yeah, riiiight. If you think this, you're missing a few things like the Resurrection, the Gospel message, Divine & Eternal Love, the call to holiness and COMMUNION WITH GOD by living in the state of grace rather than sin. Yes, there is sacrifice, but it is for a greater good: eternal life. Hey, if you want to settle for something less, go ahead. Knock yourself out. As for me, I'll go for the gusto and take the best while you feed on the slop of instant gratification without even considering the greater goods that give true joy.
This article is shoddy work.

As a recent CUA student, I know that the students are as sexually active as they'd like to be. The University has to have policies that reflect order, but they have no interest in imposing Catholic beliefs on anyone. This article tries to paint a picture of repression that just really isn't there. If anything, one could argue that the University is too lax in its enforcement of its policies. But what one cannot argue with any credibility is that the University is persecuting or repressing its students.
Wow.. so the CityPaper is still a shit piece of a rag that it was while I lived in DC and went to CU in the '90s. I got plenty of action at CU (gay, at that). Let's face it - CU is a party school and those who claim to be holier than thou aren't pure as the driven snow.
Wow - Alum. Its "still a piece of shit rag" but you still manage to read this article and find the time to quote on it? That very hypocritical of you. If you don't like it- then why respond? Get the fuck over yourself.
...only because I was sent the link. Trust me I don't actively seek out WCP. And as for yourself "J".. pot...kettle...black...
Catholic Gangbang

That would have been a better headline.
my friend was one of the women who was sexually assaulted in 2001. it was a painful process in which she was made out not to be the victim, but the criminal. all the blame was put on her because God forbid she put herself in such a situation.
When sex isn't talked about and is brushed under the table, women who are sexual assaulted feel dirty about what happened and are less likely to the help they need... let alone report the crime. I am now working at Colorado State and see the vast amount of resources we have to support women (and men) who have been sexually assaulted. We actually have the highest reporting in the country and its not because there is more of it but because women feel SAFE reporting the crime that has been committed. I can't remember any resources at all for the students at CUA and believe me, there was more than just 11 assaults since 2001. CUA is just a culture where women don't feel safe reporting that they were sexually assaulted because they are the ones who feel they did the wrong versus the actual perpetrators.
I was someone who loved practicing my faith while at Catholic, but in turn felt like I couldn’t practice my feminism or fight for the equality that is needed on college campuses for our vulnerable women.
oh yay, more catholic bashing. "hey, look! there's people with different beliefs and practices than us. let's point and laugh!" grow up, and grow some tolerance and acceptance--it IS a two way street, you know.
The Catholic Church routinely covered up pedophilia, rape and extortion.....consider the source....seems their views on reality are skewed beyond recognition, and now they have a Nazi for a Pope. Whew!
Don't get me wrong though, I have known good individuals who are Catholics. There are honorable people in the system but the system is not honorable. It's corrupt.
Ummm.....okay Alum 97 you came back to see if someone had responded to your post? But your still not a CP reader? And Im calling the kettle black?
Whilst at Catholic University, I was known -- albeit anonymously -- to habitually suckle my own cock. I dare say I have outed myself!
In writing this boorish drivel, Amanda Hess betrays what must be a more intellectual and charitable side of her character.

Not only does Ms. Hess fail to make any particular or specific point about anything whatsoever, she obscures what could be an interesting topic with a misinformed and unhelpful analysis of the Catholic Church's teachings on sex and morality.

The only striking thing about the piece is that she accomplishes all of that nothingness in the first sentence of her opinion!

A reading of Ms. Hess' opinion leaves one to wonder, among many other things, whether she would argue that Catholic U. should do more to enforce its policies on sexual misconduct or if it should abandon them altogether.

Perhaps Ms. Hess should spend some time researching the subjects of Catholic morality and persuasive writing and then come back with a more directive and enlightened opinion. Until then, her words are hardly worth reading.
This is such a biased article I couldn't even recognize the description of the school I currently attend. Some things are just plain untrue. I have never heard of any guest speakers what so ever, and certainly no one talking about natural family planning, in any dorms. In the Pryz or another public place, but definitely never in a dorm. Maybe that happened before I started coming here, but in that case the information is outdated and irrelevant.
The comments from people interviewed are so one sided they are terribly inaccurate. A friend of mine declined an interview with the author because she didn't think her comments would be truthfully portrayed by a journalist who contacted her though Facebook. And what do you know, at least one of the people mentioned in the article definitely had their words twisted.
And you have to use some implied logic when you read this article, otherwise it makes the administration look worse than it really is. For example, you can't really expect an assault case filed the week before finals (or maybe it was actually finals week?) to be conclusively handled before the students in question leave for summer. To me, that perfectly explains why it wouldn't be settled until four months later (exactly the first week of classes). I'll give Ms. Hess the benefit of the doubt and assume this logical explanation didn't occur to her, rather than assume she intentionally misled readers.
Also, as for the paper itself:
It was kind of a bitch move to put an ad that Catholic paid for on the page facing this article.
There is already a video on Youtube which addresses this issue at Catholic University.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QGEKpR_pF8&feature=related
to this day there is no place hotter than the stacks at mullen library...
I, too, am an alum of CUA and not surprised by this article. It's most important point is the indeed "lazy" sexual misconduct policy that does not address rape. In general, CUA, like the Catholic church, puts it's female population at risk in many ways with no recourse if something should happen. If you need the pill (even for reasons other than birth control, which is reason enough), you cannot get it on campus, but are forced to walk into less secure areas to a different pharmacy (where, hopefully, the pharmacist isn't a fundamentalist). When i was there 10 years ago, the all-girl dorm was located the farthest from campus. I hope this has changed, because clearly the university is not going to be on your side should something happen.
This article couldn't possibly be more accurate.

I transferred to Catholic from a Big 10 state school because I wanted more opportunities to intern as a politics student. I hadn't even unpacked all of the boxes in my dorm room when I got a knock on the door from two students interested to know my stance on the Roe v. Wade.

Later that evening, my RA also knocked on my door with a pitcher of frozen margaritas and promptly provided me with a list of bars in the neighborhood who would accept my student ID and where I could get a great fake NJ ID.

The student body has CONSISTENTLY been packed with students from east coast preparatory schools who are so sexually repressed that when they finally got the chance to explore they completely went wild.

It was a blast. Run don't walk to the mailbox to send in your application.
Sexual repression vs. liberation is one thing. But sadly, sexual assault occurs far too often on our campuses.
I am very shocked by these comments. It's not about being Catholic or being abstinent, or even being a college student!

This article is about CUA's clear descriptions of what is wrong when it comes to infractions such as masturbation and men-kissing-men...yet, completely neglecting to protect its students in an investigation of RAPE! Hello? Did anybody else read that?

"I wouldn't change my time at CUA for anything!" Well, awesome. But, perhaps if you had been raped by a group of men with your bedroom door open, you would have wanted the school to investigate it. Or, for that matter, had you been accused of raping someone and then later expelled, without an investigation, you may think differently. That is the point.

Die-hard Catholics take the details they feel are the most important to them (condoms, the pill, gay marriage, abortion) and completely ignore issues that bring contradictions to their activism (AIDS, Munchhausen Syndrome, love vs. promiscuity, etc.)

Catholicism is a steady faith in an unsteady world, but sometimes, we have to ask ourselves what is better for the greater good. God put us here to be good people, and we destroyed that. Now, we have to do what we can to be good people, and perhaps that means putting on a condom, folks.
Sorry *ba09* Father O'Rielly's comment is MOST APPROPRIATE.
I've ALWAYS referred to it the Sect of the Sodomites. If rape and sodomy of anyone anywhere is nothing short of an abomination- seems like it's the epitome of the most holy act of Immaculate Conception to the Catholic Church. Dare I say "God don't like ugly"- no matter how holy it claims to be.

Catholic U is an EXCELLENT institution but The ignorance the Catholic church TEACHES and displays is blasphemous.
0% sympathy to the victims
0% active toward the protection of children and how it has been facilitating and protecting the practice FOR DECADES...then have the nerve to condemn the boys (and girls) who think "I MUST BE gay- simply because it happened to them.
Sad- If anything the Catholic Church needs to heal itself before it goes around deeming Godly/un-Godly because I see no parts of GOD in that.
Kind of like having a NAZI Pope and the Vatican holding the world's largest porn collection and an original copy of the Kama Sutra ....for research and history of course.

To me Catholicism is the Oxymoron of Organized Religion...no choice, no sex, murder/torture of people who wouldn't conform, raping little boys (because priests can't marry but the Bible doesn't sya the anywhere) and never a day without guilt...yet they still couldn't manage to stamp out Judaism.

Dare I say "God don't like ugly- no matter how holy it claims to be.
@Candidate for confirmation...You have just been CONFIRMED! Well said!
From a real “God-Squadder” of Catholic University.
To all those reading and posting about Ms. Hess’ article, you may find my post of great interest.

I have the unique viewpoint of being a former member of the so-called “God Squad” at Catholic University, (more appropriately known as the Student Ministers.) I worked full-time for Campus Ministry for 2 years in this capacity and as such, I have unique insight into the spiritual and social lives of students at Catholic University. My ministry at Catholic University was an incredible experience. I’ll give you some background on the role of a student minister: we would enter the residence halls, and hang out with students, watch 24 or Grey’s Anatomy, host laser tag and baseball games (at no expense to students,) coordinate 12 hour dance marathons, and host a huge party (Luaupalooza) to celebrate the end of the year with live bands, free food, shirts and rides, which Ms. Hess’ source “Peter” most likely attended. You are welcome by the way. Yes, our ministry was primarily spiritual. Because of this, we led prayer groups, Masses, retreats, and adoration for those who wished to attend. Our job was to invite people. If they declined, that was fine. In regards to acceptance of all, our Campus Ministry regularly referred students of other faiths to places where they could practice their beliefs, whether they were Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or another denomination. Those who choose to say we were “unpopular” or “weird” have only to look at our attendance rates and success to realize their mistake. Those who believe, such as this “Peter”, that there is a split or chasm between students are the very ones who create it themselves and foster disunity. There are no right and wrong “sides”, at CUA unless you choose to make them yourself.

An important subject that needs to be addressed after reading this poorly researched article is the misunderstanding about the Catholic Church’s teachings on human sexuality. I am Catholic, but in no way am I sexually repressed or silent. Our faith extensively discusses the body and its importance in our lives; the very basis of Christianity is the Incarnation, when God became flesh - became body. Surely we would not view the body, or anything that the body does, as intrinsically bad if God became human! This belief is so integral to our lives that Pope John Paul II spent the first 5 years of his papacy, 1979-1984, writing and delivering 129 talks about sexuality and intercourse which were compiled into the “Theology of the Body”. Before he became JPII, he wrote a book called “Love and Responsibility”. The following excerpt exhibits the depth into which sexuality has been explored in Catholic teaching. "It is necessary to insist that intercourse must not serve merely as a means of allowing sexual excitement to reach its climax in one of the partners, i.e. the man alone, but that climax must be reached in harmony, not at the expense of one partner, but with both partners fully involved." This does not seem consistent with points made in this article and many posts claiming Catholicism is sexually negative or repressive. Surely, if we do not approve of sex, one of our greatest popes would not write about the importance of simultaneous orgasm between couples. Our faith contains more sexual imagery, theology and meaning than most other religions. Sex is a positive thing, meant to be enjoyed and participated in. The Church holds that only at certain times with a certain person can this full participation and enjoyment be realized. Catholics seek more from sex than mere orgasm. Sex is meant to be much more than a feeling, but rather an expression of love and self gift. Pleasure is simply a wonderful perk. We are not a hedonistic religion. In fact, most religions aren’t. Catholicism talks about sexuality and its importance to our lives in very open and unashamed ways. Why else would a Catholic college campus have an active ministry discussing sexuality? Ms. Hess’ article is full of flagrant contradictions. She claims several times throughout her highly opinionated work that CUA does not want to address sex, and in the next breath, talks about CUA’s chastity outreach. How can Ms. Hess account for over 60 active members of an organization who work to promote healthy, well founded sexual lifestyles amongst a student body which is constantly bombarded with cultural influences that focus on anonymity and objectification in collegiate sexual encounters?

In regards to the university itself, our policies are clearly stated on the website and in the handbook which each student receives upon entering. It is the responsibility of the student to read these policies. If a student is too slothful or disinterested in reading the rules he or she is signing onto and agreeing to follow, that is not the fault of the university, but rather the fault of the student. If you do not like our policies, you are welcome to find another school. We are a Catholic university...in fact THE Catholic University. We will follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. If you disagree with our teachings, we do not judge or critique you. We merely ask you to remember the promise of conduct you made when you signed up to go to this school. If you cannot respect your own word which you signed, we encourage you to look for a school where you are more comfortable.

In regards to alcohol: CUA is not a dry campus. If you are of age, you may legally possess and consume alcohol. This is not inconsistent with national or state law, nor should it be. As with any law, there are those who choose to break it. These parties that Ms. Hess mentions as being the average or norm on Catholic’s campus are anything but. These parties almost exclusively occur off campus. The fact that they do occur has nothing to do with CUA approving of, or allowing them. Surely, we all realize that our government is not able to prevent every murder or theft. By Ms. Hess’ line of logic then, our government supports murder and theft, by its very inability to prevent it. This does not hold up under rational thought and unsurprisingly, neither does Ms. Hess’ poorly crafted attempt to undermine the good values of the Catholic Church to advance her own career. It is amazing to think that Ms. Hess exalts these parties as liberating, condoning the use of excessive alcohol and contraception in order to make “good life choices”.

Upon reading this article and seeing her sources, one wonders where Ms. Hess learned journalistic integrity. It seems a pretty poor argument to base your entire work on the source of one or two students, who obviously seek to push their own agenda of debasing Catholic University. One might query whether or not these students ever sought something more from their collegiate experience besides self-gratifying actions. Furthermore, it causes deep sorrow to see two of my friends, Karen Mahowald and Jonathan Meyer, be misquoted as if to prove that even good Catholics do not practice chastity. The blatant manipulation of their words is an affront to journalism and to truth, but to be expected from someone of Ms. Hess’ poor caliber. It is true what Karen said, chastity is not a list of do’s and don’ts. Chastity is a lifestyle dedicated at freeing yourself from selfish pleasures and focusing on the inherent beauty of sexuality. To treat it as something negative as many unfortunately do, only degrades our humanity further. Jonathan Meyer said, “None of us perfectly lives out our call to chastity.” This is not to say we view it as unimportant or insignificant. Rather Jon was saying that we recognize our own sinfulness and realize that we are bound to sin sooner or later. None of us can be perfectly chaste at all times. This does not stop us from trying. It would not be surprising to find out Ms. Hess is not a Christian as any Christian can recognize the understanding of trying to live like Christ as much as possible, but recognizing that we ourselves are not perfect; we are not sinless. The word is concupiscence, Ms. Hess, and we are all subject to it.

In closing, it is very disappointing to see a blatant attack on good ideals and principles. Our administration is not perfect, no administration is. There are certainly aspects that need to be addressed, changed, and enforced. To deny that would be hubris. However, to assume that the whole is bad merely because a part is malfunctioning or working contrary to purpose, is a foolish, close-minded and ignorant point of view. By that logic, every institution and organization would be wrong and terrible if one of its members did anything against the whole. Surely Ms. Hess’ employers would not say that their entire Washington City Paper is wrong because of her pitiable journalism skills? To all of those who have had a negative experience with Catholicism or a university which supports it, I am sorry that you have. Most likely, your experience was with a person who was ignorant of the very views they thought they were expounding. The teachings of the Church are not to blame in these circumstances, but the fallible humans within the Church.

I welcome any responses to what I have written, I only ask that the same respect be given that I have extended. Any unnecessarily vulgar or infantile comments are simply unnecessary and only damage further discussion.

God Bless,
Mike

P.S:
The student who didn’t wear shoes was not doing it out of religious observance, but merely because he did not like them. Sorry Peter, not everyone can rock Air Force One’s like you, I guess.
First, CUA has sex policies because most men's endowments are bigger than CUA's financial endowment, just sayin.

Anyone remember the days of the "Dirty Dozen" vs. Girls Swim Team?

There were numerous off campus ashtablishments, too! Then there was the campus meat market - Johnny K's. The greatest college bar in the U.S. I guess CUA is the sexaholic university of america with a Catholic problem!

I think it is time CUA attempted to reclaim its position as number 2 on Playboy's top party campuses in the U.S.!!!!!!
I have to say, I am a recent (2008) Catholic Grad, and I find everything in this article to be factual. I'm sorry there are those of you out there who didn't find this article to be a true reflection of the University, but look around you! The distinct social divide between "God squaders" and others, was so obvious even students from other colleges could see it.

Thank you for painting a true picture of Catholic University. Im sorry for those of you students who have turned a blind eye to this kind of policy, or for those of you who avidly support it. All I have to say is, not everyone did, does, or will in the future, and The Catholic University of America is going to get a certian "reputation" for things JUST LIKE THIS.

Thank you, again, for writing this.
For the record, the comments here are just futher proof of the intense social divide created by the Universities (The Catholic Church's) policies.

It is obvious that those who are "outraged" by this article were part of the "God Squad" which is, by the way, what they very proudly called themselves. It is also obvious that those who chose to move away from the Religious experience and towards a more lively social scene feel this article is fully factual.

I fully enjoyed my Catholic University experience, despite horribly outdated policies like the sexual misconduct policy, but no one, not even a god squadder, can deny that there are students who hated this policy, and there was in intense social devide between those religious students, and those who were not so religious.
Laura,

The term God Squad was one given to students who decided to actively participate in their faith by those who didn't. No one I knew who participated in the spiritual life of the school wore this name as a badge of honor or distinction. If anything, many of us found it offensive and derogatory because it seemed to isolate us from others and group us as something different. It has the decided tone of mockery in it, which many students who participate in faith activities found unsettling. I chose it as a posting name to attract readers, not because I enjoy the title.

In regards to the social scenes, I frequented all of the college bars and many of the college parties, both on and off campus. I found there to be a very diverse mix of students, those who were involved in student leadership, sports, Campus Ministry, or no organization at all. This was apparent from the participation of students in senior week. Sure, everyone had their own group of friends who they went through college with, most of them their freshman dorm friends, but that by no means drew lines among our community. To claim there was an intense social divide seems to hint that there were tensions between these fictitious groups. I simply did not see it that way, but perhaps our experiences were very different.
The comments about this article merely expose the typical idiosyncrasies of the CUA campus. CUA will always suffer from a bi-polar identity: those who are extremely active in their faith, and those who chose to party and behave as a typical secular young adult.

The problem is that neither group, those who are active in faith, nor those who actively seek sex, are willing to accept each other. Unfortunately, this dichotomy will exist at CUA as long as co-ed dormitories exist, etc. If you want to eradicate sexual activity return the university to its seminary state of World War II. Nevermind that such a situation is what helped caused CUA to gain a lower stature than Notre Dame.

I think many will agree that the polarity of opinions on this discussion board is one of the single biggest turn offs for those seeking to attend CUA and those who have graduated from the institution.

FYI - the article is right on the money as to life at CUA. Over the past decade, there has been a distinct change in demographic and type of student admitted to the university. I would argue that in recent years the admissions office focus has shifted to a more secular student, i.e. high SAT and GPA. In the early portion of the decade, the impetus was more holistic, focusing on well rounded students across a broad range of categories. I believe that this shift in focus further attributes to the cultural divide at CUA, especially that discussed in this article.
HA HA this was way too funny. You could shit any question to 'em and the only answer they need give is “CUA supports the teachings and moral values of the Catholic Church without reservation and in their entirety". The only way this school benefits DC is through being a part of the scenery
Great article, Amanda, on sex. Sex sells. Its an easy topic to write about; its been written about for years and years and years. You'd think people would get bored by the subject. I know I do.

Getting what the Catholic Church teaches about sex and human dignity is the tough part; and being to write intelliently about takes some effort. The result might be wonderful.

Amanda, I hope you don't make love like you write. Someone is sure to be disappointed.
I think the cultural divides in the article, and especially in the comments, are way overstated. When I was at CUA I both took part in campus ministry events and had my girlfriend spend the night in my room. I'm not a perfect person and I'm not a perfect Catholic. That said, I can't believe anyone would be foolish enough to attend a school styled The Catholic University of America, and not expect the Church's teachings to prevail.

Anyone thought about looking at that other Catholic university in northwest and seeing what their policies on overnight visits and contraception is? I imagine you will find them officially toeing the line of the Catechism, even if enforcement is lax. In fact, go to Boston College, Notre Dame, or any other Catholic college and find for me one that has condoms in their convience store. You won't.
The requirement is a plain notorized document that makes clear the Catholic posture here in america, they are here to kill us, take our land, take away our goods, cause as much mischief as possible, and leave all of us in perpetual slavery. I think these shysters owe us a large sum of cash, just to start with.
Spiritual life..if you want it?? Please! I recently graduated from CUA, and, though I lived off campus and avoided school run events at all costs, somehow I was still accosted by the religious right on a weekly basis. Let's call Catholic "university" what it really it... the Catholic Church claiming credibility under the cloak of a university.
Wasn't Father Oliver O'Grady a graduate of Catholic U? Jeesh (oops, I mean heck) he only tried to force his penis into a baby's vagina. Let's just give him a financial annuity and forget the whole icky mess ever happened. Deliver Us From Evil and Crimen sollicitationis indeed!
A couple of years ago, I decided to go to library school. Since I lived on Capitol Hill, Catholic U was only one Metro stop away for me.

However, spending an afternoon on campus made me quickly realize that I wanted no part of such a Luddite institution. I decided to move to Montreal and attend McGill University instead.

Reading this article, I made a wise decision to spend 2 years in Montreal and graduate from the best university in Canada rather than put up with Catholic dogma and morality police.
Is my dream to attend your school but am far away from you. please help me
For those of you whining about CUA's position on sex, why on earth did you decide to attend a religious school? If you want complete freedom to have sex, do drugs, spend the night in someone else's dorm room, etc, then go to a secular school.


"I will never understand why, after the sexual abuse scandal, every intelligent Catholic ran away from this archaic, sexist, sex-obsessed, and homophobic institution as fast as they possibly could."

You want to know the reason? I don't stereotype an entire religion or group of people because of the actions of a few. Should I automatically assume that all Germans are evil because of Nazism and the Holocaust? Should I assume that all white men are evil because white men are more likely to be serial killers? Should I assume every Muslim is a terrorist because of the behavior of certain Muslims who choose to commit acts of terrorism? If a small group of atheists goes on a killing spree, is it right to assume that all atheists are psychos? Absolutely not.

It is obviously true that there are Catholic priests who have molested children and frankly it is appalling. I'm also not surprised at the Catholic Church's poor handling of it since humans are trying to run it, and humans are inherently flawed. The Catholic Church, just like any other organization, obviously does not want bad press and you can't get worse press than having a priest being accused of molesting children; they tried to cover it up because they didn't want bad PR. I have friends who attended churches of various denominations and some of the clergy did very immoral things like abuse children. commit adultery, etc. The difference was these immoral acts were not publicized like they were with the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is held to a higher standard, it seems.

Despite the immoral actions of some of these clergy in my friends' churches, I won't assume that all Lutherans and Methodists are evil people who support child molestation and adultery. It's childish and pathetic to assume that the actions of a few define the views of the majority.

I am a Catholic and am aware that any member of the church is flawed simply because they are human. I support severe punishment for any person who molests children. It's an absolutely horrible act without question. With that being said, anyone would be very disappointed with their religion if they chose their religion based on the behavior of church officials. They are human and are going to make mistakes and sometimes they make very grave and despicable mistakes. Some will not even correctly preach the beliefs of their chosen religion and will instead use religion as a way to justify their own personal perverse beliefs. I chose to be Catholic because I worship God; I do not worship priests or other clergy. They are human just like the rest of us; some are the sweetest people you could ever meet and others are highly corrupt and spew hatred. If you think that someone is supposed to be a perfect angel because they are in a position of authority, then think again.


Lastly, I'd like to point out that I am saddened to hear about that poor girl being sexually assaulted. Yes, she shouldn't have been drinking so heavily in the first place, but she did not deserve to be sexually assaulted. I'm also not surprised at the university's delay in expelling the boy. I attended a secular university and most rape accusations were largely swept under the rug. Suicides were treated like a joke by the administration. This poor handling of campus crime is not just a "catholic" problem; it is a problem in many universities (both secular and religious).
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