The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Letters to the Editor

Re: Letter to the Editor Jan. 24 by Ned Dougherty:
Though I respect Mr. Dougherty’s opinion on the matter of the proposed performance of “The Vagina Monologues” on the St. John’s campus I, am troubled by some of his comments.

Firstly, how he perceives The Torch’s interrogative headline as somehow being morally lacking calls into question his knowledge of journalism. Undergraduate students at St. John’s are all put through the same core curriculum which includes 18 credits of theology and philosophy. On top of this, Ethics in Journalism, a core class for journalism majors, certainly suffices in the “secular” world and it should also apply to a school as diverse, both culturally and in religion, as St. John’s University.

It would serve those Journalism majors in the College of Professional Studies quite poorly if they were all expected to be Catholic journalists simply because they attend a Catholic school.

It seems that Mr. Dougherty’s expectations are better fit for a seminary.

Also, his assertion that student journalists “have a tendency to emulate the political correctness and libertarian leanings of their mentors in the national secular media” is somewhat comical considering that he incorrectly uses “libertarianism” when he meant to use “liberal” in a pejorative manner. In addition, his idea, that with maturity one develops “conservative values,” is not only presumptuous, but unfair and pedantic. I would remind Mr. Dougherty that his values are his own and, though I am sure that I share many of his core beliefs as a Catholic, it is backwards to believe that these values trump those of others especially in a university setting.

Finally, as far as St. John’s being a Catholic university I could not agree more, but it is above all things a university, a community where ideas, knowledge, opinions, and learning are meant to flourish. St. John’s is charged with preparing its students for this secular world that we live in, a world where things like “The Vagina Monologues” and Gay Film Festivals do exist, and are neither offensive nor disgusting to most people. To create a Catholic bubble in which all differing ideas and concepts are filtered out serves no one, and fails at the university’s most important task: to educate.

One does not have to agree with the idea of bringing “The Vagina Monologues” to St. John’s, but to demonize those students who do and to castigate the paper for posing a question is both close-minded and irresponsible.

Albert Silvestri
Class of 2006

Re: “Would You Want St. John’s to Host the Vagina Monologues?” Jan. 17:
I was relieved to read that St. John’s administration has denied Ms. Brizicky the opportunity to bring “The Vagina Monologues” to St. John’s, and I applaud them for doing so. However, I also agree with Ms. Brizicky that “not allowing the play because it’s divisive and polarizing is ridiculous.” I would like to offer some points explaining why the play simply has no place on this, or any other Catholic campus.

The mission of V-Day is truly an honorable goal: to end violence against women. This is a part of our Christian dogma (See John 13:34). Our own founder, St. Vincent de Paul would agree, “We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love.” This of course refers to Genesis 1:27 in which God creates man and woman in His image and likeness.

But this play does not achieve the purpose for which it is advocating. In fact, “The Vagina Monologues” does more harm than good to the dignity of women. The play demeans the dignity of women by reducing women to their vaginas. Women refer to their vaginas as “our locus, our reason” and their clitorises as “me, the essence of me”(“The Vagina Monologues”, Eve Ensler, Villard Books, 2001. pp. 48-49). For them the dignity of women is not found in being created in the image and likeness of God. Additionally, the vulgar manner in which Ensler encourages all women to refer to their vaginas does not reflect the beauty of the female body accurately, and is at odds with the reverence that is called for in John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

The play approves of and encourages masturbation, homosexual acts, sexual promiscuity, fornication, and prostitution, while using pornographic descriptions of these immoral acts. It also describes a 24 year-old woman seducing a 16-year-old girl (Ensler p. 82); an activity that is considered statutory rape in most places of the United States. None of these actions are in union with the Church’s moral theology and thus cannot be condoned on a Catholic campus.

It is one thing for students to read and study controversial literature in class. But when they embrace it, perform it on campus, and make it their own, they are no longer are examining it in an academic setting but, rather, are celebrating it as a fine means to empower women. “The Vagina Monologues” does not empower women but furthers the catastrophe of immodesty, indecency, and impurity in America.

Patrick Mullan
St. John’s College

Re: “The Brazen Word” Jan. 17:
The piece on contraception education was right on, and I especially loved the part about it being “about as necessary as a course on banana peeling.”

Unfortunately, as the gutless Congress failed to pass the parental notification act, in some places a girl can get something worse than contraceptives without her parent’s knowledge, she can get an abortion without it.
Thanks for a hard-hitting article on an important issue.

Marie I. George
Philosophy, St. John’s College

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