No Reply, Here’s Why

Questions for a Jesuit university president

Ten days ago a student group, Women in Politics, hosted a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of America. Loyola Marymount University (LMU) provided the venue. The University did so despite a nationwide protest and Los Angeles Archbishop Gomez’s expression of deep disappointment. In the sponsoring group’s estimation, the event—a semi-formal party with balloons and desserts—was a remarkable success. It raised well over $4000 for the flagship enterprise of the nation’s abortion industry. A columnist for the campus newspaper, the Loyolan, warned about looming threats to freedom of speech. And worse than “outside agitators,” the machinations of student Republicans were noted.

Just after this moral debacle, I sent the following message to LMU’s president, Timothy L. Snyder. Here’s what I wrote:

President Snyder:

With regard to the recent Women in Politics event, we should discuss which of the following propositions we both affirm.

    1. Abortion is the deliberate killing of a human being.
    2. To offer a platform for funding an organization that deliberately kills human beings is to be complicit in that killing; specifically, giving students a venue to raise funds for Planned Parenthood leads directly to the provision of abortions.
    3. To be complicit in the deliberate killing of human beings violates Catholic, Jesuit, and Marymount values.
    4. To be complicit in such actions is sharply at odds with Pope Francis’s guidance.
    5. If LMU is to ensure alignment with its mission, the University needs to recognize that a merely negative freedom from restrictions without a positive freedom ordered to the common good—beginning with the good of life—is self-defeating.
    6. Catholic Social Teaching goes far beyond, and often challenges, the blinkered political configurations of the day.

When shall we meet?


James G. Hanink, Ph.D.

I neither expected nor received a reply. Here are some reasons why.

  1. LMU now presents itself as “in the Jesuit tradition,” an amorphous tradition now leaning toward incoherence.
  2. LMU’s understanding of social justice mimics that of the Los Angeles Times.
  3. LMU’s money trail can lead back to the bestowers of wealth that fund Silicon Beach, the University’s next door neighbor, and to LA’s entrenched entertainment biz.
  4. President Snyder is too busy about curating the faux Jesuit tradition, minding the University’s enlightened image, and drumming up more financial support to find much time to respond to critics.
  5. President Snyder is ill at ease in addressing sustained moral argument; it’s not part of his job description.
  6. For the most part, the larger Catholic community, largely disengaged from LMU, is neither able nor willing to press for the renewal of the University. So the President need only keep smiling.

In light of the reasons I’ve just stated, why did I challenge the President?

Well, gentle reader, old philosophers are well-suited to lighting candles that simultaneously curse the darkness. Plus, miracles happen every day. Golly, who knows what tomorrow will bring? As St. Junipero Serra, whose statue at LMU is always in jeopardy, urges us: Siempre adelante, con juicio!


Jim Hanink is an independent scholar, albeit more independent than scholarly!

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