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“I challenge you not to fall under the pressure as students, but to rise to the occasion as Christians.”

After attending Sunday evening mass at Villanova University’s St. Thomas of Villanova Church, my attention was brought to an editorial written by students that attends the same school as I. With the installation of Archbishop Rigali, many Villanova students reflected on what it means to be Catholic today, but I think false claims were made. Perhaps these same students have not been to mass lately, but I have. Normally, I cannot even get in the door because so many students are there. No matter what time I go, students fill the church each and every Sunday. As a freshman, what I am most impressed with when I attend mass is that every student that is there wants to be there. We are not there to fulfill a familial obligation, nor are we there for a class requirement. We are there on our own free will because we believe in our faith and our church. Additionally, comments were made in the editorials that the Catholic Church has failed to address the issues of today’s college student. I again tend to disagree with this. As Father Joe spoke in mass tonight, what the Church says is not always what we want to hear, but that does not change the validity of their arguments. Today is Respect for Life Sunday, and so we reflect on the church’s stance on abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty. Why is the church against all of these controversial issues? Because we do not have the right to take away life. The church does take the time to address these issues, we just have to take the time to listen. Students also commented that the church says no to sex, no to abortion, and no to birth control, but they do not say why. This is just not the truth. Obviously, people who do not truly understand what the Catholic Church stands for make claims such as these under misconceptions. Any student who truly understands the Catholic religion and Church would recognize why the Church institutes these guidelines with good reason. While I do not necessarily agree with every claim the Church makes, I understand the reasoning behind it. Students like this give Villanova a bad name. Advising Archbishop Rigali to give reasons for why the church believes what it does is good advice, but it is already being done. Any student at Villanova could walk up to any priest on campus and receive an explanation for any of the church’s doctrines. Do not make Villanova students sound and appear foolish in our beliefs. Those who are invested in our beliefs know what the Church believes, and why. The ones who do not understand are the ones who are too busy to attend our Sunday night masses, brimming with students who are lined up out the doors. The ones who do not understand are the ones who failed to listen in our Theology classes. The ones who do not understand are the ones who failed to take the initiative to open their ears and open their hearts. Tonight in mass, Father Joe encouraged us as students to keep each other in check in our beliefs, to rise to the occasion as Christians. I challenge Archbishop Rigali to continue the strong beliefs found within the Villanova Students and throughout the rest of the young people in Philadelphia.