Our response cannot be a continuation of battling political ideologies. As Americans, we will honor our electoral process and our nation’s Constitution. We will honor the outcome of the election, but we will NOT stand for bigotry, hatred, or intolerance of any kind. Bigotry, hatred, and intolerance are not Democratic values, they are not Republican values, they are not American values, and they most certainly are not Christian values. As such, they will not be tolerated in our school. Now more than ever, we must remember and hold fast to the values of our school’s mission: to form young men to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ, nurturing them to be open to growth, intellectually competent, loving, religious, and committed to working for peace and justice.
We are called by our faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ to care for those who are hurt, afraid, and confused. We are called to stand for them, to stand with them, even if we disagree with their politics.
We all have the opportunity to learn more about our Muslim brothers and sisters. We have the freedom to agree or disagree with elements of their faith. We are, however, obligated to treat them with respect, kindness, and compassion. Christ showed as much for pagans, Samaritans, and those of faith other than his own. Christ demands no less of us.
We all have the opportunity to learn more about the plight of minorities, refugees, immigrants, and undocumented families. We have the freedom to advocate for or against any policies we deem best regarding immigration and refugees. We are, however, obligated to treat them with respect, kindness, and compassion. Christ showed as much for foreigners and strangers who came into his life. Christ demands no less of us.
We all have the opportunity to learn more about the history and consequences of gender inequality. We have the freedom to advocate for or against policies and laws that attempt to address these issues. We are, however, obligated to treat women with kindness and respect they deserve. Christ showed as much for women in the gospels. Christ demands no less of us.
As your President, I am here to tell you that as a Catholic community, we will stand with those who feel marginalized and afraid. We will stand with our gay students, with our female colleagues and friends, with our African-American families, our Latino families, our Asian families, our White families, and our families of every race, creed, color, religion, ethnicity, nationality, and orientation.
Harassment, intimidation, and bullying are NOT tolerated in our school. On the contrary, we need to speak up when something is said or done to hurt another person. If you are targeted or bullied, or if you witness a classmate being bullied, you must tell me, a teacher, a counselor, a campus minister, or a Jesuit. It is incumbent upon all of us to stand together as a school community for the protection and well being of all. Our faculty and staff will work tirelessly to give you the skills you need to enter a society that does not always know how to do this. This will not be easy. But it is part and parcel of our mission to prepare you young men for your adult lives.
Know that we are firmly committed to this: to help you learn how to be responsible members of a civic society; to help you engage in discussion not for the sake of winning, but for the sake of understanding and being understood. Responsible citizens need to learn how to check facts, how to weigh news sources, how to question assumptions, how to recognize our own biases, how to take feedback, and how to challenge one another. We need to learn how to disagree: with love and respect. These skills will be priceless ones for you to attain in the coming months and years as we work to build a democratic society that protects the rights of all people.
Above all, I urge you to be reflective and prayerful. Draw inspiration from the Lord Jesus, who contended regularly with critics, but whose every word and deed was rooted and grounded in love for the other. Realize that, while we may disagree with each other on various issues, many of us are motivated to do what is best for our family and friends, our community, and our nation. We need to engage with and actively listen to each other. It is only through a climate of mutual respect that we can move forward together.
Finally, remember always who you are and whose you are. As St. Ignatius Loyola reminds us in his Spiritual Exercises, we were created by God out of love so that we can love. Make God the center of your life, asking Him what he wants from you. Cling to hope, as hope can calm even our worst fears. Hold fast to Christ himself so that you might have the courage to speak and act as the Christian gentlemen who are called to live not ultimately for yourselves, but for others.
Yours ever in Christ,
Rev. Raymond P. Guiao, S.J. '82