BY Jim Cosgrove
August 3-9, 1997 Issue | Posted 8/3/97 at 2:00 PM
When “Catholics Assess [the] Baptist Disney Boycott” (July 20-26), they should keep in mind the success that anti-Christian groups have had in turning the Magic Kingdom into an anti-Christian propaganda machine.
Disney's “adult” productions, such as the movie Priest and TV program Ellen, are just the frontal assault. Even the cartoons are rewritten to satisfy folks who hate Christianity. The historical Pocahontas gladly left a religion that used human sacrifice and ritual torture to appease what even they considered to be the devil to embrace Episcopalianism and the world-view of the metaphysical poets. Disney gave us a Pocahontas who preached the glories of paganism, a paganism of a New Age sort that gave her super-powers. They promoted the movie as a good example of how sensitive they were to the fact that their heroes were role-models.
Victor Hugo told us in The Hunchback of Notre Dame that Esmeralda finally found peace during the weeks she spent seeking sanctuary, soothed by the sights and sounds of the liturgy at the cathedral. Among the changes that Disney made to the book was to turn that role-model into a “tough broad” who couldn't stand to be inside a church. While Hugo's Esmeralda lived unmolested until she was accused of murder, Disney told us that Catholic France practiced genocide.
Disney does care what people read into its movies—as long as they're not Christians.
Don Schenk Allentown, Pennsylvania
Catholic College Dilemma
I whole-heartedly agree that philosophy and theology must play a crucial role in education at a Catholic college, as Dr. Timothy O'Donnell writes in “A Plea for Restoration of the Queen of the Sciences,” (July 6-12). While I support his vision of the Catholic college, I wonder how Catholic colleges can approach this practically.
As a student, I cannot help noticing an apparent divide between two types of Catholic colleges, those that bear a Catholic name and demand rigorous academic work and those that place an emphasis on the Catholic identity of their students but require a lesser degree of academic intensity. At the former, the students seem to think more critically and to garner prestigious fellowships more often. Yet for these students philosophy and theology provide an interesting but completely secondary alternative perspective. In the other type of Catholic college students may begin and end class with a prayer and discern their major with the guidance of a priest. Meanwhile, they seem much less inclined to challenge a professor's viewpoint or to pursue an academic question beyond the classroom. Both of these types of colleges seek to impart a Catholic education, but in each case an emphasis on one dimension of education results in a lack in another part of students'education.
If a Catholic college offers the fullness of truth, intellectual rigor and spiritual truths ought to go hand in hand. How can we bridge this apparent gap, and how can we do it without diluting the strengths of the various Catholic colleges as they already exist? There should be no division between Catholic college education's spiritual and academic dimensions.
Theresa Urbanic Ann Arbor, Michigan
Avrahim Benjamin, featured in last week's “Dialogue” is a career diplomat who joined the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 1975. He has served at Israeli missions in Malta, San Francisco, Calif,. Washington, D.C., and Bonn, Germany. Benjamin has held his present position as director of the Division of Interreligious Affairs for the last two years. He will soon assume a new post, deputy chief of the Israeli mission in Moscow.
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