It seems the beast will not die. I wrote a column about this topic last year, but the movement to cudgel a Catholic school into violating its religious conscience for the momentary sexual appetites of its students has continued with similar veracity. Now, I suppose, is as good a time as ever to reiterate what is at stake in the debate over whether Fairfield University ought to sell prophylactics and other forms of contraception on campus.

Fairfield University is a Catholic school, and its status as such is expressly designated in its mission. Catholic and non-Catholic students alike are invited to participate in that mission, to the degrees to which they voluntarily choose to do so. They are not forced to subscribe in their individual lives to the various mores and moral prescriptions of the Roman Catholic Church, but are inherently bound to acknowledge the school’s obligation to implement policies that are subservient to its explicitly Catholic mission. If this obligation intrudes on an individual’s comfort or perception of safety so profoundly that they feel the need to challenge a millennia old teaching of the church, it stands to reason that such individuals will heed the option of voluntarily choosing to attend another university that is not openly and expressly adherent to church dogma.

The school’s nominal Catholicism as such is not made secret to prospective students, and is eminently clear in the school’s branding efforts, promotional paraphernalia and rhetorical devices. The first five words under the heading of the university webpage on a Google search? “We are a Jesuit University.” It’s certainly no secret, and if it were one, it’s remarkably poorly kept. Prospective students face no compulsion in their choice of school, nor do any other external actors coerce prospective students to attend Fairfield under threat of force. The voluntary choice to attend a Catholic school is a tacit acknowledgement that one recognizes the school’s sovereignty in propagating its moral mission, irrespective of one’s own personal feelings on the matter.

It is indeed the case that popular opinion at Fairfield may be in favor of bringing contraceptives on campus, and even profoundly so, but the status of Fairfield as a Catholic university is principally immutable; its status as such is no more up for democratic vote than its yearly tuition. If students feel as though the Catholic Church’s millennia old teaching on contraception is an affront to their own values, and are disquieted by an expressly Catholic institution’s willingness to subscribe to said teaching, they are welcome to either order contraception of their own or reevaluate their choice of institution.

If individuals sense themselves mature enough to engage in sexual activity, it stands to reason that such individuals ought to take responsibility for the procuration of whatever prophylactics or contraceptive measures they deem appropriate for such acts. Surely it is not the faculty or facility of an expressly Catholic school to hold the hand of students choosing to engage in extramarital sexual activities, as much as it is not the school’s responsibility to ensure that other violations of Church teaching are done with the utmost ease and convenience. Just as there are no external forces mandating one attend a Catholic school, there are no third-party actors who coerce students to engage in consensual sexual activity, as if sexual activity were akin to a disease or spasmodic tic that one was utterly incapable of controlling. In the absence of such corruptive or coercive forces, it seems perfectly reasonable, temperate, and most of all, legitimate for a Catholic school to be allowed to implement policies that defer to the strictures of the Roman Catholic Church.

There is a particular arrogance in the presumption that one has an entitlement to define the moral frame of an institution that has existed long before one ever stepped foot on its campus. Fairfield places no obligation on any student to attend the school, and the voluntary payment of tuition monies at least implicitly acknowledges that one is willing to accept that they are attending a university with clearly defined moral boundaries that exist beyond the waywardness of undergraduate outrage. Using the euphemisms like “health” and “justice” to describe the forced abrogation of an institution’s religious conscience is sophistry at best, and a sort of rhetorical sleight of hand at worst. Unlike most debates, where multiple sides can be argued reasonably and rationally, this discussion indeed has a “right” answer: the Roman Catholic Church has a 2,000-year old teaching against the use of contraception, Fairfield University is an expressly Catholic institution to which students attend of their own volition; by simple deduction, it is starkly clear that the school has no ethereal obligation to violate its religious conscience on the basis of the dissent from those who do not share the Church’s moral positions.


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3 Responses

  1. Jai Ghantik

    Johnny, have you ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It is the largest artificial ocean garbage formation on planet earth. I actually took a Carnival Cruise out west a few years ago and saw it for myself. I won the trip from Planned Parenthood because I’m a returning customer (do with that information what you will). The Titanic II (brought to you by Trojan Her Pleasure Fire and Ice Condoms) was the incredible ship that took us out there to see that massive, stinky pile of trash. It was a sight to behold, and an olfactory experience that my nasal passage will never recuperate from.

    I was walking from my class called Flag Stomping Patriotism and Reagan’s Secret Gay Double Life and something caught my nose by surprise. That old familiar smell, as if suddenly I was back on the island all over again. I noticed the smell was protruding from a pile of copies of the Fairfield Mirror. I picked one up, but the smell was very faint. However, it kept getting more and more intense as I approached the Opinion section. After reading the Other Side, I have lost my sense of smell.

    Johnny, with this article you have gone from a Hirschy Kiss to a full sized Hirschy Bar.

    • Hugh Mungus

      Johnny! I promised myself I wouldn’t comment on your articles again, but seeing Jai’s ignorant, globalist take on your brave, prophetic op-ed made me want to come out of the shadows and defend your honour! Literally I was hiding in a dumpster behind the T-Mobile store, in the shade. After your last article, I turned a new leaf and gave my laptop away to the third world like you advised me to, causing me to be ineligible to register for classes for the semester. You see, I was on This Side, but I needed a sweet, sweet taste of that Other Side, so I stumbled into the T-Mobile store and found the nearest Blackberry to comment on this article with.

      Johnny I agree with literally EVERYTHING you had to say in this article. It was as if you were speaking directly to me. When I was first looking for schools, the first thing I did was look up each school’s contraceptive policies. I didn’t even know my major yet, but I knew that I didn’t want to have the convenience of buying condoms, not on MY campus. When I saw Fairfield University’s antiquated contraceptive policy, I immediately applied early action. As a millennia (not to be mistaken with those snowflake millennials), I believe society’s morals peaked 2,000 years ago with Jesus Christ. May I share with you my favorite quote from His scripture? Here it is, from John 2:22 “If, then, one feels that the burden of temperance is too great, the local CVS, a five-minute car ride from Bethlehem, routinely stocks birth control and contraceptives. But opponents quiver, what about the Pharisees? The Synagogue, of course, offers an hourly shuttle that stops in the CVS plaza.” Even though condoms hadn’t been invented at the time writing the Bible, Jesus, a Fairfield Alum, knew and stood by his Jesuit values that he learned after playing Birdie on the Perch at orientation for Fairfield’s Class of 4 A.L. (after Lucas).

      As you mentioned in this article, students are such little babies. Babies who need condoms. You say, why are these little babies challenging millennia old Catholic teaching? Everyone knows that you should follow the rules of a religion you don’t believe in from 2,000 years ago or get out of my country…I mean my campus (e-mail at to talk to me about immigration reform). Besides, why fix what isn’t broken? The Bible is always on point and has gotten it right for several years. The enthusiastically anti-gay, pro-incest and pro-slavery policies of the Old Testament still shocking hold up today.
      Well, the T-Mobile store manager forced me to stop typing on the Blackberry, so I had to switch over to an Android tablet, but it seems that I’m being forced out of the store completely. They found my mattress, shaving cream, deodorant and old, crusty copies of the Other Side in the dumpster and are forcing me off the property. I was trying to explain to the manager at T-Mobile that your articles are wonderful and that he should read them sometime. They’re so diverse, I really wonder how you don’t run out of different things to say. For example, in your article “Contraceptives on Campus Defy Jesuit Values” you talk about how the sale of condoms on campus isn’t allowed because of Jesuit values. It’s vastly different from this article’s stance, which is that Jesuit values don’t allow for sale of condoms on campus. Really nuanced there Johnathan. I’m sure that there is tens of kids on campus that would agree with your opinion. I will agree with you on this, people on campus don’t need condoms. In my experience, whenever I carry around or even merely mention The Other Side in conversation, it is 100% effective as birth control.

      Sent my Android Tablet


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