Catholics on campus gathered in Christ Chapel to celebrate the feast of Pope St. John Paul II on Tuesday afternoon.
The commemoration included a lecture on the sexual revolution by a member of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute followed by the first Catholic mass held in the chapel. Bishop of Lansing Earl Boyea presided over the standing-room-only service, assisted by Father David Reamsnyder, pastor of St. Anthony’s in Hillsdale, and Dean Aaron Peterson, who is a deacon at St. Anthony’s.
The events were sponsored by the Hillsdale College Catholic Society and the philosophy and religion department. The lecture, entitled “Sexual Revolutions: The Abolition of Man and Woman,” was delivered by Michael Hanby, a professor of religion and philosophy of science at the Catholic University of America. He focused on the changing definitions and parameters of gender, sexuality, and reproduction and their effects on law and social bonds.
“What presents itself principally as a contest of rights in the legal and political spheres is, in truth, a radical redefinition of the archetypal realities of human nature and history, man, woman, father, mother, and child, and the codification of this new anthropology, this new philosophy of human nature, into law,” Hanby said.
The topic was particularly appropriate because of Pope John Paul II’s massive influence on the Catholic view of human sexuality through his treatise the “Theology of the Body.”
Senior Avery Lacey attended the lecture.
“Dr. Hanby started out the talk promising that it would be depressing and disheartening, and he really came through on that promise,” Lacey said. “But the hope that I drew from his talk is basically that we are not just matter, we are not just our biology, so we can take our soul seriously, as well as our intuitive human reactions.”
Junior Bridget Breckler said that Hanby’s lecture was cognisant of the current reality of the world.
“He was able to share the truth and enduring reality that is man’s destiny,” Breckler said. “It was beautiful that while he is aware of the changing circumstances we’re enmeshed in as human beings, he was able to present John Paul’s enduring truth of the identity and real mission of being a human.”
Mass in Christ Chapel immediately followed the lecture.
Patrick Mitchell, president of the Hillsdale College Catholic Society, helped organize the event.
“It was a joint effort between the professors and students to put everything on,” Mitchell said. “It was wonderful to see something executed so successfully, and to have the beautiful space of Christ Chapel was absolutely amazing. Hearing everyone singing in the space gave me chills.”