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The first Catholic Mass at Christ Chapel was held on Oct. 22. Vir­ginia Aabram | Col­legian

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.”