The north campus of Chicago’s late and historic Quigley Preparatory Seminary of happy memory has recently witnessed colliding public statements by oakpark.com columnist Ken Trainor, Quigley North 1970, and EWTN’s Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, Quigley North 1967, on the history of Catholic teaching on birth control.
My old friend Ken Trainor maintained that the “Catholic hierarchy’s” teaching on birth control dates only to 1930, while my old friend Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ cites numerous examples of early Christian writers condemning both abortion and artificial birth control. Fr. Mitch once again carries the day.
(Ken Trainor’s argument–that the “People of God” reject the Church’s teaching on birth control, and therefore the Church’s real teaching on birth control agrees with the “People of God” and not the hierarchy–doesn’t persuade. Most of the “People of God” don’t go to church on Sunday, but that doesn’t invalidate the Third Commandment. Come to think of it, in the time of Moses, most of the “People of God” worshiped the Golden Calf.)
The Quigley North classes of 1967 and that of 1970 had differing experiences of this wonderful school. The class of 1967 had three years under the original Quigley weekly schedule, in which Thursday was a day off, and Saturday was a school day. The students under this old system immediately entered a more segregated clerical culture, in which students were even expelled if they were caught dating girls. Quigley students would often gather together at a local church gym on Thursdays, and share their days off. Cardinal Mundelein’s original concept for Quigley was that students could have an authentic seminary experience while still living at home with their mom and her home cooking. More history at the Quigley Wikipedia site.
By Fr. Mitch’s senior year, which was Ken Trainor’s freshman or “Bennie” year, Quigley had moved to the standard weekday school schedule, so Ken Trainor’s class never had this “Thursday” experience, and by Ken’s day, Quigley was easing up on the “no dating” rule as well. Fr. Mitch’s cohort attended a Quigley in which students could still opt to study Greek and Polish, while both the 1967 and the 1970 cohorts studied Latin and either French, German, Spanish. For a time, Italian was offered.
My class, 1969, was the last to experience the Thursday schedule. It was in many ways a special experience, although I was grateful to be able to sleep a little more on Saturdays when the change away from Thursdays was made. With three to four hours of homework after extra-curriculars, getting only six hours of sleep on weeknights was a hard adjustment for some of us teenage boys, although this commitment did evoke a special esprit de corps among the Quigley students back in what we called “The Days of the Giants,” in which there was even a club called the Beadsmen, who gathered after school or at break time to pray the rosary in Quigley’s magnificent chapel.
Quigley students were required to attend daily Mass in their home parish prior to going to school on weekdays, and on Saturdays as well as Sundays, but this home parish Mass requirement, as well as the requirement that one’s pastor sign one’s report card, was less strictly enforced and had faded away by Ken Trainor’s senior year. Now a 6AM weekday Mass is rarely even seen in parishes.
There’s something to be said for requiring an heroic commitment of time and effort from teenage boys. For decades, Quigley students rose to the challenge, although each passing year from the late 1960s forward made Quigley less and less of a seminary. But what Quigley accomplished, as noted on its Wikipedia site: awardees of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, two Vatican II periti, two members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, numerous bishops, thousands of priests, and thousands more well-educated Catholic men who made manifold contributions to Catholic and American life.
That such a hard-earned institutional stature was extinguished still remains something of a scandal. Believe me, I will write more on this topic.
© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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