"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Monday, March 12, 2007

Justice Thomas on Holy Cross College

Check out this very interesting interview with Justice Thomas in BusinessWeek. As the introduction puts it,

Of all the influences in the life of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, little attention has been paid to the Reverend John E. Brooks. During his time at Holy Cross and in the years since, the Jesuit priest has been, in Thomas' words, "a combination of friend, uncle, priest, father, saint, Good Samaritan." In this exclusive interview with BusinessWeek senior writer Diane Brady, Thomas reflects on racial politics, his job, his college crowd, and the influence of Brooks on his life.
It's an inside look at what the Catholic Church was doing 30-40 years ago in education and race relations, and the type of students the old-style Jesuits were forming before their venerable order descended into a free fall of homosexuality, heterodoxy, and hedonism. Money quotes from Justice Thomas:


Father Brooks realized that we needed to be nurtured—not that we needed it every day—but that we were going to have unique problems. When you have six blacks in a class of 550 kids, you need that. We all came from very different backgrounds. That's something that gets lost in this weird notion of race—that somehow you can come from New York and Savannah and Massachusetts and somehow you're still all the same. That's bizarre, and it denigrates individuals. Father Brooks understood that. He saw people who were individuals who happened to be black who had very different outlooks.

***

I've thought a lot about these things, and I've spent the bulk of my life, beating my head against a wall, trying to get people to see that they can have their grand theories but, in the end, you can't impose them on other people's kids. How many kids do you have? They're different, aren't they? If your kids are different—and they're all yours—what about just some kids who happen to be different shades of black, different degrees of Negro? They're all from different family settings—some two parents, some no parents, some raised by grandparents. Come on. How can you just all of a sudden treat them as all the same?

***

A white person is free to think whatever they want to think. But a black person has to think a certain way. Holy Cross has never ever done that. We did it to each other but we were just kids. The institution didn't sanction it. Father Brooks didn't sanction it. He didn't stereotype. I love Father Brooks. I love him. He's a great man. He did right by us. He did right by the school. I don't think you should underestimate how nurturing that school was, without being warm and fuzzy. It was all male so you didn't have to deal with all those complications. It was predominantly Catholic…probably still is. It had rules because it was Catholic. So there were lots of things that were off the table. And it was a crazy time. The school was changing. I wouldn't downplay the centrality of Father Brooks and the Jesuits' role.

***

They're not Jesuits [the predominantly lay faculty of recent years]. They lost the religiosity. A priest is a priest. A nun is a nun. For me, it's better. It's a Catholic school. It looks more identifiably Catholic when you have religious people running it. I think it's a loss. I liked it the way it was. I was not a practicing Catholic when I went there. I had left the church. But I just feel strongly that it's a Catholic school. I'm a practicing Catholic now, in part because I went to Holy Cross.

A fascinating look at a very unique life. HT: SW Virginia Law Blog.


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