By Anthony Cardellini ’17
In his Oct. 2 Great Hall presentation on St. Ignatius’ hypothetical reaction to ISIS, Mr. Tom Donlan made sure the audience knew that not everyone would like what they were about to hear.
As predicted, not necessarily everyone agreed with the ideas of St. Ignatius when he founded the Jesuits.
“It’s a difficult subject,” Mr. Donlan said. “I don’t want to disappoint some people, but I think there’s a good chance some will be disappointed.”
With microphone in hand and a PowerPoint behind him, Mr. Donlan explained the life of Ignatius and tied it to our world’s current political situation.
He started out in recognition that a young Ignatius would have responded militarily and aggressively as he was drawn to conflict.
“Ignatius himself was like that earlier in his life, we should consult the later Ignatius,” Mr. Donlan said when referring to the angry reaction most Americans have toward ISIS.
More mature and with a conversion experience under his belt, the later Ignatius would make sure we went through a serious self-examination before taking any aggressive action.
“Many in America are starting from the point of fear and hatred; Ignatius would say ‘that’s not Christian,’” Mr. Donlan said. “It’s hard for nations to look themselves in the mirror.”
Mr. Donlan said he doesn’t think we’d be pleased with what we’d find if we looked into the mirror at our own foreign policy.
“Much of the resentment and frustration for the United States is from the simple fact that the U.S. has done many things which infuriate people in the Middle East,” Mr. Donlan said.
Instead of trying to destroy the group ISIS, Mr. Donlan said he believes Ignatius’s response would go much further than just encouraging us to examine the consequences of our own behavior.
“Number one, I think Ignatius would be absolutely concerned about the well-being of those who have been attacked. His emphasis would be, ‘How in the name of love could we respond?’” Mr. Donlan said. “We are called to respond with what Jesus teaches, and fear and hatred are inconsistent with that,” Mr. Donlan added.
He also said we should respond more toward the ideal of service and helping others.
Although Mr. Donlan started off his presentation by telling the audience to expect something not everyone would like to hear, sophomore Daniel Bonner ’17 had a more positive reaction to the speech.
“I do agree. I think he described the latter Ignatius’ stance on ISIS well,” Bonner said when asked if he agreed with the presentation.
Bonner said he attended the speech “to hear a peaceful viewpoint” and was left with the message that we need “to stay humble, prayerful and help the refugees.”
As for the school community, Mr. Donlan said we need to be ever-mindful of issues like this, and always look at different perspectives to see how Brophy, as a Jesuit school, should react.