Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rush: Mean, Mean Pride?

The Running of the Girls 2010
Father Joe reflects on the merits (and demerits) of the university Greek system:

Ole Miss Recruitment time is upon us! Hundreds of Ole Miss hopefuls will attempt to charm, impress, ingratiate and prove to the Greek system of their choice that they should be a recruit! Let the games begin!

Although I remember precious little from much of my high school religion, I do remember that the priest who taught the class was adamant that Greek organizations in college were secret societies and to be avoided by good Catholics. The Catholic Encyclopedia online backs up this claim as it says such societies ask for the adherents to make oaths, they use a Bible in their rituals and have their own liturgies such as funerals. Yes, it's there in black and white and hyperlink. PURE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEVIL!
Greek=Nazi Zombies from up North
But I'd be a bit suspect on that being the reason this priest said such a thing. I mean, we're talking early 1980's. It would be more in line with the thinking that any organization that attracted white, preppy, conservative, monied and possibly Republican people was naturally an enemy of THE SOCIAL JUSTICE CHURCH and to be avoided lest someone become a capitalist or something.
In the 80's, a Catholic in good standing could shoot a preppy.
I didn't join a fraternity in college. Partially because of my moral certitude in it being WRONG (although I blew off enough Masses and prayers to pave my slippery way to Hell in butter) and the other part was because I just didn't want to end up cleaning up some guy's toilet with a toothbrush or calling some clown, "sir" until I was proved to be accepted. The final reason is basically, I was an art nerd and just liked to be weird. Really weird and not fratboy-wearing-a-visor-backward-weird.

However, the question still exists for me: Is it permissible for a Catholic to be in the Greek system?

Here are few caveats that one would do well to consider before going through recruitment:
1. Most Greek organizations are based on Protestant or non-denominational practices. The understanding of the Bible, Salvation and God's purpose may conflict with core Catholic beliefs. Be aware of your faith.
2. Oaths have a certain spiritual weight in the Catholic Church. It's akin to vows and promises. That being said, you may want to do some soul-searching on how serious you take your first "oath" (Baptismal promise) and how it compares with the Greek oath.
3. Socially and morally, you may want to investigate the current status of the organization in it's policies on race, gender, religion and economic class.

4. This thing about going to other churches on Sunday? Just saying, you belong at Mass every Sunday. We're not the same as the other ones. Go to their thing if you have to. Just don't miss Mass.

I suppose times have changed and with it attitudes. Enjoy your time at Ole Miss but also be honest in making a choice for the Greek system. The right reasons are: friendships, social opportunities, being of service to others and develop character. If you're joining to just drink, party, knock boots, smoke some weed, and spend fat cash then you're missing the boat. And you're probably not being a good Catholic.

And really, you can do all that without paying all those fees if you were an art nerd.
Dali, art nerd and ladies' man.
Mea culpa.

Mean, Mean Pride? No one gets that? Rush?