Letter to the editor: Catholicism is much more than meets the eye

Ben Hahn

This letter was submitted by Ben Hahn. 

During this Lenten season, I was struck by multiple references in last week’s news that failed to capture what Catholicism is really about. From the front page’s misunderstanding that erroneously refers to the Holy Eucharist as “crackers” to the (column) referring to Lent as a sort of a second-tier New Year’s resolution, these articles and many unwritten opinions I have heard throughout my years by staff and students have shown how misunderstood my faith can be. As a devout Catholic, I hope to express how shallow and generalized ideas, as seen by anti-Semitism against Jewish culture, can cause harm and misrepresentation of a large body of caring, generous individuals.

On campus, the Newman Catholic Community is the home of a true cross-section of students including students of varying races, countries, political affiliations and sexualities. Collectively, we support causes such as feeding the poor, housing women and children in need, funding clean water systems for Haitian families, teaching English as a second language and supporting students as students and as whole people. Driven by examples like Mother Teresa, we strive to care for and humbly support the ostracized and anxious in all that we say and do.

In this time of reverent preparation for the Easter celebration, know that the Catholics around you are students just the same as anyone else. For those who have met harmful or judgmental Catholics in the past, please accept my apologies. A friend of mine once said, “we’re all parts of the body of Christ, and that means someone might turn out to be the behind.” Ours is a religion of abundant self-giving and one that sees all as neighbors who are worth time and compassion. The next time you see a Catholic student on campus, please don’t be a judge. We have heard what some think of us in our classes, social lives and social media, and these conversations lead to misunderstanding, especially for those who have never experienced real Catholicism. As with all unique groups and people, we are meant to walk through this world together. There is much more to this beautiful faith than meets the eye.