In the May Catalyst we ran a story about an offensive column that appeared in the Queens College student newspaper, QC QUAD. The “Dear Jesus: Real Advice from the Son of God” column contained sexually explicit questions put to “Jesus.” We didn’t find the humor in this (and neither did a great priest who works at the Cardinal Newman Center, Father Paul Wood) and that is why we lodged a complaint.
We have good news and bad news about what transpired since the last Catalyst.
The good news is that the student responsible for the column called Dr. Donohue to apologize. Donohue accepted the apology and advised the student to meet with Father Wood. It was the position of Father Wood that an apology should be printed on the front page of the QUAD and given prominence by publishing it as a box insert. On April 14, the apology was granted as requested.
The bad news is that the school’s president, Allen Lee Sessoms, does not share the reconsidered opinion of the offending student. In an interview that was published in the same edition as the apology, President Sessoms had the following to say about the “Dear Jesus” controversy:
“There are incidents of insensitivity. I mean, in the QUAD, there was that whole Catholic episode. That’s not deliberate stuff. That was meant as something that was kind of fun. That other people get their noses out of joint suggests that you’ve got to be aware and be more sensitive. And they’ve got to be more sensitive and not shout about something that’s really innocent.”
Dr. Donohue wrote a letter to the paper taking issue with Sessoms’ account. He said for Sessoms’ “it is nothing but innocent fun to ‘quote’ Jesus as stating, ‘You’re lucky I don’t come down there and smack your b—s off for my sake.’ That this was published the day after Easter apparently means nothing to Sessoms as well. And then he has the nerve to suggest that those of us who are offended by this insult should ‘be more sensitive,’ as if the burden of restraint should fall on the offended.”
Donohue closed his letter by saying that “If Queens College were to ever consider running a sensitivity training workshop on anti-Catholicism, I would recommend [the student] (who has obviously learned from this incident) as the instructor and Sessoms (who has obviously learned nothing) as his student.”