Comments from the University Community


The spring 2020 issue of CatholicU, “Sharing the Journey,” explored the topic of immigration through stories of faculty, staff, students, and alumni who are embracing the call of the Catholic Church to “welcome the stranger.”

Congratulations on the wonderful spring issue. I am truly inspired by the University commitment to “Sharing the Journey.” The enthusiasm, generosity, and faith of students and faculty alike is heartwarming. Thanks for the grand artistic layout that is certainly first-class.

I want to compliment CatholicU magazine on a very excellent and timely issue. It is so seldom that such a magazine takes up much of anything of substance, except perhaps in one article or so. But a whole issue! WOW! I graduated from Catholic University in graduate philosophy in 1977 and have taught in St. Joseph Seminary College since, except for two years of further study in the Catholic University of Louvain. I have gotten the magazine all these years. There were always interesting articles on graduates or professors, but seldom presenting an issue of importance for the Church and state in such a creative and worthwhile way.

Thank you for “‘Sharing the Journey” — an outstanding issue reporting outstanding work by students, faculty, and administration! It makes me hopeful, it makes me proud.

This was one of the finest issues of the magazine I’ve seen. The treatment of the subject, one of the most significant challenges we face as a nation and the world, was outstanding. The articles were a fine, thoughtful balance of fact, humanity, and call to action. Thank you for committing a full issue to immigration.

I thoroughly enjoyed your “Immigration Issue.” I was reminded of my days at Catholic University in the ’60s. It was shortly after the Cuban revolution, and there were many refugees among my fellow students, including two in my small class of mechanical engineers. They formed a very active social club (PASCUA, or Pan American Students of CUA) and were a rich addition to our education experience. Of course, in those days, the political climate was much more inclusive. It’s nice to see that the University remains a haven for refugees.
— WILLIAM W. WASSMANN, B.S.M.E. 1967, M.S.M.E. 1969 

Thank you for the inspiring Alumni Essay “Drawn to Direct Action” by Julia Young in the spring issue. She and her father follow in a great tradition of Catholics putting their faith into action. A similar inspiring group of activists — the Kings Bay Plowshares — took similar brave, selfless steps down here in south Georgia in 2018. I am proud to be a CU alum when I read stories like Professor Young’s.
— BEN GOGGINS, B.A. 1970

I just opened [the spring 2020 issue of CatholicU] and thought you sent me a 1974 issue, especially when I saw my classmate Malcolm Young getting arrested with his daughter [Alumni Essay, “Drawn to Direct Action” by Julia Young]. After 45 years I am delighted to see CatholicU fulfilling its mandate of Catholic social action and publishing it so prominently. Congratulations and keep up the fire.

In our politically correct age, Catholic University stood out as one of a stalwart few academic institutions to pursue a genuine pursuit of knowledge. The spring 2020 magazine is a startling, troubling departure because it presents only one side of a very broad and nuanced ethical and public policy issue. For example, when people emigrate from undeveloped countries to the U.S., their carbon footprint increases several times. 

The magazine could have asked the president of the country’s oldest and largest organization focusing on reducing immigration [Federation for American Immigration Reform], who is a Catholic University alum, to contribute a one-page brief. There are many Catholic public officials, such as former U.S. representatives Brian Bilbray and Lou Barletta, who would surely provide a counterpoint. 

Does welcoming the stranger extend to embracing the trespasser or intruder? A moral case can be made to treat birthplace not as a random accident, but part of God’s design for the person being born. Is it really moral for us to take a country’s best people because they want out, when maybe if they stayed they could fix what is wrong in those countries? And without whose help those countries might never make progress?
— DINO DRUDI, B.A. 1979 

Your spring 2020 issue of CatholicU describing a variety of selfless endeavors by University students for immigrants and refugee families was well done; the students deserve unqualified praise. Also, it was gratifying to read President Garvey’s essay supporting passage of the DREAM Act, enabling immigrants who came to the U.S. before their 18th birthdays to achieve citizenship, and supporting re-authorization of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), an executive order that protects children from deportation for two years and allows them to work legally and obtain a motor vehicle license. 

However, there was a major weakness in your issue: You failed to link our national immigration crisis to the immoral, anti-immigrant policies of Donald Trump. From the day in 2015 when he announced his campaign for the presidency, he has demonized those seeking entry into the U.S. and seemingly done everything in his power to block solutions to the desperate problems of refugees fleeing oppression in Central American and elsewhere. In so doing, he has advanced policies which are the antithesis of what Pope Francis has said is the obligation of all mankind (quoted in your issue) — “Every stranger who knocks on our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age.” 

All of us need to widely broadcast the nature and extent of the immoral policies of Mr. Trump. Here is a smattering of what his Administration has done since January 2017:

  • Imposed a travel ban from African and Muslim majority countries, including Yemen, Iran, Libya, Chad, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Eritrea, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan;
  • Unlawfully diverted military funds (in violation of Congress’s authority) to build a wall on our southern border;
  • Falsely claimed in 2018 that a desperate line of refugees on that border escaping violence, poverty, and persecution in Central America was an invasion of America;
  • Slashed the number of refugees that could be admitted into the U.S. from 110,000 to 50,000, and intends in 2020 to resettle only 18,000, thus undermining a vital humanitarian program;
  • Repeatedly targeted and called for the end of the Diversity Visa Program, which allows people from countries with low U.S. immigration rates to apply for a visa lottery, ultimately leading lawful permanent residency;
  • Imposed a “wealth test” for immigrants with legal status and their families;
  • Increasingly denied and delayed more foreign-skilled worker requests—denials have risen from 6% in 2015 to 32% in early 2019.

By excluding more people, deporting residents, and creating an atmosphere of nativism and fear that affects us all, Trump is dramatically reducing immigration to the United States, particularly by people of color. Together, these policies support a white nationalist agenda — one that most people in the U.S. do not support. The majority of the public thinks that immigration is a good thing and should not be decreased. That is why it is important to call out this president for his barbaric practices.
— JOHN C. HIGGINS, J.D. 1966 

I received this issue today. Since it is a university publication, I expected a somewhat liberal approach to any subject inside. What I did not expect was the Pollyannistic approach to the subject of immigration. While I am not against immigration, I am adamantly opposed to illegal immigration. On my father’s side I am a descendant of an immigrant who sailed from England to South Carolina. But he came to what would become America legally with a grant from the king. On my mother’s side, I am a descendant of laborers from Alsace-Lorraine. My wife is a descendant of Slovaks. They all came here legally through Ellis Island. So, I am fully a descendant of and married to immigrants. 

Today, our southern border is besieged by caravans of thousands who are paying sums of money (sometimes very large sums of money) to coyotes to overrun our boundaries and overwhelm our Border Patrol personnel and facilities.  Along with the families that are coming it has been certified there are members of MS-13 and other latino gangs, drugs, as well as middle eastern terrorists nestled inside the crowd.  This is bedlam, not the orderly process that your magazine paints, inferring all immigrants are good and peaceful and it’s our big, bad government enforcement of our laws that makes things bad. 

Dylan Corbett’s quote encompasses immigrants (I assume he means “all') when he says they "strengthen and enrich our communities”.  I would like to see what the local law enforcement agencies of the border communities feel if illegal immigrants were included in that totally inclusive statement.  I will research the crime statistics of El Paso to see if this statement is valid.

The intersection of religion and law has always been fraught with positions being staked out by individuals and institutions that speak in absolutes and hyperbole. And I see this issue of your magazine doing just that.

Thank you so much for a beautifully written spring 2020 CatholicU magazine. I have been so disheartened by the rhetoric and divisiveness surrounding immigration. I cannot imagine our world without the diverse rainbow population of our country. My own family, Jews escaping persecution, food insecurity, and war in search of a better opportunity, came from Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were no different than the people who are coming to our borders today. The articles and stories that you shared warmed my heart and made me realize how many of us are on the same page. I hope I can volunteer on one of the future trips to the Texas-Mexico border. Wonderful work, Catholic University!

Can’t tell you how proud I am of your latest issue of CatholicU! From President Garvey’s strong endorsement of Pope Francis’ teaching on how we should respond as Catholic Christians to immigrants and refugees, to the students who bravely went on the border immersion field trip with Pat Fricchione and Sister Ruth, to the faculty and law school students who fight for legal protection for immigrants, to Archbishop Gomez’s challenge to all Catholics in America to welcome our sisters and brothers with or without papers, it was a truly inspired and prophetic issue!
— PETER CANAVAN, B.A. 1970, M.A. 1978

A super fine production of the latest CatholicU. I have been getting it for years and for years have not expressed my feelings about it. So this email is to account for a lot of pleasure and, yes, pride in what you and yours have done so professionally. I’m sure you will keep it up for all of us who love your work and you don’t know it.


I was struck by the photo of the women’s swimming team on page 19. You might want to take a look at the team photos from the early 70s for comparison. Title IX did make a significant difference. Congratulations to the current men’s and women’s teams on their successful seasons.
— MIKE FALLON, M.A. 1971 


What a welcome story announcing the appointment of Rev. Steven L. Payne, O.C.D., in the Carmelite Endowed Professorship at the School of Theology and Religious Studies. I was a student at the Theological College of Catholic University from 1962 to 1966, ordained a priest for the Diocese of Syracuse on May 21, 1966. Three of my best professors and role models were Rev. Roland Murphy, O.C.D.; Rev. Eamon Larkin, O.C.D.; and Rev. Ernest Larkin, O.C.D. Thank you for continuing the tradition of scholarship and spirituality.
— REV. PAUL J. DROBIN, 1966 


Yikes! I opened my new (and brilliantly written/designed) CatholicU to the Alumni Corner, only to see that it began with the 1970s. Not all of us who graduated in the 1960s (albeit the late 60s) have departed to Elysian Fields and green pastures. As a member of the second cohort of (National) Teacher Corps, I have fond memories of my years in Brookland, enabling me to spend a virtual lifetime teaching in urban school systems.
— JOE GALEOTA, M.A. 1969