Southern Catholic College Becomes Legion Institution
Editors Note: This article was guest-written by a person with intimate knowledge of the proceedings at Southern Catholic College.
A quick Google search of any combination of the words “Legion of Christ” and “Southern Catholic College” will yield only a few press releases from April of this year, the month in which the Legion of Christ and Southern Catholic College signed their memorandum of understanding, a document in which the Legion officially declared its intention to purchase the small college, and would lead one to believe that there have been no developments in the relationship which has been growing between the two institutions for the past year or so. Even a search of either organization’s own website produces the same results.
Despite the reticence of either party to publicly announce the details of their collaboration and their mutual calmness and quietness about the subject, the fact of the matter is that the past week has been a whirlwind of worry and speculation for those of us involved in the school but who are nonetheless out of the loop; those of us without any way of knowing whether or not the Legion would rescue the school from the financial woe that had befallen it, or if Southern Catholic would be doomed to disappear into the academic ether and leave the nearly 300 people who make up its student body, teaching, and administrative staff without a place to return to in the fall. But, this week of tumult came to an end yesterday when the long-awaited “word from Rome” came in and brought with it the announcement that Southern Catholic College has officially become a Legion institution.
Jerry Combee, Southern Catholic’s vice-president of academic affairs, sent an email out to members of the school’s teaching staff yesterday with the official announcement, but other than that, the decision has not been communicated to the outside world.
This final countdown began roughly two weeks ago on Tuesday, June 30th, the date by which the Legion said that it would be able to produce its decision on whether or not it would in fact buy Southern Catholic. This was then delayed until the following Thursday, but no announcement was made on Thursday either.
After this second failure of the legion to return to the school with a decision, Jeremiah Ashcroft, Southern Catholic’s president, approached legion representatives on Tuesday of last week, insisting on an answer. They told him only that they saw no reason why Rome would rule against the collaboration and that, despite this optimism, they could offer no guarantees. But this was the only news that left their office, and those of us awaiting their answer still didn’t know whether we could expect one in a matter of days, weeks or even longer. But, as it happened, it would only take three days.
In retrospect it all seemed to happen so fast, but as short of a time span as it may seem, those roughly ten days went by with agonizing slowness for those of us whose degrees, occupations, and livelihoods depended on the presevation of the school. But this was really nothing that we werent used to, as being left in the dark on major decisions which immanently effect us is something which Southern Catholic students and professors have grown accustomed to, and is almost one of our most concretely established traditions.
I can not say much more that is not mere speculation at this point, but I can say that, despite my personal distaste for the Legionaries of Christ, I for one welcome our new leaders; it seems that they do at least bring some form of promise to the school (finances aside). That is, they offer the hope that the conservatism and Catholicity which is so prevalent in the student body and amongst the professors, might finally be met by those who lead it. They offer to falsify what was once a keen observation made by a good friend of mine, that “Southern Catholic is not a great school because of its administration, but in spite of it.”