That attitudes may not have changed from an older generation to Kavanaugh’s — and may have gotten still worse, and not only at elitist Georgetown Prep, but in society at large — is sad beyond telling, says Ray McGovern.
By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News
From my own experience while a callow youth at a Jesuit boys-only high school, I believe it highly unlikely that Georgetown Jesuit Prepster Brent Kavanaugh ever thought of asking God the question Helen posed. For Kavanaugh, as for the rest of us, the answer was self-evident — much clearer than 13th century Thomas Aquinas’s “proofs” for the existence of God.
At my Jesuit high school, as at Kavanaugh’s, the concept of God-like male supremacy was deeply entrenched — from the priests and other all-male faculty to the bonhomie of the young “good-natured men” in the smoke-infested Senior Room.
The Jesuits encouraged us to think of ourselves — each one of us — as exceptional, down to the last man, so to speak. It was Lake Wobegone on steroids. We had been pre-selected to become the future leaders of the sole exceptional country in the world — an ethos that prevails, in spades, at Georgetown Prep.
Happily, we were spared Aquinas’s “insights” on women, whom he described as defective, misbegotten males. It was not until college that I learned Thomas deemed women “the result of some debility … or of some change effected by external influences, like the south wind, for example, which is damp, as we are told by Aristotle.”
Is God ‘One of the Boys’
Even without Aquinas, though, the culture of the Prep spoke loudly, if less directly, of the subordinate status of women. It should come as no surprise, then, that this prep-school milieu left us precocious adolescents quite comfortable with an all-powerful God who was “one of the boys.”
For me, though, high school was a half-century ago. The reality that attitudes have not changed between my generation and Kavanaugh’s — and may have gotten still worse, not only at…