Catholic Center provides venue for interaction

The remodeling of the USC Caruso Catholic Center on the corner of 32nd and Hoover Streets will benefit Trojans by providing them with a larger and more prominent location in which to worship. The center is being built entirely with non-university funds provided by alumni and friends of the university, keeping the school free of religious affiliation.

Though the money for this addition to USC’s religious life is coming from Trojans’ own pockets, the Catholic Center’s renewal is a worthwhile expenditure. Like any other community center, it will help foster friendships within the Trojan community, will help lonely students overcome feelings of homesickness and will increase participation in community service events.

The European-style church, community center, outdoor courtyard and events plaza will serve as major assets to USC’s Catholic community by encouraging students to intermingle at religious gatherings. By fostering fellowship and nurturing the spiritual life of church participants, as the institution’s mission statement declares, the Catholic Center will provide another location for members of the Trojan Family to get to know one another and to bond over shared ideals.

The decision to remodel the Catholic Center initially sparked minor controversy among non-Catholic members of the Trojan Family, who mistakenly thought the university had sponsored the upgrade. Indeed, a decision by USC administration to use university funds to expand the center would have been unfair and would have required the school to sponsor the construction of other religious centers to remain in compliance with USC’s lack of religious affiliation, valid since its 1880 inclusion in the school charter. According to the center’s website, the expansion of the church, along with the center itself, was funded by “the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends.” As such, the university has no financial stake in its well-being.

The advancement of the Catholic Center’s profile as one of USC’s 57 religious organizations will be especially significant to out-of-state students, religious and non-religious, who might be homesick and feeling out of touch with their spirituality as a result of being so far away from friends and family. Paying a visit to the new Catholic Center, especially with its improved resources and increased emphasis on fellowship, could help students adjust to the dramatic change in environment by making them feel closer to God, to a higher power or to other community members.

The expansion of the Catholic Center will also allow for possible increases in participation in important community service events. According to the center’s website, the center’s Social Justice team puts together and executes philanthropic events and initiatives such as blood drives, Alternative Spring Break, where church members build houses in underprivileged areas, Adopt-A-Family, where donors buy gifts for impoverished families, Relay for Life; the Homeless Ministry; and a book/clothing drive. If more people know about the church’s presence on Hoover Street, attendance in services is likely to increase — and knowledge about these meaningful fundraisers, campaigns and trips will be more widespread.


Lindsay Dale is a freshman majoring in communication. 

4 replies
  1. Patrick Hathaway
    Patrick Hathaway says:

    In response to Jett Rucker’s comments, the basis for any free and open society is the Constitutional right to freedom of speech – no matter how questionable or objectionable we may find particular points of view to be. In fact throughout human history, draconian measures that limit free speech usually have had the opposite effect on views and ideologies which were deemed objectionable by some. Based on your comments, one would assume you would be rather quite familiar with the Weimar Republic failed attempt’s to silence the views of a madman in 1920s Munich. Ultimately, those attempts to marginalize his views ultimately fed Hitler’s appeal. It would seem that anyone who supports the suppression of free speech has little or no confidence in “the general public’s” ability to choose for themselves, which in ugly elitism at it’s worst.

    • Jett Rucker
      Jett Rucker says:

      Freedom of speech is a right the GOVERNMENT pledges not to abridge – the rest of us abridge each other’s freedom of speech all the time, and with perfect right, both here and in Germany, both now and back then. I object, of course, to the exercise of this right (to abridge my freedom of speech) against me on this subject, but I don’t deny it IS a right. I have the right to slander THEM, too, though I decline to exercise this right beyond exposing what they actually do.

      The project to oppose Hitler came from his political opponents, not, strictly speaking, from the Weimar Republic. After 1924, few legal restraints were exercised upon him (they would, today, on the basis of official defense of racial equality AND anti-Nazism).

      Anyway, a lot of Germans wanted what Hitler appeared to be offering. As to the ultimate outcome, obviously, not even Hitler wanted THAT.

      I hope you followed my links to view Hillel/ADL’s Manual. It’s a corker.

  2. Jett Rucker
    Jett Rucker says:

    Does the Catholic Center have a manual such as that used by the Hillel Foundation (your opposite number on campus for the Jewish religion) for dealing with advertising in the Trojan of historical views that it finds objectionable? The Manual (a must-see) may be viewed at

    The Hillel manual, “Fighting Holocaust Denial in Campus Newspaper Advertisements – A Manual for Action”, is, as its title conveys, a manual detailing how to prevent advertising by such as the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH) from appearing and, in the event anything DOES get into print, how to make the staff of the Trojan regret that they didn’t stop it. (They DO stop it now, since they don’t want “the treatment” set forth in the Manual.)

    The Inquisition might be a good historical subject for your group to start with. But first, you need someone (CODOI?) seeking to advertise objectionable views concerning it. You should be able to arrange that by launching a vigorous, sustained, lavishly funded campaign in the larger society to stigmatize all discussion of the subject that portrays the event in any light unflattering to your church or its adherents then or now.

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