Providence College Student Threatened in Rape Cartoon After Promoting Catholic Marriage Belief

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Michael Smalanskas, of Holden, Massachusetts, is a senior at Providence College — a Dominican Catholic college in Providence, Rhode Island — studying to become a teacher.  He is a resident advisor to his dormitory Saint Joseph’s Hall.

On March 1, Smalanskas posted on the bulletin board in his dorm a defense of traditional and Catholic marriage.  After he displayed his message, Smalanskas has been threatened by unknown parties with a cartoon of homosexual rape.

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“After posting the board, I immediately became a target,” says Smalanskas. “The board was vandalized, groups were congregating outside my room and I was being attacked on social media.”  Within hours of the board’s completion, campus security knocked on Smalanskas’s door, concerned for his safety.  They temporarily relocated him to another dorm for the night, leaving his belongings behind.

On the afternoon of March 14, security contacted Smalanskas at the college book store, where he works, to warn him of a threatening cartoon found in the bathroom of the dormitory.  The cartoon depicts Smalanskas as the victim of an apparently violent rape, with his attacker saying, “Mike, what did I say about putting your sign up?”

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According to Smalanskas, Providence College “has done nothing to deny that [the traditional-marriage board] is hate speech or clearly denounce the violent and malicious actions that have taken place. Instead, college officials have encouraged students to march against homophobia, which is how my bulletin board is being construed.”

Smalanskas is asking the Catholic college “to affirm the Catholic mission of the school and to protect the freedom to express [Catholic] beliefs.”

Providence College responded Thursday afternoon to The Current’s inquiry as follows: “The incident in question is under investigation. The College will not comment on the matter while the investigation is ongoing.”

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  • With-conviction

    My wife and I sent two out of three children for a catholic high school education. This was at great family expense, but we felt the religious education and community aspect was important for their development.
    I can say that the appeal of a catholic college education for our children is gone because of stories like this.
    Does this school administration plan to embrace their legacy and defend their religious beliefs, or has the secular worldview permanently crept into our catholic colleges and church?
    I guess “PC” doesn’t stand for Providence College any longer.

  • Melissa

    “I immediately became a target”….. dude, isn’t that what you were looking for? You are not a martyr because you deliberately used your position and access to the bulletin board to aggravate the people you live with by flaunting Catholic beliefs you know they don’t share. If you are really an educated Catholic man then you know your main job is supposed to be evangelization not ticking people off and turning them off. Search your own heart Mike, you were looking for the reaction. Why else would you bring this to the press? Did you get that attention you ordered yet now?

    Keep doing you, Providence! A great school for a great many, I guess not so much for Mikey though.

    • Justin Katz

      Is your argument that evangelizing people to the Catholic faith requires hiding what the Catholic religion teaches?

      • Melissa

        Never said or implied that. Don’t put word in my mouth Justin. Effective evangelization meets people where they are, turns their hearts to Jesus, and this causes the changes that help people embrace the truth of the faith.

        This kid appears to be a one trick pony that enjoys Catholic virtue signaling to get attention and to deceive himself into thinking he is somehow better than others because of beliefs.

        I hope he gets his attention now because no one is going to want a teacher who would encite the people in their care such as he has done to the residents who he was supposed to take care of.. Why actively piss them off? Why try to get under their skin when you know some of them are gay? People don’t want teachers who are like this. Will he turn around and claim the kids in his class are bullying him or creating an unsafe environment when they don’t agree with him or make funny pictures of him.

        • Justin Katz

          It seems to me that you’re being awfully uncharitable in assuming Mr. Smalanskas’s intentions, not following your own advice.

          I’d suggest that you’re also making universal your own biases. Who would want a teacher who, as a student at a Catholic college, made a point of standing up for Catholic ideals? I’d suggest that there are quite a few of us. And again, warning of exclusion at the same time that you’re critiquing a style of evangelization seems, let’s say, incongruous.

          Believe me, though, I do take your point about meeting people where they are, but that can’t apply in every setting. Being an in-your-face Catholic would be of questionable value at Brown or the University of Rhode Island, but there have to be places for people who are not hostile to Catholic beliefs to be formed in them. Many of us would expect a Catholic college to fall more on the explicitly Catholic side of that line than on the explicitly secular side. Why else be a Catholic college?

          At best, Providence College is proving itself to be a place that fully formed Catholics can (maybe or maybe not) subtly draw non-Catholics toward the faith. But if I’m looking for a Catholic college for my children, my expectation is that the school will help to form them as Catholics. I don’t see any reason to trust Providence College with that mission.

          • Melissa

            Call me whatever names you want. The story isn’t about me, it is about an RA that doesn’t seem to be as fully formed as you seem to think. As for the lack of charity that you want to accuse me of, touche, there’s always confession.

            Just one more point and then I have to go eat my fish dinner. There are plenty of places that fully formed Catholics can be formed in them without the distraction of the outside world.. They are called monasteries and PC isn’t one of those. It’s a regular place where regular kids get regular formative experiences that they reflect on in the presence of their God, who is just as much there for them as he is for “fully formed” children – whoever those are. Over and out. Go Friars. We love you. Keep doing that Catholic thing you do and don’t turn into whatever it is that this Justin person wants you to be. St. .Dominic pray for us.

          • Justin Katz

            I don’t see that I called you any names.

            You missed my point (which is probably might fault, trying to be brief in a comment). As a matter of evangelizing, the Church needs a spectrum of places for people at different stages of conversion. We can’t have only three possibilities: secular schools that are pretty obviously hostile to religious faith, supposedly Catholic schools that keep their faith like a lamp under the table so as not to offend, and monasteries. Somewhere on the spectrum have to be institutions that welcome all people but are unapologetic about what the Catholic religion really is. Such institutions will say, “Yes, you are absolutely welcome, here, and we’ll engage your ideas, but be aware that our religion holds that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.”

            If Providence College is not one of those places, but is rather a place where people who are already fully formed in their conversions — that is, fully catechized Catholics — can practice keeping their beliefs quiet so as not to frighten away those who disagree, then it isn’t really a Catholic college and should stop billing itself as one.

            I’m skeptical, by the way, of your strategy for converting people. Young adults who are provoked by the promotion of the Catholic understanding of marriage aren’t brought any closer to accepting such teachings by keeping them quiet at a Catholic school.

          • Melissa

            Oh I see, you, rather than the Bishop of Providence, think you have the status to deem what is and what is not a Catholic college. PC is catholic college because the people who actually run the church say it is. Maybe you can find a book somewhere to read about how this works in real life.

          • Justin Katz

            If I thought that, I’d have written a formal letter to the college rather than expressed my opinion to an anonymous commenter on a Web site. That said, bishops make their decisions as circumstances change, and they look to the reactions of laypeople to understand what’s change, how, and what the effects are.

          • Jordan Faust

            Do you think you and your band of a dozen odd balls have enough clout to get the Bishop to take away PCs status as a Catholic College? Is that your end game here?

          • Justin Katz

            My considered conclusion is that Catholic colleges are becoming too much of the world and are therefore drifting from their important mission, if not actively harming the faith and, therefore, drawing thousands or millions of people away from God. My sincere hope is that highlighting the tension between their drift and their theological profession will lead them to recalibrate how they balance their decisions.

          • FreddyP

            They should ask kids if they are homosexual before they let them in.

          • Jordan Faust

            Have you spent much time on a Catholic campus lately? You might want to give that a try before drawing this conclusion. I think you might be surprised by the vibrancy of the faith.

          • gregpiper

            You’re aware he was responding to a pro-lesbian poster put up earlier in the women’s dorm, right? Nobody apparently complained about that. Are you still mad at him for responding to advocacy against Catholic teaching?

          • Melissa

            Why is it of interest that no one complained about something else. More and more it looks like he was looking for a fight and is now magnifying it. The problem is that it isn’t meaty enough and will therefore be dismissed by everyone except radical nut jobs.

          • Jordan Faust

            Where was Smalanskas’ charity for the gay kids in the hall who expressed their dismay at his choice of bulletin board postings?

          • John Stevens

            “Where was Smalanskas’ charity for the gay kids in the hall”

            On the bulletin board.

            “who expressed their dismay at his choice of bulletin board postings”

            If you love someone, you will tell them the truth.

          • Jordan Faust

            Oh please, if you think for even one second that Smalanskas loves the residents of his dorm then you are delusional. He cannot stand them.

          • John Stevens

            “Oh please, if you think for even one second that Smalanskas loves the residents of his dorm then you are delusional. He cannot stand them.”

            Your evident bad will is noted.

            Is there anything else you wanted me to take away from this comment?

          • Jordan Faust

            Nah.

          • Tugg Speedmann

            The cartoon speaks volumes about those who disagree with Smalanskas and what they believe sex to amount to.
            Homosexuality is a psychological abnormalty; the psychiatric community used to have the courage to label it as such. The tide needs to turn.

          • Jordan Faust

            The cartoon is disgusting. It would be better if it was never presented to the media.

    • Nicola M. Costello

      So, you are justifying rape threats because he put up a sign affirming Catholic faith on marriage? Strange a woman would support rape threats.

      • Jordan Faust

        There are serious doubts about the credibility of the threats. This looks like a hoax perpetrated by the victim to explode the issue. I guess it was successful too.

      • Melissa

        Nicola, you are reaching. I absolutely do not support rape threats. I have my doubts about these threats. I’m sure there will be more coming out about what really is going on here.

        • Tugg Speedmann

          If it’s a false flag type of attack, shame on them. But what if it isn’t?

  • Christopher C. Reed

    Rome would have been fine with the early Church if Jesus could just scoot over and make room for the Roman God-King in the Trinity…
    plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  • Jordan Faust

    I call BS when I see it. The kid says he’s being harassed and rather than wanting the perps who did it caught he wants the college to “affirm the Catholic beliefs”. Come on. Who believes this? I’ll bet some Dominican is listening to “bless me father i drew a dirty picture and hung it on my own dorm door”

    • Justin Katz

      My understanding is that he went to the police after campus security found the cartoon.

      • Melissa

        He appears to be very distracted from the crime against and hyper focused on disparaging the school administration. That’s just off.

  • Phil Devine

    Your discussion doesn’t get the issue clear. It is not possible to shield young people from Catholic backgrounds from non- or even anti-Catholic ideas. Nor should we try, But silencing people who express Catholic ideas in a dignified manner should be out of the question at a Catholic or even a secular institution, especially when it involves threats of violence. If anyone but a pious Catholic were threatened with rape for expressing his or her ideas, the politically correct would be caterwauling.

    Philip Devine
    Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
    Providence College

    • Jordan Faust

      I certainly hope that the authorities are investigating the very real possibility that this man, or someone affiliated with him, planted the picture themselves. They are radical for a cause and seem sort of uninterested in justice for the reported crime. Somehow the only thing that Smalanskas mentions in interviews has to to of with challenging the president of the college to announce to the world that they are truly a Catholic college based on some litmus test that he, himself, has orchestrated. The whole affair reeks of a set up by Catholic radicals.

      “They were congregating outside my room” yet he doesn’t have a single photo of this in the age of social media. No one took a picture. “they threatened me on social media” Disagreeing is not threatening, it is disagreement. The picture was conveniently found while he was working leading me to hunch that there are other Catholic radicals involved. Usually it’s the liberals that pull this kind of deceptive act so this is a twist on the theme but all of the same marks of the devil are here. Phony crime.

      • Tony

        That is a vicious insinuation. You have not the slightest bit of evidence for it. And here is the evil of detraction: people speculate, all to the harm of the person in question, and what is he supposed to do? Provide positive evidence of a negative — that he did NOT do the vile thing you insinuate that he has done? How is he supposed to prove that?

        • Jordan Faust

          Why don’t you provide evidence that the college administration is involved in “silencing those with Catholic beliefs” because they most certainly are not. Have you worshipped with them lately? It’s about as Catholic as it gets.

          All I have to say about the insinuation is….if it looks like a dog and smells like a dog, it probably is a dog.

          • Tony

            I know the young man. What in the name of common sense do YOU think is the inevitable result, when somebody sees a thing like this? People clam up. It is called a “chilling effect,” and demonstrations are precisely aimed at keeping people from speaking. IF they DO speak, they will be slandered. I have the scars to prove it.

            He did none of the things you accuse him of, and you should be ashamed of yourself for making the insinuation. Maybe someday — and I hope it does not happen to you — you will experience the dreadful effects of detraction, when you are absolutely helpless to recover your reputation, because people let their imaginations and their tongues go wild, and because the louder you protest your innocence, the less you are believed.

            I suggest that you look up “detraction” and “slander” in the Catechism, and find out in how many ways we can be guilty of sin against the eighth commandment. One of those ways is to believe the worst about someone and then to encourage others to do so also, which you have done here, as has the other commenter.

            The lesson anybody will take from this event is simple: Do not dare publicly to express the truth regarding marriage. You will be vilified.

          • Jordan Faust

            Let’s see what the investigation proves. Slander is when you say something that isn’t true when you know what the truth is. In this case, there is no proof that he did not design this hoax and at least some reasonable speculation that he may have done so. There are many phony crimes like this on college campuses. It’s not slander, it is speculation. And you should really stick to taking care of your own soul and leave others to take care of their own.

          • Tony

            I know all of the people involved. There is zero chance that what you say is true. And when you speculate about somebody PUBLICLY, and cavalierly assign evil motives and evil actions, that is a sin against charity and against the eighth commandment. When I say that I hope you never suffer the like, I do not say it by formula. It is because I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of such. I would not wish it on my enemy.

          • Melissa

            There is an odd group-think to many of the people who have posts here that do not seem at all aware of how most Catholic people think. I know, I know, you would prefer that the rest of us just disappear so your church could be more pure. Tough crap guys, the sinners in the pew are here to stay and we are the life blood of most parishes and most Catholic Colleges. We love our Catholic Schools from K-PhD and we will fight you at every turn if you try to co-opt them for some sanitary version of a Catholic school. People who want that can head up to the woods in NH with the other PC drop outs who are too tender for the real world where not everyone agrees and yet we love each other anyways.

          • Tony

            Well, now, much love in your post. You spit venom, and then have the nerve to talk about “love.” Every single one of your posts on this thread has been venomous, self-righteous, and spiteful. You are HAPPY that the young man has been persecuted. You sneer at him.

            You should speak out in plain terms: “I do not agree with the Church’s teaching regarding sex, marriage, and family, and I will do all in my power to make light of it, to mock it, and to teach others to do the same.”

            It is not a matter of personal agreement. God does not take polls. What the Church teaches on this matter is either true or it is not. If it is TRUE, then it must be preached for its healing power and its beauty. You have shown not the slightest bit of love for the young man — apparently “love,” for you, means “agreeing with everybody’s sexual habits.” Why that does not also apply to everybody’s irascible habits, everybody’s monetary habits, everybody’s veridical or mendacious habits, I would much like to know. Sinners we all are. Part of LOVE is to help one another OUT of the sins, just as you would want to help people get out of quicksand.

            Take up your differences with Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius XI, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and yes, the same Pope Francis whom the student in question quoted thus: “We must affirm the right of all children to grow up in a family with a mother and a father.” Your problem is not with me or with the student. Your problem is ultimately with Jesus Christ, who numbered fornication and lewdness as among the things, like excrement, that come “out of a man to render him unclean,” and who located the Father’s intention regarding marriage to “the beginning,” before the Fall: “And for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife, and the two shall become one flesh,” which the student ALSO quoted.

            A long time ago I believed as you probably do now. I was wrong. The Church was right. Saint Paul was right, the popes were right, the saints were right — and Jesus Christ was right. Events since then have showed me how wrong I was when I dissented from the Church’s teaching, and how much harm that dissent has done to this country and others.

          • Melissa

            Tony, You don’t know what I believe about the marriage issue and you sure as heck don’t know what I think about anyone’s sexual habits because I prefer to keep those things in my heart and not try to shame the world with my worldview.

            What I do not have is any love for the actions of a twisted student who has been indoctrinated by right wing radical “Catholic” academics who are out of touch with most of catholicism. A kid who is using his bully pulpit to try to discredit good people. A kid who should be grateful for a good education and instead is kicking crap in their faces. It’s great that the professors who indoctrinated him have tipped their hands so that I can steer the kids I know at PC away from their warped classes. If you really were reading my posts instead of taking out your whip to every comment you would see that I will passionately defend Providence College and everything it stands for regardless of how many here disagree. The people that run PC are fine Catholics who are doing their best to provide a first class education for children of many races and creeds (Oh, sorry, I forgot that you are sensitive about diversity)

          • Tony

            So I was right.

            And you continue to spit venom and to call names. Now the kid is “twisted.” Now the kid has evil motives. DID YOU SEE THE POSTER? The poster had nothing to do with any individuals. It is beautiful and sweet. It said nothing about sin. It said nothing about any group. It merely AFFIRMS the beauty of marriage. So the professors up there are “warped.” So they are “right-wing.” And now you suggest nasty things about me too. Let me clear the record there. I read 10 languages and teach literature spanning 4000 years and every continent but Australia. What I objected to was not “diversity” but political uniformity — and I welcomed all students, regardless of ANY characteristics, to come and receive from me the best education I know how to give, which these days is an education in arts and letters, without reference to contemporary politics. If you knew anything about me, you would know that I am far more comfortable around working class people of all races and creeds, than around white secular people, especially academics.

            So you have now slandered the student, and slandered me. And you still evade the point, which has to do with the truth or the falsehood of what the student posted. Take it up with Jesus and His vicars, including Pope Francis.

          • Melissa

            I saw the poster. It’s creepy. It’s unnecessarily provocative. It looks like a 1970s CCD book page. You seem great. Wow! How awesome are your credentials and everything about YOU YOU YOU. Slander is only slander if it isn’t true. In my opinion, the kid is twisted and the evidence of that is that he kept putting up the poster up again and again after people who live with him demonstrated that they were uncomfortable having it up. That’s twisted. You did run away because you didn’t fit in to teach all students. If you are going to work overtime to discredit PC then realize there are people who will work overtime to make sure that you get a little back. This should not be happening. The kids in the dorm deserve an RA who respects them and knows how to tread lightly on sensitive issues like sexuality. Lord Have Mercy on the poor souls that have been hurt by Mike Smalanskas.

          • Jordan Faust

            Agreed. Creepy. Provocative.

          • John Stevens

            “How awesome are your credentials and everything about YOU YOU YOU.”

            I take it you’ve never read any of his work?

            Yes, he has very impressive credentials, and his work is indeed awesome.

            His translation of the Comedy literally knocked me back in my chair the first time I read it.

            His articles are like prose poetry. How he does that is beyond me, but it is indeed impressive.

          • Jordan Faust

            Why do you mean “all of the people”. I thought just the RA did this. Are you implying there are more people than just him involved? If so, maybe you’d like the share the truth of what is going on here because the story that’s been spun doesn’t pass the smell test for truth. Let us in on who “all of the people” are.

          • Tony

            I mean: the student, and the people in the administration who threw him to the wolves, and the person organizing the students against him, and some of the leaders of the students organizing against him.

            Have you seen a picture of the poster in question? Exactly what in it do you find offensive? The kid put it up, and then everything exploded.

          • Jordan Faust

            Right. It exploded because it offended people and whether you agree with them or not, why would an RA, an employee of the college, seek to aggravate them again if he didn’t have some other agenda that he was playing out through this poster thing. He is a trouble maker. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. You might know him and think he is the cat’s meow but most people think he is trying to make trouble for the college like some other people have in the past.

          • Tony

            Have you SEEN the poster?

            Every day the kids go past posters and signs that offend Catholics, and attend classes whose professors go out of their way to mock the Catholic faith, and yet the Catholics on campus keep quiet. The RA’s are ENCOURAGED to put up posters on controversial matters. They do so all the time. Another RA had done so, on the “opposite” side, with no repercussions. His poster was in part a response to that. It is entirely positive. It is actually beautiful, and sweet. It condemns no one. It names no sin. It merely affirms the truth and the beauty of church teaching and the words of Jesus.

            Or are Catholics supposed to shut up all the time? They shut up ALMOST all the time, and that’s not good enough? Why don’t YOU recommend some effective way of preaching the truth on this matter? You don’t like his means. You have some alternative to recommend?

          • Jordan Faust

            Have you read the article in the Cowl? There is no policy about what the contents of posters should be on campus. Now you are just making stuff up.

            Here’s what I think, the Lord works with each of us in His time and in His own way. Apparently, based on the result, Mike is not an effective vehicle for bringing this particular message to this particular group of people. I take offense to the manner in which he is now trying to drag down the whole college because people didn’t jump on board with his bulletin board post which, by the way, offered nothing, no dialogue, no speaker to listen to, no website to get more information, nothing….It was a just lame. It was not beautiful and sweet, it was a manipulation and you know it..

            Catholics are not supposed to shut up, which is why I haven’t, but they are also not supposed to turn people away from the faith by their tactics which is effectively what has happened to the men in the dorm run by the off-balance RA whom you seem to adore.

          • Justin Katz

            Jordan,

            Clearly, Mike is “an effective vehicle” for a message that others have wanted to deliver, and I’d suggest that if you write it off as “hate” you’re missing what is important (and most interesting) about the disagreements.

            I’m genuinely curious about something: What path do you see to full acceptance of the Catholic faith for people who, as you put it in comments to another post, “tore down his poster because it hurt their feelings”? I also wonder what your reaction would be if students with traditional views repeatedly tore down a bulletin board with the opposing message. For that matter, I wonder why your apparent means of evangelizing Mike and Tony is to criticize them aggressively, even as you insist that Mike should have let his own beliefs lie silent in the name of evangelizing. And then, as well, I wonder why you seem to discount the possibility that the Lord has worked through Mike to plant seeds in the hearts and minds of those offended that will take root on God’s own time and in His own way.

            But first, I’d like to know the route toward full Catholic formation that you envision by taking the approach of downplaying Catholic beliefs that hurt the feelings of those whom we would evangelize?

          • Jordan Faust

            I never used the word “hate” Justin. If I were going to label his actions i would call them stupid and misguided and creepy, maybe, but not hateful.

            Listen, I’m not being paid here. Mike was paid by the college to be an RA. He isn’t a very good one and he is not bringing people to the faith either through this action as evidenced by the swarm of students who apparently did not like his tactics. I make no claim to have knowledge of how to “fully form” Catholics and I think its best to leave that to the Lord.

            Mike may be effective for you and Tony and a few others but I seriously don’t see the attractiveness of his actions over the past few weeks.

          • Justin Katz

            “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” — Jesus in Luke 12:51.

            I don’t quote that as evidence that Mike’s approach — fully accepting, for the sake of argument, your characertization of it — but because what I’m interested in exploring is your understanding of how we build a path for people to God. A few days after Jesus completed his task on the cross, one could easily have looked at how people had turned on him, how his own closest disciples betrayed and denied him, and say, “Well, clearly, he is not bringing people to the faith through his action as evidenced by the swarm of his fellow Jews who apparently didn’t like his tactics.”

            If we share the goal of bringing people to God, would you deny the possibility that God is acting through Mike precisely to provoke a response?

          • Jordan Faust

            If you think this Mike kid is anything like Jesus Christ you are out of your mind. He may want to become a martyr but people are frankly not that interested in him. The real martyrs in this odd drama are the hard working men and women at the college who he is trying to take down with his misguided crusade against PC.

          • Justin Katz

            How like or unlike Jesus he is is beside the point. If we share the goal of evangelism, we have basically two paths:

            1. Accommodation
            2. Fortitude around the teachings of our Church despite the tension

            Jesus showed both to be legitimate. So, if you’re going to insist that we should trust in God to bring people around, at the very least, you have to acknowledge that He can do so whichever approach to evangelism we take, and scripture suggests that either could be appropriate, given circumstances.

            Now, in the circumstances of this case, we can hardly doubt that the students who are centrally concerned with sexual identity have been accommodated. They have their own official LGBT(…) group, and there was apparently an RA-created bulletin board promoting their views that went up earlier without controversy. Their reaction to the Catholic-marriage board suggests that the accommodation is not having the effect of drawing them toward Catholic teachings.

            That is, they are not becoming more accommodating of Catholic beliefs in return for the accommodation of their feelings, but rather, they are learning that any Catholic beliefs that might hurt their feelings may be attacked. They are learning the view that you and Melissa are expressing in this space — namely, that the sin of their sexual behavior is nothing of which to be ashamed, but that the real sin is articulating Catholic truth about marriage.

          • Melissa

            You people are trying to attribute to this guy some kind of martyrdom for the cause of marriage as defined by the church. That cause does not need martyrs. It has witnesses a plenty, as in most of these peoples parents and millions of other couples.

            My argument is not and never has been about the truth of what marriage is.

            I am appalled by the young man’s behavior on his job.
            I am appalled that he took liberties with his position and used it to damage relationships with his dorm mates. I am appalled that he is creating a storm of controversy for the school’s administration. I am appalled that a group of very stodgy professors is working against their school and trying to undermine it’s credibility as a Catholic institution. That is not just or fair. It is foul play.

          • John Stevens

            “I am appalled that a group of very stodgy professors is working against their school and trying to undermine it’s credibility as a Catholic institution.”

            It’s the other way around. They’re trying to reinvigorate and reaffirm that the institution is actually Catholic.

          • Melissa

            I read that Fr. Shanley has answered the question about the school being Catholic. Time will tell if these unhappy people will accept what he says or whether they will not stop until every student is sporting a scapular and parading around campus with their heads bowed in prayer.

          • Jordan Faust

            If you are a Catholic college that wants access to federal funds and wants to stay in business then the choice is obvious, isn’t it?

          • John Stevens

            “If you are a Catholic college that wants access to federal funds and wants to stay in business then the choice is obvious, isn’t it?”

            Yes. You make the choice between the world, and God, and choose God if you are Catholic.

          • Jordan Faust

            Maybe you do that but people who actually run these places know the good that do is not pure or perfect but the best they can and they know God appreciates the effort.

          • John Stevens

            I suspect God loves his Martyrs more than he loves the lukewarm.

            There’s actually scripture about that.

          • Melissa

            Most ineffective communicator ever in the history of RAs. Out of touch. Out of line.

          • Melissa

            I think there are a Iot of people who would agree about the agenda of this guy. Troublemaker seems about right.

          • John Stevens

            “I think there are a Iot of people who would agree about the agenda of this guy. Troublemaker seems about right.”

            Yeah, and they crucified a guy who was also labeled a troublemaker with an offensive agenda.

            Let that be a lesson, right?

          • Melissa

            Oh well, Easter’s coming. Maybe Mike can resurrect himself on some other college campus. I think he is done here.

          • John Stevens

            If so, then that simply provides yet more evidence that PC is no longer a Catholic University.

          • John Stevens

            “It exploded because it offended people and whether you agree with them or not, why would an RA, an employee of the college, seek to aggravate them again if he didn’t have some other agenda that he was playing out through this poster thing. ”

            The truth is neither aggravating nor offensive.

            It is just the truth.

          • Jordan Faust

            Really, why don’t you inquire with the people who were offended and aggravated.

          • John Stevens

            Why would I do that?

            Your offense is not something I control. You can choose to be offended by anything. If I tell you the sky is blue, you could manufacture all kinds of offense and get really aggravated about that.

            The cardinal virtues include “justice.” The interesting and useful question to ask is: “Was is just?”

            That one is offended by injustice makes sense, but that one is offended does not prove that an injustice occurred.

            Question: Did you get this worked up by LGBTQIA+ postings, parades, pride events and the like? If I told you such things offended me, would you attack the sponsors and actors in such events as strenuously as you attacked this little bulletin board posting?

          • Jordan Faust

            I probably would, yes. I would definitely if any person used their position of authority to get in someone’s face with a view point….which is kind of like what your editor here does, isn’t it. He always has to have the final word. It’s amusing.

          • Justin Katz

            I don’t have any extra authority in that regard. I necessarily pay closer attention to these comments sections than the average person, but I’m not editing anybody’s comments or blocking them until I have a chance to respond. A good portion of my comments explicitly ask questions, which isn’t what one does when seeking to have the last word, and moreover, you’ve been as quick to respond at times… which is kind of how conversation is supposed to work.

            For the record.

          • Jordan Faust

            Hey, I’m not offended. I get the nature of conversation. I was just pointing out that there is a power order at play here and you clearly have the upper hand.

          • That’s a really good point, and I thank you for making it. People need to be reminded about how conversation is supposed to work. Or so it would seem.

          • John Stevens

            “I would definitely if any person used their position of authority to get in someone’s face with a view point”

            So, not a fan of free speech, either?

            And, you haven’t done it yet, even though such events have already occurred, and continue to do so?

          • Jordan Faust

            You don’t think that there should be limits to free speech when you are employed by someone and working for them at the time you exercise this right? Hmmmm…..I wouldn’t hire a loose cannon like that.

          • Jordan Faust

            Who is being thrown to the wolves? In what I read, Mike was throwing Fr Shanley to the wolves. Is that appropriate?

          • Melissa

            He threw himself to the wolves and then blamed the administration when the wolves started nipping. He has no one to blame but himself for any negativity that is coming his way. He should have been taught to play nicer with others.

          • Martin

            Tony,
            With respect, my reading of this entire episode suggests that Michael Smalanskas has been the only voice putting this story out there and he has “cavalierly assigned evil motives” to the VP and the college president. Has he sinned against charity and the eighth commandment? Have you through your constant support of him and going along with the opinions he has publicly proclaimed of wrong doing with no evidence? I wonder if there are some people who have been wounded and therefore cannot see the truth of things in this matter. I believe the judge who issued the restraining order against this young man was the first public voice to say something important about this matter and look what he said. He said Michael should stay away from the administrator he has been publicly harassing. In my book, that is evidence of a sin against the 8th commandment as you put it.

          • Melissa

            Jordan, he will not be able to produce that because there is no such thing going on. The attacker here is the RA. He attacked the residents of the dorm he was supposed to care for with what was essentially Catholic propaganda aimed squarely at provoking a reaction from them. He attacks the president of the college, publicly challenging him to take a stand which seems unnecessary given the man’s lifelong commitment to his faith. It sure is a dog.

    • Melissa

      Phil, who was silenced?

    • Martin

      Phillip,
      I have been reading all of the background on this story for the past few days and seeking to form an opinion that is informed rather than reactionary. My conclusion at this point is that the young man is an attention seeker who is a very poor representative for conservative causes (with which I almost always agree especially as it has to do with Holy Mother Church) That said, I am stunned to see your comment about Smalanskas.

      It is impossible to understand your supposition that somehow Michael Smalanskas has been silenced when, in fact, he is clearly the only voice that is keeping this story alive in the press now several months later, having done multiple on-camera interviews and some radio spots as well. Do you still believe that he has been silenced? In my opinion, he is making a mockery of real Catholicism by acting like a radical, inflamed fool with significantly off-putting ego needs.

  • Red Doyle

    I have read the article and this entire stream of comments. The editor who comments tries to switch up the conversation rather than letting people’s points stand. As near as I can tell, Smalanskas was unhappy that people in his dorm believe that same sex marriage is acceptable and he does not share this view. This led him to put up a poster in favor of traditional marriage. That poster made people angry and they tore it down and, according to him this led to him being harassed in a few ways. It is somewhat suspect that the focus of his concern shifts from figuring out who harassed him, because that harassment would certainly be criminal, and instead focuses on asking the college to affirm traditional marriage. The main reason I don’t understand this focus is because the college has always focused on traditional marriage. They only perform traditional marriages in the chapel. If a same sex couple were to asked to be married in the chapel it would certainly be denied. So the college is absolutely doing what he is asking them to do already. That is why all of the fuss seems out of place.

    • Justin Katz

      I’d say that I’m trying to foster conversation rather than everybody’s stating a position and stopping there.

      My understanding, for the record, is that the controversial bulletin board was in response to a bulletin board expressing the opposing cultural view. If that is the case, it wasn’t, as you characterize, a case of spontaneous frustration with conversations he’s heard among people, or anything like that.

      As for the focus of concern, I think people haven’t dwelled on who has been harassing him because they are (1) obvious and part of campus organizations for their interest group and (2) an anonymous cartoon drawer who is likely under investigation at this time.

  • Walter Griffin

    Young man, you have not been parented very well if you chose to release this disgusting photo to the new media. None of us needed to see this.

  • Amirah Rafisedih

    I can tell you that this LGBTQ bullying would never happen in a Muslim run school or country because Muslims do not tolerate homosexuality. Sodomites get away with this because Christians allow it. I know of what I speak.

    • Justin Katz

      Alright… it’s one thing to comment under all sorts of different names, but this comment is getting a bit out of bounds.

  • Jennifer Alexander

    I think I am a little late to this controversy. From what I understand, an RA at Providence College, a Catholic college, displayed a bulletin board aligned with the teachings of the Catholic faith and people were offended. It is unclear to me as to why anyone would be offended, surprised, taken aback, etc. Have we forgotten that Providence College is a Catholic school? Didn’t the bulletin board espouse the beliefs in which the school was founded? Bulletin boards that espouse the beliefs of the Catholic faith should be encouraged. In fact, that is what I would expect at a Catholic school. I am quite puzzled as to why anyone would find it acceptable that any material contrary to the Catholic faith should be posted at a Catholic school and why a student who supports the Catholic faith should be chastised. At any of the HBCU, I would expect to see bulletin boards supporting their principles. I do not think that any HSBC would allow, encourage or support a bulletin board supporting the KKK. I don’t think Yeshiva University would allow a Neo-Natzi bulletin board. Have the leaders at Providence College lost their way, sold their souls, accepted a few silver coins?

    That brings up another point; aren’t the same people who feel we should be accepting of everyone and anything the same people who do not accept this student and his beliefs. The contradictory nature of these students and their beliefs reveals, unfortunately for them, that there does exist unwavering truth.

  • Melissa

    What a joy it is to witness the record number of young people coming in to the Catholic faith at Providence College this year. That certainly sends a different message about the college than the one that young Mr. Smalanski wants to send. I think the faithful converts are a much more profound story than the embattled, bitter Smalanskas.

  • Delawanna

    This is supposed to be a Catholic College no??? It appears that it is run by Modernist Luke Warm ‘Catholics’ who don’t even defend The Faith. Don’t send your kids to that school at all!

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