In today’s world, moral relativism abounds, and society is crowded with questions of whether God even exists. In spring 2018, a group of young idealists set out to prepare Franciscan University of Steubenville students to combat modern dilemmas presented by the secular world with a strong, faith-filled approach. Thus, the Veritas Society was born.
Established by President Clement Harrold, who is a sophomore philosophy and theology major; Vice President Alex Denley, a junior philosophy major; and Daniel McNichol, a sophomore math and philosophy major, the young club seeks to actively respond to current societal problems by building up university students with the right tools for understanding and practicing proper apologetics.
The Veritas Society’s presence on campus has grown exponentially since its founding, and the club members are excited about its promising future. Harrold said that he is excited about the club because it gives him the opportunity to help form students in their ability to defend the faith.
Harrold wants students to feel confident that they too have the capacity to share the faith with intelligence. “As young Catholics we should have an understanding of all the pertinent issues,” he said.
The Veritas Society gives students chances to expand their minds through different events. One such event is the club’s weekly On Guard Seminar, previously known as Anscombe Seminar, which seeks to “promote an intellectual culture, … one where students become better at defending our faith,” said Harrold.
In On Guard Seminars, students examine an argument and learn its “contrary side” or “contradictio” in order to know the “likeness” of the argument “better than (its proponents) do,” Harrold explained. Then, students get into groups and discuss the issue and the possible arguments that could be made. Lastly, they conclude with practical applications and a summary of the responses that were discussed during small group.
“This seminar is a response to today’s culture,” said Harrold. “These seminars are, again, promoting apologetics among students.”
Another event the Veritas Society hosts is the Dumb Ox Debates, which are Parliamentary-style debates held periodically throughout the semester. The debates draw students, faculty and guests to hear the always-controversial topic in question. “Any views that conflict with our Catholic faith are up for discussion,” said Harrold.
According to Harrold, these debates create an atmosphere of raw political confrontation with an added touch of charity in order to keep the Catholic identity alive.
Through Dumb Ox Debates, On Guard Seminars and other Veritas Society events, the Veritas Society’s main focus is “the modern world,” said Harrold. “That is our biggest issue in the modern culture: many don’t believe in God at all. Our generation is much more concerned with the bottom line — does God even exist?”
The future of the Veritas Society looks promising, and its members’ zeal for spreading the faith is a witness to Franciscan University’s slogan: “Academically Excellent. Passionately Catholic.”
The next On Guard Seminar will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 27, and will discuss the “Veracity of the Bible.” On Saturday, March 2, the Veritas Society will co-host a Mardi Gras masquerade ball with the St. Vitus Social Dance Club at 7 p.m. in the J.C. Williams Center.
For more information on future events or to get involved, please contact [email protected].