If you are a Catholic student going to college, is it appropriate to join a fraternity? What is the Catholic view on college fraternities?
As a young Catholic student in college, you may be drawn to a fraternity. Some claim to do community service, to say grace before meals, and to be different from other fraternities. Even so, what is the Catholic view on college fraternities? Is it another organization that is forbidden for Catholics to join, such as the KKK or the communist party? Catholic views can sometimes be confusing, but a little further insight should help make the answer a little more clear.
Benefits Of Fraternities
Joining a fraternity can be very beneficial to college students, if they choose the right one. One can gain leadership skills by joining the executive board, heading major projects such as homecoming or other activities the organization is involved with. You can also join in on community service, as many fraternities often reach out to help less fortunate members of their communities, such as senior citizens, the homeless, ect. This aspect of a fraternity would also look great on a resume. Many fraternities also place emphasis on scholarship. The more immediate benefit of joining a fraternity is the friendship, brotherhood, and entertainment these organizations provide students with.
A Closer Look
As there is no direct answer to this question, you must look into the fraternity itself to find out what kind of activities they do. Fraternities often have a bad rap, as they are known for excessive partying, intense hazing, and sleeping with other students illicitly. However, not all fraternities are the same. Some fraternities focus mainly on community service, and stay away from practices common to the fraternity reputation. The important thing is to get to know some of the students in the fraternity and find out what it is really like. Find out the purpose of the fraternity you might want to join and the activities or events they commonly put on. The important thing about the catholic view on college fraternities is to stay away from temptations some fraternities may bring. If you are around a healthy environment with people that have similar views as you and the religious organization you belong to, you are more likely to stay on track.
An easy way to stay out of trouble and join a fraternity at the same time is to join a Catholic or Christian fraternity. These organizations are almost guaranteed to be on track, and give you the positive aspects of a fraternity, without the worry of peer pressure or being around activities you do not wish to participate in. The Knights of Columbus Fraternity is a great example of this. It is one of the largest Catholic fraternities and is widely known for their many philanthropy activities. Another well known Catholic fraternity is Alpha Delta Gamma, established around 1789 in Georgetown University. This fraternity has had many famous members such as MLB hall of famer Babe Ruth, and former president Harry S. Truman. For women, Theta Phi Alpha is a similar Catholic sorority for students to get involved in.
If you are planning on joining another fraternity, it wouldn't hurt to talk to some of the leaders in your church to see if it is still appropriate. All in all, if you can find a fraternity that has similar values to you, and has members you know and get along with, it is a great idea to join, and get some extracurricular activities under your belt.