"We have a very traditional Catholic culture here that unifies everyone and we have a sense of justice, so if someone actually feels aggrieved, the categories for understanding that are virtue ethics, you could only understand your irritation as something significant because you perceive there's a violation of justice here, not merely annoyance," he said.
Thomas More College is also a unique model in that is has less than one hundred students, allowing the student body to become a very tight-knit Catholic community.
"It would be comical at Thomas More College to talk about being marginalized, because one small single Catholic community, we're united in our faith, so we're not going to be prey to the same kind of feeling of alienation that most people in modern society and certainly most college students feel," he said.
Also similarly to Thomas Aquinas College, Thomas More requires students to take many courses in the humanities and literature, which allow them to see the world through many different perspectives, he said.
"Someone who might be feeling marginalized is going to have a tough time seeing that as significant when they're reading tragedy and hardship, vice and virtue, they're reading kind of the broad sweep of human experiences across many different time zones, many different cultures, many different races," he said. "And you realize, 'Huh, there is something called humanity, and it's foolish to say I'm going to define myself and my actions by (a more narrow category).'"
A Catholic psychologist weighs in
Dr. Gregory Bottaro is a clinical psychologist practicing with Catholic Psych Institute in Connecticut. He said that while it's necessary and important to recognize that some people have experienced real trauma in their lives, the solution is not to shut themselves off to any experience that might be uncomfortable for them.
"The reality is that real trauma happens," he said. "If you have somebody who's been raped and they're hearing a story about (rape)...a trigger warning essentially can be a positive thing to give people a heads up that we're approaching an area that may trigger something for you, but the fact of the matter is that we are going to approach it," he said.
"So that's the intent, to just give people the awareness that if there's something here you may have struggled with, get ready, get yourself ready for what we're about to do."
But when awareness takes the form of censorship of differing opinions, then it's gone too far, he said. For example, trigger warnings, which can be used as an appropriate way to alert someone that certain material may trigger something for them, are often used as an excuse to not engage with material at all.
"The problem is that people take them as permission to avoid or stay away from the material that's being warned about," he said.
One of the fundamental definitions of overall health, Dr. Bottaro added, is flexibility, and that applies whether one is referring to biological, physical, spiritual or emotional health.
"Flexibility is an intrinsic quality of overall health, and that means that you can have the ability to talk to different kinds of people, have different opinions, dialogue with different people with different perspectives or different cultural views, different world views, and that's ultimately what's healthy," he said.
Therefore, the inability to handle differing opinions could be a sign of psychological sickness or disorder.
A Catholic worldview can be extremely helpful for people encountering differing ideas and opinions, because they are grounded in something fundamental, Dr. Bottaro said.
"A Catholic worldview gives us a stable foundation that goes to the very root of what it is to be human," Dr. Bottaro said. "So if our foundation is at the deepest root, then we don't have to be afraid to dialogue with other people from different perspectives, we don't have to be afraid of what other people might say to us, because we're grounded on the deepest foundation possible."
"And that's ultimately what's missing in our culture, that's why they need these safe spaces, because they don't have any kind of deeply rooted foundation, they're not grounded, and so they need to stop people from saying scary things because it's going to knock them off balance," he added.
Some secular universities and institutions are recognizing the "culture of victimhood" as a threat to the First Amendment right to the freedom of speech, and are taking action. A new group at Princeton University, called the "Princeton Open Campus Coalition", wrote in an open letter to the University's president that they "are concerned mainly with the importance of preserving an intellectual culture in which all members of the Princeton community feel free to engage in civil discussion and to express their convictions without fear of being subjected to intimidation or abuse."
Arizona lawmakers also decided to take action against victimhood culture by passing a bill to prevent colleges and universities from restricting free speech in a public forum. The bill was signed into law in May.
However, Dr. Fahey said, until secular universities and society as a whole once again recognize God and some sense of the transcendent as the center, then there's no way to escape the rising culture of victimhood as an institutionalized part of society.
"The culture of victimhood can't really come out of a religious society," Dr. Fahey said.
"I would go so far as to say that if you have an authentically religious culture of any of the traditional religions, you're not going to have this sense of victimhood."
"In the United States, the religious tradition is Christianity. If you don't recognize that and have some sympathy for the other great religions, then you're never going to escape this problem, instead you're going to build an office to deal with victimhood, and in that action, as long as you have that office, you've now made it part of your culture, you've now made it systemic."
This article was originally published on CNA April 29, 2016.