Monday, December 30, 2013

The Impossible Reform of Catholic Universities

Over the last few years, we have opened up a plethora of problems that plague the Catholic "Educational" system.  Yeah, that word is in quotes for a real good reason.  "Catholic Education" is in the garbage.  The following article from Catholic Cultures' Dr. Jeff Mirus gives the story.  It can pretty much sum up all we talk about here on Non-Faithful...including our repeated calls for the de-frocking of the teaching arm of the Jesuits...Satans friends at the least.  Read the article and then draw your own conclusions.  Abortion provided at a "Catholic" University.  God have mercy on us all.

Jesus Is Lord!
Tim


The Impossible Reform of Catholic Universities

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - send a comment) | December 23, 2013 4:10 PM
It comes as no surprise that the faculty of Jesuit-run Santa Clara University has overturned the President’s decision to eliminate abortion coverage from health insurance there. The vote was 215 to 89, and it throws the decision now to the Board of Trustees. Many onlookers will attribute the faculty vote to the particular failure of the Society of Jesus to uphold the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Catholic Church in recent decades. That certainly is part of the problem, but its roots go far deeper into Catholic higher education than that.
In fact, the roots penetrate to an identity crisis which was already being keenly felt in Catholic universities shortly after World War II, and definitely from 1950 onward. The shape of this crisis was outlined in a 1955 article, later a small book, by Fr. John Tracy Ellis, an historian at the Catholic University of America. Ellis argued that Catholic universities had fallen considerably behind their secular counterparts in “important” indicators like Nobel Prize winners on their faculties. In other words, Catholic faculties did not seem to have a proportionate share of internationally-recognized scholars.
This and similar observations proved to be a catalyst for major faculty “reform” by Catholic university leaders throughout the United States (Fr. Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame, as described in Ralph McInerny’s memoir, I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You (see my review), was an exemplar of this trend). The assumption, to put the matter crudely, was that the Ivy League represented authentic excellence in education, and that Catholic universities had to imitate the faculty-recruitment patterns of the Ivy League if they wanted to compete. No one seems to have considered whether internationally-known scholars were such in part because they tended to be secular voices in a rising culture of secularity, or whether the genuine deficiencies of the Catholic educational experience at that time could have been overcome by a markedly Catholic renewal.
The result was that all major Catholic institutions of higher education rapidly diversified and secularized their faculties over the next generation. And even where sound Catholics remained on these faculties, their institutions gave them a new and very pragmatic vision of what it meant to be a successful scholar—of what sort of distinction was to be both prized and rewarded. This notable shift dovetailed with the public emergence of Modernism among Catholic academics beginning in the 1960s, an endemic failure which came to light as soon as it became culturally advantageous to repudiate traditional understandings of religious faith and morals. It did not take long in most universities for secularized faculty majorities to emerge—a combination of non-Catholics and Catholics who no longer had deep commitments to the Catholic intellectual tradition.
What Can Be Done Is Not Clear
So now we are left with the question of what to do about these faculties. Compared with reforming an administration, which can be done fairly quickly under the right circumstances, reforming a faculty is a long-term process unless one can succeed in mass firings, which under most circumstances is legally impossible. Academic faculties tend to perpetuate themselves, having won considerable authority over hiring. It is at least very difficult for a university administration to reject the candidates selected by faculty search committees. And so the way forward, even for a long term plan of recovery, is not at all clear. In the immediate future, for example, we will see increasing efforts by administrators to move institutions toward authentic Catholic moral standards. And faculties will resist these efforts.
This will be the dominant pattern, I suspect, for the next ten to twenty years. Where a renewed board of trustees puts a decent president in place, and this decent president is determined to initiate reform, we will witness sustained conflict. Over time, the outcomes of the various fights will reveal which strategies work best. As I indicated a few days ago in “Can there be too many good Catholic writers?”, we are blessed with a growing crop of Catholic intellectuals in many different fields who can fill positions as they become available. But positions will come available only slowly for fully Catholic scholars because of the in-built prejudice against orthodoxy and devotion as signs of a parochial, or perhaps even a stunted, mind. What is in fact the key to a superior understanding of all of reality (though admittedly it does not have this effect in every scholar) is actually now regarded as an impediment.
But the Church as a whole must find effective ways to renew her colleges and universities. Such a renewal will place the minds and hearts of countless students within easy reach of truth, students who are now more often led astray, and students in numbers that cannot possibly be reached even by the most admirable of the new and inescapably tiny foundations. I repeat, then, that the vote of the Santa Clara University faculty comes as no surprise. But it does demonstrate the battle before us, which is very likely the next most important battle for Church renewal following the reform of the episcopate and the diocesan seminaries, which has been ongoing over the past twenty years with considerable success.
It will take the power of grace to cut through the intractability of contemporary Catholic universities, which in the main are now organized for spiritual failure. Again, success is not just a matter of finding the right strategy; it is rather a matter of finding the right strategy when it seems that no strategy can possibly work. Precisely because such a reform appears humanly impossible, serious prayer will have to form the very center of the effort. It is, in short, as difficult for a university to be saved as for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. But as Our Lord said of every kind of worldliness, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God” (Mk 10:27).   

3 comments:

  1. Reform must happen...I'll probably be dead before it happens, unfortunately. Last year I was in disbelief when I saw that the U. of Dayton had presented a play called Bare. I caught sight of it online and did a quick check on it. What I watched made me ill. I immediately sent an email to the President of the University asking how this horrible choice of productions was made during Lent. He gave my response to another...which I have copied here along with my response back to him. Dear Mrs. Catholic, Dr. Curran asked me to respond to your note of concern about a theatre production on campus. I appreciate how deeply you care about the University of Dayton. I want to assure you that the University of Dayton's theatre program engaged in a great deal of thought and conversation before scheduling "bare." The mission of a Catholic university is to engage people around difficult questions of faith and culture. Some students in Catholic high schools do struggle with their faith and homosexuality. As a university, we welcome dialogue on difficult issues like this. We scheduled two discussions with cast and audiences after the performances to talk about the issues the musical raises in light of Catholic teachings. In the theatre department's judgment, the musical does not present an argument that homosexuality is normative or that the church's moral teachings are flawed. The production explores students' experiences of conflict and confusion, both within and among themselves. Like most works of art, it seeks to prompt reflection rather than to present answers. Like all Catholic universities, we follow the call of the U.S. Catholic bishops in the document, Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers: Respect for the God-given dignity of all persons means the recognition of human rights and responsibilities. The teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them (cf. The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, no. 10). It is not sufficient only to avoid unjust discrimination. Homosexual persons "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358). It was the hope of our theatre department that the musical would contribute to the discussion of the acceptance of all people; it did not intend to denigrate the church's teachings. Again, thank you for your thoughtful letter. Sincerely, Joseph E. Saliba, Ph.D.Provost

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  2. Part 2 is my response Dear Dr. Saliba, Thank you for responding to my concerns. It is unfortunate that your response is quite inadequate. Personally, I would like the names and titles of those who initiated Bare, those who engaged in a great deal of thought and conversation. I would like to know if those same persons are faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and I would not hasten to add that it is doubtful that they are for this production is not art. Which brings me to your comment, "...like most works of art..." I ask you if both you and Dr. Curran were completely aware of the contents of Bare prior to "bringing" it to your University? It would not qualify as art...it mocks the Bride of Christ. This link may help you to understand art vs. the perverted teachings presented in this program. www.agdei.com/Art&Beauty2.html (If this link does not work, I have tried to attach a copy of the document.) You also stated: The mission of a Catholic university is to engage people around difficult questions of faith and culture. Some students in Catholic high schools do struggle with their faith and homosexuality. As a university, we welcome dialogue on difficult issues like this. I would wholeheartedly agree with your mission and welcoming difficult dialogues; however, as a Catholic University, I would hope that your mission is to lead all students and staff to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Bare does not lead to God, but rather mocks Him. Did you watch it in its entirety? You defend this?

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  3. So, I encourage all faithful Catholics to send as many emails, letters, or whatever they can to Presidents of these Catholic in name only Universities. I also encourage parents to send their children to Catholic schools that are faithfully Catholic. I thank God for Mark Langley founding The Lyceum School in Cleveland, OH. I would encourage parents to seek out the schools (or homeschool) that will provide the best Catholic education/formation they can find for it is well worth the sacrifice!

    Here is a link that may help: http://catholicliberalarts.com/links/links_schools.htm

    Finally, to Tim M... here is Mark Langley's blog that highlights a Catholic Liberal Education (liberal meaning freeing vs. today's meaning on moral depravity, etc.) www.thelyceum.org/weblog/2013/12/28/make-your-house-fair-by-a-catholic-liberal-education/
    Merry Christmas to all and a Blessed 2014!

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