Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Secularizing Catholic Universities

"This university...it's not for everybody."
--Father Cavanaugh (Rudy)

Interesting review of the secularization of Catholic universities in America, including key events in the last few decades that have driven the trend.

One reaction is that, from a theoretical perspective, the secularization of Catholic campuses should not be surprising. To the extent that institutes of higher learning depend on public resources--whether those resources are tangible (e.g., money) or intangible (e.g., respect and legitimacy)--then we should expect institutions with religious foundations to shed those affiliations if need be in order to procure those resources.

Another reaction is that this phenomenon demonstrates how diametrically opposed statism is with the Catholic faith. Professors, administrators, and other stakeholders who want to promote statist ideas on a Catholic campus face little choice but to sever traditional Church ties and replace them with a secular or 'modern' alternative. The story of the Jesuits as told by the author is particularly instructive here.

While likely beyond the scope of the article, the author fails to note that this secularization process has been underway at Catholic grade schools and high schools as well.

Sadly, the entire system of Catholic education is shedding values that made it unique. The process of secularization nudges Catholic ed toward the mediocrity that it was founded to replace.

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