Sunday, January 9, 2011

Catholic Universities And The Secular Dictatorship

This is some more stuff that I missed in the madcap hijinks that constituted the Throwback Family's holiday season.

Cardinal Burke went to Boston and gave a speech addressing the issue of Catholic universities. Of course, both Karl and I have an interest in this topic, given our status as ND alums and our well-documented opinions on how ND has essentially forfeited any claim to being associated with the Faith.

An examination of His Eminence's comments and ND's actions might be illustrative:

In a lengthy discussion of the nature of Catholic higher education, he said that a Catholic university faithful to its identity will help students give an account of their faith and help them resist “the secularist dictatorship which would exclude all religious discourse from the professions and from public life in general.”

Some folks might be insisting at this point that the Obama invitation to speak at ND was a good thing, given that it provided such a discourse. The problem is that this isn't what happened. What happened was an incidence of scandal that degenerated into a platform for secularism to preach its values with impunity. Most of us ND folk are still waiting for all those "dialogue" goodies that were promised by Fr. Jenkins.

“A Catholic college or university at which Jesus Christ alive in His Church is not taught, encountered in the Sacred Liturgy and its extension through prayer and devotion, and followed in a life of virtue is not worthy of the name,” he told attendees.

Jesus’ presence is not something “extraneous” to the pursuit of truth because he alone inspires and guides professors and students to remain faithful in their pursuits and not “fall prey to the temptations which Satan cleverly offers to corrupt us.”

One would think that such things are self-evident. Catholic universities should promote Truth and seek to extinguish error. The Catholic nature of the institute should inform everything that it does. I'm not sure how promoting heretics to positions of authority and holding classes that are overtly encouraging the demolition of the Church have anything to do with this mission. I wonder how having dorm Masses that are billboards for liturgical abuse are supposed to foster the Truth the Church has been charged to defend. Or does it actually foster the destruction of faith by presenting Church teaching as being changeable and dependent solely on the whims of the audience?

The Catholic university is needed more than ever in a society “marked by a virulent secularism which threatens the integrity of every aspect of human endeavor and service,” he said.

“How tragic that the very secularism which the Catholic university should be helping its students to battle and overcome has entered into several Catholic universities, leading to the grievous compromise of their high mission,” he commented.

The American-born cardinal said that rather than exemplifying secularism, the Catholic university’s manner of study and research should “manifest the bankruptcy of the abuse of human life and human sexuality … and the bankruptcy of the violation of the inviolable dignity of human life, of the integrity of marriage, and of the right order of our relationship to one another and to the world.”

It's noteworthy how Cardinal Burke doesn't present Catholicism and secularism as forces that are seeking rapprochement or mutual understanding. He rightly describes it as a battle. This is what the Jenkinses of the world don't seem to understand. Errors are destructive. To keep them from being destructive, they must be refuted. Providing a public forum during which they can be spewed among the populace is foolish. Unless you are planning on denouncing them, that is.

On the issues of creating curricula and hiring professors, Cardinal Burke advised “special care,” noting the poor religious formation of many young Catholics.

“Given the religious illiteracy which marks our time and in fidelity to the seriousness with which university studies should be undertaken, there is really no place for engaging in speculative theology and certainly no time to waste on superficial and tendentious theological writings of the time,” the cardinal contended.

Yeah, that has McBrien's name all over it. I wonder how serious ND (or any Catholic university) really is about that sort of thing. While there are bright pockets here and there, the Faith is largely forgotten in favor of social projects that even atheist groups might initiate. Check the ads during football games. Have you ever seen one that proclaimed ND as "Fighting . . . for the salvation of souls"?

The Cardinal's words are well-spoken. The deaf ears at ND will not hear, though.

No comments: