I do not know if then I was too bold when I answered him in just this strain:
‘Please tell me, how much treasure did our Lord insist on from Saint Peter before He gave the keys into his keeping? Surely He asked no more than “Follow me”
So says Dante to Pope Nicholas. The pontiff is in torment in Dante’s hell for simony: profiting from selling church offices for money. Others will join him soon and he is only the latest of many before he came. Dante shows him upside down, feet in the air, because this false shepherd has loved money more than God or God’s people. He has turned the non-profit work of the church to profit and so inverted the calling of the church.
Only a master as great as Dante can combine beautiful poetry with a jeremiad against the church that was so true, good, and lovely that Christians called his comedy divine.
There is nothing wrong with creating a beautiful church: the cathedrals are open to all and are beauty for the rest of us. Nobody but a Judas begrudges patrons encouraging genius to make art for the ages. This is a gift. Dante is not attacking the art, the cathedrals, or the patronage of genius, but the grift that sold church power and offices for profit.
And so all of us should ask of those who burden young adults with great debt so they can rule in administrative splendor in non-profits dedicated to education: how much treasure did the Lord insist of Saint Peter for education? The usurious are accredited tombs filled with bureaucratic bones.
How much debt did our Lord insist from Saint Peter before He gave an education unparalleled and mentoring unmatched? Surely he asked no more than “Follow me.”
The system we have encourages schools to use the student loan programs to survive. Good schools do what they must and help students as they can. I know these good leaders and they agonize over reducing debt to their students. However, there are some, perhaps many, who could do better than they do and allow students to borrow six figures by the end of sophomore year and then throw them out when they cannot borrow more.
The student is left with debt they owe to banks: the administrators have their silver.
There is nothing wrong with a climbing wall, student housing better than most students will ever experience again, but when the next thirty years of life are mortgaged, when the student is hardly able to comprehend the cost, the system is rotten. Simony is buying church office with money, perhaps a modern retelling of Inferno would take the guaranteed student loan (GSL) and describe us, those who have administered such programs, as committing GSLony.
‘nor did Peter, or the others, take gold or silver from Matthias when he was picked by lot to fill the place lost by the guilty soul.
Judas sold the Lord of glory for cash. When the time came to fill his place, no graft was present. We should, mayhap, perhaps, consider that we should not take gold or silver from Government when we pick our students. After all:
‘You have wrought yourselves a god of gold and silver. How then do you differ from those who worship idols except they worship one and you a hundred?
Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on us higher education sinners.