March 20, 2015

Christiaan W. J. M. Alting von Geusau, president and rector of the International Theological Institute, a Catholic center of theology in Vienna and founder and chairman of the Schola Thomas Morus in Baden bei Wien, writes about the nature of Christian education in Plough, the publication of the Bruderhof movement.  Dr. Alting von Gesau describes an Iraqi man named Joseph who is threatened by gunman to renounce the Christian faith he has found through imitating the example of a fellow former soldier. The trigger... Read more

March 17, 2015

The challenge to Catholic higher education today is different from those of a generation or two ago. The story of twentieth century Catholicism is a story of immigrants struggling to make their way in an often hostile climate; they built parishes, schools, colleges, nursing homes, and cemeteries to insure the welfare of their own from birth to death. Several books outline the story (in no particular order): Charles Morris’s American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners who Built America’s Most Powerful... Read more

March 9, 2015

William Cavanaugh’s 2009 book The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict (Oxford University Press) offers a compelling commentary on the current discussions regarding the relationship between religion and violence, discussions rekindled in part by President Obama’s critique of ISIS at the National Prayer Breakfast. Cavanaugh digests the argument in his book and provides responses to critiques in a new essay at Political Theology (opens PDF). Cavanaugh’s thesis is that there is no meaningful difference between... Read more

February 26, 2015

While perusing news about Catholic universities today, I was struck by two stories that I happened to read in immediate succession. They point to the different directions that institutions take in their relationship with government oversight. First: Wyoming Catholic College announced that it would not participate in Federal student loan and grant programs, known as Title IV programs, administered by the Department of Education (DOE). From their website: For the past several months, Wyoming Catholic College has been analyzing the... Read more

February 25, 2015

From Zenit: a new Catholic university will open in the city of Erbil, northern Kurdistan. The first courses of Catholic University in Erbil, the capital of Northern Kurdistan, will begin this year. Recently, Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda, ordinary of the archdiocese of Erbil and a great supporter of the project, announced in a letter the imminent commencement of activity in four faculties, including a college for studies in business administration, reported Fides. The foundation was laid in 2012 in... Read more

February 14, 2015

On this Valentine’s Day, I offer a short post that simply suggests what I see at the root of the Catholic intellectual tradition: love. For love is the willingness to sign up for tragedy; to dare to run with others toward suffering, rather than avoiding it; to see one’s own happiness as inextricably bound up with the happiness of others; to find greater joy in sharing difficulties with others than in entertaining oneself. Falling in love is dangerous and therefore... Read more

February 11, 2015

Last Wednesday, the presidents of Catholic University of America, Yeshiva University, and Baylor University–three of the largest and most prominent religiously affiliated universities in the United States, gathered at the National Press Club to discuss the role of faith in higher education. The event grew out of an essay written by Yeshiva’s Richard Joel last year, asking about a university’s soul: Years ago, I had the honor of taking part in a meeting at the White House convening educational leaders for an open discussion with... Read more

January 30, 2015

Education is slow work. It resists quick conclusions, bumper stickers, facile politicization, sound bytes– in a word, just about everything that fuels cyberknowledge. Cyberknowledge–this is a word I just thought of– is the facsimile of knowing that too frequently happens online. It is what happens when the latest datum fits into a prefabricated way of looking at the world. What makes it a facsimile of knowing? The fact that it seems to provide an “aha!” moment. But that moment does... Read more

January 28, 2015

America Magazine has published a summary of the recent study of professed religious men and women by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). It is an important look at the factors that influence decisions to enter a religious order, and corroborates other studies done by CARA about men entering the seminary to prepare for priesthood. I edited a compilation of those CARA studies in a 2014 document entitled College Experience and Priesthood, which emerged from a conference... Read more

January 21, 2015

Universities are complex places that influence young minds. Sometimes that influence is scattershot: a little history here, a little biology there. Other times, though, there is an integrating principle that holds together the otherwise disparate influences of professors and subject matter. Historically speaking, only the latter constitutes a true university, at least in its etymological sense of the various disciplines “turning as one.” The former model, while now the one that prevails at some universities, is more properly described as a “multiversity”... Read more

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