Monday, September 20, 2010

A Real Catholic University

Yesterday, the Holy Father beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman, a convert from Anglicanism. He is a popular figure in modern Catholicism, and many have fallen in love with Catholicism through the writings and the preaching of the now beatified Newman.

One of Newman's great contributions (he had many) was a work entitled "The Idea of a University" in which he lauded the idea of a liberal arts education. He taught that true knowledge can never lead one away from God - only toward Him.

Newman was a man who relentlessly sought the truth, and was never satisfied with partial truth. He felt that an education should ultimately be something that encourages a person to do the same thing.

In "The Idea of a University" he notes "There can be no doubt that every art is improved by confining the professor of it to that single study. But, although the art itself is advanced by this concentration of mind in its service, the individual who is confined to it goes back." This is an outright attack on the way most higher education is carried out today.

May our universities instill in our young adults a hunger to pursue the Truth wherever it leads them, may they be places that believe in Truth in the first place, and may we head the advice and teachings of this great man.

Finally, a quote from Blessed Newman which was cited in the Holy Father's homily yesterday, which I think will become the quote for my classes here at school for the rest of the year.

"I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it”