The Urgency of Restoring the Catholic (and Catholic) Nature of Higher Education

Leisure and Labor Conference, Ignatius Press (2017, Forthcoming)

U of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-14

21 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2017

See all articles by Teresa Stanton Collett

Teresa Stanton Collett

University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

This essay reflects upon the overwhelming trend of secularization in American Catholic higher education that has led to colleges and universities largely abandoning their liberal arts heritage for a more “instrumentalist” approach to education. This trend is part of what Pope Benedict XVI has identified as the “crisis of cultures” where Western concepts of reason are increasingly detached from their cultural and spiritual roots, resulting in an inability to speak to anything beyond the material world and our current understanding of it. I argue that we must resist the operational atheism that afflicts most American education, including many schools that are identified as religiously-affiliated. This atheism results resulting in what Pope Emeritus Benedict has called “the presumed completeness and use of liberty as the ‘criterion of everything else.’” This absolutizing of liberty with no higher moral criterion leaves us unable to address pressing problems as a community and specifically excludes an contribution from communities of faith.

Keywords: Catholic, Catholic education, higher education, Catholic higher education, secularization, religion and education, morality and education

Suggested Citation

Collett, Teresa Stanton, The Urgency of Restoring the Catholic (and Catholic) Nature of Higher Education (2017). Leisure and Labor Conference, Ignatius Press (2017, Forthcoming); U of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3055458

Teresa Stanton Collett (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2015
United States

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