Mirror of Justice

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fides et ratio's implications for universities

Randall Smith asks, here, asks what taking John Paul II's important encyclical Fides et ratio seriously would mean for Catholic universities.  A taste:

One of the greatest popes in history writes a remarkably nuanced and intellectually profound encyclical — one basically exhorting Western civilizatpes in history writes a remarkably nuanced and intellectually profound encyclical — one basically exhorting Western civilization not to lose its faith in reason — and a dozen years later the response from the halls of the academy is still a collective yawn: “We can’t be bothered with this. We’re much too busy doing cutting-edge scholarship.” Cutting-edge scholarship that very few people read, much less care about, and that is largely subservient to the categories of modern thought, rather than a challenge to them.

Like the modern corporate executive who is too busy doing whatever it is he does to ask why he is doing it, or to think more broadly about how what he does contributes to the larger goals of the corporation (let alone society) as a whole, so too the modern corporate Catholic university is much too busy doing whatever it does (raising money, seeking greater levels of prestige, sucking up to secular counterparts) to engage the kind of fundamental issues that Pope John Paul II is asking be considered in Fides et Ratio.esponse from the halls of the academy is still a collective yawn: “We can’t be bothered with this. We’re much too busy doing cutting-edge scholarship.” Cutting-edge scholarship that very few people read, much less care about, and that is largely subservient to the categories of modern thought, rather than a challenge to them.

Like the modern corporate executive who is too busy doing whatever it is he does to ask why he is doing it, or to think more broadly about how what he does contributes to the larger goals of the corporation (let alone society) as a whole, so too the modern corporate Catholic university is much too busy doing whatever it does (raising money, seeking greater levels of prestige, sucking up to secular counterparts) to engage the kind of fundamental issues that Pope John Paul II is asking be considered in Fides et Ratio. . ..

Thoughts?

http://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2010/08/fides-et-ratios-implications-for-universities.html

Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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As for criticism of the modern university, it is hard to know where to start. But start we should. In the lists of MOJ the understandable -- perhaps admirable -- tendency is to start philosophically. As a man of practical affairs however, I would start at the other end.

No event in recent memory says more about -- delivers a more profound indictment of -- the modern university than the shameful hoax of Global Warming. This is not the right venue to delve into the details of the climatology, but in any case they are beside the point here. The essential lesson of global warming for our purposes is that it is a monument to how easy it is for presumed scholars to perpetrate a complete hoax by the simple tactics of creating Journals to publish their own work, getting corrupt, self-seeking politicians on board, and using them to coerce the relevant U.N. agencies to pronounce their benediction of the whole shameful farce.

Socrates had a simple but frightening rule on these matters. His view was that the corruption of education comes about when it was bought and sold like a commodity. As a reasonably successful entrepreneur myself, I an not able to denounce the evils of filthy lucre with much conviction, but I nonetheless urge all of you to bear in mind that the truth is not any more expensive than is the lie. So what are we squeezing the alumni for?

In several posts on this sight, the thoughtful authors have stopped to pose one central question: what is Truth? Jesus answered that question for us. Truth is what actually happens. That's all. The British Parliament claims that children grow up healthy and strong when raised by teams of pedophiles. Is that what actually happens, or is it just what they want to pretend happens? The Charity Commission wants to pretend that it has no duty to the children above its duty to bow and cringe before the illicit dictates of a criminal law. It that what works?

I'm for a university that only cares about one thing: what actually happens when you slam your thumb with a hammer.

Posted by: Joel Clarke Gibbons | Aug 29, 2010 10:36:29 PM