Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Catholic Higher Education’s Future

I largely agree with Patrick’s sentiments in his posting earlier today about the future of Catholic higher education, which, of course, would include legal education. I also share some sympathy with his statement about the Catholic academy being inclusive. After all, our Lord reminded us that it is not the healthy who need the physician.

While the Miscamble, Steinfels, and McGreevy essays offer differing views about particulars and emphases, they appear to agree on the matter regarding mission-fit for hiring. One does not have to be a Catholic to endorse, support, and contribute to the Catholic intellectual tradition where faith and reason and the integration of knowledge that leads to wisdom. But, that is a crucial point essential to the success of Catholic higher education. When there is a proliferation of faculty members who do not subscribe to these elements essential to Catholic education, serious problems begin to emerge. Rick’s posting earlier today about the recent development at Georgetown University Law Center demonstrates this. As the article in The Hoya illustrates, there are, according to the correspondent, faculty who are behind the reversal that will open the door for supporting pro-abortion advocacy (and, I suspect, eventually other things incompatible with Catholic teachings). If you recall, when Georgetown University was involved in litigation regarding its Catholic identity and matters dealing with sexual orientation issues in the mid-1980s, several Georgetown Law faculty were prominently posed against the University in this lawsuit.

Another matter to keep in mind is that, today, the academy often prizes research and the development of theories that are not compatible with or sympathetic to the integration of knowledge. Narrow specialization is favored. Pope Benedict has spoken of this fragmentation of knowledge in the past and the need to counter it with integration of learning, a traditional goal of Catholic higher education. Those faculty members who are not sympathetic to the Pope’s view are often advocates for the specialization that leads to the fragmentation of learning. There is little doubt that folks in favor of increased specialization can be clever about the particulars of certain subjects, but can it be said that they are also wise? While firing-for-mission could be problematic, hiring-for-mission should not. Moreover, it is necessary and essential for the survival and the flourishing of Catholic higher education. RJA sj


Araujo, Robert | Permalink

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