This blog is a place for Notre Dame students and others to share their thoughts on Father Jenkins' forthcoming policy on academic freedom and Catholic identity at Our Lady's University.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

An Ideal Worth Striving For

Observer - Viewpoint:
Paolo Carozza
Professor of Law
"But then what is the place of Notre Dame's Catholic identity in this insistence on the freedom of our reason to reach always onward? The intellectual and moral tradition in which we are situated provides a sustained, complex and deep grappling with the mystery of human life and the universe around us, but one that is mostly ignored, and sometimes systematically excluded, from the intellectual life of most elite universities today. ...

"Which is the more ambitious, more demanding and more exalted view of academic freedom, education and research: one that is satisfied with a complacent welcoming of every diminished or demeaning view of our rationality and our humanity that may be given by the prevailing conventions of the world; or one that insists uncompromisingly on the scholarly temperament and urges us not to settle for anything that fails to correspond adequately to the ultimate value and meaning of our lives?

The greatness and promise of the University of Notre Dame consists in striving toward the latter as its goal. It pushes our research to be both broader and deeper. It impels our teaching to be more dedicated to the good of our students in friendship rather than giving in to boredom or the temptation to indoctrination. It urges students always to look for reasons and to remain open to those answers that can more fully satisfy their deepest yearnings for truth, justice, beauty and happiness."
(Read More)

See also the discussion of this article on Catholic blogger Amy Welborn's site.

5:43 AM


Blogger DaVinci Decoder Ring said...

This is all so simple.

What makes a Catholic School "Catholic"?

ND is a secular school, with a few concerned people trying to sweep the tide back with a broom. The whole academic freedom argument is a red herring. Misdireciton.

Those familiar with National Review will recongnize O'Sullivan's First Law:

"All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing."

Where it says "right-wing", insert "Catholic".

Where it says "left-wing", insert "secular".

Until the powers directing ND decide that the school should be discretely and explicitly CATHOLIC, this silly and tragic dance will continue.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Emily said...


ND is quite actually and explicitly Catholic. I would find it hard to make the argument that a place with over 140 Masses, 5 days with Eucharistic Adoration, and a large number of Confession times per week would be anything but Catholic.

Now, she has some members that might have a skewed opinion of what it means to be Catholic, kind of like the Catholic Church itself, and she may sometimes be slower to reign the situation in, kind of like the Church, but that doesn't mean that it is becoming a secular institution.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

The use of left-wing/right-wing in reference to Catholicism is an inadequate description and false dichotomy of the faith, regardless of which direction one leans.

Go to Indiana University, Duke, Harvard, Yale, UC, or even Georgetown --- and then tell me that Notre Dame at the institutional level is equally secular. I'd go so far as to say ND is just as or more Catholic than most parishes and dioceses in America.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I went to Prof. Gregory's Theology on Tap talk last night, and he raised an interesting point about this. He chose to leave Stanford for ND b/c of ND's Catholicism; he loves that aspect of life here and thinks its what makes us unique. However, he challenged us to not be complecent, because many of the most Catholic thing about ND are "extra-curricular." A secular university, theoretically, could have thousands of Masses on campus and still be secular in its mission. (yes, i know it wouldn't happen, but still). ND does have to work on getting its intellectual Catholicism up to par w/ its extra-curricular Catholicism.

7:20 PM  
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