Saturday, September 03, 2005

Miscellaneous thoughts on education

Catholic higher education is, for the most part, in the pits. There are a few notable Catholic institutions renowned for their orthodoxy such as TAC, Ave Maria, Christendom, or Stuebenville. Each of these colleges have certain problems attending them, as do all institutions, but you can at least expect a youth to emerge from them without believing that it is their "duty to use birth control," as my biology professor told the female half of my class quite seriously. Catholic colleges, though, are few and far between.

The Church recommends that children attend a Catholic school and therewith proceed to go to some Catholic college. I echo such sentiments, although my earlier post may have seemed an attack on those who attend Catholic colleges. But no - as I clarified, it was an attack on the attitude of some who actively reject the world because they view it as irredeemable. The primary purpose of college is to bring students to truth, and it is made a much simpler task if the teachers are ones that are trustworthy. At Campion, I experienced a year of unmitigated bliss because I could trust my teachers. At a community college, there is no such luxury.

Now, as a reader brought up, why would one want to attend a secular institution if there are so many dangers besetting it?

There are several reasons: first, the cost. Catholic families are generally large, and as such, sometimes cannot afford to send children off to Notre Dame or TAC. It has been my experience that Catholic colleges do not adequately meet the financial needs of large families and I have had friends who are in similar straits - though from smaller families. In such cases, a student can either enter into debt (thus precluding them from joining an order or starting a family upon graduation) or attend a secular institution that is cheaper. I choose the latter - and as a result, will emerge with a BA scot free from debt. If I had attended a Catholic college, I would be in debt upwards of $20,000. By modern standards, that really isn't that much considering average college debt ranges from $12-18,000, but it still is a rather hefty amount.

Second, there are Catholics at secular institutions. Quite good ones, in fact. If you can find them, then you can establish a group of friends who are as holy or holier than thou, preventing you (unless you're really trying) from taking a nasty fall and entering into bad habits (and I'm not talking blue sweaters and knee-length skirts). So the situation is not as dire as it might seem on the surface.

Third, I tend to give some credit to Catholic youth. If they were raised right, then they should be prepared to face the world at the age of eighteen. If they were raised in such a way that their faith is on the back burner, or if they are particularly susceptible to bad influences, then ship them off to some good institution. Most of the errors in modern thought/false beliefs can be ferreted out fairly quickly because they are so sloppily put. When a teacher writes on the board "THERE IS NO OBJECTIVE TRUTH" and then quietly says "In our enlightened times, we know that there is no objective truth, that truth is subjective," you can but giggle at them. Or, when a philosophy professor says that Muslim women wear veils so that they can wear miniskirts and makeup underneath --- apply same response, rinse, repeat. Or when a professor simply gushes about how wonderful the Aztecs were (woo! Human sacrifice - right ON!) and what a pity it is that we darned Christians had to ruin their culture when really our gods are all the same - who could resist such rhetoric? (All of these are real-life experiences.) Much "liberal" thought has an effect similar to: "Honey, can you take out the garbage?" "What!? Are you saying I'm FAT?" aherm yes.

It is better that one should attend a Catholic college, but Catholics can remain Catholic in a secular institution and there are valid reasons for attending one. This is just a very brief post and one that does no justice, whatsoever, to the whole education...thing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

An Army of Stars

These kids are trying to start up a literary sort of blog qua onion-esque-Catholic-tilt. They're sophomores from TAC and I know absolutely nothing about them. Their blog is a leetle sparse (yes, look who's talking), but then, they just started - could be interesting, though. T-t-t-time is the tester. Little ventures like these are good to encourage. Sometimes they turn out well.

*Appropriate Maritain Quote arrrrrrrrrrrrr*

This is to say that instead of being grouped and assembled, as in the Middle Ages, in a homogeneous and integrally Christian body of civilization, limited however to a privileged portion of the inhabited earth, it seems that the unity of Christian culture must now extend over the whole surface of the globe, but, in return, represent only the order and living network of Christian temporal institutions and Christian centers of intellectual and spiritual life spread throughout the world in the great supra-cultural unity of the Church. Instead of a mighty fortress raised up amidst the lands, we should rather think of the army of stars distributed in the sky. Such a unity is not any less real, but it is diffuse instead of being concentrated.

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Inform your mind

I found all these lovely biographies of Catholic authors, written by Ralph McInerny, on the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture website. Read them, do.

The "Joy in the Truth" annual fall conference (at Notre Dame) looks like a lot of fun - I would love to attend it, but unfortunately, am saving up for the completion of my edumacation rather than running about the country hobnobbing with philosophers.

Females my age are quite batty if they decide to drool over Gucci handbags or Jessica McClintock prom-gowns when there is -- this! . . . Incidentally, the McClintock prom-gowns are nothing short of special. So is the home-page boast on their website: "Designed to be unforgettable by JESSICA MCCLINTOCK, INC."

Emphasis mine.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rest in Peace

God bless him.

To quote a Chinese priest:

"While persecution is a trial, tribulation and temptation, it is also an opportunity, a grace and beatitude. It cannot be forfeited without impunity before conscience and God. The time of persecution is the day of the Lord. It is the useful time for salvation. So is also martyrdom. It is not a death nor defeat. It is a grace, victory and glory. It is the fatal hour that God has made for his divine glorification. It comes according to a schedule of God's Will. When it comes, it cannot be postponed. Martyrdom is not a death or destruction. It is a birthday and a new beginning where Christ comes to make everything anew. It is an inauguration of the Kingdom of God in its glory. No one can mistake it as a ruin without an error in faith and in understanding. This error has made so many to throw away the Cross instead of embracing it. This error is in the heart of CCPA as an Institute. It is also in the hearts of its members and their fellow travelers as individuals."