Saturday, January 07, 2017
Tale of two American Catholic colleges
Big difference between the Franciscan University of Steubenville and my so-called alma mater, Villanova University: Steubenville, very "Vatican II," has always acted religiously in good faith, trying to follow the magisterium. They're not heretics. Villanova from what I can see online has moved even farther from the church in 30 years since I was there (largish and sportsy; not just militantly low-church but heretics); it wants it both ways, using the church socially (false advertising) to get the alumni's kids and "leaving behind the Catholic ghetto" for political correctness (Protestantism's bastard), betraying Christ and the church for mainstream respectability, the big time, arriving in American society. Pope Benedict's reform of the reform (high-churching) isn't happening there. I predict their old church liberals* won't keep many followers among the young, most of whom eventually will leave the church. (Kids figure out that liberal church isn't worth their time.) Villanova thinks it's competing locally with Temple and Penn. Academe as big business. I took myself off their mailing list about 20 years ago and long have not set foot there. In contrast, I visited nearby Good Shepherd, Rosemont (first went there in 1985) until the Episcopalians took it back only a few years ago. (Their core group converted; they are now good Catholics and still brother high churchmen.)
Before Vatican II these places existed to teach not just practical academic skills but an entire Catholic worldview (vs. our Protestant host culture), sometimes called integrism. Catholicism isn't just a way of doing certain things, like an eccentric hobby, but a way of looking at everything: from the Trinity to transubstantiation (blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man) to learning to chant a High Mass to, yes, working for peace and justice (the social reign of Christ the King), from opposing unjust wars and standing up for labor to opposing contraception (the truth, whether fashionable or not) and abortion; it's all connected.
A big story of Sixties America is the neutralization of the country's big Catholic minority: JFK disowned the church to get elected, Vatican II was exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time, and the Rockefellers bought off Notre Dame's Fr. Hesburgh and pushed the Pill. The Protestants pretty much got their wish.
*They remind me of the Old Catholics; a rump sect.
P.S. The autobiography of Fr. Ray Jackson. Villanova has virtually canonized this fellow, naming a dorm after him. Sad to us; a good traditional vocation blown far off course. Blame Vatican II and the Sixties generally.