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.


  1. I was interested in Villanova and Holy Cross when I was trying for a NROTC scholarship in the mid 1960s. Unfortunately, I flunked the vision test. Needed 20/20 correctible to 20/40 . . . I got 20/25 correctible to 20/40. heh heh heh

    My alma mater, Marist College, went secular outright. I suppose this is more honest than claiming to be Catholic but "not really" as happened to Villanova, et. al. Marist has done really well over the decades, has gotten very challenging to gain admission to, and enjoys a very favorable academic reputation. Nonetheless, I am disappointed that Marist is no longer truly Catholic. I wonder what St. Marcellin Champagnat thinks of this?

    1. It still had NROTC when I was there and I think still does; cool. I think you mean "20/40 correctable to 20/20." My dad wanted to be an Air Force pilot during the Korean War; I got his nearsightedness (I liked glasses anyway and love mine; they're a part of me).

      I thought of Marist College too: the Marist Order's even still there but the school has interpreted the statement from the Land O'Lakes Conference in 1967 (no more diocesan control of Catholic colleges) as meaning it is no longer Catholic; it came clean.

      The church has a list of American colleges that say they're Catholic unless, like Marist, they tell the diocese they aren't anymore.

      Villanova's OK if you love basketball (and that is fun) and/or just want a degree for a shot at a good job (engineering, the sciences, business, nursing, or pre-med), but it has zero Catholic character: "a bland ecumenicism" as one of my literature teachers put it. Christianity's knockoff. Because they want to be in the big academic-business league, not with Notre Dame, but with Temple.

    2. Yes, I meant to say 20/40 correctible to 20/25. The darned "chancre mechanic" [WWII slang expression for a Pharmacists Mate now a Hospitalman] only gave me an effective correction to 20/25 which at the time disqualified me physicaly for an NROTC scholarship. I think something was wrong with his machine, but what could I do? Not even my Opthamologist's letter (I had one) would save me. I needed that scholarship. I was the son of a poor elementary school teacher. Marist, at the time, had reasonable tuition. Today? oh about $60,000 a year! (may include room, food, fees, & textbooks) Ouch!!!!

      Marist went secular for $ reasons. They got sponsored by IBM for being a test bed for computers on campus--starting with mainframe computers on campus--such that Marist has been rated very highly in terms of being one of the most "connected" campuses in the nation. Not just connections but effective use of interconnected computers for all sorts of college-based things. Marist also had an excellent building campaign with financial support from some key players. They just changed Presidents. Dennis Murray, who left the office (but remains for a time as a Professor of Public Administration), served for 38 years and frankly has done a wonderful job as President. The new President has a very tough act to follow. So I give Marist credit for that. The Marist Brothers are still on campus in some way or form, but the college hasn't been "owned" by the Marist Brothers for decades. Yes, it had to do with Federal funding and that stupidly interpreted separation of Church and State criterion. Federal funds should to the student or in the student's name, not the institution. Solves the religious separation issue in my opinion. Students and their parents are tax payers so this is a case of tax payers funds going to tax payers. Tax payers ought to decide where to go to college with tuition assistance, not the Big Brother Feds . . . or the States . . . or the locals . . . .

      I recognize that Villanova still has an excellent academic reputation. I wonder if Villanova also as a lot of snowflakes on campus as have so many other American college/university campuses (recently)? LOL

  2. Thanks for the shout-out to St. John's! You may be interested to learn we'll be having Evensong and Benediction for the Purification of the BVM on Friday February 3rd at 8 PM.

    1. Here's a nice flier for it too:


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