Professor Anthony Esolen of Providence College argues in a Crisis Magazine article that Catholic colleges and universities must do more to hire faithful Catholic faculty members to better protect and preserve Catholic identity on these campuses.
Providence College recently canceled a lecture by a same-sex marriage advocate who calls himself “the gay moralist” only to reschedule it as a debate with a defender of traditional marriage, as Catholic Education Daily recently reported.
Esolen recounted that many of his colleagues decried the provost’s decision to cancel the original lecture as an “affront to academic freedom!” Esolen, however, points out that there is “nothing at all to debate” because “there has never been such a thing as a man marrying a man, and there never will be.” He uses this case as an example of why mission-fit faculty are so necessary at Catholic colleges.
In light of the apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick J. Reilly stated:
Hiring for mission has been a key concern of The Cardinal Newman Society for two decades. The good news is that Catholic college leaders are increasingly concerned about Catholic identity, responding to the bishops and Catholic families. The bad news is that Catholic colleges are not doing enough to replace retiring faculty with at least a majority of faithful Catholics, who are essential to a truly Catholic education.
Esolen points out that at one time, it might have been possible to hire non-Catholics or people without strong religious faith at a Catholic college and not be worried about them “hindering or undermining” the broader mission of the College.
However, Esolen said this may no longer be the case, and so Catholic colleges have two options. Either they can become “secular in all but name” or they can take the “difficult and narrow way.” Esolen explained the latter:
The schools must recruit Catholic (or other Christian or observant Jewish professors), and if the departments balk, the responsibility for hiring must be taken out of their hands. If the Catholic mission is non-negotiable, and if secular professors cannot be relied on to refrain from undermining it, if they cannot accord it the respect it deserves, then the discussion is over, and we shake hands and part company.
Similar to the need for faithful Catholic faculty at Providence College,we recently reported that a Gonzaga University professor believes that, regrettably, Catholic faculty are in the minority at that college as well.
Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.