Monday, October 20, 2014

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Catholic Education Daily

 

No Required Moral Formation at 'Mainstream' Catholic Collges, Says Prof

"...I would not advise Catholics to go to 'mainstream' or nominally Catholic schools," said Loyola Marymount University philosophy professor Dr. Chistopher Kaczor in an interview with National Catholic Register writer Trent Beattie posted yesterday. Dr. Kaczor's research was cited earlier this year when Catholic University of America's President John Garvey announced his decision to revert to single-sex dorms on campus.  In the Register interview, Dr. Kaczor delves into pressing questions about the morals and state of Catholic colleges and universities. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Do you think there has been a lack of moral formation in Catholic universities, not only in classroom presentations, but also in everyday campus life? Aside from an ethics class, “mainstream” Catholic colleges have no required moral formation for students. The evidence shows that these Catholic schools have exactly the same problems in terms of negative student behaviors as entirely secular schools. The students may take a course in ethics, but, very often, the course undermines rather than supports the Catholic understanding of morality. Life in the dorms is akin to the movie Animal House. My experience at Boston College (1988-1992) included a classmate who died from drinking too much, another student who fell out a window from several stories up and impaled himself on a fence, students cohabiting for weeks at a time, one student called “41 Phil,” whose blood-alcohol content was lethal (although he didn’t die). It was a mess. “Morality” at BC seemed, in practice, to be boiled down to a specific conception of “social justice,” which consisted primarily in favoring leftist politics in Latin America. People who died in this region were consistently memorialized, but Jesuits who died behind the Iron Curtain were literally never mentioned. ... Would you recommend Catholic students avoid “mainstream” Catholic schools altogether? I think that Catholic students should make informed choices. So, I would hate to see a student who wanted a truly Catholic environment and education to choose a nominally Catholic school only to be disappointed and frustrated. On the other hand, even the most nominally Catholic schools have some good professors and students, so these schools can be good choices for some students in some circumstances, although great caution is required. Similarly, all things considered, a secular school may be best, particularly if it is one like Princeton University or the University of Texas at Austin, both of which have strong Catholic communities and professors. On the whole, however, I would not advise Catholics to go to “mainstream” or nominally Catholic schools. There are now many good options, including the University of Dallas, Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula [Calif.], Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ave Maria University and The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. I would also recommend, despite its imperfections, the University of Notre Dame, which, by the way, does not have coed dorms.
This entire interview is available here.

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