Friday, March 12, 2010


A Crisis of Faith in Catholic Universities

What kind of Catholics can we raise with misguided teachers?

-Ed de Vera
Know your faith, Kerygma
(September 2006 issue)

There is today a creeping apostasy in our academic institutions. Nowhere is the malady more glaring than in Catholic Universities that churn out predominantly lukewarm Christians who won’t stand up for their faith.

A case indicative of this cancer occurred at a well-known Catholic campus in the United States where a student desecrated the Crucifix to demonstrate freedom of expression, while a crowd simply looked on, mute and uncaring. When someone finally got mad and demanded an apology for the sacrilege, he turned out to be a Muslim. He was offended when Christ, a great prophet of Islam, was profaned.

Catholic Universities in the country are headed in that direction. Some theology and philosophy professors hold atheistic and lax moral views, contravening Church teachings and eroding the faith with relativist notions. Yet they are tolerated under the guise of pursuing academic excellence because of their erudition despite a syncretistic Christianity that they inculcate into the curriculum. A dean at a well-known school close to my heart lamented the Catholic Character of the university as impediment to being world-class.

We have noted numerous complaints from alarmed parents about their son or daughter who left the church due to their professors.

The disheartening fact in most cases is that the academe did nothing. Few students dare to stand up to these teachers: most—detached or discouraged—simply quiet and cruise along fearful of antagonizing them.

But I’m proud of my son who stormed out of his theology class when the teacher insulted the church. With other parents and fellow alumni, we expressed our concerns to the university president. Our effort wall all for naught as the problems were not addressed and the school seems more concerned with sports championships and actively indulging rallies than rallying champions for Christ.

An archival university fares no better. A pious and well-respected priest from the order running that school confided. “We are in trouble.” He said this after his meeting with the faculty of Theology where all professors unanimously espoused very disturbing views on sexual morality. “It was embarrassing for the priest who invited me,” he said, adding, “It was 12 against one,” he being the sole defender for the teachings of the church.

Parents have no idea of the magnitude of the problem that has gone for many years. Catholic schools today produced poorly catechized graduates. Worse, these schools purvey modernist outlook on morality that is at variance with Catholic teaching. A favourite present-day catchword is the “Fundamental-Option theory”. The idea that once you have cast your lot for Christ, nothing can ever go wrong and there is no such thing as intentional sin. Misfit instructors are often disgruntled ex-seminarians or ex-religious who harbour prejudices that carry into the classrooms.

In 1990, Pope John Paul the great wrote Ex Corde Ecclessia—the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic universities, which proposed principles and guidelines for securing and promoting the Catholic identity and mission in the institutions of learning. The school board would be well-advised to read this document then mull the words of Jesus: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:16).

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