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Francis Upends Catholic Education

Phillip Mericle
The Catholic Church, as the cornerstone upon which Western Civilization is built, is well demonstrated when we see Catholicism responsible for that erudite institution upon which so much of the development of our world has depended: The University.

Bologna university

Universities are still an outward manifestation of dignity - Bologna, above, Oxford, below

The Catholic Church founded the first university nearly 1000 years ago in Bologna in Italy, soon emulated by the Universities of Oxford in England, Notre Dame in France, Salamanca in Spain, and Coimbra in Portugal. And the Church continues to be the largest non-government sponsor of the University system today. Thus can it safely be said that the history of Western education owes an unparalleled debt to the Catholic Faith. The world as we know it would not exist were it not for the countless centuries of institutional knowledge that was developed under the tutelage of the Church and her scholars.

As we can see plainly that Western intellectual traditions owe a debt of gratitude to the Church for the establishment of universities, it should come as no surprise to learn that Catholic universities are being targeted by perhaps the most destructive, tradition hating, Pope in History to date: Francis.

At the San Diego conference titled “Lighting the Way Forward: The Purpose of Catholic Higher Education in a Changing World,” it was declared by the Pontiff that universities are not adhering strongly enough the revolutionary admonitions he gave in his radical documents Vertitatis gaudium (2018) and Laudato si (2015). Since Francis has focused more than his predecessors on destroying other areas of Church tradition, he is not about to let Catholic education escape the sights of his destructive gaze.

Francis targets education

In Veritatis gaudium Pope Francis made clear his conception of the role of Catholic education. In the forward he states that Catholic universities must undergo new “Spirit-filled” changes culminating in “purification and reform.” As anyone who has followed the “reforms” of Francis knows, this is a fig leaf, a term used to sugar coat and cover his aim to destroy any and everything Catholic about Catholic tradition and replace it with, at best, a hodgepodge of humanist Marxism.

Reform, says Francis in Veritatis gaudium, is necessary for a Church that “goes forth.” Thus the Church, according to him, must abandon its traditional positions and go out to meet the world. The University must leave its ivy-covered sanctuary and follow the Church into the world to get itself dirty. It must, says Francis, be alike to a “field hospital,” an itinerant setup for dealing with crises and emergencies.

This language seems to mean that the universities ought to abandon their cultural mission and engage in social struggle against Capitalism and defend ecological tenets. Since we know that Catholic universities, and most universities in general, are already hotbeds of Leftism, we see that Francis is not satisfied with these “meager” results. He wants them thrown fully into the front lines of the Revolution.

Screaming radicalized students

Universities are already turning youths to be screaming pawns of Revolution. Not enough for Francis?

Student protest
From this alone we could surmise that this is a far cry from the long established role of University as a sanctuary of study and retreat. Francis, however, goes further.

According to the Pope’s apostolic letter the University system must get with the times and start to address the real issues of our day. In the words of Francis himself, these crises that the University must dedicate itself to are no less than the “anthropological... environmental crisis” of our times. It is not academics, nor intellectual progression, that the University must pursue, but rather, according to Francis, it must now become an agent for combating climate change.

“Our world” Francis would later say at the plenary meeting of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education “has become a global village ... where every person belongs to humanity.” That same world, he goes on, is rife with “violence, poverty, exploitation, discrimination, marginalization and approaches that restrict fundamental freedoms.” “Catholic educational institutions,” he continues, “are called first to put into practice the grammar of dialogue which educates in encounter and in the appreciation of cultural and religious diversities.”

See for what it is

In these statements we see the bellicosity of Bergoglio’s Marxist-Miserablism. Someone, somewhere, is suffering. Inequality exists. Therefore, the University must abandon its traditions, leave off its higher calling, and dirty itself in a rescue effort. Catholic institutions are called to give up what is good because someone somewhere is not enjoying it.

Finally, Francis exhorts the Catholic university to give up nothing less than the Faith itself. In the same speech he demanded universities to have “appreciation of cultural and religious diversities,” a demand which, in the context of who is speaking, is no less than a full blown call for ecumenism, a denial of the exclusive redeeming value of the Catholic Faith.

Francis thus calls on Catholic universities to fully renounce being Catholic and instead serve man as a humanist institution dedicated to the humanist aims and ideals in the here and now.

Concluding considerations

Students in a new Francis-oriented “Catholic” university cannot expect to get much of a Catholic education. If we are to judge the result by his words, we would see an ecumenical relief mission that works alongside charities seeking to galvanize every minority with a grievance against the status quo.

Veritatis Gaudium

Veritatis gaudium, a document to end the Catholic educational system

Universities “need to consider what contribution they can and must make to the integral health of the person and to an inclusive ecology.” They must become places of “solutions for civil and cultural progress ... whose responsibility goes beyond the person to be educated and extends to the needs of all humanity.”

Finally, he urges the heads of universities to put an end to any semblance of elitism: “Even good theologians, like good shepherds, [must] have the odor of the people and of the street”.

Francis may have his vision of a “university” that focuses solely on diversity and equality, but for the sake of education and the cultivation of the intellectual potential of students, let us hope that the Catholic university system continues to remain aloof from the frantic demands and antics of the most destructive Pope in recent history.


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted April 15, 2024

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