Keeping Colleges Catholic

What's at stake?


The Catholic church in the United States shares in one of the nation’s most distinctive characteristics: the New World’s sense of exceptionalism. Neither history nor experience dictate the future. In the American context, energy and enterprise can reshape human lives in ways that astonished the Old World, and perhaps still do. The American Catholic church, as much as our political, economic, and cultural systems, took advantage of the expansionist and independent spirit of a frontier society. Pioneering bishops, priests, sisters, and lay people helped build a vast system of Catholic institutions, of which the most remarkable is the more than two hundred colleges and universities rooted in the most far-flung rural landscapes and in the most densely populated cities. Catholic schools have sustained in the most disparate regions the presence of a Catholic intelligence. They have handed on the practice of a Catholic intellectual life, at first mostly to Catholics, and more recently to all comers, especially those who are among the least well-off in our society. Indeed, their record in educating first-generation Americans must be unparalleled. These schools have been a gift both to the Catholic church and to American society. Today the future of these colleges and universities is gravely threatened. We do not use those words lightly. Nor did we gather the unprecedented number of articles that follow in this special...

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