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The Ratio Studiorum

The Ratio Studiorum

I was recently asked by a friend to write an article for my school newspaper about an Op-Ed piece that came out today. I feel, however, that it is more appropriate for me to post this here because it does have to deal with Catholic education and what on earth a Catholic educaitonal system means.

In the course of the writer’s response to a previous piece found in the same Opinion page, the writer asks that debates be fair and that every student be given a voice. She is speaking here about various groups that she feels have nto been given a voice by the university such as the GLBT community and the Women’s Studies Department. In the case of the former, it has been relegated to a basement in an old house and that basement serves as a resource center and hang-out. In the case of the latter, the writer says that it is woefully underfunded and that “diversity” among the student population is a joke.

It is rather unfortunate that the author makes these claims at a university that has attempted to accomodate various multicultural groups. Perhaps, it is not a demographically diverse university, but one must only look through a directory of clubs and student organizations to realize that it does cater to people of many different stripes and interests. It is not just for certain types of people. Indeed, it embrace all types of people.

The GLBT community that the author believes has been silenced would have been kept under cover at this campus had it not been given an organization that could serve as its voice. Although this organization was founded in the belief that it was to educate people about orientation, it has now become co-opted by certain militant elements within the community that would like to see (Heaven help us) a pro-choice club on a Catholic university campus.

It seems to me that a Catholic university can only make so many concessions to the modern world before it ceases to become Catholic. According to this particular writer, certain members of the student population need to have an equal voice and that debates must be fair.  My question is what is the definition of fairness advocated by this author and how does she expect fairness to exist on the campus of a Catholic university?

Quite frankly, I am disturbed by the author’s use of the word “compartmentalization.” She believes that liberal students on this campus are not allowed to speak their minds because of fear of retribution. Retribution by whom and from whom? Last I checked the Campus Democrats were still alive and kicking. 

Along with liberals being shunted out of the picture, there is also the idea that the conservatives are being lauded for their conservatism. As one of those conservatives, I do not believe that we are “lauded.” Nothing of the sort has happened. Indeed, it has been an uphill battle for many of us to advocate for the campus to have a truly Catholic identity. Indeed, it was only after months of waiting that Pope Benedict XVI’s writings entered the collections of the campus library. 

If nothing else, however, a Catholic university cannot be ideologically free. If it were, then it wouldn’t be a Catholic university. Certainly, there are hundreds of government universities that exist throughout the world with no over-riding ideology. Some schools run by the State in the United States of America are run this way and all students are given an equal playing field.

Yet Catholic universities do have ideologies and we cannot call what they believe to be an ideology in the first place. Rather, a Catholic university stands for the beliefs of Holy Mother Church that have been passed down by the Apostles and their successors since the time of Christ. For a Catholic university to advocate anything else would mean that it is not Catholic.

We must also realize here that the Catholic university being talked about hre is a Jesuit liberal arts college. Think about those words for a second. The word “Jesuit” implies something when we talk about education. It implies that the education received at the college is one of mind, heart, body, and soul. It is an education that asks us to seek God and to find Him working in various ways in our lives. Not only this, however, but it means that we must strive to live our educational lives based on the ideals on which every Jesuit university is founded: the Ratio Studiorum.

It seems to me that in asking for a level playing field, the author is asking for political correctness. I hate to say this here, but Catholicism is not and has never been politically correct. A Catholic university cannot serve two masters, to use a phrase from the Gospels, and neither should we expect it too.

Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!

St. Joseph, pray for us!

St. Ignatius Loyola, pray for us!

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us!

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