Monday, April 14, 2008

Weigel Talks Us Up

John Allen and George Weigel were part of a broad discussion, moderated by Luis Lugo, about the state of the Church in the USA. This was for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The entire thing is great stuff, I highly recommend it.

But, in one section, Weigel talks about us. He says:

In a sense, this process of intensification of Catholic identity is happening on its own state. Notre Dame, by all these romantic reckonings the flagship university in the Catholic higher education world, is a much more Catholic place today than it was 20 years ago. That has something to do with generational change on the theological faculty. It has something to do with changes in the religious community that runs the place. But it primarily has to do with the kids. The students are saying, we came here for a reason. We came here for a distinctively Catholic experience, which includes worship and service as well as intellectual life. So this is in some sense a kid-driven phenomenon, which is interesting.

The other thing that I have become very aware of in recent years – I’m sure John runs into this constantly as well – is the vitality of Catholic chaplaincies on non-Catholic campuses, three of the most extraordinary of which are at Columbia in New York, at Princeton – a chaplaincy which has just produced two out of Princeton’s three Rhodes scholars this year – and out of all places, Texas A&M. One-quarter of the student body of Texas A&M is Catholic. The Texas A&M Catholic chaplaincy has produced more priests and nuns than Notre Dame in the last 20 years. It’s an absolutely astonishing business, and it has to do with this vibrant Catholic chaplaincy. So when we’re talking about Catholic higher education, we’re not just talking about Georgetown and Catholic U. and whatnot. We’re talking about a Catholic leavening in the broader world of American higher learning, including the elite world of American higher learning.

No comments: