Thursday, July 27, 2017

Land O’Lakes Conference

From Fr. Rutler at Crisis:
Exactly fifty years ago, fads ran wild at the “Land O’Lakes Conference” in Wisconsin organized by Father Theodore Hesburgh of the University of Notre Dame to update the culture of Catholic higher education. Its summary document was published on July 23, in a year when society seemed to be having a nervous breakdown. It was a time of Vietnam protest rallies, an exploding drug culture, the Cold War at fever pitch, and actual combat in the Six Days War. Instead of challenging the cultural neurosis, the Church succumbed to it, as theological and liturgical chaos disappointed what Joseph Ratzinger would call the Pelagian naivetés of the Second Vatican Council. The heads of Catholic colleges and universities who gathered at Land O’Lakes were fraught with a deep-seated inferiority complex, rooted in an unspoken assumption that Catholicism is an impediment to the new material sciences, and eager to attain a peer relationship with academic leaders of the secular schools whose own classical foundations were crumbling and whose presidents and deans were barricading their offices against the onslaught of Vandals in the guise of undergraduates.

Like Horace’s mountains that gave birth to a ridiculous mouse, the 26 conference participants labored for three days and then declared portentously in the first line of their Statement: “The Catholic university today must be a university in the full modern sense of the word.” Then they rallied the rhetorical anesthetics at their disposal to call for “warm personal dialogue” and “a self-developing and self-deepening society of students and faculty in which the consequences of Christian truth are taken seriously in person-to-person relationships.” While these cadences anticipate the cobbling of what in our present time have come to be “safe spaces” for students and faculty fleeing from facts or ideas they find upsetting or offensive, the Statement then trumpeted its real message: “…the Catholic university must have a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself.” (Read more.)


Young fogey emeritus said...

1967, a bad year all around, when American Catholic universities stopped being Catholic. Hard to believe now that they were started in part to defend the church. I went to one. Ugh. Being pro-life was encouraged but it was the white-flag seamless-garment version, locally run by people who dissented from the church on other things.

From what I can tell from its website (I haven't set foot there in 20 years and don't plan to), my alma mater is trying to play both sides of the street, understandably: sell out to political correctness so it can be in the big league with secular schools AND keep Catholic (alumni) families as customers.

elena maria vidal said...

All of those schools were infiltrated by communists long before the Council so when the moment came to act, everything was in place.