So long, Albertus Magnus

If you ever visit the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, make sure you get a glimpse of the campus’ loveliest bit of architecture, the iconic St. Thomas arches. Built in 1947, these arches stand proudly astride the administrative building and the liberal arts center, displaying a statue of the university’s patron.

At one time, the buildings were known as Aquinas Hall and Albertus Magnus Hall. It was a beautiful pairing, which left the university’s signature landmark gracefully bridging the gap between the Angelic Doctor and his inspired teacher. In 1999, however, the university renovated Albertus Magnus Hall, at which time it was renamed “the John Roach Center.”

John Roach was the archbishop in the Twin Cities from 1975 to 1995. I never knew him, so be assured that there is no personal animus behind this one little thought: I do not think he contributed as much to the Church as Albert the Great. And it saddens me to realize that, with the loss of his building, a majority of UST students will surely graduate without so much as hearing the name of St. Thomas’ great mentor.

Imagine a world in which Catholic universities named their landmarks with an eye to the students’ good, and not to university politics…

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Editor’s note: Archbishop Roach reputedly had little regard for either of the above saints, but he was a great friend and close associate of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.  See the linked article – starting about 3/4 of the way down the page.

Obama’s “Common Core” educational standards vs traditional Catholic education principles

Across the country, Common Core is causing the same concern among parents, who fear the standards — endorsed by the Obama administration — will dumb down Catholic school education and replace it with secular lessons no different from those at public schools.

The Allentown Diocese and National Catholic Educational Association maintain that the church has full control over its curriculum, intends to go above and beyond Common Core standards and won’t sacrifice Catholic values.

“We want to take the best of the Common Core and in no way would we have looked to compromise our Catholic identity while implementing standards,” said Philip Fromuth, superintendent of schools for the Allentown Diocese. “We’re not looking at watering down our curriculum. We’re only looking to strengthen our curriculum.”

That promise isn’t enough to sway Herman.

“The church is walking into this blindly thinking that they are going to have more freedom than they are,” Herman said. “I think that’s what’s happening. They are walking into this with blinders on.”

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Editor’s note: Those of us who have been monitoring Catholic education over the past twenty years or so will tell you that there’s little difference in mentality – or political proclivities – between Catholic school teachers and those who teach in the public schools.

Catholic school teachers – much as Catholic bishops and their chancellery staff – tend to be overwhelmingly liberal – so regardless of the official party line – they will not only be easy marks for Obama’s “Common Core” curriculum – they will probably qualify as the very earliest adopters.

It doesn’t say “Liberal Arts” on all those fancy college diplomas, for nothin’! 

Academia – and hence, most of today’s college educated Catholic school teachers, have already been thoroughly saturated with the “Common Core” dogma, so it just makes logical sense to them – which means that this is already a done deal.

Chalk up another victory for the commie/lib/modernist establishment – and Barack Obama, their official poster boy.

All the more reason for Catholic parents to finally take personal responsibility for the faith education of their children – without delay.  

Peter Kreeft on the Liberal Arts and Sexual Morality


Are the liberal arts and sexual morality connected? There is strong evidence that they are, for if we graph their development over the last half-century, we will see an almost identical curve of accelerating decline. Although this proves nothing, it certainly suggests something worth exploring more deeply.

Spectacular proof of the decline of the liberal arts is the simple fact that the only places in America where you can be sure you will get a liberal education, in the authentic sense of the term, are a few tiny little upstart crackpot islands of sanity like St. John’s, St. Thomas More, Magdalene, Christendom, Corpus Christi, St. Thomas Aquinas, Ave Maria University, Kings College, and Campion College. Whenever major secular universities like Kansas or USF relax the vigilance of their animus against Great Books programs and tolerate the creation of a classical liberal arts program (like the St. Ignatius Institute), two things always happen: It is spectacularly successful, and the university demands to murder it. That is why I called these universities “secular,” not “Catholic.”

Whereas liberal education has declined so much that the term has become nearly unintelligible, sexual morality has declined so much that it has become nearly extinct. We do not need to define it, only to find it. Like liberal education, it can be found mainly in enclaves of eccentricity: mainly families (often unfashionably large ones) that believe the orthodoxy and live the orthopraxy of six religious traditions: Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish, Evangelical, Mormon, and Islamic. But its definition is not hard to find, unless you have a Ph.D. As a very simple, earthy neighbor of mine said when complaining about the elaborate “sex education” program in our local, very liberal high school, “They teach them everything except to keep their pants on.”

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