Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I hope that I am quoting him correctly, but a few weeks back, Cardinal Timothy Dolan on his XM Radio show, "A Conversation with Cardinal Dolan" stated that the three sources bringing about secularization in the society and the amongst believers are: 1. The Media (in all its forms, news and entertainment); 2. The Government (politics) and 3. Academia.

Sadly, even in Catholic institutions of higher learning this is true. Some institutions are doing so more egregiously than others. Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama to speak at their commencement exercise was understandable. On one hand, who wouldn't want what the President of the USA speaking at their commencement exercises. But on the other hand, given President Obama's vociferous defense of abortion on demand and openness to even partial birth abortion, one would have thought that this might exclude him from speaking at a Catholic University's commencement exercises. On top of that, the President made good political use out of the event to further divide and conquer the Catholics of this country.

Now Georgetown University owned and operated by the Jesuits (who the last time I checked are called to uphold Catholic teachings) have invited Heath and Human Services Director, Catherine Sebelius to speak at one of their commencement exercises for one of their particular schools.

Catholic World News reports: "As Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Sebelius is responsible for the mandate that requires almost all health plans to provide coverage, without copayments of any kind, for contraception, women’s sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs."

In 2008, Archbishop Joseph Naumann revealed that he had asked Sebelius not to receive Holy Communion because of her support for legalized abortion.

In its 2004 document “Catholics in Political Life,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that “the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

My final comment: She is at the vortex of the storm that has led the USCCB to rally Catholics and others of goodwill to stop her government's intrusion into the life of the Church by mandating religious institutions to pay for something that is morally offensive to the Church.

What gives here? Well, Academia wants all voices to be heard and students to be exposed to a wide range of thoughts (as though they wouldn't be without the institutions endorsement and sponsoring of such). And they want students to express their personal beliefs even if these go against Church teaching. It is as though these academic institutions of Catholic higher learning want to be a parallel magisterium foment the type of change in the Church they would like to see in the areas of human sexuality and genderless theology.

Many Catholic institutions of higher learning have done more to harm the faith of those who attend these institutions forming them with a pseudo-Catholicism that place all opinions and beliefs on the same footing. It is more of the exaltation of individualism of our secular culture to the detriment of the unifying communal aspect of the faith and morals of the Church, what is called the "Deposit of Faith."


Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

I have begun telling young parents and others with whom I come in contact that, unless your kids wish to pursue medicine, law, or engineering, it is not worth the cost and corruption of values to send them to college. I recommend a good technical college or the military as a place to learn a marketable skill (many of these pay quite well)and avoid the academic/liberal BS they will inevitably face in a college or university. So, why pay thousands of dollars to support the liberal destruction of this country's values and our children's morals and faith?
This is major coming from me because I love the classics, literature, philosophy, etc. and spent nine years of my life in college and grad schools. But, in my opinion, it is no longer worth it or a viable option for our kids futures.

I almost hope the libs get their way and usher in a Leftist totalitarian system...know why? Because it is usually the academics and journalists that they round up and shoot first. They are just too stupid to see that their lib views could be their own destruction.

Bill Meyer said...

I am inclined to think that though the role of Catholic universities in secularization is less obvious than that of the media or government, it is more insidious. These are institutions entrusted not only with supporting our faith, but with educating our young in accordance with that faith. Thus by their failure, they are propogating a secular future, not just the near future, but future generations.

As to what Jesuits are called to uphold, one can only wonder. By their fruit you shall know them. America (magazine), Boston College, Fordham, Georgetown, Santa Clara U., USF... all are pretty sorry fruit. And Catholic? Hardly.

"In 2008, Archbishop Joseph Naumann revealed that he had asked Sebelius not to receive Holy Communion because of her support for legalized abortion." Any news on whether she has obeyed?

When I think of Catholic politicians, the list is short. When I think of CINOs, the phrase which springs to mind is latae sententiae. And while these people will ultimately answer to God for their actions, should the Church corporate not act on earth? When a commercial corporation's brand is usurped, action is taken, because the brand itself has a value which is lessened by the usurpers.

Moreover, self-excommunication is a grim thing to consider, but the lack of a formal excommunication is tantamount to an endorsement, as far as the laity at large are concerned. How are they to understand that these CINOs seem almost never to be called to account by the bishops?

Academia wants all voices to be heard. Fine. But Catholic academia has a duty to teach discernment. Let all be heard, but for the university to appear to endorse by failing to condemn is a travesty. For professors--do any still teach?--to fail to raise the topic of a local speaker for discussion and debate is to waste an opportunity for real instruction in logic and reason.

One of thre greatest travesties to come from the spirit of Vatican II is the notion that (often ill-formed or unformed) conscience trumps teaching and dogma.

Bill Meyer said...

Just after posting that last, I found a story on CWR with this:

“It is no exaggeration to say that providing young people with a sound education in the faith represents the most urgent internal challenge facing the Catholic community in your country,” the Holy Father said to the bishops, who represented dioceses in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

Amen, Holy Father, Amen.

Supertradmum said...

Some of us tried to tell the Catholic world of the rot in the early 80s, when I was at Notre Dame. Already, the socialist, disobedient attitudes were entrenched under Fr. Hesburgh. I hope it is not too late.

Marc said...

How does it work, Georgetown being "owned and operated" by the Society, when only five of its Board of Directors are SJ and the other twelve or fifteen (?) are lay people? I really don't know. Maybe the Board has some specific functions as distinct from the Society's position as owner/operator....

Joe said...

We need to begin playing chess not checkers. To be clever as serpents (who need to strategize, plan their move so as to seize their prey).

What are the 3 conceits that are universal to the Media, Government and Academia? 1) They're brilliant people 2) their policies work as advertised and 3) they are morally superior.

If you want to get someone off their stride you need to work on those fulcrums. If someone prides himself with being a fine orator, you need to challenge them to a debate and then out manuever them with both peanut gallery and stagecraft. Once they start to sweat their aura of invincibility will start to crumble.

This works with bullies who rely on their bluff or bluster too - once punch normally takes the wind out of their sails - and if done before their peers - crushes their spirits too.

With the Media it's not hard to prove mistakes and ethical lapses, double-standards and outright errors... and then proceed to outflank them with alternative media scooping them...and then move on to challenge their "superiority" to their faces ala 60 minutes "gotcha" journalism.

With Government it's similar: hold them accountable for minor mistakes, point out the double-standards...then move in with pointed, densely argued and prepped cases for the corruption and failure of their pet projects.

Academia is easiest of all because they've rarely been challenged. So challenge their hottest hot head to a public debate on the merits. Select the topic (politics or morals), assemble the peanut gallery, get the cameras rolling and then go for it.

Then market and you-tube any mistake or error to the four winds. Guerilla marketting and alumni sales pitches... street theater and 'teach ins' - give them a taste of their own medicine but do it with a smile (and cameras rolling). Very few of their ideologues have ever faced serious challenge. Theologians are easiest of all as they've rarely studied rhetoric or logic!

Once they can no longer assume intellectual superiority, have been caught in double-standards, hypocracy, and error... and their pet policy preferences are shown to be ruinous.... and it looks like there's a sizable crowd of the demos laughing at them... it'll suddenly become cool to not be like them.

As Catholics we are equipped to mop the floor with our secular opponents and especially our "dissenting" brethren. They've lived sheltered lives in an echo chamber with little up close and personal in the way of opposition.

But they're also as emotionally fragile as their ideas are brittle so we need to do all we do with a smile, wink, laugh and obvious joy: we want to defeat their ideas that enslave them to doomed theories and pet ideologies. We want to liberate them and befriend them absent those crazy ideas and conceits. We're "on their side" not against them as individuals.

ytc said...

Marc, calling Georgetown--or any university for that matter--a Jesuit college is embarrassing and is a lie. The Good Ol' Jesuits gave up, yes they GAVE UP, their stakes in the ownership and operation of their universities.

I'm sorry, but are they absolute morons?

Anonymous said...

As someone who has spent almost his entire career in academia (at a postgraduate professional school but also collaborating with undergraduate faculty colleagues), I feel compelled to challenge Gene W’s advice to some extent. I do understand his concern about the cost of college education (newsflash – in my experience the cost is not because they are paying the faculty huge salaries!) and the risk of a “corruption of values.” However, my own response would not be to condemn all colleges but to advise discernment in selecting a college. I believe young people have to be exposed to (not indoctrinated in) all sorts of ideas but this has to be done in a disciplined and rigorous manner that will develop their powers of critical thinking and set them on the path to wisdom (which includes, of course, enabling them to relate those ideas appropriately to their Faith) . Such education will equip them to engage more effectively with the world and to play the chess Joe talks about in his post. This is a better way to deal with the challenges of living in a pluralist society than allowing the media to be their teacher and is truer to our Catholic tradition of valuing higher learning for more than the purposes of technical career preparation. Gene has told us how much he valued his own education in the humanities. I am suggesting that such a quality education is still to be had if one knows where to look.

Anonymous 5 said...

Fr. McD is being far too generous when he writes "Academia wants all voices to be heard and students to be exposed to a wide range of thoughts." I worked at one law school that has very high national rankings. One of the faculty members there took pride in frequently pointing out that of forty-plus faculty members, only two were registered Republicans and the rest Democrats. This from an institution that utters the word "diversity" like a mantra. From my experience in other colleges, I've no reason to think that this figure isn't representative of the Academy at large. Conservative voices--neo-, paleo, Burkean, whatever--are highly disfavored, if not squelched.

rcg said...

Maybe, after the hammer is through with LCWR, there is enough left for the Jesuits.


Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Anonymous, Bless your heart...your post sounds like the introduction to a college catalogue. Ideally, what you say about carefully choosing schools, exposing young people to ideas, etc. is very good. But, there are only a handful of such colleges in America and these are not enough to accomodate everyone. Liberals control academia...period. It is the time in a young person's life when they are the most vulnerable to the influences of Leftist/secular, anti-Church propaganda. There are other ways to expose our kids to "ideas" besides letting them be taught by some fifty year old guy with a pony tail who drives a Volt with a Coexist sticker on the bumper and wears Che t-shirts to class, or by some feminazi in Birkenstocks and a dog collar who doesn't bathe anymore and thinks Alice Walker is great literature. Sheesh!

rcg said...

Anon 3:14. the only part I would disagree with you on is that any of what you say that is good about education can be found in a college or university. I think it is far better to learn a true skill or trade and spend your spare time in library with a list of great books. Then find an educated person, e.g. a priest, and talk to him about those things. A community college for some business courses is a good idea. But college is a waste of money and even more a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for likening my post to a college catalogue, Gene. I will take that as a compliment. Thank you, too, for accepting my ideals. I also greatly enjoyed your colorful caricatures. I look forward to meeting someone like that one day. My own university colleagues, on the other hand, are serious, fair-minded people, and it is my sense that they try very hard to keep their own (sometimes admittedly strong) personal views out of the classroom. Some of them are even professing Christians, even conservative Christians. And some of them vote Republican, although I suspect that most do vote Democrat. All that said, I agree with the notion, intimated by Anonymous 5, that academia (including law schools)could benefit from more intellectual and political diversity, although I would resist any attempt to indoctrinate by a conservative voice as much as I would resist an attempt to indoctrinate by a liberal voice. We are in the education business, not the indoctrination business. I also agree with rcg regarding the importance of studying the Great Books. In fact, I devote a considerable part of my own energies to promoting the value of a true liberal education in that very sense. As you may be able to tell,then, my own instincts are Burkean, and one of my favorite authors is Russell Kirk (one of the fathers of modern American conservatism whom I would dearly love the current Republican Party to rediscover). So, please do not give up on higher education for life in addition to career. Instead, let’s work to make it what it should be. Although I do not agree with everything he says, Anthony Kronman, former Dean of Yale Law School (and now teaching in Yale's Great Books program) diagnoses the problems and offers some good solutions in his latest book “Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life” (2007). And, as I have already suggested, not all of us have.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Let's talk about unbelief, shall we? That is the real problem here and in academia and the Church.
A Catholic Church in our diocese is having a Bible study. The Priest leading the Bible study is using a book by Margaret Nutting Ralph. So, let's talk about Margaret and let's put aside her statements that the reason there are not women priests is because the Church has misread Scripture...we can discuss that later.
Margaret's degree is in "The Bible as Literature." Now, for those of us who have spent years of our lives in theology grad schools and seminaries, that alone is the big fat rattlesnake sitting on the table. But, I guess for the average lay person it sounds harmless enough. Moving right along, here are some things she says in a couple of her articles I found on the web:
1) Margaret says that, since Luke is the only Gospel writer who mentions that Jesus was born in a manger at Bethlehem, it must not have happened. Luke only wrote that so it would be in line with some reference to Isaiah. Well, now Margaret, what if God chose to enter the world in a manger at Bethlehem just to show that His Revelation and Incarnation are in line with Prophecy?
2) Margaret says that the Biblical writers and Apostles "read things back into the Gospels" based upon their later understandings. Now, just what does that mean? What things? She says that the Apostle Paul was "limited by his culture and time" so his statements about women in the Church cannot be taken too seriously. Gee, Maggie, what else did Paul say that can't be taken too seriously?
3)Here is the kicker and an excellent example of how these theological liberal/humanists understand Holy Scripture: Margaret says that, on the road to Emmaus, because of their "post-resurrection consciousness" the disciples were able to recognize Jesus in the stranger (some of her ilk will say, "able to recognize the stranger as the Risen Christ). Understand the subtlety here...why not simply say that the disciples recognized "Jesus as the stranger?" Or, why not say with Luke, "Jesus HIMSELF drew near and walked with them?" Because they do not believe that. Resurrection, for these "Bible as lit" types and for these lib Biblical critics, means our personal self-renewal based upon our encounter with Jesus in Scripture or in others. It is an existential phenomenon grounded in our self-realization and our understanding that Jesus was the truly good man. Thus, we build an ethic in society based upon love and acceptance and all that cool jazz. Nobody got up and walked out of any tomb; ain't no hymens intact after childbirth; and you ain't gonna' see Grandma again. Get it?
Now,it is important to break this gently to lay folk. The college educated ones can eventually be brought to an understanding that the Risen Christ is simply his love living in us, that the "Christ Event" (be very wary of that phrase) means our self-enlightenment with regard to the new world order of love and acceptance to which academics like good old Maggie shall lead us. As for Johnny Lunchbucket and Susie Timeclock, well they need those traditional myths and understandings in order to keep them in line morally and give them the hope they need to function and be good citizens in the coming globalist world order...the Kingdom of God as the libs understand it. Think I am overstating it? Trust me, I went to school with these people in the '70's. I studied under them. Now, these people are liars and deceivers. They are guilty of the most cynical use of their parishioners (and the pulpits are full of them) and students (your sons and daughters). They are the "smoke of Satan" one of our Popes talked about. And, I submit to you that any Priest using their books for Bible study in his Church is either poorly educated theologically, naive, or one of them....cont'd

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Now, these people will use the very same words that you do...resurrection, redemption, new life, Kingdom of God, Risen Christ...while meaning something quite different.

Look, you either believe the tenets of the Creed or you do not. You either believe that God broke into time and causality and suspended the laws of physics and biology, or you do not. It is really quite simple. So, why do these people stay in seminaries and divinity schools, in the Church if they do not believe? You're kidding, right? A cushy academic job in an atmosphere that tolerates anything except murder (and tries to excuse much of that) with tenure and relatively high pay. A church job with housing, social status among the intelligentsia and lovers of aesthetics and quaint ritual, needs taken care of, retirement, power and respect among believers. What's a little theological BS for all that? Please...

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Anonymous, RE: Colorful caricatures. They are not caricatures. Meet me on the Mercer or UGA campus one day and I'll show you several...LOL! You seem like a good guy, don't pull that glib academic stuff on me, ok?

Anonymous said...

In response to Gene’s post on Margaret Nutting Ralph, I am not familiar with her writing. I profess no specialist expertise in her area. From my own personal reading, however, I am somewhat familiar with Marcus Borg’s writing, which I suspect may tend in much the same direction. So, how should those who do have appropriate specialist expertise treat such ideas in the process of trying to provide a proper education to their students? One response is to ignore these ideas. The problem with this is that students are likely to be exposed to them anyway, but without being given an opportunity to subject them to a rigorous, disciplined, and critical examination under the guidance of someone with appropriate training. So, the alternative is to do precisely that, while trying to avoid the cardinal academic sin of intellectual arrogance. It is not as if there are not strong counter-arguments on the other side. One good example of the sort of debate that can take place might be the book by Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright, “The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions” (1999), although I stand to be corrected on that by those with specialist expertise; moreover, there may well be better examples with which I am not familiar. In many instances, it will likely not be possible to prove either position. I agree with Gene that ultimately most of these matters are simply matters of faith. At the end of the day, do I believe in a literal Virgin Birth or don’t I? I can ask myself the same question regarding the Resurrection, not to mention the Eucharist. But I also believe that God gave us a brain for a reason, indeed largely to reason, and one important use of reason is to be able to meet the arguments that challenge faith when we encounter them. I suspect St. Thomas would agree. Is it possible that this is what the priest Gene mentioned is up to in using Margaret’s book in his Bible study?

Denise said...

Education has become a business and as such it will cater to whomever is willing to pay. it is no longer about the pursuit of Wisdom. The classical liberal arts was the gold standard of Catholic education and produced a multitude of saints from Augustine to Aquinas, st. Dominic, St. Ignatius. Not to mention countless priests who expressed clearly and powerfully the truths of Catholocism Look at the writings of St. Francis de Sales for ex. The education that produced these great men bears no resemblance to what is called Liberal arts these days and not surprisingly produces few vocations

This online academy


Was started by a man , William Michael, who is trying to restore the original classical liberal arts curriculum. It's a. Very interesting and enlightening website

Sorry I can't figure out how to make it a link from my phone


Anonymous said...

Academians quickly fall into the idolotry of education, at the expense of teaching the truth....
Ethics are whatever you decide them to be..ethics is up for grabs...and that is the Dictatorship of Relativism. All ways are OK, and that philosphy has become a god in itself.

Thank God I've been rescued from that thinking...and now have the knowledge to protect my child from the wolves that think like that.


Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Anonymous (academic), Your academia is showing. A Church Bible study is not a place to expose people to other, secular/philosophical iseas. That is for college Philosophy classes. And, what is "special expertise" in this context? Do you really call a doctorate in "The Bible as Literature" special expertise for teaching a Bible study to the faithful? Would you consider Rudolph Bultmann as having "special expertise" for NT teaching? You are too much in awe of academic degrees (which is no surprise). These people begin with a premise of unbelief and work from there. It does not matter how smart or educated they are, you cannot get to faith from there.
As for exposing people to new ideas...do I need to know the details of pederasty to avoid it? Must I be exposed to the techniques of cat burglars to avoid becoming one? Should I study witchcraft, voodoo, or vampirism in order to know these things are evil? I think not.
You are also glossing over the intellectual dishonesty of these people. They know what they are doing.

BTW, are you still sitting around asking yourself "Do I believe in the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection or not...hmmmm???" I call that "Hamlet" theology....

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

One more thing, why does a brick layer, a car salesman, a factory worker, a stay-at-home-Mom, a plumber, or even a physician or engineer need to be exposed to the unbelief of academic theologians and other purveyors of apostasy? It is totally irresponsible to expect them to be able to understand and combat these heresies. They do not know these people or their techniques. They do not understand the debt that modernist theology has to Enlightenment reason, German Idealism, and analytical philosophy. It is like sitting as child in the highway with a chain saw and an electric drill. This kind of stupid academic thinking really makes me angry...like just because it is an "idea" it must be considered by everyone.

Joe said...

With respect to the old "but we need to expose our kids to the world's point of view" canard...when was the LAST time any of us Catholics saw a genuine secularist go out of their way to expose their children to Catholicism?

Does the Lady Gaga generation risk exposing young kids, tweens, teens, and twenty somethings to genuine, 100 proof Catholicism? Noooooo.

No, for the little secularist it's total propaganda 24/7/365. The poor dears are fed only watered down and maligned "official scapegoat" Catholicism as though it was a vaccine to innoculate them from the real deal.

And yet we are casually told that unless we expose our kids to their world views etc. we're doing our kids a disservice.

I personally think it's past time we start challenging the zeitgheist to a debate on the merits, to challenge the status quo presumptions on the merits. To throw back in their faces (with a smile and light hearted laugh of course) the claims of moral, intellectual or even social superiority they many presume to have.

But on the flip side, ad intra, we Catholics must not settle for 2nd rate anything.... we need our choirs to be professional grade. Our homilies to be "weapons grade", our schools and youth ministries to be top notch.... because the world is full of desperate people who need the light of Christ and if we're the ones who bear him in vessels of clay, then we need to be much better and more accessible to this desperate world.

If we take down their idols of conceits, we'd better be prepared to welcome these refugees in to a suitable place of eternal refuge.

Anonymous said...

Gene, I am sorry if my response about caricatures came across as glib. I try not to do glib, although I do sometimes try to do amusing, as then. Nevertheless, I was being totally honest. I really have not met anyone answering your description at my own university (Mercer). If you say you have, then I must believe you. I have collaborated with many colleagues across the university, including several in the College of Liberal Arts, but of course I have not met them all. But those with whom I have worked are of the character I mentioned in that post. I think it is telling, for example, that Mercer not only has an excellent Great Books program but also a Center for the Teaching of America’s Western Foundations. Now I really do sound like a college catalogue, and I didn’t want to do that. But it would have been irresponsible of me to let the various sweeping statements about academia, by you and others, go unanswered.

I concede that there has been much silliness within academia in recent decades and that those answering your description may well be found at colleges and universities across the nation, but I have to be true to my own experience at my own university in urging that perhaps not all colleges and universities are the same and that some of us in academia are doing what we can to fight back against the lamentable decline in educational standards and the classical liberal arts curriculum that occurred post-sixties (a reform of the reform if you will). And yes, I am glad my academia is showing in my comments about Margaret Nutting Ralph. Those comments were intended primarily to speak to the context of academia and the education of students. In that particular context, especially given a diverse student body, I see no alternative than to proceed as I suggested and to give students an opportunity to subject various ideas to rigorous, disciplined, and critical examination under the guidance of someone with appropriate training. If we do that in the spirit of a search for Truth (something that is still possible in a pluralistic, post-modern world), and if we believe that our God is a God of Truth, then what should we fear? Perhaps it would be better to have a priest be the guide, but that is not an option if most of the students are not Catholic. They will have a teacher, whether we like it or not, and that teacher will likely be the television and the internet. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to leave the souls of our students to the tender mercies of the trash media, and not even the PBS special series on the Jesus Seminar. One of my Liberal Arts colleagues once admonished a group of us exploring the vocation of teaching to remember that, in each encounter with our students, we are entering upon holy ground, and one of the blessings of the particular exchange we are currently having on this Blog is that I am now reminded of that once again. Oh, and BTW, no I am not still doing the Hamlet thing.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Mercer started the Great Books program just after I graduated. I had mixed feelings about it. Having majored in English and Philosophy, it seemed to me to be a kind of educational "anthology," fitting Pope's warning about "a little learning..."
Anyway, there were several teachers there that fit my description quite well (have you been there long enough to remember Dr. Stege or Al Bond?). When I got to Vandy there were even more, and my daughter, who attended law school at UGA lamented one of her profs who wore Che and Castro t-shirts to class and had pony tail down to his waist. Ah, well, I suppose love of academia is blind...Otherwise, I refer you to Joe's post above. No one is getting a balanced education in today's colleges and universities as far as ideas are concerned. I still believe we are at the point where a "liberal arts education" is
no longer feasible or attainable in the vast majority of our institutions. Sadly, Johnny really does not need to know Plato and Shakespeare if he can lay brick or wire a house. Perhaps we can develop community groups for skilled laborers who have an interest in literature without the BS (that does not stand for Bachelor of Science) liberal propaganda. Who knows? The face of education is changing...into that of a jester. Alternatives will be sought.

Anonymous said...

I did not know Dr. Stege or Al Bond, though I have certainly heard their names. Your speculation about community groups for skilled laborers is intriguing. In addition to the decline in the classical liberal arts curriculum, we have also witnessed the decline in "middle brow culture." One of the best gifts I ever received was a set of Will Durant's volumes "The Story of Civilization" (in later volumes co-authored with his wife Ariel). When I ask my students about it nowadays, sadly no-one has ever heard of him.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Ha! Anonymous, I have Durant in leather bound...all eleven volumes. I am just now finishing number 10. Next, and sadly last, is "The Age of Napolean." What a marvelous work of narrative history, philosophy, and art history. I know of no other accomplishment like it. A distant second is Fr. Copleston's "History of Philosophy." I have recommended to several friends who have purchased it and are reading it. They, too, are enthralled. Dr. Bill Wilson, a history prof at Ga. College, put me on to it a few years back.