Catholic Ambiguity or Sectarian Certainty?

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Religious Education


Religious Education Association

Publication Date

Winter 1999

Abstract/ Summary

Controversy surrounding a Catholic philosophy of education and the Catholic "identity" of institutions of higher learning reveals the vitality and the genuine liberality of contemporary Catholic higher education. Rather than being symptoms of political correctness or of a lost capacity to celebrate Catholic or any other particularity, these controversies reveal the openness and authenticity of Catholic higher education. They show the willingness of many leaders in Catholic higher education to let go of ecclesiastical sectarianism, of absolute claims inconsistent with God's universal love and availability, and of classicism, and to embrace a reverent religious pluralism, a historical perspective, and the sheer exhilaration of intellectual discourse which aims to be universal. Such openness is no more risky than the more narrow and triumphal perspectives it replaces, and is well worth the risks.