February 14, 2010

Jerusalem AND Athens...

John Henry Newman, on what universities ought to be...

...but, ever since the fall of man, religion is here, and philosophy is there; each has its own centres of influence, separate from the other; intellectual men desiderate something in the homes of religion, and religious men desiderate something in the schools of science.

Here, then, I conceive, is the object of the Holy See and the Catholic Church in setting up Universities; it is to reunite things which were in the beginning joined together by God, and have been put asunder by man. Some persons will say that I am thinking of confining, distorting, and stunting the growth of the intellect by ecclesiastical supervision. I have no such thought. Nor have I any thought of a compromise, as if religion must give up something, and science something.

I wish the intellect to range with the utmost freedom, and religion to enjoy an equal freedom; but what I am stipulating for is, that they should be found in one and the same place, and exemplified in the same persons. I want to destroy that diversity of centres, which puts everything into confusion by creating a contrariety of influences. I wish the same spots and the same individuals to be at once oracles of philosophy and shrines of devotion. It will not satisfy me, what satisfies so many, to have two independent systems, intellectual and religious, going at once side by side, by a sort of division of labour, and only accidentally brought together. It will not satisfy me, if religion is here, and science there, and young men converse with science all day, and lodge with religion in the evening. It is not touching the evil, to which these remarks have been directed, if young men eat and drink and sleep in one place, and think in another: I want the same roof to contain both the intellectual and moral discipline. Devotion is not a sort of finish given to the sciences; nor is science a sort of feather in the cap, if I may so express myself, an ornament and set-off to devotion. I want the intellectual layman to be religious, and the devout ecclesiastic to be intellectual...

This is supremely Catholic. (And my idea of heaven, but I guess I'll have to wait 'till I get to Heaven to get it.) As George Weigel wrote,

...You can call it the "Catholic both/and": nature and grace, faith and works, Jerusalem and Athens, faith and reason, charismatic and institutional, visible and invisible...

And Pope Benedict:

"Catholicism, perhaps a bit simplistically, has always been considered the religion of the great 'both/and;' not of great exclusions, but of synthesis. In fact, 'Catholic' means precisely 'synthesis.'" [Link]

Posted by John Weidner at February 14, 2010 8:41 PM
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