Some of my fellow bloggers have returned to the subject of the Pope’s meeting with the presidents of 200 plus Catholic colleges and universities earlier this week. They justly argue that Benedict was not capable of defining with precision how to reconcile fidelity to the Magisterium with the great value of academic freedom.
It seems that tonight, at the youth rally in Yonkers, the Pope himself found it necessary to go back to the argument too.
Speaking about the duty to expose youth to the truth, Benedict said before the cheering crowd that “the manipulation of truth distorts our perception of reality, and tarnishes our imagination and aspirations,” and that it is no surprise “that numerous individuals and groups vociferously claim their freedom in the public forum. Yet freedom is a delicate value.”
Benedict also called on the young people to notice “how often the call for freedom is made without ever referring to the truth of the human person.”
And then he asked: “What purpose has a ‘freedom’ which, in disregarding truth, pursues what is false or wrong? How many young people have been offered a hand which in the name of freedom or experience has led them to addiction, to moral or intellectual confusion, to hurt, to a loss of self-respect, even to despair and so tragically and sadly to the taking of their own life?”
And he closed the argument: “truth is not an imposition.”
In short, to the Pope’s mind, intellectual freedom is not a value in itself. ... (Read More)
Patrick Reilly strikes a similar note in his explication of Benedict's CUA address ("A Great Day for Catholic Higher Education" InsideCatholic.com April 18, 2008):
Academic freedom must be tied to faith:"[A]ny appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission . . . ."
Translation: The "Queer Film Festival" and handing out condoms do not fall under academic freedom.
Students must receive authentic Catholic teachings: Colleges have the duty to "ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church's Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution's life, both inside and outside the classroom. Divergence from this vision weakens Catholic identity . . . ."
Translation: Three credits in Wiccan Studies is not a substitute for a required Catholic Theology course. Oh, and that Catholic Theology course must teach authentic Catholicism (for reference, please see the Catechism).