Summer 2022 Issue I · IDEAS OF A UNIVERSITY: THEN, NOW, AND INTO THE FUTURE
John Henry Newman and Baccalaureate Nursing Education by Josephine DeVito
Nursing education was initially based in a school of nursing associated with a hospital. Students were educated during the day with classes on nursing skills and immediately placed in hospital units to work long hours on various day or night shifts. They were used in staff positions and many times learned as they worked. After three years of education and clinical experience, students were eligible to take the NCLEX exam to become Registered Nurses. As the nursing shortage continued, the need to educate nurses in a professional role became evident and associate degree programs emerged in community college settings. Basic nursing skills to educate nurses to return to bedside care were the priority while students took courses in a college setting. After two years, students received an associate degree in nursing and were eligible to take the NCLEX exam to become Registered Nurses. Nursing education was being challenged in the medical field and struggling to establish the professional, autonomous role of the nurse. Amid these struggles it became evident that the place most appropriate was an academic setting in a university. A baccalaureate education in a four-year program incorporated both the sciences and liberal arts with students receiving a BSN degree in nursing. These students were eligible to take the NCLEX exam to become Registered Nurses. For many years, there were 3 entry level programs students could select from to take the NCLEX exam and become a professional Registered Nurse. Eventually, for various reasons, including the economy, three-year hospital nursing programs closed. This controversy continued since unlike the inception of nursing with Florence Nightingale and religious orders of men entering the profession, nursing needed to be more than a handmaiden of the physician and more autonomous in their role. Within the university setting, additional programs of advanced nursing education continued, including, MSN programs for nurse practitioners, administrators, and educators. Doctoral programs continued to increase with students receiving Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees in evidence-based nursing research as well as advanced clinical expertise in programs for DNP degrees.
Cardinal John Henry Newman believed that a university education is the pursuit of universal knowledge and truth. A Catholic university must be committed to following its mission of excellence while providing an atmosphere of scholarly education. There needs to be a commitment to knowledge and truth with a unity between faith and reason. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there are nine Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice. They are:
- Liberal Education for Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice
- Basic Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Care and Patient Safety
- Scholarship for Evidence-Based Practice
- Information Management and Application of Patient Care Technology
- Healthcare Policy, Finance, and Regulatory Environments
- Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration for Improving Patient Health Outcomes
- Clinical Prevention and Population Health
- Professionalism and Professional Values
- Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice
Liberal education for baccalaureate nursing, Essential I, can be compared with Newman’s philosophy on education in a university. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC & U) defines liberal education as one that intentionally fosters, across multiple fields of study, wide-ranging knowledge of science, cultures, and society. This includes high-level intellectual and practical skills, an active commitment to personal and social responsibilities, and demonstrated ability to apply learning to complex problems and challenges. Newman addresses two methods of education, philosophical and mechanical. Mechanical includes instruction and involves an immediate outcome of the process with a narrow scope. In contrast, Philosophical education is much broader and denotes the liberal education, which Newman advocates for since it is not characterized by physical instruction but by the exercise of reason, mind, and the cultivation of the intellect. As an administrator, Newman promoted science as well as arts, to encourage professional education, to provide for research as well as good teaching, and to broaden the curriculum by including more modern subjects. A liberal education in nursing includes both the sciences and the arts. The sciences included: physical sciences (physics and chemistry), life sciences (biology and genetics), mathematical and social sciences (psychology and sociology). The arts included: fine arts, performing arts, and humanities. Newman considered university learning as a setting where a student is exposed to various subjects, then considers each perspective, and forms a habit of mind that will last a lifetime, which he refers to as, “philosophical habit.” According to Newman the core of the curriculum is the humanities which represents the highest attainment of cultivated minds.
Liberal education is critical to the generation of responsible citizens in a global society. Newman states that being devoted to intellectual excellence is how the university can assist students to understand themselves, to use resources to become critical thinkers, and to solve problems in society. Paul and Elder in 2009 characterized a well cultivated critical thinker as the following:
- Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely
- Gathers and assessed relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret these effectively
- Establishes well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria as well as standards
- Ability to think open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as needed, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences
- Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems
Nurses work within a healthcare team to address issues important to the profession of nursing, question dominant assumptions, and solve complex problems related to individuals and population-based communities. Graduate nurses exercise appropriate clinical judgment, understand the reasoning behind policies and standards, and accept responsibility for continued professional development and the discipline of nursing practice. In health care, critical thinking for nurses is essential. Each nurse seeks awareness of reasoning as he or she applies the criteria and considerations as thinking evolves throughout their career.
The goal of the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education is to transform nursing education for the twenty-first century. Learning opportunities include direct clinical experiences to attain practice focused outcomes while integrating knowledge and skills for professional nursing. According to the Essential liberal education additionally allows the graduate nurse to form the values and standards needed to address changes in healthcare medical technology. These trends will enhance care for the aging population and culturally sensitive, diverse families. Liberal education provides the baccalaureate graduate nurse with the ability to integrate knowledge, skills, and values from the arts and sciences to provide safe, quality care.
 American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (Washington DC: AACN Publications, 2008), pp. 1-2.
 Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC & U) College learning for the New Global Century. (Washington, DC, 2007), p. 4.
 Newman, John Henry, and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), pp. 84-85
 Newman, John Henry, and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 13.
 Newman, John Henry, and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 179.
 Newman, John Henry, and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 92.
 Paul, R. & Elder, L. Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools (Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2009), p.2.
 American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (Washington DC: AACN Publications, 2008), p. 12.
Newman, Oxford and Literature by Nancy Enright
Saint John Henry Newman’s Idea of a University expresses an ideal that is much needed in today’s universities, particularly those with a Catholic affiliation. In his Introduction, Martin Svaglic talks about how Newman’s conversion to Catholicism was “not so much breaking with as developing his Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic heritage….” It was a gradual movement toward revealed truth at its source that culminated in Newman’s 1845 entrance into the Catholic Church. But the development began with an evangelical conversion as a teenager, a conversion deepened by his experience at Oxford, where he experienced the positive influence of devout Anglo-Catholic mentors, like John Keble, and where he became a leader, perhaps the leader, of “the Oxford Movement.” What is it about Oxford that, despite its many flaws (including centuries of blatant anti-Catholicism, which barred Newman from it upon his conversion), links significantly to Newman’s developing faith, his commitment to truth and theological tradition, and his “idea of a university” as a place where disparate parts are linked to a central vision? A glimpse of just a few literary explorations of Oxford will give some insight into why this particular place was a fitting site for Newman’s conversion and an inspiration for his famous work, The Idea of a University.
Perhaps the first literary reference to Oxford comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, in which he describes a ‘Clerk of Oxenford’ among the pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket, ‘the holy blissful martir’ who was killed in the Cathedral of Canterbury at the orders of King Henry II. England was still Catholic then, of course, and academics were celibate and minor clerics. Chaucer describes this early scholar in words that may resonate with many struggling academics today:
A clerk ther was of Oxenford also,
That unto logyk hadde longe ygo.
As leene was his hors as is a rake,
And he nas nat right fat, I undertake,
But looked holwe, and therto sobrely.
Ful thredbare was his overeste courtepy;
For he hadde geten hym yet no benefice,
Ne was so worldly for to have office….
Noght o word spak he moore than was neede,
And that was seyd in forme and reverence,
And short and quyk and ful of hy sentence;
in moral vertu was his speche,
And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.
So, what do we learn about our Clerk? He is not rich, and if there were “salary studies” as proliferate at some universities, his would be among the lowest. He and his horse are thin, and he shows no attributes of worldly success, but what he does show is seriousness and courtesy, and joy in his subject. His speech and manner express reverence (for truth, for his students and colleagues, for God?) and “high sentence in moral virtue.” Most of all, he loves what he does: “And gladly would he learn and gladly teach.” If he gets any money, he spends it on books. Clearly, the Clerk would agree profoundly with Newman’s axiomatic words from The Idea of a University: “Knowledge is capable of being its own end. Such is the constitution of the human mind, that any kind of knowledge, if it be really such, is its own reward.”
As time progressed, the Reformation occurred, and Oxford was no longer a place to train Catholic clergy and, in fact, Catholics could not attend it at all, there still remained that dedicated, sometimes ascetic and sacrificial spirit among scholars at Oxford that sought knowledge as its own renewal. Do we convey to our students the idea that knowledge is valuable for its own sake, not merely a preparation for a skill set that will ultimately demand a higher salary? While acknowledging the importance of obtaining a job after college, both Newman and Chaucer valued more highly the focus on the immaterial. This is at the heart of Chaucer’s description and a key aspect of Newman’s evocation of a university. Its focus is not material, and its intellectual and spiritual work is of value for its own sake.
Skip ahead several centuries, now looking back to Newman’s time, we find several references to Oxford in literature. In his work, Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh, depicts Charles Ryder’s reminiscence of as a student in 1923: “Oxford, in those days, was still a city of aquatint. In her spacious and quiet streets men walked and spoke as they had done in Newman’s day; her autumnal mists, her grey springtime, and the rare glory of her summer days—such as that day –when the chestnut was in flower and the bells rang out high and clear over her gables and cupolas, exhaled the soft airs of centuries of youth. It was this cloistral hush which gave our laughter its resonance, and carried it still, joyously, over the intervening clamour” Waugh, like Newman a convert to Catholicism, depicts the echoing of “the soft airs of centuries of youth.” Here Oxford is associated with not only with the past but also the present, with youth. A thousand years of learning echoing in the streets, where the day’s students mingle (today as in 1923). Newman talks about the importance of the interaction of students being at least as important as the courses they take:
They learn to respect, to consult, to aid each other. Thus is created a pure and clear atmosphere of thought, which the student also breathes, though in his own case he only pursues a few sciences out of the multitude. He profits by an intellectual tradition, which is independent of particular teachers, which guides him in his choice of subjects, and duly interprets for him those which he chooses. He apprehends the great outlines of knowledge, the principles on which it rests, the scale of its parts, its lights and its shades, its great points and its little, as he otherwise cannot apprehend them. Hence it is that his education is called “Liberal.” A habit of mind is formed which lasts through life, of which the attributes are, freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom; or what in a former Discourse I have ventured to call a philosophical habit. This then I would assign as the special fruit of the education furnished at a University, as contrasted with other places of teaching or modes of teaching. This is the main purpose of a University in its treatment of its students.
So, we can draw from this excerpt from Newman’s text that it is the relationships formed at a university that make the experience richer than the mere knowledge gained from textbook or lecture.
Finally, two very popular authors, whom I teach in my Core III/British Literature cross list course: Fantasy and Faith: Tolkien and Lewis and their Precursors. Both authors went to Oxford. Lewis came there an atheist, and though Catholics were now allowed to attend and even to teach at Oxford in the 1930s, he was warned against socializing with them. Despite that warning, he became good friends with a philology professor, J.R.R. Tolkien. On a late-night walk near Magdalen College’s Addison’s walk, on a tree-lined path near a stream and next to a deer park, Lewis, now a theist but not a Christian, listened as Tolkien and another friend, Hugo Dyson, talked about Christianity as “the one true myth.” Lewis, a lover of myth, found himself deeply persuaded by Tolkien’s argument that at one time in history, the qualities we love in myth became historical fact. Soon after this, Lewis confessed that he now had become a Christian. Oxford was the perfect setting for this discourse. I have taken Addison’s walk, and the wind in the trees and the hush of the archaic, beautiful architecture and stone bridges, along the stream, must have been a perfect backdrop to this life-changing situation. Oxford, as the archetypal university, was the setting for the spiritual and intellectual conversation that led to yet another conversion. Though, unlike Newman, Lewis did not become a Catholic (as, Tolkien admitted, he had hoped for), his dramatic turn to Christianity allowed him to become one of the twentieth century’s great apologists (as Newman was in his day). These kinds of conversations can occur today—on any campus—if the right circumstances allow them. If a university allows students some breadth to explore, some encouragement to interact and explore ideas, some focus on things deeper than a resume or GPA.
Newman admits that a liberal education does not “make the Christian,” and that is true. But if at a Catholic university or one inspired by faith (as Oxford was and is, though no longer Catholic, except in its long past), students must be allowed to explore the questions that can lead to the deeper truth that underlies all truths, as even Lewis, a young tutor at Oxford, was moved to explore questions of faith in the intellectual, but also spiritual climate, of conversing with his peers. To create this atmosphere, there needs to be a sense of wholeness underlying the various parts of a university, a respect for theology, a sense of the importance of learning beyond career options, a joy and love of teaching and learning.
 Newman, John Henry, and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), Introduction.
 Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1957), p. 20.
 Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1957), p. 20.
 Newman, John Henry, and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 77.
 Waugh, Evelyn, Brideshead Revisited (Toronto, ON, Canada: Penguin Books, 1981), p.
 Newman, John Henry, and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), Introduction. Discourse 5.
 Newman, John Henry, and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 90.
 Newman, John Henry, and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), Introduction.
Integrated Learning and Newman's Idea of a University by Anthony Haynor
A major takeaway for me from the 2021 Faculty Summer Seminar with Jeremy Wilkins, “From Facts to Truth to Wisdom with Thomas Aquinas,” involved the pivotal position of the senses and reason in the understanding of Being in its varied forms. In the past year, I have been reading two texts that bear on what can be called the “metaphysical project”—sustained and disciplined intellectual effort that achieves (or at least moves toward) a grasp of the totality of Being, that is, the relations among the various forms of Being. The first is Insight by Bernard Lonergan, chapters 12-17 especially.1 The second is The One and the Many: A Contemporary Thomistic Metaphysics2 by W. Norris Clarke. Making progress toward an understanding of “proportionate being” (in Lonergan’s terms), that is, finite being, is a primary intellectual destination for human knowers—as individuals and as communities. Getting the metaphysics right sets the stage for ethical reasoning, for virtuous conduct must be in accord with nature as established through metaphysical inquiry. Conversely, getting the metaphysics wrong can make ethical conduct implausible, if not impossible. Comprehending “proportionate” or “finite” being also triggers inquiry into “transcendent being”—the being in which it is ultimately grounded. I have become convinced that taking “being” very seriously as well as the philosophy of being—which is metaphysics—goes to the heart of the liberal university’s mission. Putting metaphysics first is arguably not in tune with the prevailing zeitgeist—with its relativistic worldview, with its emphasis on language games, and with its proclamation of the “end of metaphysics.”3 However, giving primacy to a metaphysical project is very much in line with the mission of a Catholic University, and should be embraced, arguably, by all universities.
In our recent2022 Faculty Summer Seminar with Ken Parker “Ideas of a Catholic University: Then, Now, and Into the Future,” a key question emerged for me: Is the metaphysical project (which encompasses both finite and transcendent being) one that is implied by, or at least, highly consistent with, Newman’s “Idea of a University”? I reviewed Sections V, VI, and VIII of The Idea of a University to address this issue. What struck me was Newman’s emphasis on cultivating the philosophical mind in order to foster an integrated understanding of being. While he didn’t introduce the term “metaphysics” a plausible case can be made that this is what he meant.
In Discourse V, “Knowledge Its Own End,” Newman argues that:
…all branches of knowledge are connected together, because the subject-matter of knowledge is intimately united in itself, as being the acts and the work of the Creator. Hence it is that the Sciences, into which our knowledge may be said to be cast, have multiplied bearings one on another, and an internal sympathy, and admit, or rather demand, comparison and adjustment. They complete, correct, balance each other. This consideration, if well-founded, must be taken into account, not only as regards the attainment of truth, which is their common end, but as regarded the influence which they exercise upon those whose education consists in the study of them.4
Newman goes on to argue that undue specialization serves “to contract [the learner’s” mind.”5 Students need to be exposed to all of the disciplines and along with teachers and scholars, need to regard themselves of part of an intellectual fraternity, as it were, aiming to “adjust together the claims and relations of their respective subjects of investigation.”6 In the process, “they learn to respect, to consult, to aid each other.”7 He places considerable emphasis on cultivating “a habit of mind” directed toward the integration of knowledge:
A habit of mind is formed which lasts through life, of which the attributes are, freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom; or what…I have ventured to call a philosophical habit. Knowledge is capable of being its own end. Such is the constitution of the human mind, that any kind of knowledge, if it be really such, is its own reward. And this is true of all knowledge, it is true also of that special Philosophy, which I have made to consist in a comprehensive view of truth in all its branches, of the relations of science to science, of their mutual bearings, ad their respective values.8
According to Newman, it is built into our human nature to seek knowledge for its own sake knowledge that relates the various disciplines of knowledge to each other and by implication the subject matters (the orders of being) to which they attend. This is the essence of “liberal knowledge,” the “liberal arts,” “liberal education.”9 He contrasts the “philosophical” method of education—aimed at general and universal knowledge—to “the mechanical” method—aimed at the external and the practical.10 The philosophical method is quintessentially “intellectual”; it seeks knowledge that “grasps what it perceives through the senses; something which takes a view of things; which sees more than the senses convey; which reasons upon what is sees, and while it sees; which invests it with an idea.” The journey on which the intellect embarks seeks nothing less than “to have mapped out the Universe.” This is the “boast, or at least the ambition, of Philosophy.”11
Newman is clear in identifying the limitations of the philosophical mind while asserting its inherent value. About the knowledge that we gain through the exercise of the philosophical mind, Newman writes:
Its direct business is not to steal the soul against temptation or to console it in affliction, any more than to set the loom in motion, or to direct the steam carriage; be it ever so much the means or the condition of both material and moral advancement, still, taken by and in itself, it as little mends our hearts as it improves our temporal circumstances. Knowledge is one thing, virtue is another. Philosophy, however enlightened, however profound, gives no command over the passions, no influential motives, no vivifying principles. Liberal Education makes not the Christian, not the Catholic, but the gentleman.12
The qualities of the gentleman for Newman “are no guarantee for sanctity or even for conscientiousness, they may attach to the man of the world, to the profligate, to the heartless.”14 The cultivation of the intellect is but one kind of excellence for Newman: “Every thing has its own perfection, be it higher or lower in the scale of things; and the perfection of one is not the perfection of another.”15 We can safely surmise, I think, that moral excellence (virtue) and spiritual or religious excellence are regarded by Newman as higher “in the scale of things” than intellectual excellence. A key question for me is: In what sense can intellectual excellence serve as a precondition for moral excellence? Clearly for Newman intellectual excellence does not guarantee moral excellence, let alone spiritual excellence. He also took the position that the striving for intellectual excellence had intrinsic worth. It is self-evident to me that the cultivation of the philosophical mind requires “completion” and “perfection” in the form of moral and spiritual excellence, and that the university’s mission is to foster all three kinds of human excellence. Discourse V concludes with the following thoughts, first on the distinction between the cultivation of the intellect and the cultivation of virtue, and second on the transition from the natural plane to the supernatural plane of existence:
To open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it to know, and to digest, master, rule, and use its knowledge, to give it power over its own faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, eloquent expression, is an object as intelligible…as the cultivation of virtue, while, at the same time, it is absolutely distinct from it.
We attain to heaven by using this world well, though it is to pass away; we perfect our nature, not by undoing it, but by adding to it what is more than nature, and directing it towards aims higher than its own.16
In Discourse VI Newman focuses on the constituents of “intellectual perfection” as well as factors that inhibit it. Regarding the former, “philosophical knowledge” requires that the university “educates the intellect to reason well in all matters, to reach out towards truth, and to grasp it.”17 Acquiring knowledge (or information) is not sufficient—intellectual excellence requires an “expansion of mind,” which involves “a comparison of ideas one with another, as they come before the mind, and a systematizing of them.”18 Newman here is calling for the university to foster a dialectical attitude on the part of faculty and students alike. The objective is not for those in the university community to “abound in information in detail”19 but rather to integrate the various fields of knowledge through active, inter-subjective engagement. I would add that the dialectical attitude should extend to the relationship between metaphysical understanding, on the one hand, and moral imperatives, on the other, as well as that between the natural and supernatural planes of existence. Newman emphasizes the intelligibility of the world, that is, its fundamental unity:
Just as our bodily organs, when mentioned, recall their function in the body, as the word ‘creation’ suggests the Creator, and ‘subjects’ a sovereign, so, in the mind of the Philosopher, as we are abstractedly conceiving of him, the elements of the physical and moral world, sciences, arts, pursuits, ranks, offices, events, opinions, individualities, are all viewed as one, with correlative functions, and as gradually by successive combinations converging, one and all, to the true centre. That perfection of the Intellect, which is the result of Education, and its beau ideal, to be imparted to individuals in their respective measures, is the clear, calm, accurate vision and comprehension of all things, as far as the finite mind can embrace them, each in its place, and with own characteristics upon it.20
Newman concludes that “the true and adequate end of intellectual training and of a University is not Learning or Acquirement, but rather, is Thought or Reason exercised upon Knowledge, or what may be called Philosophy.”21
The relationship between knowledge and religion is taken up in Discourse VIII. Newman states that “the educated mind may be said to be in a certain sense religious; that is, it has what may be considered a religion of its own, independent of Catholicism, partly co-operating with it, partly thwarting it.”22 This suggests a dialectical process at work in the university arena—involving the identification of affinities, and tensions and seeming contradictions that require addressing. At the same time, Newman argues that “Right Reason, that is, Reason rightly exercised, leads the mind to the Catholic Faith, and plants it there, and teaches it in all its religious speculations to act under its guidance.”23 A major thrust of Discourse VIII is that “Intellectualism” by itself is insufficient, even dangerous. It has a restricted worldview, rooted in fleeting opinions and trapped in naturalistic dogmatism. For those with a genuine “enlargement of mind” their “religion is one of imagination and sentiment; it is the embodiment of those ideas of the sublime, majestic, and beautiful, without which there can be no large philosophy.”24
Let me conclude with a quote from a recent book, Hollowed Out, which analyzes the current state of higher education in the United States and calls for a radically new direction that is remarkably consistent with Newman’s “Idea of a University”:
…the job of the modern teacher is largely therapeutic—make students feel safe, make them feel good about themselves, impart the curriculum without insisting with too much awkward emphasis on how they might benefit from engaging with big thinkers, big ideas, big themes, thinking historically or philosophically rather than about the Almighty Me.25
- Lonergan, B. Insight (University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1992).
- Clarke, W. N. The One and the Many: A Contemporary Thomistic Metaphysics (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001).
- Wittgenstein, L. Philosophical Investigations (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010); Martin Heidegger, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 75.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 75.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 76.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 76.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), pp. 76-77.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 80.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 85.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 85.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 91.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 91.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 91.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 92.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), pp. 92-93.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 95.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 101.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 102.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), pp. 103-104, 105.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 105.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 137.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 137.
- Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 160
- Adams, J. Hollowed Out: A Warning About America’s Next Generation (Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, 2021), quoted in Trotter, S. “A Great Teacher’s Warning,” Quillette (August 1, 2022).
A Catholic University-More than an Idea by Matthew Higgins
There appears to be an identity crisis in higher Education the United States, and within it, Catholic higher education. As institutions evaluate their place in the ever-transitioning world of higher learning, they encounter both crisis and wide-ranging opinions on the matter abound. In the center of Catholic Education one only needs to search the hashtag “CatholicTwitter” to understand how complexly divided opinions are on all things Catholic. One could glean from reading comments and digital arguments that the Catholic world often holds Catholic leaders, influential people, and institutions under a microscope. There appears to be somewhat of a litmus test or scale of Catholic Identity. A person or institution can easily be labeled either “too Catholic” or “not Catholic enough.”
As someone who has worked in parish and diocesan ministries I know individuals often struggle with what it means to be Catholic. For many Catholics, the search to understand and know who they are or what it means to be a Catholic can be a taxing journey marred by confusion, tension, and doubt. The common phrase, “I am Catholic, but…” or “I was raised Catholic, but…” often precedes a personal disconnect or disagreement with part of what it means to be Catholic, often stemming from one’s decisions or experiences. One could argue that Catholic colleges and universities might use similar language in describing their history. Some institutions once considered models of Catholic higher education have made a series of decisions over decades resulting in a fading Catholicity. Consequently, their Catholic identity becomes only a part of their history (I was raised Catholic, but…). Other Catholic colleges and universities faced what James Heft calls the “commercialization” and “secularization” of Catholic higher education. For these institutions, Catholic identity is part of a brand, and something handled solely by campus ministry departments (I am Catholic but). For still others Catholic identity is an idea that struggles to come to fruition.
The Idea of a Catholic University was explored in the Summer Faculty Seminar, offered by the Center for Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University, facilitated by Dr. Kenneth Parker. Participants read through specific discourses and discussed topics from St. John Henry Newman’s Idea of a University. In addition, Dr. Parker outlined Newman’s personal experience of higher education and posed questions wherein participants engaged Newman’s thoughts and writing with their experiences in higher education. Such questions led participants to consider their own motivations for pursuing education and compare them to their current reality as faculty. It was also apparent that many Catholic colleges and universities are in the midst of soul searching, discerning this “idea” of a Catholic university contrasted with their own reality. The discussions helped blend my academic and professional life.
First, as someone whose research focused primarily on Catholic higher education, formation, and leadership, I was struck by others’ perceptions of higher education and the evident similarities to the life of St. John Henry Newman. Most notably was his approach to education, especially its aim to form the entire person through interdisciplinary relationships in and outside of the classroom. Second, as someone whose professional life has been in ministry, archdiocesan administration, and higher education program management, I was amazed by Newman’s ability to make the idea of a university a reality, which is something that appears to be a struggle for so many institutions today. In my work, I have served as a bridge between ideas and reality, often taking complex or vague ideas for programs and finding ways to bring them to concrete fruition. In fact, where so many individuals and institutions miss the mark lies in their perception that being Catholic is simply a part of a whole, rather than something that permeates the whole. Yet the idea of a Catholic university, or the idea of Catholic education in general, cannot remain an idea or something on the sideline. As Parker stated on the second day of the seminar, “Newman was not strictly an idealist; he was practical.” Newman was able to make his idea a reality.
According to Newman, education is much more than learning facts, but involves formation in line with living out religious truth. As Newman stated,
But education is a higher word; it implies an action upon our mental nature, and the formation of a character; it is something individual and permanent, and is commonly spoken of in connection with religion and virtue.
This concept is very much at the heart of Catholic education and makes one’s Catholic identity distinct. It is something set apart from simply learning for exams or vocational training. The foundation of Catholic education is the formation of persons. It is committed to the formation of the entire person, not simply one part of an individual. Seton Hall refers to this in her motto—A place for the mind, heart, and spirit. The interwoven nature of the various aspects of human life—human, spiritual, intellectual, and relational—are all fostered through Catholic education. Through this approach, students develop transcendental capacities such as seeking what is good, true, and beautiful and openness to transformation. Newman alludes to this in his Idea, when he states,
What we contemplate, then, what we aim at, when we give a religious Education, is, it seems, not to impart any knowledge whatever, but to satisfy anyhow desires after the Unseen which will arise in our minds in spite of ourselves, to provide the mind with a means of self-command, to impress on it the beautiful ideas which saints and sages have struck out, to embellish it with the bright hues of a celestial piety, to teach it the poetry of devotion, the music of well-ordered affections, and the luxury of doing good. As for the intellect, its exercise happens to be unavoidable, whenever moral impressions are made, from the constitution of the human mind, but it varies in the results of that exercise, in the conclusions which it draws from our impression, according to the peculiarities of the individual.
With respect to this relationship between education and formation, Newman underscored the importance of community and relationship as a primary factor in forming the entire person. In a way, he links co-curricular formation of the mind, heart, and spirit to one’s ability to learn. Moreover, Newman insisted that accompaniment on the part of both teachers and students living in community fostered what he calls “living teaching.” 
With living teaching, or “accompaniment,” students walk with each other in fraternity and communal living, wherein likeminded individuals studying different majors teach each other in the context of organic relationship. In this model, students are not pigeonholed into one way of thinking, nor are their studies so specialized that they become persons of “one idea” who are convinced of their own conclusions and cannot open their mind to abstract thought or discourse. Conversely, students also learn invaluable traits within a liberal curriculum.
The curriculum should be aimed toward liberal knowledge, or what Newman calls “special Philosophy,” which is “a comprehensive view of truth in all its branches, of the relations of science to science, of their mutual bearings, and their respective values.” This interdisciplinary approach affords students the right to everything that has been thought, written down, and passed on through generations. Providing a balanced education, through discourse and living in community with others in various fields, yet all seeking the same end leads students to Truth. As Newman describes,
all branches of knowledge are connected together, because the subject-matter of knowledge is intimately united in itself, as being the acts and the work of the Creator… They complete, correct, balance each other…attainment of truth…is their common end…
Moreover, the intangible or organic subject matter taught through community and accompaniment is what forms character; it develops a “habit of mind…which lasts through life, of which the attributes are freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom…”
What Newman describes in his Idea is a blueprint for Catholic colleges and universities that struggle to find their identity today. Heft goes as far as calling Newman a “north star” in one’s search for defining and identifying higher education institutions as Catholic. Based on Newman’s Idea, it can be argued that what makes an institution Catholic is not only the names on buildings, its history, or the number of priests or religious present on campus. Catholic identity is rooted rather in the education received and the culture experienced by each person on campus. It is known by its fruit, namely the type of graduates it produces. Catholic Education and the education described by Newman prepare students for life regardless of their career. As the Congregation for Catholic Education stated,
Education must guide students to face reality, to enter the world with a sense of awareness and responsibility and, in order for this to happen, knowledge acquisition is always necessary. However, the real expected result is not the acquisition of information or knowledge but, rather, personal transformation…Catholic higher education aims at forming men and women who are able to engage in critical thinking, who are endowed with high-level professionalism but also with rich humaneness, through which their skills are put to the service of the common good.
Catholic identity in higher education cannot simply remain an idea, it is not a unit or subsection of campus culture, but fully integrated throughout the entirety of campus life. To make this idea reality, an institution like Seton Hall needs people who subscribe to and live out Catholic mission and identity. As St. John Paul II expressed in Ex Corde Ecclesiae,
In a word, being both a University and Catholic, it must be both a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge, and an academic institution in which Catholicism is vitally present and operative.
Of course, this does not mean that every single person on campus needs to be Catholic. In fact, Newman would argue against that. However, to create a culture of Catholic mission and Identity, it is essential to recruit for mission and place key individuals in all units who embody it, those who live, share and deepen it. In doing so, everyone who steps foot on campus understands that Catholic identity is not just an idea, but a reality woven into the very fabric of the university. Furthermore, when our graduates enter the world, they will exude the same culture in their homes, in their workplace, and in their communities. Impressing upon the world not just knowledge or vocational skill, but a lifelong love of learning, character, commitment to the common good, and the relentless pursuit of the good, true, and beautiful. In the same way in which St. John Henry Newman’s Idea is still living and attractive more than a century after its composition, so will the reality of Catholic universities live on if they embrace the idea and make it a reality.
 Heft, J., The Future of Catholic Higher Education: The Open Circle, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2021).
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 86.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 24.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 111 Discourse 6 (9).
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 57.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 77.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 75.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 76.
 Heft, J., The Future of Catholic Higher Education: The Open Circle (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2021)
 Congregation for Catholic Education, Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion, (Vatican City State: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2014), no. 2f.
 John Paul II, Pope, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, (Vatican City State: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1990), no. 14.
Newman and Lonergan on the Idea of a University by Richard M. Liddy
No work in the English language has had more influence on the public
ideals of higher education. No other book on the character and purposes
of universities has received so frequent citation and praise by other
academic commentators…Like the negotiator who succeeds by being the
first person to get his material on the table, Newman against all odds
and experience established the framework within which later
generations have considered university academic life. (Frank M. Turner) 
Kenneth Parker’s seminar on Newman’s Idea of A university came at a most propitious time as I am presently working on a book on John Henry Newman (1801-1890) as seen through the eyes of the Canadian Jesuit philosopher/theologian, Bernard Lonergan (1904-1984). Parker’s seminar replicated many of the characteristics of a university education as set out in Newman’s classic work. A relaxed style combined reading and lecture along with a great deal of active participation on the part of the attendees. I found particularly interesting the participants’ sharing of their own experiences. Bernard Lonergan once articulated the benefit of such a seminar as distinct from a unilateral focus on teaching “content.”
Everyone will have his own difficulties. There is an advantage, then, to having a seminar on the subject. It gives people a chance to talk these things out…to talk them out with others. There is a set of concrete opportunities provided by the seminar that cannot be provided by any mere book. The more you talk with another and throw things out, the more you probe, and the more you express yourself spontaneously, simply, and frankly, not holding back in fear of making mistakes, then the more quickly you arrive at the point where you get things cleared up. 
I personally became interested in Newman before I encountered Bernard Lonergan as my teacher of theology in Rome in the early 1960s. It was not until many years later, as I wrote a book on the sources of Lonergan’s philosophy, that I discovered that Newman was the major influence on Lonergan’s life and thought.
My fundamental mentor and guide has been John Henry Newman’s Grammar of Assent. I read that in my third-year philosophy (at least the analytic parts) about five times and found solutions for my problems. I was not at all satisfied with the philosophy that was being taught and found Newman’s presentation to be something that fitted in with the way I knew things. It was from that kernel that I went on to different authors. 
Throughout his life Newman found himself engaged in various controversies about the nature of education and he invariably pointed to this personal aspect as key. Writing in his University Sketches, some popular essays written after his Idea, he likened a merely stiff and formal atmosphere of education to an ‘arctic winter.’ “An academical system without the personal influence of teachers upon pupils, is an arctic winter; it will create an ice-bound, petrified, cast-iron University, and nothing else.” Reflecting on his own experience of “the tutor controversy” in the 1820s with the Provost of Oriel College, Oxford, Newman noted:
I have known a time in a great School of Letters, when things went on for the most part by mere routine, and form took the place of earnestness. I have experienced a state of things, in which teachers were cut off from the taught as by an insurmountable barrier; when neither party entered into the thoughts of the other; when each lived by and in itself; when the tutor was supposed to fulfil his duty, if he trotted on like a squirrel in his cage, if at a certain hour he was in a certain room, or in hall, or in chapel, as it might be; and the pupil did his duty too, if he was careful to meet his tutor in that same room, or hall, or chapel, at the same certain hour; and when neither the one nor the other dreamed of seeing each other out of lecture, out of chapel, out of academical gown. I have known places where a stiff manner, a pompous voice, coldness and condescension, were the teacher’s attributes, and where he neither knew, nor wished to know, and avowed he did not wish to know, the private irregularities of the youths committed to his charge.
This promotion of the genuinely personal nature of the educational enterprise is, at the same time not to detract from its great seriousness. For Newman, the aim of a university education is a certain “enlargement of mind” that makes a person a refined member of human society. To contribute to such an enlargement of mind the university provides an environment, a “circle of disciplines,” within which students study, learn and undergo a significant human development. In his University Sketches, Newman gives a wonderful description of the founding of universities, how ancient teachers would enter a city, set up tents in a beautiful site to which pupils would flock to imbibe wisdom and learning. As such, then, a university answers to a need of our very nature:
Mutual education, in a large sense of the word, is one of the great and incessant occupations of human society, carried on partly with set purpose, and partly not. One generation forms another; and the existing generation is ever acting and reacting upon itself in the persons of its individual members.
The essential principle of the university is the professorial system, that is, the living influence of one person upon another, the teacher on the taught. Books are important instruments in the consolidation and communication of knowledge, but the influence of a teacher provides what books never can. “The general principles of any study you may learn by books at home; but the detail, the color, the tone, the air, the life which makes it live in us, you must catch all these from those in whom it lives already.” 
A university, therefore, implies a center where teachers and students gather, there to engage in the process of intellectual exchange in various fields. The point of this process, “the action of mind upon mind,” is not merely the memorization or cataloging of facts in one particular area, nor a smattering of facts in a number of different areas, but rather an “illumination of mind” that is a value in itself and that justifies the greatness of this human process. The aim of a university education is not merely expertise in a particular area or profession, but rather an essential quality that consists…
…not merely in the passive reception into the mind of a number of ideas hitherto unknown to it, but in the mind’s energetic and simultaneous action upon and towards and among those new ideas, which are rushing in upon it. It is the action of a formative power, reducing to order and meaning the matter of our acquirements; it is making the objects of our knowledge subjectively our own, or to use a familiar word, it is a digestion of what we receive, into the substance of our previous state of thought; and without this no enlargement is said to follow. 
Newman is aiming at describing a particular quality of mind, a particular widening and deepening that comes with being genuinely educated. He goes on to describe this quality:
There is no enlargement, unless there be a comparison of ideas one with another, as they come before the mind, and a systematizing of them. We feel our minds to be growing and expanding then, when we not only learn, but refer what we learn to what we know already.
Beginners in the intellectual life, those who have not achieved this enlargement of mind, tend to be “merely dazzled by phenomena, instead of perceiving things as they are.” Their conversation tends to be “unreal,” and “there is no greater calamity for a good cause than that they should get hold of it.” Newman speaks of those who “can give no better guarantee for the philosophical truth of their principles than their popularity at the moment, and their happy conformity in ethical character to the age which admires them.”
On the other hand, the beginning of genuine enlargement of mind takes place when the young are impressed with the need for order and system in their thinking. Newman insists on the importance of method in intellectual training:
I hold very strongly that the first step in intellectual training is to impress upon a boy’s mind the idea of science, method, order, principle, and system; of rule and exception, of richness and harmony. This is commonly and excellently done by making him begin with Grammar; nor can too great accuracy, or minuteness and subtlety of teaching be used towards him, as his faculties expand, with this simple purpose…. Let him once gain this habit of method, of starting from fixed points, of making his ground good as he goes, of distinguishing what he knows from what he does not know, and I conceive he will be gradually initiated into the largest and truest philosophical views, and will feel nothing but impatience and disgust at the random theories and imposing sophistries and dashing paradoxes, which carry away half‑formed and superficial intellects.
It is interesting to note that a century later Bernard Lonergan would virtually define philosophy as “method,” that is, clarity about what you are doing when you are doing it. Nor is method or system in one area alone sufficient. Newman is well aware of “the bore” whose conversation is limited to his own area of expertise. Hence the need in education for the systematic introduction into various areas of study. This process, beginning in the lower years of schooling, should continue in the university. There the enlargement of mind can take place through exposure to a variety of courses and professors.
It is a great point then to enlarge the range of studies which a university professes, even for the sake of the students; and though they cannot pursue every subject which is open to them, they will be the gainers by living among those and under those who represent the whole circle…
So there is a “circle” of disciplines taught in the university and the circle itself teaches:
[The student] profits by an intellectual tradition, which is independent of particular teachers, which guides him in his choice of subjects, and duly interprets for him those which he chooses. He apprehends the great outlines of knowledge, the principles on which it rests, the scale of its parts, its lights and shades, its great points and little…Hence it is that his education is called “liberal.” A habit of thought is formed which lasts through life, of which the attributes are freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom. 
Newman’s “enlargement of mind” is reminiscent of what Bernard Lonergan in the twentieth century would call “intellectual conversion.” For Lonergan such a transformation of mind is not just a case of learning more or memorizing more. It is rather a break‑through to a whole new level or horizon of awareness. It involves leaving behind imaginative and mythic structures that guided one’s previous development and beginning to function on a totally new and properly intellectual level. Much more could be said about Lonergan’s take on Newman’s The Idea of a University, and especially about his adoption of Newman’s “theorem” that leaving out any significant discipline—such as religion and theology—from “the whole” that constitutes human learning results in a radical distortion of human knowing.
 Turner, F., introduction to J. H. Newman, The Idea of a University (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996), p. 282.
 Lonergan, B., Understanding and Being, Collected Works of Lonergan 5 (hereafter CWL), (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990), p. 18.
 See Liddy, R., Transforming Light: Intellectual Conversion in the Early Lonergan (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1993), pp. 16-40.
 Bernard Lonergan, Philosophical and Theological Papers 1965-1980, CWL 17 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004) p. 388.
 Newman, J., University Sketches, (New York: Alba House), p. 75.
 Newman, J. University Sketches. For the controversy between Newman and the Provost of Oriel on the role of tutors, see Ker, I., John Henry Newman: A Biography (Oxford: Clarendon Press: 1988), pp. 37-41.
 See Newman, J., University Sketches (New York: Alba House), pp. 17-43.
 Newman, J., University Sketches (New York: Alba House), pp. 6-7.
 Newman J. University Sketches (New York: Alba House), p. 9.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 76.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 101.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. xliii.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. xlvii.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. xlv.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 130: “Now of all those who furnish their share to rational conversation, a mere adept in his own art is universally admitted to be the worst. The sterility and un-instructiveness of such a person’s social hours are quite proverbial.”
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. Idea, 76. In his lectures on education from 1958 Lonergan recommends a general education that is especially strong on history, languages and mathematics as distinct from the social sciences that are always in flux. See Lonergan, B., Topics in Education (University of Toronto Press, 1993), pp. 205-207.
Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p.76; emphases added.
 Lonergan, B. Method in Theology, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017), pp. 223-225.
 The creation of each new science means the break‑through from a particular imaginative or mental groove to thinking in theoretical or systematic terms: e.g. from “the sun rises in the East and sets in the West” to Copernicus’ mental revolution in astronomy. For Lonergan the intellectual conversion that inevitably takes place in truly learning any one field eventually leads to a more general intellectual conversion that finds expression in a philosophy of knowledge, objectivity and reality. See Lonergan, B., Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992). The core of such a breakthrough is fidelity to what Lonergan calls “the pure desire to know,” an openness of our spirit to the universe, to history and especially to one’s self as open to the universe and to history. It is opposed to any premature narrowing caused by bias.
 See B. Lonergan, A Second Collection (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016), p. 156: “It was Newman’s theorem in The Idea of a University that to suppress a part of human knowledge has three effects: first it results in an ignorance of that part; secondly, it mutilates what of itself is an organic whole; thirdly, it causes distortion in the remainder in which man endeavors to compensate for the part that has been suppressed. On this showing, one is to expect that secularism not only leads to ignorance of religion but also mutilates knowledge as a whole and brings about distortion in what remains.”
Universities Today Compared to John Henry Newman's University Ideas by Raffi Manjikian
Education today can be acquired in many different ways. People can attain credentials, certificates, and degrees from public two-year institutions, public and private four-year institutions, non-profit institutions, for-profit institutions, trade schools, and online. Courses can be delivered in different modalities as well. There can be traditional face-to-face classes, online asynchronous classes, online remote/synchronous classes, as well as hybrid/hyflex classes. With all these course offerings it can be difficult to remember the point of a college, specifically a university. Education is key, but there are many other things that comprise the experience of being at a university. John Henry Newman believed that education was fundamental in helping a person grow to become a good person as well as a religious and spiritual person. He felt that the university was a place that supported student success and encouraged discussion and dialogue from all disciplines. People then could take the information seen from all disciplines and use it to enhance their well-being and overall knowledge about life. Newman is quoted as saying, “If then a practical end must be assigned to a University course, I say it is that of training good members of society. Its art is the art of social life, and its end is fitness for the world.” This seems to still occur but gets scarcer as time goes on. Students now seem to go to college with the sole intention of getting a job and making money. While this is important, it should not be forgotten that education is also needed to help someone have better character and become an overall better person by instilling good values, ethics, and morals into their social life and practices. This paper will take a look at how colleges and universities can act collaboratively among disciplines using an interdisciplinary approach to provide a liberal education for students in order to achieve success both academically and in life.
Student encouragement and academic engagement leads to student success and this is necessary for people to understand the purpose and value of education. As someone who teaches in the natural sciences, one should always be mindful of how to help students in whatever way possible. One example of this is showing students how the different scientific disciplines are related to one another. There are many connections between the fields of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science. It is because of these connections that one can always find faculty and students wanting to work together to find solutions to the many different problems that exist in life. Interdisciplinarity is also seen in the pre-med/pre-health curriculum. These natural science disciplines can also be related to liberal arts disciplines such as Philosophy, English, History, Theology, as well as other forms of Religious studies. John Henry Newman would be excited to know that this notion of working together still exists today. This culture of care and concern for a liberal education speaks to the attempts made to keep Newman’s ideas of a university alive. This includes, but is not limited to, “the need for comprehensiveness in a university curriculum, giving priority to a sense of the whole, and unity and interconnectedness among the disciplines, with these features seen as contributing to the development of intellectual virtues and personhood.”
In today’s world, students have a harder time remembering and valuing the importance of education. Rather than viewing it as an interconnected web of many disciplines working together, students today generally compartmentalize information, and unfortunately do not make or see the connections being made among the various disciplines. Additionally, students feel that a college or university should only be attended to obtain a certain set of skills used to gain some type of employment. This is not the idea of a university according to John Henry Newman. He argues that the goal of an institution is not to produce workers, but to train people to look at the world with a more holistic and philosophical approach. He was hopeful that people who attended a university would form a particular habit of mind: “A habit of mind is formed which lasts through life, of which the attributes are freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom. Knowledge is its own end, not for the practical utility it might impart, but simply because it is worth knowing, and further, because of its shaping influence upon the habits of the mind.”
Even though more students are thinking of attending universities only as a means to employment, they can be mentored and shown the true importance of education by the foundations of teaching, research, scholarship, service and professional development. These aspects of knowledge can help students be more mindful of John Henry Newman’s ideas of a university. All types of institutions should encourage students to think critically and challenge them however possible. Teaching is necessary because it is foundational. Without being taught information, it is impossible to obtain knowledge. Active teaching strategies should be implemented to help students learn the material that they are being shown. Research is necessary in trying to solve different problems that may arise. Students should be shown how research is conducted and the proper analysis needed to interpret data in order to obtain results to build conclusions. Scholarship is necessary as a communication tool for people to publish their findings. Academic service, as well as volunteer opportunities, is necessary in trying to help one another achieve their goals and aspirations. Working together and contributing different ideas and viewpoints can help people look at things in a multidimensional way. Finally, professional development is necessary to help a person gain new information and skills so that they can apply them in various fields and disciplines. Incorporating these five aspects of education shows the true meaning of a liberal education in that it is able to relate information from various fields and disciplines to each other.
In conclusion, Newman’s ideas of a university do still exist today, but students need to be guided in understanding how they still exist and why they are still important. Having an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach toward education is key to student success. Students need to broaden their minds and think more logically in order to move toward an understanding of the importance of education. Education is not just a means to gain employment. It is necessary for a person to better themselves in a multitude of ways, including spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and socially. Once a student embraces the true meaning of education and understands its importance and true value, that is when they can use all the skills they have obtained to become better members of society.
 Sullivan, John, “Newman’s Circle of Knowledge and Curriculum Wholeness in The Idea of a University” Receptions of Newman (Oxford, 2015), pp. 94-113.
 Newman, John. The Idea of a University. Discourse VII Knowledge Viewed in Relation to Professional Skill (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013), pp. 114-136.
 Newman, John, The Idea of a University. Discourse V Knowledge Its Own End (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013), pp. 74-93.
Cor ad Cor Loquitur: Cardinal Newman and The Higher Truth of the Heart by Melinda D. Papaccio
As I started to write this reflection, I took a call to our ITHIRST Initiative addiction ministry’s helpline. A seventy-year-old man from Rhode Island said he wanted help—he was so lonely, he said. While I later found out he wanted help for his alcoholism, I noted that wasn’t the first thing he said—first he said he was lonely. I wasn’t surprised. He craved community, the company of others. His addiction had robbed him of that, just as it had my son who died of an overdose after a 15-year struggle. Loneliness is something all of us can understand. Connection, especially heart to heart connection, is something we all need.
Today, medical experts advise us to call this man’s disease as a “substance use disorder” (or SUD) rather than an “addiction” which carries stigma. The motivation for this change makes sense. I knew firsthand how deadly the stigma we attach to addiction could be. I saw it the many times my son, doing the hard work of recovery, would be knocked down by an encounter with the stigma, and struggle to get back up, feeling so alone in his suffering. As much as I wanted to work against the stigma myself, this term seemed inadequate to describe the very complicated thing that happens to those who are addicted to a substance. In a way, the term puts the focus on the substance, as if getting rid of the substance would solve the problem. If the disorder and all its hallmark traits could be eliminated or healed by removing the substance, I thought how simple recovery would be. But it’s not … I knew that my son’s addiction, and this caller’s, was much more than an issue of substance use. I saw, as I watched my son’s suffering which started with a doctor’s prescription after a minor shoulder surgery, how there was much more to this affliction than simply the substance use component. We are seeing medical professionals who understand this, like Dr. Fred Rottnek, of St. Louis University School of Medicine who has created an Addiction Medicine Fellowship and argues that “[f]or most people who misuse opioids, addiction is not a primary issue. The primary issue may be a poor outcome from an acute episode of pain or chronic pain management. It may be self-medication for serious mental illness or trauma—public or private, episodic or continuous. Since addiction is often not the primary issue, long-term recovery is more than treatment and sobriety—it is human flourishing. Catholic healthcare, at its best, is all about human flourishing.”
Healthcare that promotes human flourishing: this is what Newman was proposing in an address to medical students at the Catholic University of Ireland in November of 1858. He reminded students that “…bodily health is not the only end of man, and the medical science is not the highest science of which he is the subject … the mind and soul have legitimate sovereignty over the body…” Recovery from addiction provides powerful evidence of the need for “sovereignty” of mind and soul over the physical self. As those in recovery know, without a transformation of mind and spirit, there is no real recovery. It doesn’t happen in isolation, but in connection with others, because, as so many of us would be surprised to hear, “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but community.” Not only do Newman’s words provide a guidepost in today’s efforts to address the addiction crisis, so too does the motto he chose for his Cardinal’s coat of arms—Cor ad Cor Loquitur, or “heart speaks to heart.”
While Newman may be best known as one who extolled the intrinsic value of knowledge, the motto he chose has nothing to do with intellectualism, but rather with the heart. It embodies “the interpersonal encounter” since, above all, Newman “always wanted to speak from his heart and to touch [others’] hearts.” In his “Discourse IX: Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge.” Newman speaks of his affinity for St. Philip Neri, whose heart spoke to his heart: “[he didn’t aspire or presume to greatness] No; he would be but an ordinary priest as others: and his weapons should be but unaffected humility and unpretending love.” This man of such lofty intellectual powers was drawn to this humble saint of simple human encounter and called St. Philip Neri his “Father and Patron.” He notes that “[a]ll he did was to be done by the light, and fervor, and convincing eloquence of his personal character and his easy conversation.” Newman’s description seems to portray Neri as kind of doctor of the soul who “…in that low and narrow cell at San Girolamo, [spent hours] reading the hearts of those who came to him, and curing their souls’ maladies by the very touch of his hand.” Of St. Philip’s influence on him, Newman said “I can say for certain that whether or not I can do anything at all in St. Philip’s way, at least I can do nothing in any other.” One might say that “St. Philip’s way” was to promote human flourishing.
Newman understood that human flourishing depended on the experience of connection, to others and to God. In one address he complains about those Christians who, rather than “preaching Christ … tell them to have faith” which “obstruct[s] the view of Christ…” Similarly, one can tell someone desperate for recovery from addiction to “have faith” or that “God loves them” or that they should “pray for healing,” but this rarely helps move that person’s broken heart in such a way that they actually “see” that this is so; it is the difference between knowing a fact and beholding the truth of it.
I am privileged to teach a class called Journey of Transformation, in which students read classic texts in the Catholic intellectual tradition and other religious traditions, that address some of life’s “big questions.” Sensitized by my son’s addiction to the general human tendency toward attachment, I saw how these texts could help them engage the issue and I developed a service-learning component to the course that would put my students in conversation with our ITHIRST ministry’s recovery community. It was my hope that students would be able to begin to behold some truth about the experience of addiction. I wanted their hearts to be moved by the stories of those who have suffered this affliction. I wanted those in recovery to feel seen, their experience validated by these conversations. There could be, I hoped, conversations in which heart spoke to heart. I do this from the core of my own broken heart, to honor my son’s struggle, and to help others have that experience of heart-to-heart connection that he craved but did not have. Over the years, I have seen wonderful moments of connection as a result of these service learning dialogues but it became personal when, several months after my son’s death in 2018, my daughter attended one of our meetings and had a conversation with a young woman about her experience of heroin addiction. Afterwards, my daughter said she understood her brother’s struggle a little better. It was so difficult for family to understand how hard recovery was for him, and it was heartbreaking for him that they couldn’t. However, in conversation this young woman said something that touched my daughter’s heart and helped her behold her brother’s struggle. She said “My addiction speaks in my own voice” which was her way of explaining her addiction’s power over her. Perhaps it was a moment not unlike moments Newman imagined occurred in St. Philip Neri’s cell, as he tended to the soul maladies of those who came to him. It was a sacred moment, a heart-to-heart encounter. “Cor ad cor loquitur”—her heart spoke to my daughter’s heart and blessed it with a moment of healing. I am grateful for this.
In his recent book, The Urge: Our History of Addiction, Carl Eric Fisher, a psychiatrist in recovery from his own battle with alcohol and other substances, traces the path of addiction through human history, our efforts to understand it, and find ways to treat it. In the end he sees that, despite his addiction, he is not “fundamentally different from the rest of the population” and that addiction is a feature of the human condition. In the human tendency toward attachment substance addiction is “just the place where our universal human vulnerabilities are most clearly on display” because all of us “will experience loss of control, loss of power.” He also says that those who suffer from substance addiction and those who do not, “share a fellowship” in that, while substance addiction “causes unthinkable suffering,” that suffering is “contiguous with all human suffering.” Further, it is an affliction of more than just the body. In order for recovery to occur there “needs to be some element beyond the boundaries of traditional medical care, too—one that goes beyond saving lives to promoting well-being and flourishing. To truly meet the challenge of addiction, a therapeutic response alone is not enough. For centuries, people have sought out a further step, something more recently called recovery.” The opposite of recovery is not sobriety, it’s community—Cor ad Cor Loquitur.
Fisher ends his book with the insight that “[a]ddiction is profoundly ordinary: a way of being with the pleasures and pains of life, and just one manifestation of the central human task of working with human suffering.” He doesn’t sound like a clinician here, and that’s just the point. He sees that, as Newman warned in his lecture to medical students, in addition to the truths of his profession, “there are other truths, and those higher than his own.” That higher truth is borne out in Newman’s motto, in the need for connections of the heart in order for humans to heal the soul’s maladies and to flourish. It is what the elderly man who called our ITHIRST helpline that day needed. It is what my son craved, that heart to heart connection with others, and with God.
 Rottnek, F., MD, MAHCM. “Opiods: One More Epidemic for Catholic Healthcare.” Health Progress. Journal of the Catholic Health Organization of the United States. www.Chausa.org March-April 2018. Accessed July 9, 2022. https://www.slu.edu/medicine/family-medicine/pdfs/opioids-one-more-epidemic-for-catholic-health-care.pdf
 Newman, J.H., “Christianity and Medical Science. An Address to the Students of Medicine (November 1858), “The Idea of a University, (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 1982), p. 383.
 Crosby, J., The Personalism of John Henry Newman, (Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2014), p. 66.
 Crosby, J., The Personalism of John Henry Newman, (Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2014), pp. 74-5.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University, “Discourse IX: Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge,” (University of Notre Dame: Notre Dame, Indiana, 1982), p. 178.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University, “Discourse IX: Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge,” (University of Notre Dame: Notre Dame, Indiana, 1982), p. 179.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University, “Discourse IX: Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge,” (University of Notre Dame: Notre Dame, Indiana, 1982), pp. 179-80.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University, “Discourse IX: Duties of the Church Towards Knowledge,” (University of Notre Dame: Notre Dame, Indiana, 1982), p. 181.
 Crosby, J., The Personalism of John Henry Newman, (Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press,2014), pp. 72-3.
 Fisher, C.E., The Urge: Our History of Addiction, (New York: Penguin Press, 2022), p. 283.
 Fisher, C.E., The Urge: Our History of Addiction, (New York: Penguin Press, 2022), p. 284.
 Fisher, C.E., The Urge: Our History of Addiction, (New York: Penguin Press, 2022), p. 289.
 Fisher, C.E., The Urge: Our History of Addiction, (New York: Penguin Press, 2022), p. 300.
 Newman, J.H., “Christianity and Medical Science. An Address to the Students of Medicine (November 1858), “The Idea of a University, (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 385.
Bioethics, Education, and the Idea of a University by Bryan Pilkington
In his lectures on the work of Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman at Seton Hall University during the summer of 2022, Professor Kenneth Parker required participants to read or reread sections of Newman’s The Idea of a University. Participants were then charged with offering a short scholarly piece engaging the seminar’s focus from one’s own academic discipline, the result of which the reader finds here. Professor Parker, founder directed the St. Louis University Prison Program and currently the Ryan Endowed Chair in Newman Studies at Duquesne University, helpfully situated The Idea of the University, particularly Newman’s discussion of knowledge within his broader discussion of university teaching, in Newman’s historical context and shared relevant details of Newman’s time and life, as befits a professor of historical theology. Responding to subject matter in this three-day seminar, even for someone who works primarily on practical problems in the field of bioethics, requires taking seriously the situatedness of persons, in addition to the complex and rich theoretical concepts Newman engaged, applying both—given the aims of bioethics—to practical, concrete issues. The challenge of the charge is slightly greater as respecting Newman’s views of the integration of knowledge and the consistent culture of multidisciplinarity in the programs supported by Seton Hall University and its Center for Catholic Studies requires a bit more: a piece from a discipline that might be relevant to a variety of disciplines. If the following comes anywhere close to meeting this understanding of the charge, it will be due to sympathetic readers and charitable interpretation.
Newman begins the first part of Discourse V of The Idea of a University, highlighting the integration of knowledge:
I have said that all branches of knowledge are connected together, because the subject-matter of knowledge is intimately united in itself, as being the acts and the work of the Creator. Hence, it is the Sciences, into which our knowledge may be said to be cast, have multiplied bearings one on another, and an internal sympathy, and admit, or rather demand, comparison and adjustment. They complete, correct, and balance each other. This consideration, if well-founded, must be taken into account, not only as regards the attainment of truth, which is their common end, but as regards the influence which they exercise upon those whose education consists in the study of them.
Though a number of points can be drawn from this description, especially for those teaching at a liberal arts university, I wish to highlight two. First, if Newman is correct, then it is a broad education that must be offered, not merely specific training in particular competencies of a particular profession or skill set, if one aims to teach the students that he has in mind (though he does share gratitude for those with “mechanical” knowledge in the sixth part of Discourse V). That such integration is grounded in the acts and works of the Creator adds a strong emphasis, if not rhetorical and argumentative force, to this claim. Second, Newman argues that this is not the case merely for the sake of truth and those who seek it, but it is relevant for those who are educated in the various disciplines.
Continuing his focus on students, those who receive an education that “a University will give them,” Newman connects his discussion of knowledge with the rich concept of dignity, noting the knowledge is “something intellectual, something which grasps what it perceives through the senses; something which takes a view of things; which sees more than the sense convey; which reasons upon what it sees, and while it sees; which invests it with an idea…in this consists its dignity.” Though he goes on in Discourse VIII to connect knowledge to religion, in Discourse V he is concerned to offer an argument for the good of liberal arts education, as such, and not dependent for its value on usefulness (not even on the production of virtuous persons). He writes, “Liberal Education makes not the Christian, not the Catholic, but the gentleman.”
How might Newman’s arguments about the importance of education, the roots of its dignity, and the benefits of that education—intellectual excellence—for all persons be relevant in the field of bioethics? The concept of dignity—albeit applied to a different category of being—might hold the key. Recent work in bioethics has highlighted the potential benefits of reflection on dignity—not of knowledge but of persons—in healthcare spaces, teaching health spaces, and especially when considering the vulnerability of particular persons. Dignity is an especially helpful concept for addressing bioethics issues because of both its universality and in specificity—it applies to all, individual human persons—and due to the variety of sources that might support claim of dignity – e.g., the Catholic Intellectual Tradition or international human rights law. Within bioethics, it has been argued that respect for dignity leads to three normative implications, that is, three ways in which human persons in health-related spaces require special treatment: they must not be humiliated, denied necessary opportunities to realize their humanity, or killed. The anti-humiliation prohibition is of special importance here. There are a variety of ways in which a person might be humiliated or placed in a humiliating situation. One such instance, most relevant for applying some of Newmans’ ideas about education to bioethics, is where a person is asked to act or respond without relevant information. The importance of informed consent within medical research and therapeutic endeavors speaks to this notion. To not be in possession of relevant information or to lack knowledge, especially about one’s own health, makes it extremely challenging to make good decisions. How could one have a “view of things” if one lacks the relevant information from biological, physical, psycho-social perspectives about the disease or, more broadly, health issues that one faces?
Given the diversity of persons, their variety of contexts and cultures, and the increasing awareness of the interconnected and extensive implications of broad factors on a person’s health, such as unjust social structures, internalized sexism and racism, as well as food and other resource deserts, what now should be understood as “relevant” knowledge is much broader than what might have been taught in health professions education 50 or 60 years ago (at the advent of the field of bioethics). This is not to suggest that the kind of liberal arts education which Newman argues for must be supported on the grounds that it is useful (in health practices and training), lest this argument fall to objections he considers and the well-rehearsed arguments in favor of the “mechanical.” Rather, it is to make two claims or, better, to offer to readers from diverse disciplines (some of which are health professions educators, others who work in disciplines which have influenced bioethics) interested in the work of this seminar and in Newman two suggestions and a question: First, all persons should have opportunities for a liberal arts education, in light of their dignity. Second, to move about the world and to practice one’s profession well (at least if one is a member of the health professions), one ought to be liberally educated—not simply for its usefulness, such education is good in itself—but to be able to engage the perspectives needed to execute one’s professional obligations well. Finally, in response to the importance of education, the dignity of knowledge and of the person, special challenges faced by the vulnerable, and the university’s raison d’etre, might all universities be encouraged to support or begin programs like the St. Louis University Prison Program?
 Newman, J., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University, (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 75.
 Newman, J., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University, (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 85.
 Newman, J., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University, (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 91.
 Pilkington, B. Ethics Education in the Health Professions. In: Brown, M.E.L., Veen, M., Finn, G.M. (eds) Applied Philosophy for Health Professions Education (Singapore: Springer, 2022), pp. 219–232.
 Pilkington, B. Teaching Dignity in the Health Professions. In: Brown, M.E.L., Veen, M., Finn, G.M. (eds) Applied Philosophy for Health Professions Education (Singapore: Springer, 2022), pp. 339–350.
Newman on Genius Loci and Liberal Education: Organization Spirituality for Civilization by Jon Radwan
Learning about John Henry Newman’s Idea of a University with Kenneth Parker was a pleasure and a revelation. I was struck by how far my own education differed from his ideal. As someone who earned multiple degrees from large state research universities in the late twentieth century USA, I can testify that seemingly every educational controversy Newman faced was long settled, laid to rest, and forgotten. In 1988 Newman was definitely not part of our freshman reader at the University of New Hampshire. Back in the mid-nineteenth century UK “mixed education,” educating Protestants and Catholics together, was a major concern, and the secularizing movement removing theology from the curriculum altogether was gaining momentum. In addition, the growing utilitarian and professional approaches to education he argued against took root and flourished at many universities including my own. As I recall, my 1990s cohort of state students had no religion courses, rarely knew (let alone discussed) anyone’s faith denomination, and many pursued practical majors offering occupational training and placement. In my experience, America’s separation of Church and State meant God wasn’t part of school. Still, somehow, despite decades of positivism and secular materialism, over 150 years later I was taught something of the liberal arts; enough to help me recognize today that Newman’s ideal of a holistic curriculum taught within a caring community is worthy of attention and emulation. While affirming the value of applied fields and objective sciences, and granting utilitarian ethics and policies their social advances, Newman explains how religious universities go further to create organizational cultures influencing society with a spirituality uniquely their own, a genius loci. As fraternal associations these organizations have value in and of themselves, but when particular institutions explicitly engage theology as a valid knowledge domain they become spiritual matrices that open up student horizons and leaven society. This essay details Newman’s description of genius loci in general and the ethos of Catholic liberal arts universities in particular to show how they work to humanize civilization.
Social structures and Genius loci
A genius loci is a supernatural power (numen), often personified as a being or spirit, connected with a specific geographic place. In ancient Rome household and local gods provided sustaining energy and protection. Early Roman polydaimonia, a vast plurality of small gods, was the primary cult system across the entire region. Inhabited and agricultural spaces (civilization) including field markers, crossroads, villages, and neighborhoods each had a generative spirit, as did wild (natural) places like forests and springs. In principle, all Roman spaces were ensouled with genii locorum, and while important and regular rituals could summon and engage local gods, their presence and power was prior to and independent of human recognition. The world, met in its manifold concrete manifestations of earthly place, was both plural and spiritual, and always had been.
Newman’s use of genius loci contrasts with ancient Roman poly-daimonism, but first there are important similarities. For any monotheist particular gods of place are imaginary, but the spatial principle of spirituality, recognizing supernatural significance within place, aligns with both creationism and divine grace. Newman begins with Nature’s integrated diversity across all physical sciences indicating a singular Creator and progressively builds up a spirituo-social dynamic, a curricular tradition, that engages nature, God, and humanity. The Idea of a University is striving to create a new cultural institution, a special institution devoted to education.
Newman’s immediate challenge is to launch Ireland’s first Catholic university, and in Discourse VI.9 he explains that even when theology is excluded any educational organization will still develop a distinctive and generative spirit. In drawing numerous teachers and students together in one place, over time their mutual processes of adjustment coalesce into a characteristic tone and mode of social being.
Let it be clearly understood, I repeat it, that I am not taking into account moral or religious considerations [yet]; I am but saying that that youthful community will constitute a whole, it will embody a specific idea, it will represent a doctrine, it will administer a code of conduct, and it will furnish principles of thought and action. It will give birth to a living teaching, which in course of time will take the shape of a self-perpetuating tradition, a genius loci, as it is sometimes called; which haunts the home where it has been born and which imbues and forms, more or less, and one by one, every individual who is successively brought under its shadow.
Here there are clear contrasts with ancient Rome’s numen. In Newman’s formulation the genius loci is socio-culturally created, not pre-existent, and geographic location matters but particular spaces are not imbued with their own independent supernatural power. Instead, educational institutions are human systems, and as one works within this community the effects are formative, more or less, depending on a complex array of personal and social factors. Knowledge is everywhere and we will learn something wherever we are, but learning within a long-term community explicitly devoted to knowledge and intellect is unique. In learning a living intellectual tradition one gains an orientation to history and the universe as a whole. Where most auto-didactics or isolated distance learners are quickly lost among so many seemingly equivalent and disconnected bits of knowledge, an educational institution, mainly by virtue of its communal quality (and especially when it is a tutor-resident space), transforms solo students grasping at bits into agents with an overarching perspective. Coming to understand how people build up knowledge together, how all learning is interconnected, and the value and significance of each of our various domains and facts in relation to all of the others, imbues the student with generative intellectual power, a genius.
Catholic Higher Education: Liberal Arts meet Theology
Because Newman’s genius loci is a cultural creation, not a spirituo-geographic given, moral questions cannot be put off for long. Which doctrine and idea? Which code of thought and action? In a word, which tradition? Newman’s idea is to unite two traditions, Greek and Christian. This is not an innovation; it is an ancient and proven synthesis that his contemporaries were dismantling on multiple fronts. As noted above, in the nineteenth century UK religion in general was increasingly excluded from higher education, and the liberal arts were falling before scientism and the critique of utilitarian professionals. Ireland needed a Catholic university in the 1850s because despite widespread faith, Catholics had no non-Protestant option. This section outlines Newman’s approach to liberal arts universities and explains his argument for why they should engage theology as a knowledge domain and Christian ethics as an attitudinal corrective.
After Discourse I’s introduction, the first half of The Idea of a University explains theology’s place within a liberal arts education. A university, by its very name, claims to be oriented to the whole. University teaching is deliberately oriented away from merely trending or apparently chaotic physio-social micro or multi-verses, as with many journalistic or political discourses, but rather affirms that the knowable is all part of a unified field. However vast and dynamic, this field is one, and a liberally educated person is empowered to systematically assess manifold facts as they relate with one another to constitute the whole. It categorically follows that excluding any knowledge domain renders one’s education less than universal, and in a liberal arts context less than liberating. Curricular censors, however well meaning, set limits that guarantee ignorance and error.
To emancipate and include theology, the question becomes whether our words about God communicate genuine knowledge, worthy of university teaching, or mere opinions appropriate for particular groups and specialized schools but irrelevant to authentic scholarship. Newman understands how atheists might justify excluding theology, but also cautions them against intolerance. The tougher issue is that most of his audience is nominally theistic and, at the same time, religiously intolerant. This is his argument with Protestant education, the tradition within which he was raised. By excluding theology from their own universities Protestants make God a matter of culture and heart, but not of the intellect. Faith is denied as a rational mode of engaging reality, and instead becomes mere taste and custom. Their functional atheism is painted over with a thin layer of religiosity that retreats from rational inquiry to dissipate in manifold dogmas of personal interpretation and preference. In contrast, if God is real, as all theists profess, then something can be known of Him and it is the duty of a university to engage that knowledge.
In opting to communicate theological knowledge the university integrates truths about God into a unified field, but Discourse III takes this point further and deeper. It’s not that Theology is one co-equal branch of learning among many, it is also a condition for understanding the whole. All sciences work in concert to balance and correct one another, so the omission of any one instantly prejudices the rest. Newman’s larger position is that theology is a particular knowledge “branch” of such historically “wide reception, of philosophical structure, of unutterable importance, and supreme influence” that excluding it invalidates what one has learned of all other domains. Here he argues from analogy. He asks his listeners to imagine an education that denied human agency, but still claimed to teach universal knowledge. Many of today’s readers don’t need to imagine this contradiction—Newman’s opponents were very successful in secularizing social sciences and this hyper-scientistic view grew into the twentieth century’s Behaviorist movement. Newman was blessed to miss out on Modernity’s era of dominance—for him teaching humanities while denying human will is as misguided as teaching creation without a Creator.
From a creationist view of the sciences, recognizing unity and harmony of design across all of nature, Newman extends his argument to cultural ontology. Religion is of such historically wide allegiance that it is a constitutive element of every human culture underpinning and forming material within all disciplines. Atheism is a recent ideology, an aberration, so much so that it is a guaranteed misinterpretation to read classic literature and fine arts without serious consideration of their religious context. Similarly, engaging public affairs in current events and across historical trends without recognizing religio-spiritual motivations and moral valences is folly. Humans are religious creatures, living within divine creation, so to learn about both nature and culture one must account for the divine. Theology, far from mere opinion, is a necessary condition for knowing.
The liberal arts are powerful and generative, a genius. Growing beyond simple animal awareness, a rational being can learn to see actual and potential connections, conceiving ideas and views about their stream of sensible knowledge. This move toward generative synthesis is our Philosophical impulse, and like any energy it can be used to both create and destroy. This existential fork is precisely why Newman needs to articulate the Catholic idea of a university education. If knowing itself requires Theology, then liberal education especially requires it because freedom misdirected quickly becomes tyranny. Demagogues are not ignorant; they are rhetorical masters manipulating reason and discourse to re-orient society away from God or community to concentrate power in self. This is the danger inherent in atheistic education — when knowledge is decontextualized utilitarian power, as in an applied professional school, knowers are taught to use reason to achieve mastery. In the sciences, prediction and control become supreme values dominating and skewing observation. Miracles are explainable. Knowing becomes a distanced and objective act of superiority and power, and the schools feed a continuous stream of clever masters into society.
Newman’s alternative, his idea, is to leaven and humanize civilization with a stream of youth whose knowing is oriented toward holistic truth-in-relation and fraternal love over bigoted specialization or an empty social superiority trying to justify itself via style and taste. This is the genius of the Christian philosophical ethic, and the socio-cultural mission of a Catholic university. The knowledge/reason complex is defined in terms of fertility, not control, positioning the knower as parent and family rather than master. “Knowledge is called by the name of Science or Philosophy, when it is acted upon, informed, or if I may use a strong figure, impregnated by Reason.” Impregnation certainly is an especially powerful figure, with deep Platonic and Catholic resonances. If philosophical ideas are knowledge fertilized by reason, then intellectual energy is not controlled but generated, nourished, birthed, and nurtured in community. Like our children, philosophical ideas are excellent and primary goods in themselves, fertile and vital and growing ripe with many potential applications and uses that while real always remain secondary behind their inherent goodness. At the personal level, just as healthy living is a primary good independent of any specific physical effort, so are the intellectual habits of discerning truth from a holistic perspective in relation to God and neighbor valuable in themselves.
Conclusion: Alma Mater as Home
In sum, studying Newman on genius loci teaches us to take responsibility for spirituality in our cultural spaces. Grace is omnipresent, but all organizations generate their own spirituality, so the key question will always be which genius? A secularized educational ethos is characterized by critique, philosophy without religion. Sciences eschewing wisdom make knowledge into power to break down, predict, and control. In contrast Newman’s genius is fecund and creative. Principles of moral health and intellectual vitality are knowable and achievable, and the institution responsible for forming students into people who can help both themselves and the community flourish is a Catholic university. In The Idea of a University Newman is creating a new school for Ireland, but it is not the first time he has done this. Oxford and Oriel are beloved communities that formed him, but he grew beyond both and in 1848 went on to Maryvale and then Birmingham to found (generate) his own Oratory honoring St. Philip Neri. Neri’s genius was immediate and relational, creating an attraction rooted in humility, purity, truth, and love. He didn’t argue or even protest or warn, instead he engaged everyone as they were and shared himself with them in attentive fullness. This direct and personal mode drew people to his room, and to faith.
He gave the same welcome to all: caressing the poor equally with the rich, and wearying himself to assist all to the utmost limits of his power. In consequence of his being so accessible and willing to receive all comers, many went to him every day, and some continued for thirty, nay forty years, to visit him very often both morning and evening, so that his room went by the agreeable nickname of the Home of Christian mirth.
Newman’s ideal university is not a focused laboratory or a workshop, it is a place like Philip Neri’s room writ large. The space is not pre-ensouled by some mysterious numen, it is spiritualized by Philip himself. He infuses everyone’s time spent there with truth and love, a deeply interpersonal Christian spirituality due everyone entering his orbit. Understood as a genius loci Neri’s “Home of Christian mirth” resonates with Seton Hall and good Catholic universities worldwide. With Newman’s leadership the Catholic University of Ireland was founded in 1854. Seton Hall Universty was founded immediately afterward in 1856. Bishop Bayley was operating in a different loci, but their shared genius is Catholic educational spirituality growing within fraternal home-space. Bishop Bayley’s “home for the heart, the mind, and the spirit” continues to inspire because “home” is the maternal and familial zone where we learn to care, think, and pray together. To be worthy of the name any alma mater must work to do the same.
 Parker, K. “John Henry Newman: The Oxford University Model.” (South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University, 5/31/22)
 Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University “Editor’s Introduction” (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. viii.
 Rose, H. Religion in Ancient Greece and Rome. (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1959), p. 172.
 “The word genius means ‘begetter,’ and personifies that particular kind of numen [supernatural power, mana) which enables the line to continue, generation after generation.” (Rose 193).
 Newman, J. H. and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 111.
 Newman was not the first educational theorist to face the challenge of Modernity. In general southern Europe dealt with the Cartesian re-orientation of University priorities first. Back in 1709 at the University of Naples Giambattista Vico was already fighting to preserve the Humanities in the face of a rising tide of Scientistic specialists. “Since in our time, the only target of our intellectual endeavors is [material/mathematical] truth, we devote all of our efforts to the investigation of physical phenomena, because their nature seems unambiguous; but we fail to inquire into human nature, which because of the freedom of man’s will, is difficult to determine. A serious drawback arises from the uncontrasted preponderance of our interest in the natural sciences. Our young men, because of their training, which is focused on these studies, are unable to engage in the life of the community, to conduct themselves with sufficient wisdom and prudence; nor can they infuse into their speech a familiarity with human psychology or permeate their utterances with passion.” Vico, G. On the Study Methods of Our Time. Elio Gianturco trans. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990), pp. 33-34.
 Newman, J. H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 52.
 In the mid-twentieth century many universities taught that reflexive conditioned responses are a legitimate, research supported, account of human action. Volition and free will are an illusion for Behaviorists. See Skinner, B. About Behaviorism. (New York: Random House, 1974). My state education was secular but not doctrinaire; I also learned competing liberal humanisms but no theisms.
 In contemporary research on Communication and Religion the necessity of accounting for God’s agency is termed “the God problem.” See Schultze, Quentin. “The God Problem in Communication Studies.” Journal of Communication and Religion 28 (2005): 1-22.
 My interpretation of Newman on knowledge as power to master is influenced by Jennings. See Jennings, W. After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2020).
 Newman, J. H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 84.
 Fertility is a foundational theme within the Judeo-Christian tradition. See Genesis. For Plato, the Socratic maeutic casts knowing as “birthing” within a network of caring familial relationships. See Phaedrus 278a-b. “lucidity and completeness and serious importance belong only to those lessons on justice and honor and goodness that are expounded for the sake of instruction, and are veritably written in the soul of the listener, and that such discourses as these ought to be accounted a man’s own legitimate children—a title to be applied primarily to such as originate within the man himself, and secondarily to such of their sons and brothers as have grown up aright in the souls of other men – the man, I say, who believes this, and disdains all manner of discourse other than this, is, I would venture to affirm, the man whose example you and I would pray that we might follow.” Plato. The Collected Dialogues including the Letters. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns eds. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961), p. 523.
 Newman develops the bodily/intellectual health analogy at length in Discourse VI. See Newman, J. The Idea of a University. (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), pp. 93-105.
 Augustine’s account of philosophy imagining itself over religion in pride and hubris is a famous example of this pattern. The books of the Neo-Platonists teach him many truths, but alone they are partial and spiritually stunted. He attempts Platonic ecstasy and is “beaten back” by God. “As for those who are raised on the stilts of their loftier doctrine, too high to hear him calling, Learn of me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls, even if they know God, they do not honor him as God or give him thanks; their thinking has been frittered away into futility and their foolish hearts are benighted, for in claiming to be wise they have become stupid.” Augustine. The Confessions. Maria Boulding trans. (New York: Random House, 1997), p. 133.
 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 180.
Newman's Idea of a University and the Quest for Knowledge by Lisa Rose-Wiles
It seems difficult to imagine how Newman’s idea of a university may be realized today. A learning community that integrates knowledge (wisdom) with student formation (holiness),1 insists that “all branches of knowledge are connected together” and that the quest for knowledge can be its own end2 seems an impossible dream in the age of “the corporatized university [that is characterized by the processes, decisional criteria, expectations, organizational culture, and operating practices that are taken from … the modern business corporation.”3 American universities compete for student enrollment and revenue, endowments, donations, and the coveted media “rankings” that emphasize metrics rather than a well-rounded, integrated education. In the midst of a culture that quantifies and monetizes everything, how do we make a case for the liberal arts and the integration of both intellectual and religious development that lie at the heart of Newman’s ideal university?4 Today’s academic departments are primarily judged on their ability to generate revenue, and those that fall short (often those in the liberal arts) are sidelined or eliminated. Faculty are judged more on their success in securing grants and publishing than their ability to teach and nurture students and are increasingly burdened with administrative duties and endless evaluations.”5 Disparities in faculty salaries (far lower for those in the humanities than those in business, the sciences and especially university administration) and the “shockingly low wages” of adjuncts show that university values are succumbing to “the commercial marketplace,”6 contrary to the principles of Catholic social teaching that assert the dignity of each human person and the right to just wages.”7
Students compete for grades and funding, often choosing courses of study that they hope will lead to well-paying careers. We cannot blame them (or their parents) for their financial concerns. With student debt at an all-time high, it is no wonder that students and parents want to realize a “Return on their Investment” in an expensive university education. Newman himself recognized that the quest for knowledge and “the search after truth” requires that we first “escape from the pressure of necessary cares.”8 Today, many lower-income students struggle with housing and food insecurity and cannot afford their textbooks. Even higher-income students are often overwhelmed by the unrealistic expectations of their parents and peers. The evidence for high and increasing levels of stress, anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies among today’s college students is overwhelming, and these issues have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.9 It all seems a far cry from Newman’s vision for Catholic Higher Education.
Some scholars have held that Newman’s Idea was a beautiful but rhetorical vision with “no institutional realization,” or that his ideas about university education simply belong in the nineteenth century and have no relevance today.10 However, others have countered that Newman’s ideas remain relevant and that there never was a “golden age” of Catholic Higher education to which Newman should be relegated. While the nature of higher education has certainly changed, “the challenges [Catholic] institutions face today are simply the latest iterations of similar challenges they have faced throughout their history.”11 These include struggling to compete with government-funded public institutions, maintaining a Catholic identity and honoring Catholic social teaching while remaining economically viable, a culturally and religiously diverse faculty and student body, a marketplace mentality that emphasizes professional programs and successful careers, and narrow subject specialization that hinders efforts to integrate the disciplines.
The issues of identity, diversity, and the tension between “useful” and “liberal” higher education are nothing new for Catholic universities. There was religious diversity in Catholic campuses in the U.S. as early as 1845, and enrolling non-Catholic students was considered a “self-preservation strategy whenever their charitable business model proved difficult to sustain.”12 The corporatization of higher education has increased since Newman’s time, especially with the advent of Neoliberalism, but he also faced financial and “marketplace mentality” challenges. The more prosperous Irish leaders “had trouble seeing any use for liberal education; they wanted their sons to learn how to be successful businessmen.”13 However, it should be stressed that while valuing the quest for knowledge as an end in itself, Newman was not opposed to the “usefulness” of higher education but to its secularization. He valued the intellectual pursuits highly but saw the careful cultivation of religious values as necessary for “rescuing [us] from passion and self-will” and tempering intellectual egotism.14
The challenge is to intentionally place the empirical and professional disciplines into conversation with religious accounts of human existence.”15 This is not always an easy task, for these disciplines often see the liberal arts in general and religion in particular as irrelevant to their purpose and packed curricula. The task demands that those who study and teach at Catholic universities, regardless of their religious beliefs of lack thereof, are open to engaging the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT). Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A colleague at our own institution has reported snide remarks and even hostility when he referred to engaging the CIT during hiring interviews, and I have seen the eye rolls of colleagues when I ask the inconvenient “mission question.” It is not clear whether these are isolated instances, but we need to pay more than lip service to our Catholic Mission at all levels of our Catholic institutions.
So how do we move forward? I believe that change is unlikely to come from upper administration, who are caught on the corporate treadmill of fighting to remain solvent (we must acknowledge that reality), the relentless competition for student revenue, research grants, endowments, and university rankings. As an old friend once remarked, once an institution sets itself on that treadmill, it is almost impossible to step off it. The impetus for change must come from our students and the faculty, administrators and staff who are motivated and able to work toward it. Students can and should influence the courses and programs that universities offer. There is evidence that many are concerned about their spiritual development and are searching for a meaning and purpose in their lives.16 The popularity of service learning, studies abroad, meditation, journaling and other reflective activities at our institution shows that many of our students understand there is more to higher education than grades and career preparation. But as the justification for cutting liberal arts courses is typically low enrollment, students need to prove their interest by taking these courses, and demanding others that integrate intellectual and spiritual growth by addressing “existential questions of meaning … and holistic personal development.”17
Students may not be aware of the benefits of taking liberal arts courses or the options open to them. Faculty, advisors, peer mentors and career centers can help by recommending enriching courses for students, stressing both the shared societal benefits of a liberal arts education and the enhanced employment opportunities for well-rounded graduates. Regardless of their intended profession, students should be encouraged to view their career as “a vocational calling in the service of the common good”, but it must be clearly “demonstrated to individual students (and their parents) that the decision to study liberal arts will generate individual as well as public benefits.”18 This does not mean reducing science or professional programs or abandoning research but finding a balance that acknowledges the connections between all branches of knowledge. Newman himself “strove to promote science as well as arts, to encourage professional education, to provide for research as well as good teaching, and to broaden the curriculum.”19 At our institution we have resources and programs that can help promote an education that integrates spiritual with intellectual development. We have a strong Catholic Studies department and Core Curriculum, and an emphasis on service learning. We have a diverse group of faculty and administrators engaged in our Praxis program of the Advanced Seminar on Mission, augmented through the new Mission Mentors Program.
Newman clearly valued libraries and establishing them was one of his priorities. So how can our university libraries contribute to the realization of his ideal university? I believe we can do this through our library collections, our teaching, and our broad relationships across our campus community. Academic libraries provide most of an institution’s teaching and research materials, and librarians can ensure that these strongly support both religious and intellectual development. Budget constraints are always with us, but fortunately humanities books and online resources are typically far less expensive those in the sciences. Librarians rarely teach complete courses (although I have been fortunate enough to co-teach with other Praxis faculty, most recently through our Mission Mentors program), but we teach a vast number of information literacy sessions, providing opportunities to incorporate references to the CIT and even Lonergan’s Generalized Empirical Method as a basis for good research practices.20 Librarians also have the advantage of seeing many students from different disciplines during reference and research appointments. We can strongly encourage them to actively seek knowledge, engage existential question and explore diverse perspectives, including literature from other disciplines when the parameters of their assignments make this feasible. Finally, librarians have collegial relationships with many faculty and administrators as departmental liaisons and through committee work. At our institution, librarians have many opportunities to support and promote our Catholic Mission, individually and through our University Seminars on Mission and the Praxis program of the Advanced Seminar on Mission, and to encourage exploration of and engagement with the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and our rich Catholic heritage through our collections and our teaching.
1 Heft, J., John Henry Newman in Context, In: The Future of Catholic Higher Education: The Open Circle (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021). p. 47.
2 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 75.
3 Beyer, G. J., Just Universities: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Higher Education (Fordham, NY: Fordham University Press, 2021), p. 14.
4 Heft, J., John Henry Newman in Context, In: The Future of Catholic Higher Education: The Open Circle (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), p. 55.
5 Berg, M., and Seeber. B.K., The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016).
6 Heft, J., John Henry Newman in Context, In: The Future of Catholic Higher Education: The Open Circle (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), p. 55.
7 Beyer, G. J. Just Universities: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Higher Education (Fordham, NY: Fordham University Press, 2021), p. 11-12.
8 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 79.
9 Duffy, B., Rose-Wiles, L. M., & Loesch, M. M., Contemplating Library Instruction: Integrating Contemplative Practices in a Mid-Sized Academic Library. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 47(3), 103239, 2021 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2021.102329
10 Heft, J., John Henry Newman in Context. In: The Future of Catholic Higher Education: The Open Circle (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021). p. 51.
11 Rizzi, MT., We’ve Been Here Before: A Brief History of Catholic Higher Education in America. Journal of Catholic Higher Education, 37(2):153-174. 2018, p. 154.
12 Rizzi, MT., We’ve Been Here Before: A Brief History of Catholic Higher Education in America. Journal of Catholic Higher Education, 37(2):153-174. 2018, p. 157.
13 Heft, J., John Henry Newman in Context, In: The Future of Catholic Higher Education: The Open Circle (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021). p. 53.
14 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. 141.
15 Appleyard, J.A. American Catholic higher education in the 21st century: Critical challenges (Chestnut Hill, MA: Linden Press at Boston College), p. 47.
16 Clydesdale, T.T. The Purposeful Graduate: Why Colleges Must Talk to Students About Vocation (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2015).
17 James, M. Identifying Characteristics Identity and Internationalization in Catholic Universities in the United States of America. In: Wit, H. de, Bernasconi Andrés, Car, V., Hunter, F., James, M., & Veliz, D. (Eds.). Identity and Internationalization in Catholic Universities: Exploring Institutional Pathways in Context. (Leiden: Brill Press, 2018), p. 98.
18 Cameron, J., Tiessen, R., Grantham, K., Husband-Ceperkovic, T. The Value of Liberal Arts Education for Finding Professional Employment: Insights from International Development Studies Graduates in Canada. J. of Applied Research in Higher Education, 11(3), 574-89. 2019. p. 576.
19 Newman, J.H., and Ed. Martin J. Svaglic, The Idea of a University “Editor’s Introduction” (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), p. xiii.
20 Rose-Wiles L, Glenn M, and Stiskal D. Enhancing Information Literacy Using Bernard Lonergan’s Generalized Empirical Method: A Three-year Case Study in a First Year Biology Course. J of Academic Librarianship. 43(6):495-508, 2018.
Saint John Henry Newman and the Mission of a Catholic University Education by Gloria Thurmond
The seminar on Saint John Henry Newman provided an opportunity for profound reflection on the interior life of spirit in Newman and its impact on his academic life as an Anglican theologian and university teacher, and on his conversion to Catholicism, the experience through which he was invited by the Irish religious hierarchy to establish the Catholic University of Ireland in Dublin. “From this experience came much of [Newman’s] material for The Idea of a University.”
As facilitator of the seminar, Dr. Kenneth Parker prompted responses and information from the participants through questions and exercises which reflected academic experiences and connections that were common to the participants. In his sharing of narratives related to his own personal and professional background, Dr. Parker modeled for the participants the point from which thinking, connecting, and responding to an experience begins. He used this approach to frame the information which described the personal and vocational profile of Saint John Henry Newman.
“Most important to Newman’s intellectual and spiritual development was his leadership of the Oxford Movement in the l830s.” His leadership was infused with theological research, teaching, and preaching through which he was inspired to a new theological understanding of Catholic dogma and a new spiritual and academic trajectory. In his collection of essays entitled Classic Catholic Converts, Fr. Charles Connor writes that “Newman’s conversion was very much an intellectual one. He came to the Church by a thought process.”
I am a Catholic by virtue of my believing in God; and if I am asked why I believe in God, I answer that it is because I believe in myself, for I feel it is impossible to believe in my own existence … without believing in the existence of Him, who lives as a … Being in my conscience.
The Catholic Intellectual Tradition identifies the mission of a Catholic university education to be that of the fulfillment of the human being. Reflective of the qualities that were present in the life and work of John Henry Newman, the Catholic liberal education should be undertaken through fostering an awareness of moral principles, devotion to God, intellectual curiosity, academic discipline, and personal integrity in the lives of students. This type of education is that which, according to Newman, “gives [students] a clear conscious view of their own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them.”
The rigor that Newman demonstrated in his theological research which, in turn, motivated his discernment of religious commitment, modeled a self-discipline and moral integrity that led to his religious conversion to Catholicism. Intellectual desire, the pursuit of theological knowledge, and devotion to God reflect the deeply integrated human dimensions of Newman’s religious conversion. Newman’s pursuit of knowledge and virtue in his search for truth is an excellent model by which the Catholic university should be guided in its mission of fulfilling the human person.
Papal interventions and Roman documents repeatedly emphasize that certain characteristics must be present for an educational institution to be considered authentically Catholic. In a 1987 speech addressed to American Catholic educators in New Orleans, Pope John Paul II emphasized that
the inalienable dignity of the human person—above all on his or her spiritual dimension is especially necessary today. Unfortunately, far too many in government, business, the media, and even the educational establishment perceive education to be merely an instrument for the acquisition of information that will improve the chances of worldly success and a more comfortable standard of living. Such an impoverished vision of education is not Catholic.
Rather, “the goal of the Catholic education is to nurture the formation of the human person and of human persons.” A Catholic education is committed, therefore, to the development of the whole person, since in Christ, the perfect one, all human values find their fulfillment and unity. He is the one who ennobles the human person, gives meaning to human life, and from whom students derive all the educational energy necessary for human fulfillment.
Given the fact that the primary mission of the Catholic university is that of creating an environment that will support the intellectual and moral development of the student, as a subsequent consideration the curriculum, academic programs, community life and other facets of the organization should reflect and resonate with the mission of fulfillment of the human person.
These, therefore, should foster and support the process of intellectual maturation and assist in the cultivation of virtue in the life of the university student. This fundamental mission of the Catholic university as defined by the Church’s Magisterium must be boldly proclaimed and affirmed as the guiding principle and goal that resides at the heart of a Catholic education.
The intellectual life of Saint John Henry Newman, which was connected to his religious devotional life, reflects mature intellect and virtue. As such, intellectual maturity and virtue firstly found embodiment in him as a human person, which, consequently, he was able to express in his role as a university mentor, professor, Oratorian priest, and as founder of The Catholic University of Ireland. Newman’s life models the trajectory and the efficacy of the mission of a Catholic university education.
Connor, C. Classic Catholic Converts – John Henry Newman. (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press: 2001), p. 43.
 Connor, C. Classic Catholic Converts – John Henry Newman. (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press: 2001), p. 37.
 Connor, C. Classic Catholic Converts – John Henry Newman. (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press: 2001), p. 41.
 Connor, C. Classic Catholic Converts – John Henry Newman. (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press: 2001), pp. 41-42.
 Newman, J. The Idea of the University – (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013), p. 135.
Integratio, Latin for integration, is the online publication of the Center for Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University. Through Faculty formation, we strive to integrate the Catholic Intellectual Tradition across all disciplines within the University.