This has nothing to do with very recent events, but an upcoming one.
2013 is supposed to be the Year of Faith, a time when Catholics and institutions run by them are supposed to consider how faith matters in our time. Central to that is going back to the foundations of faith, to the witness of the apostles and the Bible. It is meant to challenge many of our assumptions about the world and what we value in it. It makes me wonder how our big Catholic institutions, especially our universities, are celebrating this.
Nation-building is founded first on faith-building. In what sense can we talk about building a country when the Christian faith, which transcends national, racial, and ethnic boundaries, has yet to take genuine root in the way we live our lives?
Honestly, I don’t know how else to put it, but anything, even a defeat in a big sporting event, ought to be seen as a sign. For, like Paul after whom I was named, I must confess “that the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” The Cross is folly, but it is our salvation. Go back to that and our questions will be answered; go back to Christ and our answers will be questioned.
So yes, even if I am proud of my education, I wish we took the challenge of faith very seriously. We lost the ball when we forgot to be charitable about those who believed in the sanctity of life, when we forgot that they were right about how our supposedly “modern” understanding of sexuality needs to be challenged by the “narrow way” of following Christ. We also lost the ball when we forgot to exercise a prophetic witness when it mattered, choosing instead to uphold the trappings and prestige of Establishment and forgetting that our call is to transform the world according to the mind of Christ.
Yes, I welcome how much my university has changed. There are opportunities that this generation has that I never had during my time. But I am convinced now that it is time for a big rethink, not for tinkering around the edges.
And this does not just go for my university. Every university that has Catholic (or for that matter, Christian) roots should really start rethinking whether they are true to what Christ preached, what the apostles witnessed, and what the martyrs gave their lives to defend.
I think it’s time we went back to basics.