Posts Tagged ‘Pope Benedict XVI’

Linking Academic Freedom with Religious Freedom

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

When it comes to articulating freedom of thought and religious freedom, few equal Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, who put the matter succinctly:

“I wish the intellect to range with the utmost freedom, and religion to enjoy an equal freedom; but what I am stipulating is that they should be found in one and the same place, and exemplified in the same persons.”

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, “Intellect, the Instrument of Religious Training,” Preached on the Feast of St. Monica, Sunday after Ascension, 1856, in the University Church, Dublin.

Very few Catholic academic leaders have articulated the link between intellectual/academic freedom and religious freedom as did Newman.

In 2009, in the heat of the Notre Dame/Obama honorary degree controversy, I wrote an essay containing the following:

The startling omission of the relationship between religious freedom and academic freedom is not only apparent in Notre Dame’s governing documents, but was missed in four of the most important joint statements made by Catholic universities, with Notre Dame’s significant participation, from 1967-72: the 1967 “Land o’Lakes Statement: The Nature of the Contemporary Catholic University,” which was later adopted by many US Catholic colleges and universities; the 1968 “Kinshasa Statement on the Catholic University in the Modern World of the International Federation of Catholic Universities;” the 1969 “Rome Statement on the Catholic University and the Aggiornamento,” which was produced by the Congress of Catholic Universities; and the culminating 1972 document of the Second International Congress of Delegates of Catholic Universities, “The Catholic University in the Modern World,” which did mention respect for religions other than Catholicism, and freedom of conscience, but again not religious freedom explicitly. Ex Corde Ecclesiae (1990), the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, directly addressed, albeit briefly, freedom of conscience. But Benedict XVI’s April 17, 2008 Catholic University of America Address to Catholic Educators went directly to the heart of the question underlying considerations of freedom, by stating that “Freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in–a participation in Being itself.”

From Albert J. Schorsch, III, “Notre Dame’s Forgotten Freedom,” 2009, at

Full texts of the documents named but not hyperlinked above can be found in American Catholic Higher Education: Essential Documents, 1967-1990, Alice Gallin, OSU, Ed., 1992, Notre Dame Press.

Near the end of my 2009 “Notre Dame’s Forgotten Freedom” essay, I wrote the following:

We must expand our conversations about Catholic universities beyond “bunkered” positions to reflect our Catholic universities’ role in establishing, defending, and maintaining religious and other freedoms, and to consider how academic freedom serves these other freedoms. From Pope Benedict’s profound insight into freedom as participation in Being itself, we can build a revised foundational document for Catholic universities in the next generation that explicitly relates religious freedom to academic freedom, and allows universities, their faculties, and students, to explore specific ways in which they can exercise these freedoms simultaneously.

The relationship between academic freedom and religious freedom should be complementary. This question should not simply be limited to universities founded by religious denominations.

Academic freedom does not exist in a vacuum for the sake of those so freed, but can serve to strengthen other human freedoms, especially religious freedom, which generates a free and open society.

By the way, that sermon of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman–

“Intellect, the Instrument of Religious Training,” preached on the Feast of St. Monica, Sunday after Ascension, 1856, in the University Church, Dublin

–It’s a masterpiece.

© Copyright 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Church Bombing in Egypt

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Words cannot express the revulsion that any civilized person of whatever background must feel at the news of another bombing of a house of worship, the Coptic Orthodox Church of al-Qiddissin (Saints) in Alexandria, Egypt, by Islamic extremists, which killed or injured dozens of persons worshiping on Coptic Christmas Midnight Mass. Here is a separate report.

This bombing follows similar bombings of Christian houses of worship in Iraq, Nigeria, and the Philippines, and numerous bombings of Muslim houses of worship by Islamic extremists in several countries in the past two decades.

Pope Benedict XVI has invited world religious leaders to Assisi in October, 2011 for a World Day of Prayer for Peace.

Governments which fund violent terrorists must bear responsibility, and must cease such funding. Countries which trade with these renegade governments also bear responsibility to pressure the renegades to eliminate the violence.

© Copyright 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Cor ad Cor Loquitur

Friday, September 17th, 2010

John Henry Newman (1801-1890), was the 19th Century’s most famous Roman Catholic convert from Anglicanism.

Source: Public Domain photo, drawing in Over Worton Church July 2005

Named cardinal near the end of his life, he was the author of several influential works, including The Idea of a University, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, The Dream of Gerontius, etc. The latter of these works was set movingly to music in oratorio form by Edward Elgar. Any one of these works would have made a writer an historic figure.

Perhaps his most memorable poem/prayer was The Pillar of the Cloud, or “Lead Kindly Light.”

His sermons are among the most beautiful ever crafted in the English language. See, for example his famous Sermon 10, The Second Spring, on the rebirth of Catholicism in England after three centuries of persecution and marginalization.

More on Newman at–

Newman is scheduled to be beatified by the Catholic Church in Birmingham, England on 9/19/10, during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI.

Newman’s works branch through history, criticism, educational theory, theology, rhetoric, and poetry.

The complete individual works of Newman, with the exception of many of his letters and some of his translations such as the Catena Aurea, are online at–

I did just find an earlier edition of the St. John volume of the Catena Aurea. The rest of the Catena can probably be found on the Web as well.

Newman is known for his motto, Cor ad Cor Loquitur, “heart speaks to the heart,” which typified his writing and speaking. Interestingly, as several including me have previously written, this motto parallels that which Beethoven wrote on his Missa Solemnis, “Von Herzen – Möge es wieder – Zu Herzen gehen!” Free-lance writer Duncan McGibbon recently composed a wonderful summary of the origins of the Cor ad Cor Loquitur phrase, which many have traced back to St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers.

(I recall seeing a picture of Francis de Sales with a quill pen in a saint’s book as a boy. It was this name that I was drawn almost out of nowhere to choose for my Confirmation.)

Cardinal Newman personified the return of English Catholicism to public life. His thought presaged the best of what appeared in the 20th Century Catholicism, and what we hope to see in the 21st. He is simultaneously one of history’s most attractive and challenging writers.

At the age of fourteen I bought the Image Doubleday Newman Reader in the Quigley Seminary North cafeteria in Chicago for a few quarters. A priest faculty member stopped me almost immediately and asked me if I knew who Newman was. I still have not mastered Newman’s most difficult, yet striking, passages. When I first took up reading Newman, in the first few moments of holding the book in my hand, I had a strong premonition that I would serve at a university. I cannot explain the origin of that premonition.

Another beautiful prayer of Newman is the following one on vocation, or calling:

“The Mission of My Life

God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”

The above and other prayers by Newman can be found at–

Cardinal Newman has been linked to Benedict XVI’s notion of the “hermeneutic of continuity.” Prior to his pontificate, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in 1991 wrote of Newman and conscience.

Please see the link for the Papal Visit for the Beatification of Cardinal Newman, which has an extensive section with background on Newman.

See also Benedict XVI’s remarks at the evening prayer service in Hyde Park – London Saturday, 18 September 2010, which included the line:

“Faith is meant to bear fruit in the transformation of our world through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives and activity of believers.”

At the beatification ceremony on 9/19/10, it was announced that October 9 will be the day in the liturgical calendar assigned to Blessed John Henry Newman, since this date in 1845 was the one on which Blessed John Dominic Barberi received Newman into the Catholic Church.

Magnificat has published a keepsake text of the Beatification services. Pages 231-256 contain the pre-planned order of the beautiful evening prayer service held in Hyde Park on the evening of 9/18/10. The actual service contained several additions, including the spoken Prayer of St. Francis, and Geoffrey Burgon’s Nunc Dimittis sung by boy treble and Britain’s Got Talent contestant Liam McNally. As of 9/25/10, I could only find a French-language almost complete video recording of the Hyde Park service, which cut off the final hymn by John Rutter at the end. When a professional recording of these services is published, I will post the link.

One critical note on the TV coverage of the beatification: If Hans Urs von Balthasar was right, and beauty is the way to goodness and truth, then TV commentators need to refrain from talking over the beautiful music of the services, and let the music speak forth. As good and true a man the Pope might be, it is Jesus whom we must let speak through the liturgy.

© Copyright 2010, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved