Tuesday, December 23, 2014

An Unintended Consequence

Christian Smith, no stranger to astute observations, has yet another one:
Many Catholic educational institutions have found that efforts to become more mainstream, to open up to the larger world of higher education, and to increase the quality of their instruction have had the unintended consequence of sidelining or diluting their Catholic character and identity.
(Christian Smith and John C. Cavadini, Building Catholic Higher Education: Unofficial Reflections from the University of Notre Dame [Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2014], ix.) 
Smith is merely observing in Catholic terms the experience of Congregationalist Harvard, Congregationalist Yale, Baptist Brown, Presbyterian Princeton and many other originally sectarian institutions of higher education. Though the specifics may differ, this general experiment has been conducted many times with the same general result. Insanity, it has been said, is to repeat the same experiment over and over and expect different results.