Influencing the American University System

Dear Fr. Phil,

My wife and I just wanted to thank you for answering our recent liturgical questions on your web site (from Steven and Chris). We appreciate your answers and will try to find a copy of _Mass Confusion_ somewhere (our church library doesn't have it, so I'll probably order it soon).

I also wanted to thank your for your book recommendations. I just finished reading Chesterton's _The Everlasting Man_. I also recently have been reading Peter Kreeft. I really like what he has to say. I saw some of his books listed on your web site and then one day I found that I had read an article of his several years ago on C.S. Lewis "The Goodness of Goodness and the Badness of Badness" without knowing who he was. Since I made the connection I have read one of his books _Ecumenical Jihad_ and started another _C.S. Lewis for the 3rd Millennium_. I would also like to look into his _Summa of the Summa_ in the near future as I think I would greatly benefit from an introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas' works. I have found Kreeft interesting particularly as I enter the last year of my graduate work and think about trying to find a job as a professor. It is important to me that I be able to combine what I know about God's creation and humanity from Catholicism with an academic career, even given the extreme unpopularity and outright nastiness towards such an approach. I am working on a doctorate in Slavic Linguistics (I have also studied literature, but disappointment in the course of literature studies led me into linguistics). I would like very much to be a good influence on the American university system and work to restore the former mission of universities as places of learning about God and God's creation. The current state of higher education is quite frightening and I found Kreeft's thoughts on possibilities for change quite helpful. Of course, there is a long way to go and much work to be done by many people over the coming years, but I pray that we will, as a nation, take these necessary steps to work to put God back in our educational institutions, (starting with Catholic universities).

Thank you for your time and help. God bless you,



Dear Steven,

Thank you for your wonderful letter. I just got back from a week at Franciscan University in Steubenville (Priest & Deacon retreat). Have you been there? It is such a model of what a Catholic University can be--and what true formation of young people can accomplish. I just want to encourage you in your resolve to bring the vision of your faith into a university setting.

My prayers for you and your wife. May I have permission once again to post your letter? Also if you would take the time to read & make any comment: Catholic University (A Call for Integrity)

God bless, Fr. Phil Bloom


Dear Fr. Phil,

I would be happy to comment on the piece you mentioned in your last email. I've already read it before, but will take another look at it and add to the original letter I sent. I know you're probably not looking for a guest columnist here, but I'll do my best. And please feel free to use my last letter on your web page. I'll try to get back to you on the university piece in the next few days. On this topic, my wife and I recently found a newsletter tacked up on one of the bulletin boards at our church for an organization, Catholics Speak Out, based in the D.C. area (there was nothing at all worthwhile in this newsletter, I only hope that people aren't reading it and speaking out on this organization's topics. Fortunately, our parish priest thanked us for bringing it to his attention, apparently people often come in and post such things). The specific article that was displayed was a commentary on the Vatican's desire that Catholic Universities be subject to Church guidelines and teachings. What a concept! Yet this was the most horrible infringement of academic freedom that could be imagined by the reviewer. Catholic universities have a duty and obligation to be truly Catholic institutions. To the extent that they avoid secularization, to such an extent will they distinguish themselves from the majority of other universities and will serve as a light to us all. Maybe the shock of seeing the difference between a Catholic university and a secular university could awaken us all to the drastic changes that have occurred in the American university system. Without getting into too much personal detail, I attended a secular private university after eight years of Catholic schooling. The university and its student body was mostly amoral and irreligious to say the least. I was, and continue to be in many respects, a fairly naive student. I had grown up in an environment where I could assume that everyone believed in God, even if they weren't the strongest of Catholics. I think that assumption continued with me through much of my undergraduate education until I finally realized that I could not even expect a basic belief in God from my professors and students. Even in such an environment I did manage to find good professors. Especially in such an environment, those professors who did have religious beliefs, and particularly, one excellent professor who happened to be Catholic, have stood out in my memory in graduate school and continue to influence me in my own studies and preparation for an academic career. I won't go on any more now, but will try to incorporate some of this for you to add to my original letter.

I haven't been to Franciscan University, but it sounds like a wonderful place. I would be interested in learning more about such universities in America. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement and your correspondence, here and through your sermons, letters, and articles on your web page.

God bless,