STEUBENVILLE, OH—"Today, Catholic education is presented with an historic opportunity to play an unprecedented role in the struggle for human freedom and dignity, and in providing a person with a reliable tool to measure the value of his actions," said Franciscan University of Steubenville President Father Terence Henry, TOR at an international roundtable of Catholic university presidents April 12.
Father Henry was one of the 10 Catholic college presidents who helped plan Catholic University of America's April 11-12 "Intellect and Virtue: The Idea of a Catholic University" symposium, which brought together renowned scholars and Catholic university administrators from around the world to reflect on the unique charism and commitments of the Catholic university.
Dr. John Crosby, professor of philosophy at Franciscan University, also participated in the symposium as a respondent to the presentations on "Virtue and Campus Life."
In his prepared remarks at the symposium's final session, Father Henry spoke of the unique challenges facing the Church and humanity from the rise of the dictatorship of relativism, identified by Pope Benedict XVI, and the culture of death that systematically violates the dignity of the human person, decried by Venerable Pope John Paul II. Father Henry challenged his audience to consider the question "what role will our Catholic universities play? Will they boldly seize the day or meekly surrender to 'the degrading slavery of being a child of their age'?
"Do we fundamentally see our schools as independent from the mission of the Church? Or do we see them as institutions springing from the heart of the Church where, as Pope Benedict said, 'each and every aspect of your learning communities reverberates within the ecclesial life of faith'?"
Father Henry declared that Catholic educators "have the opportunity to make this our 'finest hour' by forming men and women in a Christian anthropology…in a way that serves man, contributes to his authentic good and highest aspirations, and creates an environment where human life is affirmed and valued."
The symposium was the last of 20 events on the theme, "Intellect and Virtue: The Idea of a Catholic University," designed to introduce John Garvey as the new president of the Catholic University.