Catholic News Service recently interviewed John Garvey , CUA president, on what Cardinal John Henry Newman's ideas can lend to the modern Catholic university.See story below.

Cardinal Newman's ideas offer much to modern universities, says Garvey

From: Catholic News Service Date: Sept. 16, 2010 Author: Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- John Garvey, the new president of The Catholic University of America in Washington, is paying close attention to the writings on university life by Cardinal John Henry Newman.The college president, a constitutional law expert, former law school professor and dean of Boston College Law School, took his post in July, replacing Vincentian Father David M. O'Connell, who is now coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, N.J.As the university's third lay president, Garvey said he has been spending much of his time lately getting acquainted with the campus and introducing himself to people, but he also has been giving one of Cardinal Newman's books, "The Idea of a University," a particularly close read.The book is based on lectures the cardinal gave in the 1850s after he founded the Catholic University in Dublin and took on the role of its first rector. Although that university no longer exists, his ideas on what makes a Catholic university have had staying power.Garvey intends to delve further into Cardinal Newman's ideas during his inaugural address to faculty members in November and he hopes to continue the discussion during a Catholic University-sponsored conference on intellect and virtue next spring that will feature Catholic college presidents from around world.Three days before the scheduled beatification of Cardinal Newman Sept. 19 in Britain, Garvey discussed the views of the scholar, philosopher and writer with Catholic News Service in his campus office. The formal and uncluttered space he has occupied for about two months has at least one personal touch: a computer screensaver slideshow with photos of his wife, their five children and 12 grandchildren. Garvey is particularly keen on Cardinal Newman's emphasis on students developing faith and reason and said the combination provides a valid argument for the work of Catholic universities today. He cautioned that Catholic colleges cannot think that their faith development work is solely confined to the theology departments though. Their challenge, he said, is to develop the Catholic intellectual tradition in literature, art, music and sciences as well.The university president made a similar point in his Sept. 2 address to students at a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, telling them: "The Gospel is not just the special concern of the school of theology and religious studies." Instead it "affects the way we think about our relationship to the environment; our obligations to immigrant populations; the forms and limits of criminal punishment; the construction and support of families; and our care for the unborn and the dying," he said.In late August, sessions where he met incoming freshmen, Garvey similarly echoed this theme, telling them their education was "not just about sharpening the mind but also about the cultivation of virtue."Garvey told CNS another of Cardinal Newman's theories on university life -- that teachers should provide spiritual as well as intellectual formation -- is "really important to us at Catholic University" and something he hopes to stress with school faculty members.Garvey said he and his wife, Jeanne, knew they could not continue to fully teach the faith to their five children when they went away to college and they relied on their school experience to continue that process."It was important that our children graduated from college as faithful as when they arrived and loving the church more than when they arrived," he said.Even though many of Cardinal Newman's views on the university experience still hold true, Garvey said higher education has significantly changed in 150 years and Catholic higher education in particular was going through a transformation.As he put it: Catholic universities are no longer trying to see how they can compare with secular and other private universities but instead, they are looking at ways they can "contribute to the enterprise of higher education."END

###2010 (c) Catholic News Service www.CatholicNews.com Reprinted with permission of CNS

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