During his recent visit to England the pope announced the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the scholar, priest, and poet, who left the Anglican for the Roman Catholic Church in 1845, and who was to become the most important Catholic intellectual of his time. He was the author of The Idea of a University.
For Newman, a university does not exist simply to convey information or expertise. The university is a society in which the student absorbs the graces and accomplishments of a higher form of life. In the university, according to Newman, the pursuit of truth and the active discussion of its meaning are integrated into a wider culture, in which the ideal of the gentleman is acknowledged as the standard. The gentleman does not merely know things; he is receptive to the tone, the meaning, the lived reality of what he knows.
Thus, for Newman, “the general principles of any study you may learn by books at home; but the detail, the colour, the tone, the air, the life which makes it live in us, you must catch all these from those in whom it lives already.” The university of Newman’s day was a place in which men (and it was then an institution for men only) lived for scholarship, and arranged their lives around the sacrifice that scholarship requires. It was not simply a repository of knowledge. It was a place where work and leisure occurred side by side, shaping each other, and each playing its part in producing the well-formed and graceful personality.
Roger Scruton, in the September issue of The American Spectator.
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The Republican politician Christine O’Donnell, brought up a Catholic, is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickenson University, New Jersey.
On September 18, 2010, comedian Bill Maher aired a clip of O’Donnell from a 1999 appearance on his former television show, Politically Incorrect. On October 29, 1999, O’Donnell said, “I dabbled into witchcraft – I never joined a coven…. I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do.” She added, “One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it.”
On last Friday’s show, she said “Evolution is a myth.”
Christine O’Donnell is the nominee in Delaware’s 2010 U.S. Senate Special Election, which will be held on November 2. She is a political commentator on Fox News.