Catholic Higher Education as Transformation: With What Warrant? To What Ends? By What Means?

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Bernard G. Prusak, Ph.D.

Abstract

Catholic colleges and universities seek to transform the students who attend them. As the subtitle of this article indicates, this aspiration prompts some difficult questions. For example, just what is the warrant for an institution of higher learning to trifle, as one might put it provocatively, with people’s hearts? After clarifying terms, the article argues that faculty often have to take into account students’ hearts in order to reach students’ minds, and that there is warrant then to pursue the humanistic program of transformation that Catholic colleges and universities profess. Yet if the question of warrant for the project of transforming hearts is resolved, the questions of ends and means remain. Accordingly, the article considers what is distinctive to Christian humanism and concludes by reckoning with deep challenges to its realization.

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