December 14, 2005

The Past As Foreign Country

Erasmus D. MacMaster

From the story of a 19th century college president:
In addition to a dramatically expanded curriculum and higher academic standards, MacMaster called for renewed emphasis on both moral and intellectual training of students. Instruction was not complete until the teacher had led his charges “to the confines of his science, and at least pointed out its connection with the great terminating science of Religion….” Although Miami was a state institution, MacMaster made it clear that some of her moral education should be overtly sectarian, proudly pronouncing that “God gave me birth as a Presbyterian; and I am not ashamed at my ecclesiastical lineage.”
Now we have the opposite extreme - secular presidents at Catholic institutions, promoting nonsense like the "Vagina Monologues". What a difference a hundred and fifty years makes. History seems a pendulum; we go from one extreme to another*. * - Credit: my dad.

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