Education and the Truth
Editor Patrick Novecosky argues that education and evangelization are inseparable . . .
Given the state of the U.S. economy and youth culture here and around the world, some people may begin to believe that the world is doomed and ripe for Christ’s second coming. The U.S. unemployment rate is nearing double digits, the recession shows no signs of receding, and young rioters in England last month destroyed property and killed five people.
On the flip side, just a few weeks ago more than a million young people gathered in secular Spain to hear from an elderly scholar. It was a gathering that no rock star, no politician, no government could pull off. On a planet of more than 6 billion people, only one could make such an event happen: Pope Benedict XVI. At World Youth Day in Madrid, young people from around the world prayed, attended daily Mass, and heard from faith-filled lecturers. They stayed up late and talked about their families and their faith, their music was loud, and they came home proud to be Catholic.
Catholic youth culture is alive and well in America — and around the world. Organizations like the Fellowship of Catholic University Students — headed by Legatus member Curtis Martin — are bringing the gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church to thousands of college students across the country. The Cardinal Newman Society is working for the restoration of orthodoxy on Catholic campuses (see page 29 for more). New faithful schools like Wyoming Catholic College and Ave Maria University are gaining influence and prestige (see pages 10 and 14 respectively) and established schools like the College of Saint Mary Magdalen are reforming themselves in orthodoxy (see page 17).
This is good news for the Church in America. Catholics had a hand in some of the first colleges and universities in this country. Georgetown was established in 1789 and Mount Saint Mary’s in 1808. Saint Katherine Drexel pioneered education for African Americans and Native Americans in the early 20th century. She knew that education was not only a sure way to advance one’s position in the world, but a way to bring a person closer to God.
Education and evangelization are inseparable. Young Catholics understand this. They know that they themselves must first be transformed before they can draw others to Christ. Anna Williams, an editorial page intern at USA Today and three-time World Youth Day attendee, recently wrote: “More intellectually coherent than relativism, orthodoxy is also more demanding. It makes us place others above ourselves, the truth above what we’d like to be true, the fight for virtue above the pursuit of pleasure. In a word, it preaches sacrifice.”
Ultimately, education must instill such ideals. It must pursue the truth. While our public education system (for the most part) has put ideology before reality, it’s up to Catholic educators to lead the way by pointing to the One who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
Patrick Novecosky is Legatus Magazine’s editor.