The Disappearance of the Real University?

07/18/2016 Comments (22)

(Photo credit: Yinan Chen, www.goodfreephotos.com, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Catholic Church invented the university about a millennium ago. It isn’t an eternal institution, but it has lasted a very long time. Unhappily, the combination of economic pressures and virtual (online) classes may well bring its historical demise. I do not wish that to happen—I teach at Franciscan University—but the possibility is very real, and must be understood and addressed.

First, I want to begin with an economic lesson from an area outside education that offers a warning to us about the danger actual universities are facing. I call it the Amazon Effect.

Actual, physical bookstores have been around for hundreds of years—thousands, if you go back to the scroll stalls of the...READ MORE

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The Sunny Side of Political Nausea

07/07/2016 Comments (13)

Howard Chandler Christy, “Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States” (1940, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

So, you’re depressed by the election? Perhaps even nauseated? Spending too much time surfing Craigslist looking for a rent-to-own catacomb to hole up in for a few decades? Given up on thinking that things couldn’t get worse?

Join the growing rank of those who believe that political culture in America is growing ranker every day.

But there is a sunny side to this seemingly hopeless political decay, and two facets of it in particular are worth examining.

First of all, and I think most important, it reminds us that we, as Christians, do not put our faith in politics, but in God, the Most Holy Trinity.

For too long, in our modern secularized world, we have been told that we don’t need God....READ MORE

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Coming Soon in Virtual Reality: “The Story of Christ”

06/30/2016 Comments (1)

Perhaps you have heard about Virtual Reality, the latest technology that allows viewers to be immersed in a 3D, computer-generated game or movie. You put on the odd goggles, say the Oculus Rift, and suddenly you are thrown into the middle of a virtual reality Paris, where you can look all around you, and see everything (more or less) that you would see if you were actually in Paris. Or into the middle of a flaming castle with demon warriors charging at you from all directions. Or into the midst of a feast thrown for a bevy of elves by friendly, pink, curiously-dexterous unicorns.

Or, as of this coming December, into the ancient Holy Land, so that you look around at the birth of Jesus, at...READ MORE

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Brexit and the Principle of Subsidiarity

06/23/2016 Comments (7)

It’s final. Britain is exiting the European Union. I am inclined to think that leaving the EU will be one of the best decisions Britain could make—even while admitting that I could be wrong. But such is the way with politics and the prudential decisions it involves: there are so many contingencies in human political life that accurate predictions of success are usually made only in hindsight.

That’s why it is clarifying to shift our attention from trying to make accurate predictions about Britain’s future, to a consideration of principles that are more enduring than opinion polls and media pundits. In this instance, we should be looking at the most Catholic principle of subsidiarity, one...READ MORE

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I Think Therefore I Am…a Woman

06/16/2016 Comments (7)

After Frans Hals (1582/1583–1666), “Portrait of René Descartes”

By now you have heard of the infamous directive, the “Dear Colleague Letter on  Transgender Students,” issued jointly from Obama’s Department of Justice and Department of Education. The point of the pointed letter to public schools is to ensure that the Administration’s most radical wishes for acceptance of the LGBT agenda are understood to be commands.

Many have already commented on the unconstitutionality and immorality of the directive. As to the first, our government was originally designed with three branches—the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial—each with its own functions and limits. Congress makes the laws, the President’s Executive branch enforces them, and the Judicial branch...READ MORE

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Barbarians from the North: Child Euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands

06/20/2013 Comments (25)

If you want to find out where secularism will take us, you need only visit the most secular countries of all, the northern European countries of Belgium and the Netherlands. These were the first two countries to legalize euthanasia — both in 2002.

In Belgium, you have to be at least 18 years old to claim the privilege (or have it claimed for you). But Belgians are now considering allowing euthanasia for those under 18, with the socialists and liberals lining up in hearty affirmation and the Catholic Church spearheading the opposition.

Unsurprisingly, those pushing towards moral barbarism have already been engaging in the practice anyway, using the old “normalize so you can legalize”...READ MORE

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Benedict XVI: Doctor of the Church

04/29/2013 Comments (28)

Perhaps it may seem a bit premature, but here goes: Benedict XVI should be declared a doctor of the Church.

There are, if I count correctly, 33 such esteemed doctors, the most recent being St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who died in 1897, and the most recently declared being St. Hildegard of Bingen, who died in 1179 but was declared a doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict in October of 2012. Benedict XVI would be No. 34 (assuming no others are named beforehand).

A doctor of the Church must be holy. Check.

Joseph Ratzinger was, in heart and mind, an academic, a man deeply in love with the truth, a man made to teach. But then he was named an archbishop in 1977 and, in 1981, prefect of the...READ MORE

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The Church and the (Secular) State

04/11/2013 Comments (1)

In these heady days of a new pope, Pope Francis, we must not forget the real gifts that our Pope Emeritus Benedict has given us as his legacy — and the ways that Francis is carrying forth what Benedict left us.

Before Benedict stepped down, he made sure that his flock of a billion-plus understood that the 21st century will be a time of evangelization.

That’s an order, although not a new one, but simply a restatement of Christ’s own missionary command to the disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you” (Matthew 28:19–20).

That’s all...READ MORE

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About Benjamin Wiker

Benjamin Wiker
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Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of Human Life Studies, and Senior Fellow of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is a speaker and author of 10 books, his latest being Worshipping the State: How Liberalism Became Our State Religion. His website is benjaminwiker.com.