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off to school

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 26, 2007

In the Sapientia et Doctrina section of the university newsletter Inside Fordham, professor of theology Fr. Joseph Lienhard, S.J., begins a guest column with the following gambit:

I invite you to imagine a letter home from a freshman at a university:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Thanks for the money. I have lots of news. First of all, Dad, I know you wanted me to be a lawyer and get rich, but I read this great book and decided to switch my major to philosophy. I'm going be a teacher, and I probably won't be able to help the family much.

And then, Mom, I know you're a good Catholic, and you want me to be one, too. But I met these great guys -- they're really smart. They helped me to read the Bible critically, and showed me that there are deep truths about the universe hidden under all the things Catholics believe. They gave me truth, not faith. So I joined them, and maybe some day you will, too.

And, finally, guess what? You're going to be grandparents!
We don't know if he ever wrote that letter, but he could have. His name was Aurelius Augustinus or, as he is more often called, St. Augustine of Hippo.

Pope Benedict's Wednesday audience addresses have given attention to and increased general interest in the Fathers of the Church. Father Lienhard gives an authentically Jesuit boost to the papal initiative with his deft introduction to patristic thinking about education, including the stunning revelation that there was serious Christian interest in learning before the 1967 Land O'Lakes conference! Shocking, but true. Read it all here.

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  • Posted by: - Oct. 26, 2007 9:48 AM ET USA

    This letter home is strangely similiar to a phone call I received last week from my middle son who has a degree in philosophy and plans to study at Harvard with Fr. Clooney, SJ, who wears a tie. My son thought we would be thrilled, I still have an upset stomache. Lord, please send an Ambrose to bring my son into your heart.

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