Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Pope decries 'utilitarian' approach to higher education

Catholic World News - August 19, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI argued against a “utilitarian approach” to education, in an August 19 address to Catholic university instructors in Madrid.

In today’s society, “increasingly confused and unstable,” there is a widespread belief that “the only thing that matters is pure technical ability,” the Pope observed. He decried that approach to higher education, saying that “when mere utility and pure pragmatism become the principal criteria, much is lost and the results can be tragic.”

“The authentic idea of the University, on the other hand, is precisely what saves us from this reductionist and curtailed vision of humanity,” the Pope told the professors.

Pope Benedict began his talk by recalling his own first days in academic life, as a professor at the University of Bonn. He recalled the deep satisfaction that he felt as a member of “a universitatas of professors and students who together seek the truth in all fields of knowledge.”

The university, the Pope said, “embodies an ideal which must not be attenuated or compromised, whether by ideologies closed to reasoned dialogue or by truckling to a purely utilitarian and economic conception which would view man solely as a consumer.”

For professors, the Pontiff continued, teaching means serving as “a link in that chain of men and women committed to teaching the faith and making it credible to human reason.” He reminded them that their task “is not just about communicating content, but about forming young people.” Their ultimate goal, he said, must be “to awaken their innate thirst for truth and their yearning for transcendence.”

The Holy Father added that healthy academic life requires an acknowledgment “that truth itself will always lie beyond our grasp.” In that sense, he said, “the virtue of humility is also indispensable, since it protects us from the pride which bars the way to truth.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our July expenses ($34,359 to go):
$35,000.00 $641.00
98% 2%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Defender - Aug. 20, 2011 11:25 AM ET USA

    Part of the problem is that there is no longer a "seamless" Catholic education for anyone who desired it. The cost of K-8 and high school reaches the point where increasingly fewer may attend but this is where the foundation of Catholic universities is laid.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

A Baptist leader with a message the Synod of Bishops should hear 18 hours ago
'Helpful' advice for social conservatives: ignore causes, deal with effects 18 hours ago
In the Aftermath of Obergefell 19 hours ago
The political outlook after Obergefell June 29
Good news/bad news on the Vatican PR overhaul June 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope approves process for holding bishops accountable in abuse cases CWN - June 10
Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical released (includes link to full text) CWN - June 18
US Supreme Court rules all states must recognize same-sex marriage CWN - June 26
Archbishop Nienstedt, auxiliary bishop resign CWN - June 15
Cardinal Kasper: Pope never approved my proposal CWN - June 4