Phi Beta Cons

Georgetown Prof Resigns, Denounces Campus’s Secularization

Decrying a lack of Catholic identity, Patrick Deneen, a professor who has taught government at Georgetown University for seven years, is resigning, as he  announced in an open letter at Front Porch Republic.

The Cardinal Newman Society reports on Deneen’s disillusion with the Jesuit university’s seemingly inexorable march toward secularism. In Deneen’s words, the campus

increasingly and inevitably remakes itself in the image of its secular peers, ones that have no internal standard of what a university is for other than the aspiration of prestige for the sake of prestige, its ranking rather than its commitment to Truth.

In 2006 Deneen founded the Tocqueville Forum, a campus organization that he intended to

offer a different perspective, one centered on the moral underpinnings of liberal learning that are a precondition for the continued existence of liberal democracy, and one that would draw upon the deep wisdom contained in the Catholic humanistic tradition. . . . [He] had hoped . . . that the program would be attractive to colleagues across disciplines on the faculty, and . . . a rallying-point for those interested in reviving and defending classical liberal learning on campus. The Tocqueville Forum fostered a strong community of inquiry among a sizeable number of students, but . . .  not . . . among the more permanent members of the university.

Congratulations to Deneen on the breadth of his vision and his courage in taking a stand.

Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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