From the Heart of the American Church: Catholic Higher Education and American Culture

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Orbis Books, 1994 - 240 pages
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In the wake of Vatican II and the social revolutions in modern America, Catholic colleges and universities are now groping for a sense of identity and mission. In the past, these institutions provided a haven and anchor for the sons and daughters of an immigrant church. But what is the function of Catholic colleges today? Do they exist primarily to confer degrees and promote professional training, like other colleges, or do they participate in a special way in the work of the church? O'Brien proposes that the primary work of Catholic colleges and universities is to foster a tradition that translates meaning and moral values into public practice. From the Heart of the American Church provides a historical and ecclesial context for the current debates about what makes a Catholic institution Catholic, the decline in the teaching orders and increasing secularization, and the issues of academic freedom versus Catholic identity. It is must-reading for academics and administrators, students and alumni of Catholic colleges, and everyone concerned with the future of Catholic higher education in America and its contribution to American culture.

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About the author (1994)

David O'Brien is Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies at the College of the Holy Cross and University Professor of Faith and Culture at the University of Dayton. He has served as President of the American Catholic Historical Association.

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