Saturday, August 20, 2005

Imagine if there were a Muslim University

and at official functions, there was nary a mention of Allah or Mohammed. Imagine if the prayers at these functions were so vanilla that, had you not seen the crescent on the seal, you wouldn't know it was a Muslim school. Imagine if there were abundant imams and other Islamic clergy at the assembly, but the prayers were read by laity. That's what I experienced last weekend.

Oh, it wasn't a Muslim school. I teach at a Catholic university. We had a medallion ceremony for our incoming freshmen in order to welcome them to the university, where Christ was mentioned once (by a crusty nun, a friend of mine), but never in any of the prayers. There were two priests in the audience, but the medallions were blessed by the lay campus minister. (Well, they weren't blessed, but she tried to bless them.) The prayers were written especially for the occasion, but contained nothing of the traditional forms of prayer for the Catholic Church. There was no sign of the cross, no "through Christ our Lord," no mention of the Trinity, no intercessory prayer to the Virgin Mary. In fact, the prayers were hardly prayers at all, directed to those of us present rather than to a transcendent God.

None of this is unusual, of course. It happens at most Catholic colleges in the USA. But if it happened at a hypothetical Muslim school, what would you think? Would you think they were faithful? That they were embarassed by Islam? If you would conclude that for the Muslim school, you must also conclude it for the Catholic schools. They are, in large part, embarassed by the Gospel, and are not at all interested in spreading it.

(All the more reason to found a new college.)


Hugo said...

The college sounds interesting, and I agree with your comments - hopefully our Catholic universities will remember their roots and become more fully rooted in our Catholic Christian faith.

Blessings & Peace,

Karl said...

Dear Hugo,

Thanks. I think the college sounds interesting too.

You wouldn't happen to have a couple of million dollars lying around, would you? :-)

Donations of any amount would be accepted. There's info at the website.

Whether you choose to donate or not, keep us in your prayers!

Ellyn said...

I think your hypothetical Muslim school would be not only embarrassed by Islam but an embarrassment to Islam. Or would they promote themselves as "a college in the Islamic tradition." A permutation of a catch phrase that I've heard several times in reference to Catholic institutions. (The spiritual equivalent of artificially flavored.) In fact, I believe I went to a college in "the Sacred Heart tradition." Which means the religious affiliation was pretty watered down.

Hugo said...

lol! :-) If I had a couple million lying around I'd be paying someone else to blog for me! (and wash, mow the lawn, make my food, etc. - you get the idea).

Though if I had that much I'd invest in a good Catholic High School for my area - currently the only Catholic HS is about an hour and a half away - my son's only in 3rd grade, but I can hope!

Many prayers for the completion of the university - my wife adn I both work at a Catholic school - funds are usually at a premium and right now our two main charitable projects are her parents and my mom (along with our son!).

Blessings & Peace,