Page 5, 7th August 1936

7th August 1936
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Page 5, 7th August 1936 — The Need For Catholic Universities

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The Need For Catholic Universities

Salzburg Showing The Way

By the

Rev. Edward Quinn [In the following article the Rev. Edward Quinn, who has lately returned from a visit to Austria, explains the vital importance at the present time of countering the totalitarian (whether of Left or Right) threat to European culture by the foundation and maintenance of great Catholic universities, true to the tradition of universities as established in the centuries of Faith.

It is the sense of this threat which is giving the impetus to the establishment (or rather restoration) of the University of Salzburg as a light of Christian and European culture in the heart of the Germanic peoples.

The work achieved so far and the great needs of the future in Salzburg are described by the author.]

The crisis through which Europe is passing is not only political, but also cul tural. And the cultural crisis is the one which presents the greater danger to our civilisation. As a German monk pointed out to me some twelve months ago, " The Church has no quarrel with the NationalSocialist government as such, her quarrel is with the Weltanschauung of NationalSocialism, which is fundamentally opposed to her own."

It is the same with Communism. The Communist state cruelly oppresses, imprisons and makes martyrs of its Christian subjects, and has far too much power in the affairs of the world beyond its borders. But international politics are never directed completely according to Christian principle and persecution of the Church by the State is not a new phenomenon. The new and most appalling phenomenon is Communism's widespread influence in the sphere of thought.

There is a deliberate attempt on the part of European intellectuals to form a new type of man, to destroy the old, sinful but fundamentally Christian, European. It is true that neither National-Socialist nor Communist philosophy (which are not really very different, as Gurian has proved) can ever wholly succeed. In the end, the old European must emerge triumphant, if a little changed, but in the meantime many individual Europeans will have been led through the crisis to a bewilderment of spirit and perhaps to the loss of their souls.

New Christian Institutions Wanted

The threat to European culture must be countered by Christian institutions which aim at maintaining all that is best in European civilisation and transmitting it at least to an élite, who will in turn hand on the old European culture to others.

Already such institutions are in existence. There is the Catholic University of Fribourg, which has already shaped European Catholic thought to a considerable degree. There is the Sacred Heart University in Milan, founded through the efforts mainly of one man and the generosity of the Italian poor. There is not yet, but there is going to be, the Catholic ,University of Salzburg.

The university is not yet established. There is a single faeulty, that of theology, there are some buildings, and a little money, but the Austrian, with the sublime confidence which marks his race, continues, after more than fifty years of preparation during which there have been many setbacks, to hope and actively to work for its establishment.

He does so because he is acutely conscious of his country's European mission, a mission which Austria has nobly fulfilled in the past in the politicial sphere, but which is now limited, in view of her small resources, to the sphere of culture. Even in this, however, Austria cannot stand alone. She seeks to establish this university for the sake of Europe and she needs the financial help, the enthusiasm and, above all, the prayers of Europe in order to fulfil her task.

What Is Salzburg Doing?

Because she needs the help of Europe, Europe must be convinced of the greatness of her aims and be given evidence of some thing already achieved. For Germanspeaking Europe those aims are evident and her achievements well-known. They have been explained at length in the literature published by the Universitiitsverein. But there is very little known in England, and England is a part of Europe, sharing the same spiritual heritage as the rest of Europe.

It is the object of this article to present to readers of the Catholic Herald, who are all good Europeans, some of the information containd in lig litifflIIITO and acquired through personal conversation with those who are directly interested in the establishment of the university.

The aim is quite simple, namely, the establishment of a Catholic university in the German lands. It is to be Catholic, not simply because it will have Catholic I prolcssors, sum=I students to a test of Catholicity, have faculties of Catholic theology and scholastic philosophy, but because the Catholic view of life will inspire and give unity to the whole institution.

Every student will be required, no matter what his special interest may be, to attend at least for a couple of terms to a course of philosophy. And this will be no hurried historical survey but a positive training in the fundamental principles of Christian philosophy. The specialised course which follows will be very wisely divided into three stages. In the first of these, the student will be instructed in the acquired and assured principles of his science, neglect of which may lead to an over-critic 1 vf ill" iv rimi pti cism. In the second he is shown how to acquire new knowledge by research. Actual research in which professor and student will co-operate to add to the world's knowledge comes in the third stage.

No Learning Without Discipline Though some will leave the university alter this to enter into polideal, literary and educational activities, it will be the object of the university to retain others anti so form a school of intellectuals, whose expert knowledge will be permanently at the disposal of society. out discipline, and therefore the new university will replace the too-common relation of lecturer and hearer by that of master and scholar, given to these words their most complete and original sense. As a further means of ensuring discipline, the students will live together in communities, somewhat after the fashion of the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. 'e This Catholic university aims at preserving the common European heritage, and it will welcome students of all nationalities. but principally it will cater for the needs of German-speaking people — especially those of Germany and Austria.

It is true that there are already Catholic universities in these countries, but they are not Catholic in the sense that Salzburg is going to be. They are not penetrated throughout with the spirit of Catholicism, nor have they the same universal aims.

The history of the university up-to-date is a varied one. To begin with, there is no question of building a totally new university but only of reviving the old. For almost two hundred years, 1623 to 1810, the Benedictine University flourished as a centre for German Christian culture. It was the spirit of the Aufkliirung, expressed in the power of the Bavarian rulers (who at that time had jurisdiction over Salzburg), which brought about first the decline and then the end of the university. In 1816 Salzburg returned to the Austrian jurisdiction and at once efforts were commenced to re-establish the university.

" German Rome"

A genuinely Catholic university as a protection against the dangers which the times threatened to European culture was a .con Slant icleal of Cerman-Spealcmi CatkAlia during the next half-century. And always they looked to Salzburg, the " German Rome," with its great cultural traditions and where the buildings of the old university were still standing, as the natural site for the new institution.

Until 1862 it remained an ideal, but in that year a committee, which included the famous DisLop kellerel of Mainz, waS up to find means of establishing the university. The war of 1866 brought this cooperation to an end and impeded progress for some years. Austrian Catholics, however, were determined to realise their project and an important step was taken in 1884 with the formation of a University Association (Universitatsverein), to propagate

tile Idea and to obtain Lill.

Considerable progress was made during the next twenty-five years, with the interest and encouragement of Popes Leo XIII and Pius X, and the jubilee of the Association was a day of great joy and confidence in the future achievement.

Again there came a tragic set-back. The war which ruined so many noble achieve ments put an end also to these efforts, and the funds which had been gathered together were lost in the subsequent inflation. Nevertheless, in response to the appeal of Dr. Seipel (then chancellor and formerly professor of theology at Salzburg) on the occasion of the third centenary of the first foundation, the Pope expressed his interest and the Benedictines of Austria lent their co-operation, sending their students to receive their philosophical and theological training at Salzburg.

In Opposition to National Socialism The attack on Christendom, too, has changed its nature since the war and the Catholic university must therefore change

tilotioE. liofor o tho uar, it hhtl to oom_

bat the spirit of Liberalism; now it is faced with a greater danger in Communism. In 1933 another force appeared to threaten European civilisation, and in those very German-speaking lands which Salzburg intends to serve. The co-operation between Germans of the Reich and those of Austria nati uu ivavrrvu LI1V war Of 1866 was destroyed again by Hitler.

More important than the actual laws which prevent this co-operation is the spirit of National-Socialism which is utterly opposed to the ideals for which

gress of the university. In 1931 the first Salzburg summer school was held, at which twelve out of the eighteen lecturers were from Germany; again, in 1932 there were eight, and at the end of 1932 provisional arrangements had been made for at least eight to lecture during the following year's course. Before that, however, the thousand mark duty had been imposed on all Germans crossing over the border into Austria, with the result that the summer school was deprived of the services of some of the world's most famous scholars.

Exiles—Only German Lecturers The position remains unchanged and the only Germans who lecture at Salzburg are exiles, who in some cases have been practically compelled to leave their own country. The unhappy break between Austria and Germany, and the difficulties of transmitting money from the latter country, have also been a source of serious loss to the University association. The periodical (Mitteikungen) which used to give long lists of donations from Germany, now only publishes one or two items, which are always anonymous and limited to very small amounts.

But the work goes on, a work in which all who are interested in the future of Europe should participate. There is, however, a more intimate appeal to English Catholics: It is the intention of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg to dedicate two Chairs to our most recent English saints, John Fisher and Thomas More, who died for the cause for which the university will stand, the cause of Christendom against those who would destroy its • very foundations.

English people have the opportunity of helping through the association known as the " Friends of Salzburg University," formed under the Chairmanship of Lord Howard of Penrith (c/o The Austrian Legation, 18, Belgrave Square, London, k.W.1) with AkilA10. L

ring:ng together

active sympathisers and of collecting money for the cause in this country. Financial help is most necessary and, of course, very welcome.

Summer School and Musical Festival But there are other ways of helping. A university needs a good library, especially

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