Metropolitan Catholic College Librarians Chapter at c/o Lois Cherepon, Staten Island, NY 10301 US - Newsletter - Summer 2003
Newsletter - Summer 2003
Metropolitan Catholic College Librarians' Chapter
Spring/Summer 2003 Newsletter
Editor - Prof. Ann Jusino – email@example.com
Hi. My name is Lois Cherepon. I’m President of MCCLC and Head of Reference and Instructional Services at St. John’s University Library, Staten Island campus. I’d like to officially welcome all continuing and new members to MCCLC. We are the New York/New Jersey regional chapter of the Catholic Library Association.
In May 2002, at our Spring meeting, there was a call for volunteers to serve as chapter officers. John Gormley, Manhattan College Library, had been serving as Chapter President since 2001 after a vacancy in that post occurred.
Although I officially took over the reins as MCCLC President in January 2003, John organized the Spring 2003 MCCLC meeting at Manhattan College and orchestrated a smooth transition for the new officers. Many thanks to our Immediate Past-President, John Gormley, for his dedication to MCCLC and his service to the chapter.
My colleague, Andrea McElrath, also from SJU Staten Island campus, graciously agreed to serve as our chapter’s Vice-President and Treasurer. In addition to filling these two posts, Andrea is also serving as the Membership Secretary. Several of our colleagues at the SJU Queens campus, Lucy Heckman, Bill Keogan, and Arthur Sherman, agreed to serve as Members-at-Large.
Ann Jusino, SJU Staten Island campus, is serving as our chapter’s Newsletter Editor. Although we didn’t have an “official” election, we now have a full roster of MCCLC chapter officers who are eager to serve the chapter and help us move forward.
The current MCCLC Executive Board has some exciting plans for the upcoming year. We have recently mounted a new MCCLC website, www.mcclc.catholicweb.com. If you’re not reading this newsletter online, please visit our new website. Chapter news, library events, chapter officer information, and useful Internet links are all available on our website. Take a look!
We’re planning some wonderful programs and meetings for the upcoming year as well. This summer Andrea McElrath and I will be attending the Catholic Library Association’s “Leadership Institute” at St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia. Look for a detailed report from this meeting in a future issue of our newsletter.
Andrea McElrath, Bill Keogan and I are also conducting a membership drive this summer in hopes of increasing our chapter’s membership. Encourage your colleagues to join our chapter.
Our Fall 2003 meeting will be held on October 3 at the Cloisters Museum in Fort Tryon, New York. We’re also in the process of planning our Spring 2004 meeting. If you have suggestions for a speaker or location, we’d love to hear from you.
Finally, the Executive Board would like to conduct an “official” election in Spring 2004. If you or anyone you know is interested in being nominated to run for a post on the MCCLC Executive Board, please contact us.
It’s been a busy six months and I’m looking forward to the upcoming year. Many thanks to our current officers, Andrea McElrath, Lucy Heckman, Bill Keogan, and Arthur Sherman for their assistance.
Also, thanks to our newsletter editor, Ann Jusino, for pulling all this information together.
Finally, a round of applause for John Gormley for his past leadership in the chapter. Hope to see you in October at the Cloisters! Lois Cherepon, President, MCCLC .
The Spring 2003 Meeting
“Religious Heritage and Catholic Identity at Catholic Institutions of Higher Learning”
On April 11, 2003, the members of MCCLC were fortunate in having the opportunity to hear Mr. John Wilcox speak about religious heritage and Catholic identity at Catholic institutions of higher education. The meeting took place at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. Mr. Wilcox is currently the Vice President for Mission at Manhattan College, as well as a professor of Religion and founding director of the Center for Professional Ethics.
Dr. Wilcox began his talk with an overview of the history of the establishment of Catholic institutions of higher learning. Some 210 colleges in the US were established by religious institutions to serve as seminaries, to teach the poor and immigrant populations, and to instruct members of religious institutions to become educators. Religion was not the primary focus of instruction because the institutions were steeped in Roman Catholicism. Philosophy was the most important thing in Catholic Colleges, which is largely, if not exclusively Neothomism.
At Catholic colleges, there was a grounding in Western civilization, because Catholicism was a comprehensive and cohesive system. In Catholicism the community supersedes the individual, in contrast to Locke who believes the contract between the individual and the community flows from the rights of the individual. Service learning within Catholic colleges embodied the moral component which defined Catholic education because it was value-based (religious/catholic) which incorporated reflection. The motto was SEE-DO-REFLECT; the Roman Catholic values became the social teaching.
In the 1960’s, higher education embraced Post-modernism, where science was believed to replace religion. Catholic schools were looking for academic excellence and to keep up with secular schools. The stress on academic excellence led to current hiring practices; namely faculty were increasingly hired for the disciplinary expertise and not because of their religious affiliation.
Faith-based colleges and universities were particularly influenced by a 1968 New York State law approving public funds for private colleges – so called “Bundy money”, named after the bill’s author.
Following the state constitution’s Blaine amendment, the law forbade giving public funds to institutions that served ”sectarian” purposes. This forced faith-based colleges to demonstrate that they were “primarily institution[‘s] of higher education” and not “religious institution[s]”, as if the two were mutually exclusive. Bundy funds could go to colleges with a religious identity or background, but the law’s vague definition of a “sectarian” college prompted many faith-based colleges to sever formal church ties and remove religious art from their buildings.
They quickly changed their governing boards of trustees so that lay people, not clergy, predominated. Only a few schools rejected the funding, and New York’s example led many other faith-based colleges nationwide to take similar steps .
In the 1970s, Catholic identity was all in question. There was a decline in mainstream church population to individualistic Catholic Churches. The religious climate was changing. The future of religious life was very bleak, except for the most conservative.
In the 1970s, Manhattanville intentionally renounced its Catholic identity. In one year the college hired a lay president who was black and protestant. They alienated a large number of alumni who were wealthy.
Forty years ago the issue of Catholic identity would not have been a topic of discussion. However, the number of students who attend Catholic colleges who are Catholic is down to 75%. Most students in the past came from Catholic high schools, but this is also on the decline.
As the number continues to decrease, the consciousness of the employee must go up because it is now their responsibility to pay attention to who they, as an institution, are, or to maintain the religious philosophy of the institution, which was taken for granted in the past. However, the practice of emphasizing academic excellence rather that religious affiliation in the hiring of faculty has progressively removed the last bastion of assuring religious identity. If these practices go on the issue of Catholic identity will be a non-issue in a few generations, as there will be no one left to support it.
One method of maintaining college’s religious identity is through sponsorship agreements between religious orders and Board of Trustees to maintain the Catholic identity of a school if there are no more order members at the school, though the emphasis must be on the Catholic identity rather than that on particular orders.
The story of American Catholicism is the story of the rise and conquest of a culture, and its breakdown after the Vatican Council. Today the issue of sex scandals is less important than the problem of centralization and accountability. The bishop is the supreme leader of the churches in his diocese. The floundering today is that of a faith shorn of the strong cultural foundations which supported it. Who is defining what it means to be an orthodox catholic?
The Vatican in its attempt to gain control has gone far to the right in terms of their Catholic definition. It wasn’t always that way. Today there has to be 100% consensus of the Bishops Council before they can say anything publicly. Catholic leadership was not encouraging secularization.
Catholic universities are today mandated to follow the 1990 Apostolic Constitution “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” by his holiness John Paul II regarding the mission and identity of Catholic Universities emphasizes a love of learning and a unity and synthesis of knowledge. Catholic universities must demonstrate “a Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such; a continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research; fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church; an institutional commitment to the service of the people of god and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life.”
Further, in a Catholic university, research necessarily includes (a) the search for an integration of knowledge, (b) a dialogue between faith and reason, (c) an ethical concern, and (d) a theological perspective.
Gallin, Alice. Negotiating Identity: Catholic Higher Education since 1960. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press Jan. 2000
Gleason, Philip. Contending with Modernity: Catholic Higher Education in the Twentieth Century. 1996
Morris, Charles. American Catholic. Vintage [Imprint] Oct. 1998 New York: Knopf Publishing Group Westminster : Random House, Incorporated [Distributor]
O’Brien, David J. From the heart of the American Church: Catholic higher education and American culture. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1994.
Sammon, Sean. Religious Life in America: A New Day Dawning. Staten Island, NY: Alba House, May 2002.
Attention Past Members and Officers -
The current executive board would like to ask that any members (current or past) who have any knowledge of the history of our chapter send their information to our current president, Prof. Lois Cherepon, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking for old newsletters, memos, and anecdotal information regarding the founding and history of our chapter. Thanks for all your help!
FALL 2003 Meeting – A Trip to the Cloisters
Please mark you calendars for October 3, 2003 for our Fall 2003 Meeting. We will be taking a tour of the Cloisters, Fort Tryon, NY at 11am, and enjoying a lovely lunch at The New Leaf Café, a short walk from the museum.
Cost will be $36 per person, including admission to the museum, a guided tour, and a 3-course lunch. For those who would only like to attend the tour, the cost will be $10.
Coffee and refreshments will be served before the tour at 10:30am, leaving a few moments to enjoy the lovely view of the Hudson before we enjoy the splendor of the Cloisters.
SAVE THE DATE!