On Answering QuestionsFATHER JAMES V. SCHALL, S.J.
We never know what curiosities former students will come up with.
Eric Wind, an ex-student long interested in the history of Georgetown College, found for sale on eBay an old examination given at Georgetown in January 1929. (Let me note that this test was not Schall's, as in January of 1929, he was but one year old.) The student taking the test was Lawrence Mehren; it was given by Rev. John J. Murphy, S.J., a name I had not run across before. On the test are twelve questions; the students were asked to do ten. I do not know how much time they were given.
The questions of 1929 are brief and to the point:
Evidently, Mehren skipped questions 2 and 6. We do not know what grade he received; nor, alas, do we have his answers. Actually, this little test-sheet should go for a lot of chips; I hope the good folks at eBay know what it is. Some wry philanthropist should perhaps give a copy to each of the bishops.
We seldom teach apologetics any more. We teach theology or religious studies. The first is usually considered a science, though not exactly the same science that Aquinas called it. The second is a sort of survey. The religion requirement has been steadily decreasing in most schools; often there are but two required courses, one a sort of general overview of God and His doings taught by most anyone, the second usually fulfilled by studying what some other religion besides Christianity said about it all. The buzz words are pluralism, tolerance, peace, justice, "let's just get along."
Are there things we should know to be saved? St. Paul and St. John, among others, seem to have thought so. Indeed, revelation itself is something that "seeks intelligence." So the reason of faith is worth a look. Our lives may depend on it.
Father James V. Schall, S.J. "On Answering Questions." Inside Catholic (November 2, 2009).
Reprinted with permission of InsideCatholic.com. The mission of InsideCatholic.com is to be a voice for authentic Catholicism in the public square.
Father James V. Schall, S.J., is Professor of Political Philosophy at Georgetown University and the author of many books in the areas of social issues, spirituality and literature including The Mind That Is Catholic: Philosophical & Political Essays, On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs: Teaching, Writing, Playing, Believing, Lecturing, Philosophizing, Singing, Dancing; Roman Catholic Political Philosophy; The Order of Things; The Regensburg Lecture; The Life of the Mind: On the Joys and Travails of Thinking; Schall on Chesterton: Timely Essays on Timeless Paradoxes; Another Sort of Learning, Sum Total Of Human Happiness, and A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning.
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