Novak (novak) wrote,
Novak
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Theological Notebook: My Conference Paper

As I sit typing up my conference paper tonight, for the upcoming Joy in the Truth: The Catholic University in the New Millennium at The University of Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Culture at the end of the month, I can't help but grimace repeatedly. The plan fact of the matter is that the paper is not a research paper. In fact, I'm doing everything that I can to try to keep it from being a rant. The problem is that, in the nature of a rant, I pretty much was able to say what needed saying in the abstract that they decided to post on their website this year. Last year, when I would have loved to shout out as much as I could to attract even more listeners on my paper on Salvador Dali's The Sacrament of the Last Supper, they didn't have this whole abstract-business. This year, when I feel like I'm inevitably tipping my entire hand, I had to turn the bugger in.

So I'm adding some few details and rebuttals to what I think would be the most obvious objections to what I'm proposing, but I still feel like I'm going to come in and give them what they've already read if they've looked at the abstracts. Although, now that I think about it, I haven't had the time to read through the other abstracts--I've still just picked what sessions I'd like to go to from the paper titles. So maybe that's hopeful. Still, I'm trying to temper the thing so that the rant doesn't come across as just calling everyone at the conference hypocrites. Since I'm generally arguing that we are putting the best possible face on the current state of the Catholic university--even at this conference--I could come across too harshly. And at the same time, I have to point out that no one seems to be dealing with any of the strongest criticisms that have been raised about the structure of the Catholic university system. I'll be particularly interested to follow up what people from school's like amea's Thomas Aquinas College (I've heard of one of the professors there already asking questions about my paper), or my friend Michael Dougherty's Thomas More College have to say, since the recent creations of these liberal arts schools strike me as quiet but pointed--if not damning--criticisms of the current state of the American Catholic universities.
Tags: education, theological notebook, writing
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