A day after Pope Benedict XVI warned visiting U.S. bishops about the threat of "radical secularism" to American moral values, Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl reflected on the implications of the pope's remarks, giving special emphasis to the role of Catholic education.
"It's so important in our country right now that we not allow faith to be brushed aside," the cardinal told Catholic News Service. "And the only way that's not going to happen ... is a renewal of our own faith."
Cardinal Wuerl, whose recent book, "Seek First the Kingdom," encourages Catholic laypeople to affirm their faith in various dimensions of secular life, said that Catholic schools are "one of the most tried and proven ways of passing on the faith." Efforts to renew Catholic religious education were proving an "enormous success" at the elementary and secondary levels, he said. "Where we need to concentrate now is on the level of higher education."
Reaffirming Pope Benedict's hopeful words about a "new generation" of American Catholics working to renew the "church's presence and witness in American society," Cardinal Wuerl said that "many of the younger students and some of the faculty" at Catholic colleges and universities have shown themselves willing "to bring the Catholic perspective into the discussion at the level of academia."