Wondering and Wandering: Peter Augustine Lawler’s Higher Ed Heresies

A proper understanding of education means embracing the creation of small liberal arts colleges in which students have the leisure to study and faculty the leisure to teach them. As Peter liked to say, every human person is “wondering and wandering,” and higher education is where one wonders and wanders the most. To those bound up in standards of efficiency, wondering and wandering seems like a waste of time. But there is no other way for a person to learn.
Catholics in colonial America pioneered a vision of liberty of conscience grounded in human dignity that would eventually be affirmed as doctrine by the second Vatican Council. A new book by Michael Breidenbach illustrates how unsettled the issue of papal temporal authority was in the founding era, and how damaging papal insistence on it was to the survival of Catholic minorities in English and colonial life.
Universities are fundamentally different from businesses and cannot be run in the same way, and few executives understand the contemplative and investigative purposes of a Catholic university.