Do students read better after such classes? Do they think more critically? Are they any more ethical? Do they understand their faith any better? The answer is usually no, and this is really no surprise since these departments long ago forswore those goals in their headlong pursuit of their own professional specialization.Anthony Esolen makes a similar point about the absence of beauty, esp. poetry, in modern education. Modern educators have no use for beauty, because there is no political pay-off. After quoting Keat's "Ode to Autumn," he says,
Keats has said nothing about death, but it is there, like a shadow, a gentle one, not to be feared. His ode is sweet and sad, a companion for life. You cannot do anything political with it. You cannot do anything at all with it, no more than you can do anything with a sunset, or the warm pressure of a friendly hand. It brings beauty that clears the mind of what is merely ugly or crass or squalid. It is fresh air, God-sent.I think among the things needed is for the hierarchy to realize that the demise of a robust Catholic liberal education is making evangelization even harder, because the faith is grounded in a reality that modern modes of discourse and analysis can't reach.