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The Judgment of Solomon: Can the Mission Remain Divided Without Killing the University?

Attached to Paper Session


Abstract for Online Program Book (maximum 1200 characters including spaces)

Two competing visions of Catholic higher education threaten to undermine and cause irreparable harm to the mission of Catholic universities in the US: the corporate mission most often championed by CFOs and Boards of Trustees, and the religious mission defended by faculty and (sometimes) the chief academic officer of the university. This reality recalls the judgment of Solomon in the Hebrew Bible, where two women claim to be mother to the same infant and Solomon decides the only just resolution is to cut the child in half with a sword. Unlike the biblical narrative, in which the true mother lovingly surrenders her claim on the child so that the child is unharmed, faculty members have cooperated and compromised with more corporate entities to such a degree that the viability of the religious mission at Catholic universities is seriously threatened.