Letters to the Bishop

The I-Word

Your Excellency:

This past May, I attended commencement ceremonies at Christendom College, where James, the oldest son of my oldest friend, was graduating with a degree in philosophy.  Some of our fellow countrymen would declare such a degree about as useful as the dresses once modeled by Twiggy.  (Do you remember Twiggy, Bishop?  She was that London anorexic who helped popularize the miniskirt back in the 1960’s, back when God had just quit being an Englishman.)  If we use as our standard for judgment the trashy curricula that have passed for liberal-arts programs these last 50 years, my astute countrymen are justified in considering such a degree worthless.  To paraphrase Churchill: “Never was so much paid out by so many for so little.”  Christendom, however, offers the exception to the rule; it follows a demanding program of studies designed to teach students to think clearly and to live fully human lives.  (By the way, Your Excellency, I feel compelled to add here that my friend considers his son’s degree worthwhile in part because it irritated the devil out of his mother-in-law, a Midwesterner of practical bent who encourages all of her grandchildren to major in accounting or nursing.  If such a lack of charity is a sin worthy of confession, please drop me a note, and I’ll pass it along to my friend.)  At any rate, James will no doubt put his degree to good use in law school this fall.


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