In light of the recent announcement that Joe Biden and John Boehner would be jointly receiving this year's Laetare Medal, I think it's worth recalling a bit of wisdom from the recently deceased Fr. Hesburgh. There's the above, which I think is brilliant, and then there's any number of quotes from the "Land O'Lakes Statement," like this one:
The Catholic University today must be a university in the full modern sense of the word, with a strong commitment to and concern for academic excellence. To perform its teaching and research functions effectively the Catholic university must have a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself. To say this is simply to assert that institutional autonomy and academic freedom are essential conditions of life and growth and indeed of survival for Catholic universities as for all universities.
The Catholic university participates in the total university life of our time, has the same functions as all other true universities and, in general, offers the same services to society. The Catholic university adds to the basic idea of a modern university distinctive characteristics which round out and fulfill that idea. Distinctively, then, the Catholic university must be an institution, a community of learners or a community of scholars, in which Catholicism is perceptibly present and effectively operative.
Thanks for the reminder, Fr. Ted.