First Things - Religion and Public Life Donate to First Things
Login forgot password? | register Close

The Perils of “Preferred Peers”

On Catholic campuses that aspire to Top Ten or Top Twenty status in publicity sweepstakes like the U.S. News and World Report college rankings, one sometimes hears the phrase “preferred peers.” Translated into plain English from faux-sociologese, that means the schools to which we’d like to be compared (and be ranked with). At a major Catholic institution like the University of Notre Dame, for example, administrators use the term “preferred peers” to refer to universities like Duke, Stanford, and Princeton, suggesting that these are the benchmarks by which Notre Dame measures its own aspirations to excellence. Continue Reading »

Tradition and the Individual Theologian

Catholics, Orthodox, and not a few Protestants have been known to reject theological novelties with a wave of the hand and an appeal to tradition. “Shouldn’t we follow the tradition rather than the judgments of an individual scholar?” Sometimes the modifier “idiosyncratic” is added to “judgments” for rhetorical oomph. “Tradition” is implicitly capitalized, for who can argue with a capital letter? Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles