Professor Hopes WYD Encourages University Students

Christians Keep a Low Profile on Campus, Says Janine Langan

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TORONTO, JULY 25, 2002 (ZENIT.orgAvvenire).- Janine Langan thinks World Youth Day will help Toronto university students rediscover «the importance of a solid foundation in Catholic culture.»

Langan is a philosophy professor at the University of Toronto who founded the Christianity and Culture Movement. She hopes that the event will motivate students to live their faith despite the anti-Christian intellectual environment they might face.

Q: This hope seems to hide a concern. Is there no freedom in education?

Langan: There is a very obvious tension in Toronto, especially in universities, within which disquieting events occur. I know students who are often afraid to express their Christian attitude in front of professors.

Q: Fear of reprisals?

Langan: The risk of being publicly ridiculed — something no one likes. So they are silent, and take refuge in their corner, they passively join the mass, despite the fact that in our universities courses are offered in which Christianity is presented as something important, positive.

Q: What is behind these students’ silence?

Langan: A cultural deficit. It is sad to say, but in the religious aspect, the majority of our university students express a level of knowledge and formation comparable to secondary or even primary school instruction. Clearly, they have difficulty in affirming Christianity and the values in which they believe in an aggressive intellectual environment.

Q: What is the solution?

Langan: We must prepare to guarantee a Catholic education but, first of all, Christian, at a level that is really higher education. A complete view of the Christian event must be presented in the universities. At the concrete level, the rediscovery of Christian art must also be encouraged.

Q: To what degree can WYD help in this respect?

Langan: When the Pope came here for the first time, all Christians, Catholics as well as Protestants, showed a surprisingly positive attitude. There was fruitful cooperation. We can work together, after the visit, to give back to Christian culture the scope it deserves.

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