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An Historical Exploration of Father Charles E. Coughlins Influence

The Work of a University

An Introduction

by Rev. Gerard L. Stockhausen, S.J., Ph.D.
President of the University of Detroit Mercy, 2004-2010

Why would a university library go through the bother of digitizing materials that represent hatred and bigotry? Why would a Catholic university in the Jesuit and Mercy tradition make such materials available on its website?

The fundamental stance of Catholic/Mercy/Jesuit education is that everything comes from the hands of a loving creator. Whether we study the physical world, human beings, human relationships, or human accomplishments, we are ultimately studying the loving mystery at the heart of it all. Even when we study those things that can only be labeled evil, things that result from human addictions and idolatries, we are ultimately studying the promise and hope of redemption offered by that loving mystery. And because we know that all of us humans respond only imperfectly to the gift of love, that we all share those addictions and idolatries, we continually pay attention to where in our lives and the world around us those addictions and idolatries are present so that we can identify them, warn about them, and struggle against them. And we continually pay attention to where the freedom and life-giving pattern of love is present so that we can identify it, celebrate it, and attract others to it. This paying close attention to what is going on is the work of education. It is the work of a university. It is why UDM provides access to these archive materials. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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