The Coup at Catholic University: The 1968 Revolution in American Catholic Education
by Peter M. Mitchell
Ignatius Press, 2015
(311 pages, $19.95, paperback)
reviewed by Graeme HunterWashington, D.C.'s Catholic University of America (CUA) was established in 1889 as a pontifical university under the authority of the Holy See. It was to be an academic city set on a hill, a place where the academic and individual freedoms demanded at American universities would be reconciled with the obedience owed to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Sadly and ironically, in the turbulent 1960s CUA became famous not as a place where this reconciliation was achieved, but as one where it failed spectacularly.
Fr. Peter Mitchell's meticulous, lucid account of CUA's disastrous years (1967–1969) is an admirable piece of historical scholarship. He does not allow his own regret at what occurred to color his presentation of the conflicts. The bold claims implicit in the title and subtitle of his work, that there was a "coup" at CUA and that it contributed to a "revolution" in American Catholic education, are carefully documented.
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Graeme Hunter is a contributing editor to Touchstone and Research Professor of Philosophy at Dominican University College in Ottawa. He is the author of Radical Protestantism in Spinoza's Thought (Ashgate).
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