Dr. Christopher Manion, former staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, gave a talk at Christendom this past Monday, February 23, as part of the college’s politics practica speaker series. He spoke on the need for strong, Catholic men and women in today’s government, and the call to stand up to political corruption in order to succeed in the New Evangelization.
Manion, who earned his Ph.D in government at Notre Dame University, and taught politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, Catholic University of America, and Christendom College, began his talk discussing men he described as “great men of great soul,” referring to Catholic men who accomplished great things in the government, including Christendom founder Dr. Warren Carroll and famed Notre Dame University law professor Dr. Charles Rice.
“Though these men came from different backgrounds, they shared a common foundation,” said Manion. “These men deepened their faith through education. This gave them the fortitude to face great opposition. When they graduated, they didn’t know what they would do with their lives, but they became leaders because of the way they faced their situations.”
Manion elaborated on Carroll’s plan for Christendom graduates, explaining that Dr. Carroll wanted his students to have a practical impact, not only in terms of job experience, but also in their ability to bring their faith to the workplace. Manion urged the students to make the most of their time on campus, lest they “throw money and time out of the window.”
Manion then framed the current state of politics in terms of the Church’s view of government and the world’s view of government.
“The Church alone is responsible for man’s salvation. For this reason, the government is limited by – and subordinate to – the Church, so that it will not interfere with its mission,” he said. “Without the Church setting this boundary, the government can expand as much as it likes; this is why Aristotle’s idea of government has no such limits.”
Manion advised the class to know their enemy, whom he described as “the elites who are trying to ruin what we know and love about America, who can’t stand freedom because it was endowed by a Creator who sets limits upon them.” But what is to be done in response these people? Manion’s reply was Pope Emeritus Benedict’s goal for the New Evangelization: a well-formed laity.
He urged the students to enter politics, whether in D.C. or in their hometown, to make a real difference.
“We need good, honest people to put a stop to these people, or at the very least create stalemates,” he said. “Even if you cannot find a career in Washington, go to your hometown, and try to make an impact there. At the very least, it will allow you to make connections that will increase your influence.”
Christendom College’s politics practica program, directed by professor of political science and economics Dr. Bernard Way, has been a unique feature of the political science department for many years, giving students the opportunities to not only network with known political figures, but also earn credit for rigorous political internships.