Mr. Chapman's protest against the election of a Catholic as a Fellow of the University will generally be regarded as an unjust and premature crying of fire. The days have long passed when intelligent people seriously believed that the Roman Church could hope to dominate the educational system of the United States, the separation between Church and State has become so traditional in the United States that it seems certain to remain. Even Catholics cannot be so dead to the facts as to hope that one religious denomination can ever control the liberal universities and the schools of the country.
It is not self evident that the presence of one Catholic on a board of seven members need act as a dampener of open and liberal discussion of all issues especially when that board is composed of men who are likely to have opinions of their own. It is still less evident that the ability to limit a discussion would carry with it the ability to control the votes of the silenced members. The suspicion arises that Mr. Chapman may be tilting against a very elusive wind-mill.
In the University there are a considerable number of Catholic students, and there appears to be no reason why one of the seven Fellows should not be a Catholic. The whole theory of representative government justifies such a choice. Furthermore, Catholics have been known who possessed great abilities. Governor Smith of New York is no worse governor for being a Catholic, nor is G. K. Chesterton a worse writer because of his religion. No religion contains all the intellect of the world many its members.
True liberalism can be obtained only by a careful consideration of all the spinsters bearing on the issue. A liberalism that would shut off the presentation of any opinion is nothing but illiberality, and for such Harvard can have no use.