Newman asserts that for a University to be Catholic it must be under the guidance and jurisdiction of the Catholic Church. He argues that otherwise, despite its catholicity, it will come into opposition with the Church. He gives the example of the Spanish Inquisition, which according to him “came into collision with the supreme Catholic authority, and that, from the fact that its immediate end was of a secular character.” He considers that Academic institutions, by their very nature are directed to social, national and temporal objects and left to themselves will have results more or less prejudicial to its Catholic interests.
Universities pursue Liberal Knowledge and this type of knowledge has a tendency to seek a mere philosophical view of life in the place of Revelation.
Newman explains: “Truth has two attributes—beauty and power; and while Useful Knowledge is the possession of truth as powerful, Liberal Knowledge is the apprehension of it as beautiful. Pursue it, either as beauty or as power, to its furthest extent and its true limit, and you are led by either road to the Eternal and Infinite, to the intimations of conscience and the announcements of the Church.” At first you will not reject Catholicism but you will judge it according to earthly standards. “You will deny its principles, explain away its doctrines, re-arrange its precepts, and make light of its practices, even while you profess it.” The tendency of a Liberal Education is to have knowledge exert a subtle influence that throws us back on ourselves, “making us our own centre, and our minds the measure of all things.”
The notion develops that reason, “self-educated” and “self-supported” is more important in its ideas and judgments that that of the Prophets and Apostles. “A sense of propriety, order, consistency, and completeness gives birth to a rebellious stirring against miracle and mystery, against the severe and the terrible. This Intellectualism first and chiefly comes into collision with precept, then with doctrine, then with the very principle of dogmatism;—a perception of the Beautiful becomes the substitute for faith.”