Monday 10th December 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Leadership Studies?

July 18, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


(Editor’s Note: Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Air War College, and author of Morals Under the Gun and other books. He has also taught at Notre Dame, Norwich, Auburn, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He serves in the Diocese of Charlotte, N.C., and is a frequent contributor to The Wanderer.)

+ + +

Very recently, a professor — “Dr. Smith” — at a certain university contacted me by email to ask my opinion about a leadership program which that institution plans to begin.
Having taught leadership and ethics for a number of years, I was happy to provide whatever experience I have gained in and through those years of teaching and writing. At the outset, there is a critical question:


How can we teach leadership if and when it emanates from an ethically stricken society, one which the prophet Isaiah described this way:
“Justice is driven away, and right cannot come near. Truth stumbles in the public square, and honesty finds no place there. There is so little honesty that anyone who stops doing evil finds himself the victim of crime” (59:14-15 GNB).
With respect to leadership studies, if this is today’s “culture,” what can be done (cf. Psalms 11:3, 82:5)?
Three practical matters require study:
First, frequently what passes for leadership programs in various colleges amounts to a bundling of courses from various fields which are connected, if only tangentially, with the ideas of leadership and management. A burden of proof lies squarely upon curriculum innovators to show how a reshuffling of already existing courses, now branded as “Leadership Studies,” is likely to result in benefit to students. In other words, why not just maintain the major in English, or politics, or philosophy?
Second, newly instituted leadership programs sometimes claim that students will substantially develop their organizational skills and style, greatly enhancing their abilities to contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness (two favorite contemporary bureaucratic nouns) of their future businesses. One can reasonably question, however, whether a university major ought to be devoted to “skills enhancement.” If the development of “skill” is the premier purpose of a university program, how does the university differ from a jobs training site?
Third, there is, moreover, the corollary matter of whether the skill set taught at and by a university will satisfy the particular needs of the organization in which the graduated student finds employment. Every business has its unusual, or even unique, codes and rites of operation. Many skills are best developed as a result of “on-the-job training.”
University claims may be inflated, then, in advertising that students will learn skills immediately marketable and universally applicable in the worlds of business, medicine, education, and so on.


Warren G. Bennis (1925-2014), the well-known organizational theorist, said: “Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing.”
Well, no: Not exactly.
“Managers” do things as routinely stipulated by their organizations. “Leaders” do the right thing only if they know the right thing to do. If leaders are ignorant of what is right, they will default to doing what is stipulated, customary, routine, popular, or self-promotional.
This is precisely why university programs advertised as “Leadership Studies” must be rooted in the traditional liberal arts. If we want leaders who do the “right thing,” we must have colleges which transmit, not just “values,” but virtues. If right thought or action is not securely grounded in what is Right, then right is interchangeable with might; then right is fungible with “doing whatever is necessary to get the job done”; then right is compatible with obsequiously pleasing the boss and getting ahead in a dog-eat-dog world.
When we think of doing what is conventionally right, we may think of the Machiavellian idea of virtu and of libido dominandi; when we think of doing what is ethically Right, we may think of virtue and of the natural moral law (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1803).
Leaders who do the Right thing “see that justice is done” (Isaiah 1:17), and they “hold fast to what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21; cf. James 4:17). If the word right can be compromised and confusing, so can the word values. Everyone has values; not everyone has virtues (Wisdom 8:7, 2 Peter 1:3-8). In fact, “whoever lacks [virtue] is blind and shortsighted” (2 Peter 1:9). That includes, of course, institutions of higher learning whose “leaders” and faculty, for want of either vision or valor (or both), “call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).
Here, then, is the core of any program styling itself “leadership studies”: to develop men and women of integrity, capable of genuinely distinguishing good from evil, truth from lies, and beautiful from barbaric. But more: any “leadership” program which does not deliberately seek to inculcate virtue is the ally of vice. As Pope Leo XIII put it in Militantis Ecclesiae (1897):
“If they remember the saying of the ancients, that knowledge merits the name of cleverness rather than wisdom when it is separated from justice, or better yet if they meditate on the words of Scripture: ‘They are vain, those men in whom there is no knowledge of God’ (Wisdom 13:1), they will learn to use the weapons of knowledge less for their personal gain than for the general good.”
The good human being will soon master the necessary job skills; the corrupt human being will employ skill only in reprobate ways.
In Anton Myrer’s novel Once an Eagle, a warrior is told: “If it comes to a choice between being a good soldier and a good human being, try to be a good human being.”
There is the kernel of good sense which ought to be foundational to any program in leadership (cf. Hab. 2:4).
Catholic college “leadership studies” programs, then, must be devoted, first and foremost, to the formation of good human beings (see CCC, n. 2518) who are “educated in the moral law” (CCC, n. 2526), and not only or primarily immersed in learning banausic skills.
This requires that such institutions advertise, not immediate and lucrative post-graduate employment based upon students having (presumably) mastered certain marketable management techniques, but, rather, advertise and vigorously promote the development of Catholic character.
“Truth vandals,” to use Felipe Fernandez-Armesto’s apt term, argue that “character education” is essentially a conservative enterprise. That allegation is, in fact, true. But while secularists mean this pejoratively, it is, in fact, an accolade, for the purpose of education is, at its heart, to conserve, protect, and revere what is true and to prevent the truth from being besmirched into fabrication and falsehood.
What St. Paul told Timothy, after all, he told us, too (including the presidents of ostensibly Catholic colleges): “Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Tim. 6:20; cf. 2 Tim. 1:14).


In an age of relativism, nihilism, and hedonism, how are we to have college programs which insist upon teaching, not skills, but virtue; not servility to the boss or the organization, but fidelity to God first (Matt. 6:333); and not “doing whatever it takes,” if “it” demands sin as the price of success (Matt. 16:26)?
I suggested to Dr. Smith that leadership begins in our realizing the power of Philippians 4:8-9, which concerns our ability to think wisely and well and continues with commitment to “put [it] into practice” (v. 9). If we can’t think well, we can’t do well.
Leadership Studies programs must therefore be grounded in moral theology, philosophy and ethics, history, literature, and classical politics.
A leadership faculty must be at pains to have students think about what is Right, not just right; about the historical and moral precedents for situations; about the probable result of the result (second-order thinking) in any circumstance; about who must not know about what is being decided and why he/she/they should be denied such knowledge (this is, as they say, a “probing question,” and red flags should pop up if there is an answer to it!); and about what is the most dangerous, or the potentially stupidest, element of what is being decided.
Are those involved fully prepared, if necessary, to say “No” to their bosses? The short scripture here is Acts 5:29 (“We must obey God before men”).
Leadership programs must teach, then, that the health of one’s career is nowhere nearly as important as the health of one’s soul. Separate sound moral teaching from the academic enterprise and you have given birth, as did Dr. Frankenstein, to a monster — in this case, one masquerading as Mr. Chips.
As Pope Leo XIII presciently put it:
“If there ever existed a period which demanded abundant science and knowledge to defend the Catholic faith, it is assuredly ours in which the rapid progress in all branches of study often furnishes the enemies of the Christian faith with an occasion for attacking it.
“We must therefore commit the same forces to repel their attack. We must occupy the position first and snatch from their hands the weapons with which they are trying to destroy all links between God and man.”
Good leaders are prepared — in mind and spirit — to serve the cause of what is Right, and to inspire others to follow that path (cf. Psalm 119:33-48).
The key to this is perspective, meaning the ability to see through the present to the eternal; the ability to know the value of things, not just their cost; and the ability to choose what ought to be done rather than just what the crowd cheers.
These lessons come from university honor codes; from seminars rooted in the enduring literature (such as Antigone); and from professors not devoted to instructing about “skill sets,” but, rather, dedicated to guiding men and women to what is honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious. The university which imbues its graduates with knowledge of, and fidelity to, what is noble produces genuine leaders.
Leadership is the cultivated ability to inspire appropriate conduct beyond the expectable. Wise education enhances such ability, and, at least to some extent, it empowers and encourages leaders to galvanize others in the service of what is Right beyond what would otherwise be expected.
When a college — or its president and faculty — stand muddled, mute, and myopic before the great questions of our time (Are we God’s or gods? Do we know any Truth? Are life, love, and learning the property of the Leviathan State? Do we invent for ourselves or discover by grace the meaning of our years?), they are iniquitously contending that all which is holy is manufactured and manipulated by those who know the love of power but not the power of love.
These negative sentiments, though, are strikingly common today, even — or especially — on college campuses, where it is chichi to think that goodness is a matter of emotional commitment to whatever the glitterati applaud; that truth is a matter of taste; and that beauty is found in the latest fads and immodest fashions.
We need faithful Catholic education if we are to have faithful Catholic leaders.
One wishes “Dr. Smith” well. If it’s true that no effect is greater than its cause, then to have a great Leadership Studies Program, one needs a great university.
And a great university — especially a great Catholic university — must be countercultural in teaching future leaders the profound difference, not only between right and wrong, but also between Right and right.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

#Apple CEO Tim Cook took the mask off & said
They use Liberal Values to decide what content to censor

They once fought Big Brother
Now they & the rest of Big Tech
Are the #ThoughtPolice

Interview With Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke . . . The Faithful Are Suffering…But Schism Can Never Be Right -

Load More...

Pro-LGBT priest promotes ‘rainbow’ rosary with prayers for ‘full acceptance’ of gay couples

December 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-LGBT Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin is promoting on social media a rosary with “rainbow” beads for one of the decades which are to be used, the rosary’s creators say, to pray for the “full…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò denies claims he defrauded his brother

ROME, December 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has denied claims he defrauded his brother, and has sought to clarify an October court ruling ordering him to pay his brother €1.8 million in inheritance. Many believe the ruling is being…Continue Reading

Vatican’s former doctrine chief: ‘LGBT’ has ‘no place’ in Church documents

VATICAN CITY, November 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An influential cardinal says that pro-homosexual terminology such as “LGBT” has no place in the documents of the Roman Catholic Church. In a recent interview with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, formerly the Prefect of the…Continue Reading


PHILADELPHIA ( – After Cdl. Donald Wuerl spearheaded a $25 million grant to the Vatican earlier this year through the Papal Foundation, sources confirm the money remains unaccounted for, the Rome hospital designated as beneficiary apparently never having received the grant. Sources also confirm Wuerl…Continue Reading

Cardinal guilty of covering up sex abuse addresses US bishops’ conference

BALTIMORE, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A cardinal barred from public ministry since 2013 as a result of his systematic cover-up of sex abuse spoke at the U.S. Bishops’ General Assembly in Baltimore Tuesday, telling the bishops they “need to lead by witness.” In…Continue Reading

US bishops consider asking Pope Francis to release McCarrick documents

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will consider officially asking Pope Francis to release any documents related to alleged serial sexual abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The motion was made from the…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet in the Shadow, Still, of Clergy Sex Abuse

This weekend, the Catholic bishops of the United States gather in Baltimore ahead of their three-day annual general assembly, which opens Monday. By coincidence, it will be 16 years exactly since their session in 2002, when they met to amend…Continue Reading

The Synodal Church

Antonio Spadaro, SJ – Carlos Galli Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?”[1] His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of…Continue Reading

National network of Catholic church leaders told to preserve all communications

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke ‘strongly’ endorses new virtue education program for young people

October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of life, marriage, and family, has “strongly” endorsed a new virtue education program for children. “Alive to the World” is a continuous, story-based virtues/values program. Much…Continue Reading

Pittsburgh wants to revoke Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of kids event over Christian marriage views

PITTSBURGH, October 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s most successful Christian food chain may be driven out of a children’s community event in Pittsburgh over the owners’ Christian-based view of marriage and homosexuality, if the Pittsburgh City Council has its way.…Continue Reading

Australian bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church’s current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a “transformation…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

Cdl. Burke: ‘Synodality’ suggests some kind of ‘new church’ where pope’s authority is destroyed

LIMERICK, Ireland, (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke has come out criticizing the concept of “synodality” that was barely discussed during the recently concluded “Youth Synod,” but, nevertheless, found its way into the final document, surprising many of the Synod Fathers. “It’s become like a slogan, meant to suggest some kind of new church which is democratic and in which the authority of the Roman Pontiff is relativized and diminished—if not destroyed,” said Card

Facebook unblocks image of Santa kneeling before Baby Jesus after LifeSite report goes viral

December 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook is no longer censoring an image of Santa Claus kneeling before the Baby Jesus that it had deemed “violent or graphic content” after a report on LifeSiteNews about the matter went viral yesterday. Facebook had obscured the picture, explaining that the “photo was automatically covered so you can decide if you want to se

Pro-LGBT Catholic prof: Many German bishops don’t believe homosexual acts are wrong

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic German ethics professor calls Cardinal Müller’s recent remarks on homosexuality “unbearable” and claims that, just as the Church’s teaching on the death penalty has changed, the teaching on homosexuality is also open to change. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has been under constant sharp criticism since his 21 November interview with LifeSiteNews, in whi

Cardinal accuses EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo of attacking Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY, December 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has come out swinging against EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, accusing him of reporting “negatively” on as well as “attack[ing]” Pope Francis. The former Archbishop of Durban tweeted last night that Arroyo was like a “throwback” to Northern Ireland’s most notorious anti-Catholic “Ian Paisley & his ilk.” “The World Over” hosted by Raymond A

Taxpayer dollars help California Planned Parenthood surpass record high income level

November 30, 2018 (American Life League) – For the first time in the history of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, one of its 56 affiliates documented that its annual income surpassed $100 million. The affiliate is Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, headquartered in San Jose, California. In its latest official document (Federal Form 990) filed with the federal government, PPMM reported that in the fiscal year, July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, it had a…Continue Reading


Will Paris Riots Scuttle Climate Accord?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In Katowice, Poland, all the signers of the 2015 Paris climate accord have gathered to assess how the world’s nations are meeting their goals to cut carbon emissions. Certainly, the communications strategy in the run-up was impressive. In October came that apocalyptic UN report warning that the world is warming faster…Continue Reading

Amid Veto Threat… Ohio “Heartbeat Abortion” Bill Nears Senate Vote

COLUMBUS (CNA/EWTN News) — The Ohio Senate was expected to pass legislation banning abortion on an unborn baby after he or she has a heartbeat, and there could be enough votes to override Gov. John Kasich’s promised veto, amid questions over whether the proposal could withstand U.S. Supreme Court scrutiny. Republicans control the Senate with…Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Court Of Appeals . . . EWTN Wins Lawsuit Over HHS Contraception Mandate

IRONDALE, Ala. (EWTN) — Following a legal battle that has lasted nearly seven years, EWTN Global Catholic Network has prevailed in its lawsuit against the U.S. government over what has become known as the “HHS Contraception Mandate.” In an order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit published Thursday, November 29, 2018,…Continue Reading

Major Companies Take Action Against Porn

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Across the country, several major companies are taking action against pornography use. Tumblr, Starbucks, Comcast, and multiple hotel chains have all taken steps to reduce pornography access within their respective industry. These decisions come during a time of increasing awareness over the harms of pornography. “Companies are quickly realizing the harms of…Continue Reading

Marie Stopes International Is No Friend Of Africa

By DEBORAH M. PIROCH (Editor’s Note: Deborah M. Piroch is the PR director for Human Life International. HLI posted this article at their website,, on November 30. It is reprinted here with permission.) + + + FRONT ROYAL, Va. — HLI is delighted that the government of Kenya has banned Marie Stopes International (MSI)…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Authority Of Bishops… Can A Catholic Resist A Wrong Teaching Of His Bishop?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In the two previous articles we have learned from great Catholic theologians that a layman can resist a wrong decision of a bishop and even of the Bishop of Rome — the Pope. But — and this “but” is very important — wouldn’t such a resistance go against the teaching on papal infallibility?…Continue Reading

The Theological Virtues — Faith

By DON FIER As we transitioned last week from a lengthy treatment of the four cardinal virtues (and a brief overview of sanctifying grace) to the theological virtues, emphasis was given to the fittingness of the term “theological” (as derived from the Greek Theos and logos), for these virtues have God Himself as their Author, motive, and direct object. “Infused…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. For the benefit of those who do not have a computer or library access, could you please give us a list of the Doctors of the Church? I have a book entitled 33 Doctors of the Church, but I think some have been added since that book was published. — B.W., Florida. A. Doctor of the Church is a…Continue Reading

Interview With Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke . . . The Faithful Are Suffering…But Schism Can Never Be Right


By PEGGY MOEN (Editor’s Note: This interview took place in Rome on October 22, 2018, the Feast of St. John Paul II, during the final week of the October 3-28 Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment and before its conclusion. See The Wanderer, November 1, 2018, p. 1 for an article based on this interview.) + +…Continue Reading

God’s Providence Is Perfect

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Advent (YR C) Readings: Baruch 5:1-9 Phil. 1:4-6, 8-11 Luke 3:1-6 In the second reading today, St. Paul states his confidence that the One who “began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” This can certainly be applied in a variety of situations, for…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Maria Virgo

By CAROLE BRESLIN When I visited my aunt in St. Louis, Mo., we would visit the basilicas, the museums, and other places of interest. She had many sites near her that were particularly special to her, such as her parish, The Little Flower, in Richmond Heights. In addition, she described a place where she frequently went for eucharistic adoration at…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Raphael Kalinowski

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many terms we use in our language which are clichés. We hear people say that somebody “kicked the bucket,” meaning that he has died, or “I’ll send you to outer Mongolia,” meaning that they will ship you so far away no one will find you. Fr. Kalinowski not only went to a place just north…Continue Reading