Scholars Descend on Campus for Discussion of Catholic Tradition

by Thomas More College on August 3, 2012

The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts is once again hosting the Fides et Ratio Seminars in collaboration with the Faith and Reason Institute (Warner, NH/Washington, DC) this summer.  The series, “Introduction to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition,” consists of one-week seminars.

Each summer seminar aims at acquainting and reacquainting up to 30 invited faculty from Catholic colleges, universities, and seminaries across the country with the teachings of the Church Fathers, Doctors, and Popes—as well as significant works of art in the Catholic tradition.

Dr. Patrick Powers, Executive Director of the Fides et Ratio Seminars, said, “We are pleased that Thomas More College co-sponsored these events, along with Donald and Michele D’Amour, the patrons of the Fides et Ratio Seminars, as well as the Faith and Reason Institute and Dr. Robert Royal. The College’s curriculum, with its emphasis on education in the liberal arts, humane letters, and the disciplines of philosophy and theology, is the kind of undergraduate formation that the Seminars seek to strengthen through faculty study of the Catholic intellectual tradition.”

Dr. Powers pointed out that the mutual affinity between the missions of the College and the Fides et Ratio Seminars is aptly expressed in the seminars’ motto: “Nurturing the souls of young men and women by strengthening Catholic liberal education.”

Authors whose works are covered in the summer Seminars range widely, from the Bible and the works of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and Dante, up through modern contributors to the Catholic intellectual tradition such as Walker Percy, Graham Greene, Czeslaw Milosz, G. K. Chesterton, Josef Pieper, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Dorothy Day and George Weigel, among others. The seminars have also covered works of art, including presentations on Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling and the symphonies of Gustav Mahler.

Thomas More College President Dr. William Fahey expressed his pleasure with the Fides et Ratio program: “We are delighted and honored to host these seminars on the Catholic intellectual tradition.  The partnership between Thomas More College and the Fides et Ratio Seminars at the Faith and Reason Institute is a natural one, given our shared commitment to careful reflection upon and transmission of the intellectual life of the West—the heart of which has always sprung up from Catholic culture.”

“Anyone who examines the structure, rigor, and purpose of our curriculum,” said Fahey, “will see why the organizers of the Fides et Ratio Seminars felt that they would find a warm welcome at our College.  Their decision to establish the Seminars here proves false the notion that only large universities can support intellectual, artistic, and scholarly endeavors.”

Walter J. Thompson, the Dean of Students at Thomas More College and one of the participants of this summer’s seminar, said, “The seminars provide a precious opportunity for faculty from across the country and across the disciplines to return to what unites them as Catholic educators—their common intellectual patrimony and their common vocation to hand it on, in charity. Through a week’s intense reading and discussion, in a setting both convivial and contemplative, faculty are challenged and encouraged to become faithful stewards of the riches of the Church’s intellectual tradition.”

The Fides et Ratio Seminars generate fresh thought and action by bringing together religious and secular faculty devoted to the Catholic intellectual tradition and Catholic liberal education.  Previous meetings of the Fides et Ratio Seminars have been held at Benedictine College (Atchison, KS), University of St. Francis (Fort Wayne, IN), Providence College (Providence, RI), University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN), Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, NC),  St. Malo Catholic Retreat Center (Allenspark, CO), Wyoming Catholic College (Lander, WY), Notre Dame Seminary (New Orleans, LA).

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