In concord with the Year of Faith declared last October by Pope Benedict XVI, juniors and seniors at Thomas More College now have the opportunity to reflect on the rich intellectual tradition found in The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the focus of a current tutorial offered by Dr. Ryan Topping.
Dr. Topping is a native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He earned his doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford, and joined the faculty of Thomas More College in the autumn of 2012. He and his wife Anna have five children.
“As Catholics, we are obliged to make visible the reign of Christ,” he explained in his Rebuilding Catholic Culture, recently published by Sophia Institute Press. “The Catechism is a ready guide for Catholics who want to both know their faith and make it known in a broader cultural context.”
The Catechism, drawing on Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, and the wisdom of the saints, provides the chance for Thomas More students to integrate the fruits of previous study. The synthetic nature of the text allows them to reflect more deeply on their common four-year reading of the major works of Western and Christian Civilization. Above all, the tutorial focuses on examining the truths of the Faith in relation to the challenges of contemporary society.
A distinct feature of the College’s curriculum, upperclassmen tutorials allow students to study in greater depth subjects given a broader treatment in the core curriculum. The tutorials are offered in relation to a specific academic focus, and are in part shaped by student interest. The specific focus of the subjects covered in the tutorials also offers students a way to reflect on their vocation. Recent tutorials offered have included Shakespeare, Historiography, Christian Education, and Contemporary Legal Theory.
“There are many Catholics out there who don’t really know their faith,” said junior Paul Guenzel, “they hide it under a bushel, so to speak, and wonder why our culture is so problematic. I think a course on apologetics will help us not only understand the teachings of the Church, but also how to live as Catholics.”
The current tutorial, following the publication of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, is a unique opportunity for students to examine how the teachings offered in the Catechism can shape society through the public witness of Catholic culture. Such culture can be seen flourishing at Thomas More College, whether in the Sacred Liturgy offered daily, in student participation at events such as the March For Life, or at community banquets such as the upcoming Feast of Saint Thomas More on February 7th.
Heeding the maxim of the Apostle Peter to “give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,” students will have the chance to carefully consider and reflect upon the rich deposit of Catholic truth found in the Catechism this semester.