Academic Freedom and the Telos of the Catholic University by Kenneth Garcia (auth.)

By Kenneth Garcia (auth.)

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Michael Buckley’s writings on Catholic universities can serve as a point of departure. 2 First, one may simply describe Catholic universities as they exist today and conclude that their common characteristics are what make for a Catholic university. The weakness of this descriptive 22 Academic Freedom approach, says Buckley, is that it fails to take into account degradations from long-standing Catholic ideals that may have taken hold in universities due to excessive accommodation to the zeitgeist.

In Thomas’s thought, it is primarily philosophy that inquires into the questions of meaning and the divine. But not only philosophy. 40 The question, from a Thomistic perspective, is not whether the continuum of learning should be followed to its full extent, to its end in philosophy and theology. The question is how much the philosophical and theological aspects should be integrated into nonphilosophical and nontheological parts of the curriculum in order to set the stage for further studies in philosophy and theology.

The eternal Logos, in Augustine’s thought, is that Truth. 8 Inquiry must take us beyond knowledge of the natural world in itself. Whatever subject matter the scholar attends to and loves, he must move beyond it to the wisdom of God, which is the true culmination of his progress in knowing. Augustine here implies a dynamism in the human mind that leads ever toward God, regardless of the subject matter one studies. This does not mean that we neglect to focus our minds on the material creation; we must do so to get on in life.

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