Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The inaugural address of my friend, mentor, and former colleague John Garvey -- now President of the Catholic University of America -- is here. A bit, from the concluding section:
What is the particular contribution a Catholic university makes to the integration of virtue and intellect?
. . . First, although we sometimes speak (as Bonaventure does) of learning virtue from a holy man (a kind of moral Bruce Harmon, or yoga master), we learn it better as members of a group. . . .
Second, as Christians we believe that the community we live in here is not just us. It is God with us, in the sacraments we celebrate every day. His grace is more important than our mutual example in helping us see and drawing us to the life of virtue.
Third, we must not lose sight of the essential connectedness of intellect and virtue. . . .
To put it in concrete terms, Student Life, Campus Ministry, Residential Life, Athletics, and Student Organizations are not offices concerned with different parts of the day and places on campus than academic affairs. They are integrally related. . . .
Finally, I have been talking about the role of virtue in the life of the intellect. But I want to conclude by observing that the intellectual life of a Catholic university is something that is unique among institutions of higher education. . . .
The Catholic University of America is a university – a community of scholars united in a common effort to find goodness, truth, and beauty. It is a place where we learn things St. Monica could not teach her son. Holy as she was, she could not have written the Confessions or The City of God. Smart as he was, neither could Augustine have written them without the intellectual companionship he found first at Carthage and later among the Platonists in Milan. The intellectual life, like the acquisition of virtue, is a communal (not a solitary) undertaking. We learn from each other. The intellectual culture we create is the product of our collective effort. A Catholic intellectual culture will be something both distinctive and wonderful if we bring the right people into the conversation and if we work really hard at it. . . .