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Scholarship in the Catholic Tradition

Thomas Aquinas College is devoted to scholarship in the Catholic tradition. The tradition takes its life from the perennial philosophy, sacred theology, and the Magisterium of the Church. Rather than compromise the tradition, Thomas Aquinas College meets the secular challenge to Christian wisdom by offering an education that is carefully grounded in the fundamentals of that wisdom and thorough in the development of its parts. Reading the greatest works in this tradition and examining them closely; working in small seminars, tutorials, and laboratories; aiming at the intellectual life instead of at activism; believing that education is not an experiment and that teaching without claim to the truth is both empty and arrogant; giving the entire effort of the faculty to teaching: these things make Thomas Aquinas College unique.

Although the character of the College is distinct, its objectives are universal. Man by nature desires to know. To remain ignorant is beneath his dignity. Socrates meant no exaggeration when he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Knowledge begins in wonder about the true and the good and in fear of error and evil. The search for knowledge is not a luxury but a necessity. Knowledge is the basis for responsible choice, the sole means to true freedom.

It is the truth that makes men free and nothing else. Learning apart from growth in the truth has neither meaning nor value. As food nourishes the body that it might live, education nourishes the soul that man might live fully. Yet truth is difficult to attain, though it stands before our eyes to be seen and speaks constantly to our minds. It is easy to ask in despair, “What is truth?” This mentality is especially pronounced in our age. We prefer to master nature rather than learn from her; we desire power not wisdom. But power without wisdom is folly, and progress without truth builds a fool’s paradise.

The questions that men face today are at bottom those belonging to every age. The answers are found in the perennial wisdom that has been discovered gradually and at great pains. This is a precious deposit of truth, a pearl of great price. It is valuable not as a memento of the past, but as a timeless source of intellectual nourishment. It is the basis of hope for the future.

Through faith we know, however, that man’s future is supernatural. Man’s destiny transcends the objectives of this world. Christ is the truth, revelation tells us, and it is in the wisdom of His words that men are made truly free. The truth we glean from nature is truth seen through a mirror darkly compared to the Light from above. The Christian orders his mind and soul to supernatural truth; Christian liberal education has divine wisdom as its ultimate objective.