Friday, March 20, 2009

Thomas More College: Giving New Life to Catholic Culture

Tonight, Thomas More College in New Hampshire will host a lecture on the "Restoration of Gregorian Chant in the 20th Century", by Samuel Schmitt. This is just one of a series of speakers and events that Thomas More has sponsored, all directed at inculcating a broad and Catholic understanding and appreciation of Culture.

Some of you will recall, a few months ago, that Thomas More instituted a program in Sacred Art, headed by English artist and iconographer David Clayton. I had David visit my parish last year, where he gave several presentations to my parish and school. I can say firsthand that David is both an outstanding artist and teacher. I have no doubt that this program, called the "Way of Beauty Art Program" will accomplish great things.

But as I said, these efforts serve a larger and broader vision: the restoration of a living and creative Catholic culture. To be truly Catholic and creative, it must be rooted in the Tradition of the Church, which is the wellspring of all Western culture. To this end, students at Thomas More not only read the "Great Books", but experience the fruits of that Catholic tradition through the "Way of Beauty" program and it's programs at Rome and Oxford.

The President of Thomas More College, Jeffrey Nelson, is the source of the vision which has brought about these initiatives at the College. I've known Dr. Nelson since my graduate school days at Catholic University, when he was working for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He had then, and has brought to his post at Thomas More, a vision of the Liberal Arts as part of the great Catholic tradition of learning, cultivation of beauty, and pursuit of virtue which constitute Catholic culture. These elements all complement one another, and Dr. Nelson and the faculty at Thomas More are working to bring them together in a program which, when it reaches fruition, will be perhaps the finest Catholic Liberal Arts curriculum in the country.

It's places like Thomas More College where the "Catholic revival" are happening. It's places like this where we will see the vision of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI for a "new springtime" in the Church come to its fulfillment.