IN his book Runaway World, Anthony Giddens describes the world with globalization and de-traditionalization as a backdrop. As people become more familiar with previously unknown realities, traditional institutions – like religions, communities, cultures, and governments – seem to lose their importance and influence over us.
Globalization has been the catalyst for scientific and technological progress, but it has come with what Giddens calls “manufactured risks”. Knowledge production has increased exponentially in all scientific disciplines at a faster rate than ever before. Its speed and volume, on the whole, can dislodge people from the foundation of culture, tradition and even faith. This phenomenon makes the role of Catholic universities more difficult and urgent.
The responsibility of the Catholic university is the integration of all knowledge. This is its vocation as a learning institution. In his apostolic constitution on Catholic universities entitled “Ex Corde Ecclesiae”, Saint John Paul II explains: “The explosion of knowledge in recent decades, as well as the rigid compartmentalisation of knowledge within individual academic disciplines, makes the increasingly difficult task.
The task is not limited to the modern integral direction of sciences and disciplines. Instead, the most important commitment is to the sanctity of the mission of being a Catholic university. The dedication is about the search for truth through the inspiration of the Gospel. It is an integral part of the Catholic intellectual tradition and heritage. This is the primary mission of evangelization of the Catholic university.
Ex Corde Ecclesiae specifies: “But a university, and in particular a Catholic university, must be a ‘living union’ of individual organizations dedicated to the search for truth … It is necessary to work towards a higher synthesis of knowledge. , in which only resides the possibility of satisfying this thirst for truth which is deeply inscribed in the heart of the human person. “
Theology and philosophy, which are essential in Catholic education, harmoniously bear witness to the unity of all truth. The Catholic university has a vocation to walk by carrying a theological vision, even in its development and its teaching of sciences. No matter how diverse the educational fields are, there is always a common thread that integrates them all towards a higher theological goal.
Ex Corde Ecclesiae also specifies: “Aided by the specific contributions of philosophy and theology, academics will be engaged in a constant effort to determine the relative place and meaning of each of the various disciplines within the context of a vision of human person and the world enlightened by the Gospel, and therefore by faith in Christ, the Logos, as the center of creation and of human history. “
The emergence of many fields and sciences does not run counter to Catholic belief. It is therefore of paramount importance that Catholic university educators echo this sublime mission to all members of the university, not only on paper but through action and life.
We remember here Benedict XVI, when he honored Saint Albert the Great, whose feast we celebrated on November 15. The Pope said: “How many scientists, indeed, in the wake of Saint Albert the Great, have continued their research inspired by wonder and gratitude for a world which, in their eyes of scholars and believers, was emerging and appears as the good work of a wise and loving Creator! Scientific study then turns into a hymn of praise.
A Catholic university may be busy in its quest to push the boundaries of human knowledge, but it must remain guided by the unifying inspiration of divine wisdom.
Jesus Jay Miranda, OP is an organizational and leadership resource. He teaches at the Graduate School of UST and the ELM department at Bro. Andrew Gonzalez, FSC-College of Education, De La Salle University-Manila. Contact him at [email protected]