Cardinal Burke Addresses Catholic Higher Education

Says Jesus Is the First Teacher

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MERRIMACK, New Hampshire, DEC. 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Raymond Burke is underlining the importance of Catholic higher education, and the need for these institutions to keep their identity strong.



The prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura gave an address at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, where he affirmed the importance that "the Church has consistently assigned to Catholic higher education, in order that 'the convergence of faith and reason in the one truth may be seen more clearly.'"

He stated that the Catholic university that "is true to her identity will help students to be strong in giving an account of their faith in their vocation in life, whether it be the married life, the dedicated single life, the consecrated life or the ordained priesthood, and in whatever field of human endeavor they engage, resisting the secularist dictatorship which would exclude all religious discourse from the professions and from public life in general."

"Without in any way neglecting the acquisition of useful knowledge, a Catholic university is distinguished by its free search for the whole truth about nature, man and God," the prelate affirmed.

He continued: "In a society which is marked by a virulent secularism which threatens the integrity of every aspect of human endeavor and service, for example, medicine, law, government and higher education itself, the service of the Catholic university is more needed than ever.

"How tragic that the very secularism which the Catholic university should be helping its students to battle and overcome has entered into several Catholic universities, leading to the grievous compromise of their high mission."

The cardinal noted, "At the Catholic university, students should be equipped, through their study and research, to address the truth of the Decalogue and of the Golden Rule to their own personal lives and to the life of the society in which they live."

In this light, he referenced "Ex Corde Ecclesiae," lauding the Thomas More College for its compliance with the document and its efforts as a Catholic institution.

Study and research

Cardinal Burke affirmed, "At the Catholic university, the very manner of study and research should manifest the bankruptcy of the abuse of human life and human sexuality, which has come to be standard on many university campuses, and the bankruptcy of the violation of the inviolable dignity of human life, of the integrity of marriage, and of the right order of our relationship to one another and to the world, in general, which is the trademark of our culture, a culture of violence and death."

"The first and chief teacher at every institution of Catholic higher education is Our Lord Jesus Christ," he affirmed, "who is the fullness of the revelation of God to us."

"A Catholic college or university, at which Jesus Christ alive in his Church is not taught, encountered in the Sacred Liturgy and its extension through prayer and devotion, and followed in a life of virtue is not worthy of the name," the prelate added.

He stated that "the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the campus of the Catholic college and university is not something additional to or even extraneous to the pursuit of truth."

The cardinal continued, "It is, rather, he alone who inspires, guides and disciplines professors and students, so that they remain faithful in the pursuit and do not fall prey to the temptations which Satan cleverly offers to corrupt us whenever we set out to attain a great good."