Principles for a New Catholic Foundation
of St. Anthony of Padua
At root, a college (collegium) is an association of persons united in fulfilling a duty (an office: officium) to the common good. Here, the root duty or office in question devolves upon parents, viz.: to raise up Christians, doers of the Great Commandment:"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew xxii 37). The specification of that great work which devolves upon parents’ collaborators—teachers and professors—is that they approach it through the cultivation of the mind, that is, the increase of students’ capacity to know and love truth and, above all, to know and love Truth in Person.
If it is to succeed, this new foundation—placed under the patronage of St. Anthony of Padua —must reclaim the radical sense of "college." Its every aspect must support the First Teachers of their children, under God the Holy Spirit, through Christ Jesus, to the glory of God the Father.
I. The College must proceed ex corde ecclesiae, "from the heart of the Church" :
The College must be a creature of the local Church and conduct itself according to the mind of the universal Church.
The College must place itself at the service of the local bishop.
Teachers of theology should possess the mandatum; all members of the faculty and staff should recognize in the local Ordinary the local incarnation of the living Magisterium. The College should incorporate the apostolic constitution, Ex corde ecclesiae and its norms of application in the College’s own polity (see below under III.).
Its common life of study and prayer must be grounded in the daily Liturgy.
Daily Mass and common prayer should involve all members of the immediate College community. Ite, missa est should be recognized as the "sending" of the whole community to investigate, by faith and reason, created human and infra-human nature and the new nature-aborning that is Redemption.
It should aim to be a comprehensive community of learning.
By way of reclaiming the radical meaning of "college," this foundation should aim to:
(1) offer an excellent baccalaureate, (2) offer curricular and instructional support to the parents of younger students and catechumens (3) offer opportunities for lifelong learning to the Catholic public at large.
It must promote the New Evangelization, especially in light of the laity’s vocation to the Christian reanimation of the temporal order.
The College must remember always that the first principle of evangelism is that Christians must be ready to give sound answers when they are questioned on the new life to which they are called.
II. The College’s formal curriculum must be ordered to first principles in the speculative and practical realms, and must be responsible to the ordinary Magisterium.
On all matters touching the doctrine of the Faith and Morals, the ordinary Magisterium must be normative, its teachings must be studied with both religious docility of mind and all the resources of liberal artistry.
Systematic philosophy and theology must be taught so as to illuminate the intelligibility of magisterial teaching; according to the formula: faith seeking understanding.
The liberal arts—understood as the public and adequate ways of knowing—should be pursued through their classic exemplars, the ‘great books’ of western civilization.
Instruction must proceed under the regulative principles of the ultimate unity of truth and of the adequacy of reason, illuminated by faith, to attain truth through honest inquiry.
III. The College must be genuinely independent.
The College must seek to find broad sources of support from within the local Church, and must solicit these on the basis of the integrity of its mission. It must be "subscription driven", rather than "tuition driven".
The College must embrace the spirit of poverty, which is the spirit of abundance.
The College should dedicate itself to radical dependence on divine Providence, understanding that the goodwill of friends and associates is an instrument of Providence.
>The College should be governed by a polity embracing its faculty, administration, friends and supporters, parents and the local Ordinary.
Such a polity or constitution will be grounded first of all in the principle that the College consists in the common pursuit of certain well-defined goods. The polity should set these goods forth concretely, and should define the offices proper to their pursuit for each part of the community of learning: students, faculty, administration, friends, the Ordinary.
The teaching faculty must understand that they are engaged in an apostolic work of spiritual mercy, and that certain consequences for "career" and for "academic freedom" (as these are commonly understood) follow therefrom.
Freedom comes from truth attained, not truth from "freedom" exercised.
No genuine apostolic work can be carried out with integrity apart from solidarity with the Magisterium.
Those engaged in apostolic work must give good intellectual and moral examples.
The intellectual goods pursued by the College presuppose spiritual goods, including access to sanctifying grace through the Sacraments of the Church.