Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Prayer of Cardinal Newman

This one pertains to our current topic: Work.

God created me
to do him some definite service;
he has committed some work to me
which he has not committed to another.

I have my mission -
I may never know it in this life,
but I shall be told it in the next...
Therefore, I will trust him...
If I am in sickness,
my sickness may serve him;
in perplexity,
my perplexity may serve him;
if I am in sorrow,
my sorrow may serve him...
He does nothing in vain;
he may prolong my life,
he may shorten it,
he knows what he is about.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Our Mission

Formulated last semester:

1. The New Tractarians are a group of students at the University of Notre Dame dedicated to promoting the Catholic University according to the teaching of Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the tradition of John Cardinal Newman.

2. We acknowledge that a Catholic University provides essential development of the knowledge and skills necessary for a specific discipline or profession, but we emphatically maintain that this cannot come at the expense of the cultivation of the mind and person as a whole.

3. We understand that a Catholic University is a unified collection of colleges, schools and departments and therefore it should work to create a cohesive intellectual environment substantiated by a diversity of disciplines in pursuit of a Catholic understanding of Truth.

4. We understand that a Catholic University has a specific place in the world academic discourse with a specific Catholic message to bring to the academic community.

5. We understand that a Catholic University should be under the active jurisdiction of the Church with the understanding that, as the Bride of Christ, the Church has been endowed with special graces in pursuit of Truth that in no way interfere with the proper activities of a Catholic university.

6. As Catholics, we are endowed with the Truth from which we should start our intellectual pursuits. There are things we believe beyond dispute that should form every decision we make.

7. Because the University of Notre Dame is recognized throughout the academic sphere as an important exemplar of Catholic higher education, we assert that it is in a unique position to uphold and promote the authentic identity of a Catholic university on account of its rich intellectual tradition and history of excellence.

8. As Cardinal Newman says, to know all things we must first try to know about God because God is the origin of all things. The Church, in her Tradition and Scripture, serves as the primary source of our knowledge of God. As such, our knowledge of God in light of Church teachings should inspire our study of the world around us, since to know God is to know his creation. Through regular discussion and writing, The New Tractarians hope to intellectually engage in the Truths of our faith, while at the same time partnering our theological pursuits with our fields of study and our general experience of university life. It is our hope that our internal work will stand as an example of what we are trying to promote in the university as a whole.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Our Shepherd prods the Notre Dame Community

Today, Notre Dame officially welcomed His Excellency Bp. Kevin Rhoades to the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese and to Notre Dame with a Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Music was provided by the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir, three members of which are in the New Tractarians. However, this was not the highlight. Fr. Jenkins, president of the University stood up at the end of Mass, thanking the Bishop and giving him a crosier as a gift accompanying it with an explanation that the Bishop was the Shepherd, and often had to "prod" his flock. Earlier in the Mass, the Bishop gave an explosive exposition of what it meant to be a Catholic University in the United States. It was interspersed with why Notre Dame was significant to him. A couple thing stood out. He said very explicitly that Notre Dame was a Catholic University. This is important, considering what many people, many intelligent and respectable people say on the subject. Bp. Rhoades appears to believe in Notre Dame. However, he was emphatic about what the Bishop's role in the University was. An "inside agent" not an outside one. He said that it was his intention to be just that. Another interesting point, especially relevant to the New Tractarians was his declaration that a Catholic University should pervade its teaching, learning, curricular and extra-curricular activities with the Truth. Finally, he used the words "Catholic Identity" at least four times and was extremely pressing in his admonition for Notre Dame to retain its Catholic Identity.

It was a homily worth the read, and if I can get a copy, I will. Don't believe otherwise, but that Notre Dame is fortunate in Rome's pick for its shepherd. Someone who will prod us when we need it, just as Fr, Jenkins said.