The State of the Institute: Campus Chapters Reflect on a Successful Fall
The Thomistic Institute’s campus chapters have seen unprecedented success this year. The fall semester brought a strong start to the academic year, with more than 70 events hosted by our 41 campus chapters. And to continue in their success, these TI chapters are on track to host even more events in the spring, with over 50 lectures finalized and more being added to the calendar each week. This past semester the TI was also pleased to found new chapters at Stanford University, Hillsdale College, and the University of Arizona, each of which had many attentive students in attendance at their events. Campuses that will hold their first events in the spring include the University of Oregon, Ohio State University, Texas. A&M, and Trinity University in San Antonio.
But it is not only the new chapters that have been successful. The TI at Yale University, one of the first TI chapters formed, has seen increasing student interest. Chapter Vice President Sylvia Kryszczuk reported that for a recent lecture by Prof. Michael Gorman, “students were pouring into the room in numbers far beyond what was anticipated. Despite the room’s overflowing capacity, students were not deterred from continuing to enter. Some stood the entire duration of the lecture to hear what Prof. Gorman had to say.”
Prof. Gorman’s lecture topic, True for Me, not for You? Moral Relativism and Social Tolerance, is one example of the many ways in which TI speakers are bringing the tenets of the Catholic Faith, and its great intellectual tradition, into dialogue with questions in which students are interested and hungry for answers.
September 28th-29th, 2018: Friendly Rivals: Franciscan and Dominican Intellectual Traditions
There was a great turn out for our fall Thomistic Circles Conference, held on the relative intellectual traditions of the Dominican and Franciscan orders and the way they have interacted since their founding. We were honored to hear from some truly outstanding speakers, including Msgr. John Wippel (Catholic University of America), Dr. Timothy Noone (Catholic University of America), Dr. Gregory LaNave (Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception), Dr. Thomas Prügl (University of Vienna), and Dr. Michael Gorman (Catholic University of America). Audio recordings of each of these lectures are now available on our SoundCloud and Podcast.
One of our oldest re-occurring events, the Thomistic Circles Conferences are a unique occasion for expert philosophers and theologians to speak on a given topic at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. Among many others, past conference titles have included, “ Dominicans and the University” and “On Cooperation with Evil.” Audio recordings of these and other past events can be found on our SoundCloud and Podcast.
September 8th, 2018: A Symposium On “The Future of the Catholic Church After the Scandals of 2018”
In the aftermath of the recent scandals, the Thomistic Institute co-hosted a symposium with First Things Magazine in order to foster a discussion by responsible Catholic voices about the diagnosis of the problem and to brainstorm about a path towards a solution, in a way that is helpful and supportive of the bishops. With an overwhelming turnout of devoted, like-minded Catholics, this daylong event succeeded in doing exactly what it was intended for: addressing the issues in a constructive and forthright way.
Speakers included Dr. John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy, University of St. Andrew’s (Scotland) & Baylor University. John Garvey, President, The Catholic University of America. Mary Eberstadt, Senior Research Fellow at the Faith & Reason Institute. Fr. Thomas Berg, Vice Rector, St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie, NY). Dr. Robert Royal, President, Faith and Reason Institute. Catherine Pakaluk, The Catholic University of America, R. R.Reno, Editor, First Things Magazine. Fr. Dominic Legge, OP, Director, The Thomistic Institute.
September 5th, 2018: “Why Israel Matters: A Theological Perspective”
The Thomistic Institute, co-sponsoring with the Catholic Information Center and the Philos project, hosted Professor Douglas Farrow for a Tuesday evening lecture at the Catholic Information Center in down town, DC. Professor Farrow spoke on the theological importance of Israel. That Israel matters geo-politically cannot be doubted, but is there a place for Israel, as there is for Jews, in Christian eschatology?
July 15-20, 2018: Civitas Dei Summer Fellowship in Washington, D.C.
For the first time the Thomistic Institute, in collaboration with the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America, hosted a fellowship for graduate and exceptional undergraduate students interested in delving into the natural law tradition. Participants spent the week engaging the political and moral theory of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and modern constitutional jurisprudence through lectures given by Dr. Adrian Vermeule of Harvard Law, Dr. Capizzi of Catholic University, and Fr. Dominic Legge, OP of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception. The evenings and afternoons afforded the fellows a chance to explore DC’s famous sites and encounter exceptional Catholic public figures.
July 9-12, 2018: Annual Priesthood Conference held on the theme of “Becoming a Better Confessor.”
Participants of this year’s annual conference for priests have remarked that it’s one of the best the Thomistic Institute has ever had. The theme, “Becoming a Better Confessor”, oriented a series of talks given throughout the week, such as on the accompaniment of those in irregular marriages, those who experience same sex attraction, and those suffering from addiction. In true Dominican fashion, times of intellectual engagement and study were balanced with mass, adoration, and praying the Divine Office, as well as a bourbon tasting and opening banquet.
June 14th-17th, 2018: Annual Summer Philosophy Workshop in Newburgh, NY.
In collaboration with the Dominican Institute of Mount Saint Mary College and the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, the Thomistic Institute held its annual philosophy workshop at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York. The conference brought together both beginners and veterans in Thomistic philosophy to more closely investigate Aquinas’s natural theology with regards to the divine attributes.
Photos courtesy of Mount Saint Mary College
June 5th-8th, 2018: Science symposium a huge success!
For the first time the Thomistic Institute partnered with the Society for Catholic Scientists to hold a symposium on Thomistic Philosophy and Natural Science. Featuring speakers such as William Carol of Oxford, Fr. Thomas Davenport of Providence College, and Dr. Karin Öberg of Harvard, these intellectual leaders in the dialogue between faith and science spoke on matters ranging from particle physics and Aristotle to evolution and creation. The audience, composed of mostly graduate students in various scientific fields, participated in these important conversations both during the lecture sessions and late into the evenings at recreation times hosted by the Dominican House of Studies. Check out the lectures on audio here.
March 2nd and 3rd, 2018: Harvard Conference
on Christianity and Liberalism
On Friday, March 2nd and Saturday, March 3rd, 2018, the Thomistic Institute and the Harvard Catholic Graduate Student Chaplaincy sponsored a conference on Christianity and Liberalism, featuring such speakers as Rémi Brague, Fr. Dominic Legge, OP, R.R. Reno, and Adrian Vermuele. Public Discourse, Modern Age, and Mirror of Justice have all featured articles about the event, which you can find here, here, and here respectively.
February 21, 2018: Political Principles in the Age of Trump
On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, the Values and Capitalism initiative at AEI co-sponsored an event with the Thomistic Institute, entitled, "Political Principles in the Age of Trump." R.R. Reno, editor of First Things, delivered preliminary remarks before engaging in a moderated discussion with Elizabeth Corey (Baylor University), Joshua Mitchell (Georgetown University), and George Weigel (Ethics & Public Policy Center). They considered namely, how Christians might engage faithfully and prudently in a pluralistic—and at times, antagonistic—public square.
The American Conservative, Real Clear Policy, and Juicy Ecumenism have featured articles about the event. You can read The American Conservative's article, "Fashioning a Post-Fusionist Christian Politics," by clicking here, Real Clear Policy's article, "Solidarity in America," by clicking here, and the post at Juicy Ecumenism, "Maintaining Christian Political Principles during the Trump Administration," by clicking here.
February 9-12th, 2017: First Annual Thomistic Student Gathering: Homilies and Talks
The Thomistic Institute held its first annual student gathering on the subject of "Aquinas on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit." Students braved the snowy weather to come to Bloomfield, CT to hear talks by Prof. Eleonore Stump and Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP, as well as to partake in the other activities of the gathering. Below are the texts of the homilies from the event, and recordings of the lectures given by Prof. Stump and Fr. White.
Homily for Thursday, Feb. 9th -Fr. Raymund Snyder, OP
“‘I Believe in the Holy Spirit’: Aquinas on the Holy Spirit as God and as Uncreated Love” -Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP
“Aquinas on the Mission of the Holy Spirit who Reveals the Son and the Father” - Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP
Homily for Friday, Feb. 10th -Fr. Dominic Langevin, OP
“The Non-Aristotelian Character of Thomistic Ethics” -Prof. Eleonore Stump
“The Seven Deadly Sins” -Prof. Eleonore Stump
“The Seven Cardinal Virtues and the Indwelling Holy Spirit” -Prof. Eleonore Stump
Homily for Saturday, Feb. 11th by Fr. Raymund Synder, OP
“The Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit” -Prof. Eleonore Stump
“Aquinas on the Holy Spirit in the Life of Jesus: The Transfiguration and the Cross” -Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP
“The Holy Spirit in the Church and the Eucharist” - Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP
Homily for Sunday, Feb. 12th by Fr. Dominic Langevin
"Nothing is too Complex for the Wisdom of God"- Cluny Media publishes new book on the gifts of the holy spirit
Looking for Christmas gifts for friends or family who like theology? Cluny Media is out with a new release: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit by John of St. Thomas, a classic commentator on St. Thomas Aquinas. Fr. Romanus Cessario, OP has said of this book that it "explodes a rule-dominated view of Catholic morality." The work comes with an introduction by Fr. Cajetan Cuddy, OP, which you can read an excerpt of here.
From the 2016 Introduction to John of St. Thomas, The Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Cluny Media, 2016)
"Complexity characterizes the modern world. When we consider the moral, political, social, technological, or psychological spheres of society, each manifests a lack of simplicity. Life in the twenty-first century is convoluted. Complex.
For the Christian, these complexities give rise to certain debilitating uncertainties about how one ought to live out the Christian faith in our contemporary period. Perhaps it is impossible to maintain the doctrinal teaching of the Church in the age of advanced science and technology. Perhaps the social conditions of our cultures have changed so radically that it is now foolish (or impossible) to follow the moral teaching of the Church in all of its robust fullness. Perhaps the modern age requires doctrinal and moral adjustment. If, however, the full integrity of Catholic doctrine and practice remain perennially valid and, indeed, necessary for human happiness, we face the question: How can we think and live as authentic Catholics in such a complex world?
Here the gifts of the Holy Spirit emerge as vitally important. As we will discover in the following pages, the gifts of the Holy Spirit bring the all-powerful simplicity of God’s ordering wisdom and love to the complexities of our concrete human experience and situation. Nothing is too complex for the wisdom of God….
Why this book? We need this book now because now, more than ever, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the wisdom of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and figures like John of Saint Thomas.
All of those who stand unafraid of modern complexities and desire wise guidance in their pursuit of the truth should read this book.
Let us turn now to the gifts of the Holy Spirit with Saint Thomas and his John."
We hope you will consider buying this classic text, and otherwise shopping at Cluny this season. The Thomistic Institute has collaborated with Cluny on several excellent books, including From the Eucharist to the Trinity by Marie Vincent Bernadot, OP and Prayer and Intelligence and Selected Essays by Jacques and Raïssa Maritain. You can find the full list of those titles here.