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The Church in the 21st Century Center

The Catholic Intellectual Tradition

nourishing and informing the church's intellectual life

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As a Catholic university, Boston College has a responsibility to nourish and inform the Church’s intellectual life. In the context of globalization, a key question for both academics and members of the Church is this: what is the role of religious traditions in fostering a more humane world?

How can we draw from the wisdom tradition of the Catholic Church in order to bring the gospel into conversation with a pluralistic world hungering for integrity? How can the Catholic Intellectual Tradition inform not only Catholics, but also other people of good will? What resources must Catholics bring to light in the academic community in order to address the neuralgic issues of our time?

READ the publication, "The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: A Conversation at Boston College," to encourage faculty, students, and thinking people everywhere to consider the gift of the Catholic tradition and to enter actively into the conversation. READ this publication in PDF format.


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The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in Higher Education by Gregory Kalscheur, S.J.:

Determined to clarify their Roman Catholic identity in the face of potent secularizing trends and concerns that they had sacrificed their Catholic distinctiveness for secular academic respectability, Catholic colleges and universities in the United States over the past 20 years have adopted new mission statements and added personnel and programs designed to reemphasize the religious dimensions of the Catholic college experience.


Search under Catholic Intellectual Tradition on our C21 videos page to find all events related to this focal issue. 

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But Who Is That Other One Who Walks Beside You?

Professor Paul Mariani, BC University Professor of English, will speak of the poets and poetry that have influenced his believing heart and mind, and comment on how writing has affected his faith.

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Revitalizing the Catholic Intellectual Tradition on Catholic University Campuses: A Conversation with Charles Taylor

On November 10, during a conversation devoted to the Catholic intellectual tradition, the noted philosopher Charles Taylor was asked a “personal” question by his interviewer, Boston College theologian Rev. Robert Imbelli: Why do you speak of yourself as “a believer again”?

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The Future as (Catholic) History: American Catholicism in Historical Perspective

History Professor David O'Brien discussed American Catholicism from an historical perspective and outlined the trajectory of American Catholic history. O'Brien shared how an understanding of our past and present as Catholics can contribute to how we live our lives for the future; discussed the importance of intellectual and social solidarity; and asked how do we contribute to the entire human family as Catholics?

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Meeting Jesus: Christ in Tradition and Traditions

Professor Francine Cardman from the School of Theology and Ministry spoke about the contexts in which we can experience Jesus.  Like the earliest Christians, we meet Jesus on the way, through the relationships and communities in our lives. These experiences are particular, but also part of larger contexts and communities that extend across cultures and centuries. This deeply textured network of Christian faith offers multiple, rich traditions of practice and reflection within which we may encounter Jesus Christ.


Listed below are some past events on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. You can watch them on our C21 videos page

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