Catholic Intellectual Tradition

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Throughout history, the Catholic intellectual tradition has shown and defined itself through literature, music and art. Equally, within these means of expression are a means to connect the human consciousness as a whole: it is through the examination of the history of the Catholic intellectual tradition that one is able to find a joining of human spirit, intellect, soul and emotion. Indeed, it is also through these creative expressions that the many facets of this approach to understanding human existence have developed. Such examples of this long standing tradition are seen in literature ancient and modern, sacred and secular as well as throughout the art world. Yet with so many sources of reference to help qualify and reflect the Catholic intellectual tradition, and so many multi-cultural and diverse opportunities to further understanding the Catholic intellectual tradition’s purpose and goals, there is a anchoring idea. At its very core, the Catholic intellectual tradition strives to produce the most full picture of what it means to be human through a variety of world views, all the taking the intellectual route in the journey towards God. This tradition is a lens through which a variety of people and cultures have been able to look, divine and contribute meaning to human life and spiritual journey. Thus, in trying to reflect more deeply on the Catholic intellectual experience, the many goals and components must be addressed. First, the Catholic intellectual tradition looks to affirm the dignity of man, as well as attempts to outline “the catholic version of the person” (Hochschild. The Catholic Intellectual Tradition At Mount St. Mary’s University). Additionally, the tradition sees intellectual pursuits as an equal pursuit of God. The intellectual as spiritual lends itself to representing people as both spiritual and physical beings, and thus capable of combing both earthly and heavenly knowledge in pursuit of the truth. Indeed, the existence of truth is another important component and belief generally associated with the Catholic intellectual tradition. Furthermore, it is through the celebration and contemplation of the great mysteries of the church that a creative and multi-cultural understanding of God’s role in the human life is experienced. Indeed, the Catholic intellectual tradition is seen in the mass and manifested in the the arts. It is through all these things that the Catholic intellectual experience aims to create an ongoing dialogue through means of philosophical, creative, scientific, musical, spiritual, and social analysis about what it truly means to be human. Thus, development, as well as an understanding of the many facets within the Catholic intellectual tradition, is reflected through music, literature and art throughout history. An example of this development is in the affirmation of the dignity of man. This idea was created in context of the Catholic intellectual tradition and represents a major philosophy within the tradition. The humanist movement, prevalent in the 13th through 16th century, was a new way of viewing the world and education. Emphasis on the classics of ancient Greece and Rome became the basis and main focus of the humanist educational movement. It was through the imitation of what was once great that the minds of the Renaissance were able to further greatness and innovate ideas. It was within this context that Giovanni Pico della Mirandola created his Oration of the Dignity of Man. Through his concepts of the “Chain of Being”, Pico was able to help to develop some of the Catholic intellectual tradition’s main core components (Pico. 4). Equally, it opened the door for discussion and affirmation of the dignity of man. Pico’s Chain of Being argues that the dignity of man is held in the fact that God created us as spiritually mobile beings. Being able to chose to be as lowly as a plant or be seated higher than the angels is what gives man purpose: the fact that God...
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