The Book of Proverbs teaches us that “He who walks with wise men will be wise” (Prov. 13:20). It is in this spirit that the Graduate Theology Programs have instituted the Masters Seminar Series as a way for students to engage with, and learn from, the wisdom and insights of Catholic Scholars that are not members of the Ave Maria Theology faculty. Not only is this an excellent opportunity for students to learn, but it also helps foster cooperation and fellowship between Ave Maria University and various other Catholic institutions of higher education.
Leading off the seminar series this year are Fr. Romanus Cessario, O.P, from St. John’s Seminary in Boston, and Fr. Cajetan Cuddy, O.P., from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC. Frs. Cessario and Cuddy will lead seminars on the topic of “Thomas and Thomists: A Guide to Catholic Orthodoxy.” These seminars will give students a chance to engage with Fr. Cessario and Fr. Cuddy, both of whom have made important contributions to Theology in general, and to Thomistic studies in particular. Fr. Cessario, in fact, has obtained the rare and prestigious designation of Master of Sacred Theology of the Dominican Order.
In anticipation of these seminars, Fr. Cuddy graciously agreed to discuss the purpose and importance of such an undertaking. The goal of this course, according to Fr. Cuddy is:
to show 1) how the Thomist commentatorial tradition comprises the unified appropriation and application of the philosophical and theological doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas throughout the centuries, and 2) how the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas has served the doctrinal and moral teaching of the Church in a privileged way since Aquinas’s death in the late 13th century.
As Fr. Cuddy notes, “The influence of Thomas Aquinas upon Catholic doctrine is difficult to overestimate.” Every major council since Thomas’ time has been heavily influenced by his thought, and that of those commenting on his work. As Fr. Cuddy succinctly puts it,
In a word, the unity between reason and faith/philosophy and theology that Thomas Aquinas and the Thomist commentatorial tradition have championed for almost seven hundred years has faithfully served the Catholic Magisterium for almost seven hundred years.
These seminars, then, are an excellent complement to the Graduate Programs that already turn to St. Thomas as one of its principal guides for study.
It is with great joy and enthusiasm that the students and faculty get ready to “walk with” these two wise men, who, in turn, have dedicated their academic pursuits to walk with Thomas Aquinas, the great light of wisdom of the theologians of the Church. And we follow Thomas, so that we can walk with Wisdom Himself, and follow Him, who is the Way which we must trod (Jn 14:6).