Welcome to The Catholic University of America. We are the national university of the Catholic Church, founded in 1887 by the bishops of the United States with the approval of Pope Leo XIII. It was their ambition to create an institution that could cultivate Catholic Minds.
A Catholic Mind is expansive. Over the last 2000 years the Catholic intellectual tradition has produced great theologians and philosophers like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. It has nurtured scientists like Gregor Mendel and Georges Lemaître. It has produced music, architecture, literature, and art. The Catholic Mind has something to offer every aspect of human life. At The Catholic University of America we are heirs to this great tradition. We search out and pass on the truth in more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs in 12 different schools.
A Catholic Mind is capacious. Within the Catholic intellectual tradition there is room for many schools of thought. There is no single perspective that will comprehend all of reality. At Catholic University you will find many different perspectives and opinions. But these opinions are shared and debated in a spirit of charity animated by our common dedication to the truth and vision of reality shaped by the person and message of Jesus Christ.
A Catholic Mind is open to the truth wherever truth can be found. Thomas Aquinas learned from the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Dante called the Roman poet Virgil his master and guide. As Pope Leo XIII said, "Every word of wisdom, every useful thing by whomsoever discovered or planned, ought to be received with a willing and grateful mind."1
A Catholic Mind can confidently pursue truth down every avenue, precisely because it does so in the light of the truth revealed to us by the Catholic faith. The motto of Catholic University is "Deus Lux Mea Est," (God is my light). This expresses well the relationship of faith and reason in our pursuit of the truth. Faith does not limit our search for truth. It illuminates our path as we search for the ultimate truths about ourselves and the world.
Finally, a Catholic Mind should transform how we live. When Pope Benedict XVI visited Catholic University in 2008 he reminded us that "knowing the truth leads us to discover the good."2 What we know should affect how we live — and how we live affects our receptivity to the truth. That's why we cultivate moral virtues as well as intellectual virtues at Catholic University. We engage the whole person and point him or her toward knowledge and true happiness. And we prepare our students to place their knowledge and talents at the service of the Church, our country, and the world.
1 Leo XIII, Aeterni Patris, 31
2 Pope Benedict XVI, "Meeting with Catholic Educators," April 17, 2008 http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2008/april/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20080417_cath-univ-washington.html