AMERICA - HOUSTON
The Liberation of Reason
The address by the President of the Catholic University in Houston during the presentation of At the Origin of the Christian Claim. A shared passion for the Truth made flesh, under the sign of St. Thomas
BY MICHAEL MILLER*
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a distinct pleasure for me to welcome you to this evening's symposium. It is especially a pleasure for me to welcome you to the University of St. Thomas and to express how delighted I am that we are able to hold events such as this. As most of you know, this university was founded in 1947 by the Basilian Fathers in cooperation with the laity of the then Galveston Diocese, and it has remained essential to our mission to foster both knowledge of and love for the Catholic tradition, the Catholic tradition both as an intellectual tradition and as a profound tradition of rich piety. And in the great tradition of St. Thomas himself, we are bound to pass on, precisely as an academic institution, to pass on with loving veneration that passion and love for the truth, which the Church through the ages has heard and seen and touched with her own hands, that is the Word of Life. This evening, it is a distinct honor to co-sponsor with the Houston community of Communion and Liberation, to sponsor this evening's presentation called, as you can see, "The Liberation of Reason," in which we will hear about the second book of Msgr. Luigi Giussani, At The Origin of the Christian Claim.
This work of Giussani's, like the others in the trilogy, grew out of his own experience. After the Second World War, he was a high school teacher in Milan, and he also taught at the Catholic University there, Sacro Cuore. Giussani was acutely aware of the search for meaning that characterized so many young people in post-war Italy, as it continues to be a preoccupation of so many young and not-so-young people today. And out of his experience, he founded an extraordinarily vital movement, a movement which in Italy has several hundred thousand members, called Comunione e Liberazione.
This ecclesial movement has spread now to the United States and to many other countries throughout the world. Although you'll hear much more about this, behind Giussani's work is really a very fresh and inspiring vision of living the gospel in the contemporary world, about what it means to have experienced the revolution of the mind, which reorients an individual's whole being toward God. I'm certainly not going to go on at length about this book, I'm not in the position to, nor familiar enough with this particular work of Giussani.
But I would like to say that it was 10 years ago that Communion and Liberation first had an event on this campus. It was in April 1989 when there was a group of students, including several from the Center for Thomistic Studies, who had a day of recollection.
Unfortunately that did not prosper here on the campus, although some of the people involved took their experience elsewhere. So it is, I think, particularly meaningful that, in a sense, on this 10th anniversary, the university is able to co-host this event.
I would like to just briefly mention how pleased I am that we have with us tonight our moderator, Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete from St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York; Dr. John McCarthy from the Catholic University of America; Pastor Scott Murray of Memorial Lutheran Church; Reverend Joseph Meinhart from St. Thomas More University parish in Norman, Oklahoma; and our own Father James Anderson from the School of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary. I do want to express how happy I am that the university can provide precisely this kind of occasion in which the community of Houston can be introduced to the thought of someone as significant as Luigi Giussani and to the Movement Communion and Liberation. Welcome again.
*President of St. Thomas Catholic University, Houston