Catholic intellectual life needs renewal, says new CUA head

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Calling for a rebirth in Catholic intellectual life, a pursuit that leads to virtue, John H. Garvey was sworn in Jan. 25 as the 15th president of The Catholic University of America in Washington.

“As Pope Benedict said at this university in 2008, ‘this is a place to encounter the living God. … This relationship elicits a desire to grow in the knowledge and understanding of Christ and his teaching,'” Garvey said in his inaugural address.

Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Catholic University’s chancellor, was the main celebrant and homilist for the inaugural Mass, celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He was joined by Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George, Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, as well as Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio to the United States, and by more than a dozen bishops from around the United States, and nearly 100 priests.

“The Catholic University is a university — a community of scholars united in a common effort to find goodness, truth and beauty,” said Garvey, 62, who was dean of Boston College’s Law School when he was appointed to his new post.

“The intellectual life, like the acquisition of virtue, is a communal, not a solitary, undertaking. We learn from each other,” he continued. “The intellectual culture we create is the product of our collective effort. A Catholic intellectual culture will be something both distinctive and wonderful if we bring the right people into the conversation and if we work really hard at it.”

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