This year in particular, Seattle University is called to embody its Catholic Jesuit identity, brought to life in the launch of the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture.
During the Year of Faith, the 50th anniversary of Vatican II and the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Seattle University is called in a unique way to fulfill its mission. It is called as a university, a place where research and learning can come together to inspire transformation in the response of a universal Church called to address human need and issues of social justice. As a Catholic Jesuit university, it does not simply form minds but forms persons for others.
The Jesuit mission, as expressed in the 34th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, includes the service of faith, promotion of justice, engagement with cultures and dialogue with religions.
The election of the first Jesuit pope inspires hope in many Catholics and welcomes the community to explore a faith that engages a complex world.
Pope Francis’ humility and his call to be a Church for the poor reveals a deep resonance between his vision and Seattle University’s deep commitment to a faith that does justice. It is a commitment rooted in the Jesuit response to Vatican II and Catholic social teaching, particularly as expressed in the 32nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus and the leadership of Fr. Pedro Arrupe.
As the first pope from the Global South, Pope Francis raises hopes for a deeper engagement with the questions and challenges of a church that is truly global and diverse in its local incarnations.
The work of the ICTC will require nourishment from the deep roots of the Catholic Intellectual tradition as well as resilience when confronted by the knowledge made available through multidisciplinary approaches. The tree which we have chosen as our symbol represents this simultaneous rootedness and growth, the dual stability and freedom that comes from living in community. The university, like the tree, is a place of intersection—the intersection of faith and reason, faith and culture and ultimately, church and world.
The ICTC will contribute to the mission of the university by further cultivating a culture of discourse and dialogue. It will work to unpack and examine the meaning of the message of Jesus Christ for the world today. With the support of Seattle University and the greater community, the ICTC will strive to retrieve, reclaim and revive a vigorous engagement with the treasures of the Catholic intellectual and wisdom traditions.
As the ICTC continues to grow, it will do so with a deep awareness of the circumstances of time and place in which it was launched: at a Catholic Jesuit university in the Pacific Northwest, the year of the first Jesuit Pope from the Global South who has called upon the whole church to be the Church of and for the poor.
—Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, Ph.D. Inaugural Director, Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture
It is my honor to share a beautiful expression of the world to which the ICTC is called, a beautiful poem written for the institute by Gabriella Gutiérrez & Muhs, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Modern Languages.