Intellectual Formation

There is a reciprocal relationship between spiritual and intellectual formation. The intellectual life nourishes the spiritual life, but the spiritual also opens vistas of understanding—credo ut intelligam:  “…[I]ntellectual formation is a fundamental demand of man’s intelligence by which ‘he participates in the light of God’s mind’ and seeks to acquire a wisdom which in turn opens to and is directed towards knowing and adhering to God” (PDV, n. 51).

The Program of Priestly Formation notes that intellectual formation in the College Seminary has a twofold purpose (n. 178-79; n. 182): 

(1) The pursuit of liberal arts, through which candidates for the priesthood acquire a sense of the great human questions contained in the arts and sciences, encourages intellectual curiosity, promotes critical thought, and fosters disciplined habits of study. A liberal arts education teaches students to communicate with others in a clear and effective way and gives seminarians an introduction into the wider range of human learning. Studies in mathematics and natural science, in the social and behavioral sciences, in history, literature, foreign languages both ancient and modern, communication skills, and the fine arts define the content of a liberal arts curriculum.

(2) The study of philosophy is “fundamental and indispensable to the structure of theological studies and to the formation of candidates for the priesthood. It is not by chance that the curriculum of theological studies is preceded by a time of special study of philosophy” (Fides et ratio, n. 62). In priestly formation, at least two full years should be dedicated to the philosophical disciplines within a program of study which should be balanced, comprehensive, integrated and coherent. Sound philosophical formation requires a biennium of study, at least 30 semester credit hours. The philosophical curriculum must include the study of the history of philosophy (ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary), logic, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of nature, natural theology, anthropology and ethics. “The philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas should be given the recognition that the Church accords it” (CIC, canon 252.3). A minimum of 12 semester credit hours is required in the appropriate courses of undergraduate theology. These courses should study the themes of the Catechism (doctrine, liturgy and sacraments, morality, prayer) as well as the Sacred Scripture. The fruitful relationship between philosophy and theology in the Christian tradition should be explored through studies in Thomistic thought as well as that of other great Christian theologians who were also great philosophers, including certain fathers of the Church, medieval doctors, and recent Christian thinkers in the Western and Eastern traditions.

The undergraduate program of Cardinal Glennon College is a collaborative-model formation program operated in cooperation with Saint Louis University. Under ordinary circumstances (for those men entering as first-year college seminarians), the initial two years (first four semesters) of intellectual formation are completed on the campus of Saint Louis University. These two years focus upon the general classes of liberal arts education as outlined in the Program for Priestly FormationThe final two years (last four semesters) of intellectual formation focus upon the study of philosophy and are completed on the campus of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. During all eight semesters of the program, seminarians have access to the Pius XII Library at Saint Louis University in addition to the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary Library.

The required major for all Cardinal Glennon College seminarians is Philosophy.