My earlier essay at OnePeterFive, “What Is the Catholic Intellectual Tradition?,” attempted to answer this ambitious question by pointing to stable, recognizable characteristics. In presenting an answer, I also grappled with skepticism toward the value of any tradition and the postmodern attack on truth claims. Here, I would like to offer two more objections with my replies, and then conclude with thoughts on the role that every member of the Church—especially of the clergy—has with regard to this Tradition.
First, the word “Catholic” seems totally up for grabs nowadays. Who gets to define what it means? Besides, doesn’t “Catholic” mean “universal,” in the sense of “all-inclusive”?
Second, talk of “the Catholic Intellectual Tradition” implies that there is only one. But are there not many diverse and even incompatible traditions?