Theology Department Mission
Since the objective of a Catholic university is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the great problems of society and culture, every Catholic university, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics:
- A Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such.
- A continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research.
- Fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the church.
- An institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life (para. 13).
And as a department within a Jesuit university we seek to respond to the directive given by St. Ignatius of Loyola in The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus.
Since the end of the Society and of its studies is to aid our fellow men and women to the knowledge and love of God and to the salvation of their souls; and since the branch of theology is the means most suitable to this end, in the universities of the Society the principal emphasis ought to be put upon it (Part Four, Chapter Twelve).
The department understands theology in its classical Anselmian expression as "faith seeking understanding."
The department places great value on teaching excellence. The intellectual and personal formation of our students is paramount. With respect to intellectual formation, our courses present the best of contemporary learning from scripture, tradition and contemporary theology while integrating relevant insights from pertinent non-theological disciplines. Each course dialogues in some way with the Catholic theological tradition.
We attend also to the personal formation of our students. We are concerned with students' appropriation of content relative to their personal maturity and previously held religious convictions. While refraining from proselytizing or indoctrinating, we continually foster active reflection on the content of our courses believing that theological disciplines are essentially paths for personal wisdom, for Christians the Triune God known to us in Christ Jesus.
As part of students' personal formation, we are committed to fostering attitudes of service to the people of God and to the entire human family. As a Jesuit university we are concerned with responding to the mission of the Society of Jesus, "The mission of the Society of Jesus today is the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement" (Our Mission Today: The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice, General Congregation 32, 1975). Father General Kolvenbach underscores this requirement.
. . . instead of seeing the promotion of justice in the name of the Gospel as a threat to the educational sector, this apostolic priority that we have received from the Church is to be seen as a pressing commitment to reevaluate our colleges and universities, our teaching priorities, our programs, our research efforts to make them even more effective (Georgetown University, Assembly 1989: Jesuit Ministry in Higher Education).
The more recent General Congregations of the Society of Jesus GC 34 (1995) and GC 35 (2008) affirm the vision of the Society's mission as the service of faith of which the promotion of justice is a constituent part. In addition, these recent congregations commit Jesuits worldwide to fuller collaboration with the mission of the laity, interreligious dialogue, the evangelization of culture, enhancing the place of women in the church and civil society, and addressing the challenges of globalization and an endangered environment. We recognize that the theological disciplines have an important part to play in exploring and implementing these themes of the Jesuit mission, and we aim to find ways of doing so.
Primarily our department serves programs within the Creighton College of Arts and Sciences. The department embraces the responsibility of serving the core requirements of the College and of participating in the Senior Perspective courses, responding to the unique mission of Catholic universities to integrate theological wisdom with the other liberal arts (see below, para. 19, Ex Corde Ecclesiae). In a special way we serve majors, co-majors and graduate students enrolled in our departmental programs.
Beyond the Creighton College of Arts and Sciences our department serves the core theology requirements in all undergraduate colleges. We are also committed to serve non-traditional students enrolled in the certificate programs sponsored by our department through University College. Finally, we are available as a theological resource for every division of the University. This involves formal and informal interaction with our peers seeking theological input in any University forum, such as private consultation, classes, panels.
Our scholarship mission complements our teaching mission. Remaining competent and inspiring teachers on the undergraduate and graduate levels presumes active engagement in research central to our disciplines. Through scholarship we seek to add in a fundamental way to the treasury of human knowledge. We pursue scholarly research both within our own disciplines as well as in interaction with other disciplines, and in dialogue with the Catholic theological tradition.
Theology plays a particularly important role in the search for a synthesis of knowledge as well as in the dialogue between faith and reason. It serves all other disciplines in their search for meaning, not only by helping them to investigate how their discoveries will affect individuals and society, but also by bringing a perspective and an orientation not contained within their own methodologies. In turn, interaction with these other disciplines and their discoveries enriches theology, offering it a better understanding of the world today and making theological research more relevant to current needs (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, para. 19).
Our department is also committed to institutional service within Creighton University through active participation in appropriate faculty forums. This includes service within the University through participation in University, College and Departmental committees. It also includes service as faculty ambassadors for Creighton in outreach beyond Creighton through University programs such as those sponsored by the Admissions Office, the Alumni Office, Public Relations Office.
As the largest group of theological scholars on the Great Plains, we see ourselves not only as a resource for Creighton University but also for the Christian Church and civic community beyond Creighton. We are committed to sharing our expertise with all groups seeking deeper understanding of the Christian message and its implications for living today. Not only do we serve the local religious and civic communities, but also other communities as needed in our nation and the world.
As colleagues within a Christian, Catholic and Jesuit institution, we embrace our vocations to collaborate in a crucial Christian ministry of our time, the ministry of educating leaders for our society, a ministry becoming more important as our society becomes ever more oblivious to tradition and anxious about the present. And in our personal lives, we attempt to respond to the challenge of becoming models to our students of the integration we profess.
Christians among the teachers are called to be witnesses and educators of authentic Christian life, which evidences an attained integration between faith and life, and between professional competence and Christian wisdom. All teachers are to be inspired by academic ideals and by the principles of an authentically human life (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, para. 22).
Adopted by the Department December 6, 1996