A dilemma for people seeking a degree in theology or religious studies is to find an institute where the teaching is consistently orthodox. It is no exaggeration to say that today many institutes give a distorted version of the Faith they should be expounding.
The student may be unaware of this, placing undue trust in the lecturers, with the result that his understanding of doctrines and moral precepts is soon corrupted. Or he may (more rarely) know where the views proposed are at variance with the truth; in which case he can fight against the errors and make himself unpopular, or keep quiet and give the answers expected by the examiners. If he stands up for the truth he can expect poor marks; if he pretends to go along with the system he feels he is compromising his principles.
One institute where this problem does not arise is the Centre for Thomistic Studies in Sydney. It is unswervingly loyal to the philosophical principles of St Thomas Aquinas and the teachings of the Catholic Church. But until now it has been unable to offer degrees.
From this year, however, courses are being offered which it is anticipated will lead to a degree in theology. This is through association with one of the most dynamic religious orders in the Catholic Church, the Legionaries of Christ, which has a university in Rome, the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.
The situation at present is that a wide range of courses is being offered this year at the Centre, most of which will count towards a degree if the negotiations with the Legionaries of Christ proceed as expected. Fees are being kept as low as possible.
People not studying for a degree are welcome to take any of the subjects, with no perquisites required and no obligation to complete assignments or exams. If they choose to do assignments and exams, but without studying for a degree, they can obtain a Certificate of Approval for each part of philosophy completed satisfactorily, and a full Certificate of Approval on completion of all parts.
The full range of courses offered by the Centre over a period of years will embrace, as it has in the past, the whole of philosophy. With the degree courses in place, the range of theological subjects will be extended to cover all of sacred theology. Introductory courses for beginners are integral to the program.
As always, anyone interested is welcome at the Centre, with no previous qualifications required. Venue: Level 8, St Andrews House, 474 Kent St, Sydney (behind Sydney Town Hall). Further information can be obtained by ringing (02) 9759 8014 or (evenings) 9550 0231, or on the Centre for Thomistic Studies web site www.cts.org.au