Catholic thinker Stratford Caldecott (check his conversion story in my book Path to Rome) has written a powerful book supporting a fully Catholic liberal arts philosophy of education. Beauty for Truth’s Sake argues that beauty, truth and love must be at the heart of all education for education to reach it’s highest goal. Rather than simply being a vocational training for a value-free world, education teaches the student not only to think, but to perceive beauty and truth within the context of faith.
Beauty for Truth’s Sake
Stratford draws deeply on the pope’s masterpiece, The Spirit of the Liturgy and indicates that the perception of beauty and truth, which leads to an awareness of transcendence in all things, is focussed in the regular celebration of the liturgy when the liturgy is celebrated with reverence, beauty and the presence of God (rather than being focussed on human needs, societal relevance, ‘creativity’ and entertainment)
Drawing on the medieval understandings of a liberal arts education he shows how science and mathematics can also be charged by an awareness of the underlying beauty, structure and meaning of the whole cosmos.
This is not an immediately accessible book, but if you put on your thinking cap it will yield rich rewards. I plan to use it as a resource for our next faculty/staff retreat at St Joseph’s Catholic School, hoping that it will help us in our constant quest to teach all our subjects as paths that lead to the beauty, truth and love at the heart of God himself. You can read more about the book and purchase it here.