Mission and Tradition

Welcome to DSPT
Fr. Michael Sweeney, OP

DSPT President - Fr. Michael Sweeney, OPI would like to welcome you to the website of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. As you will see herein, our school is a community of scholars. As a community we share, professors and students alike, in a common work: to bring the Western and Catholic tradition into a living dialogue with contemporary culture, in order to redeem the culture by calling up and advancing everything that is authentically human. I am delighted to welcome you to join our community as a collaborator in this work.

In his visit to the Holy See, Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago told the Holy Father that “the church's mission is … weakened by her inability to shape a public conversation that would enable people to understand the Gospel and the demands of discipleship.”

To put the whole of the Catholic tradition, in philosophy and theology, in conversation with our culture in order to shape such a public conversation is precisely what we have adopted as our mission as a school. We are wonderfully equipped for this task:

The DSPT is the only graduate school devoted exclusively to philosophy and theology in the United States. True to our Dominican foundation, we insist upon placing the fullness of the Catholic intellectual tradition at the disposal of the Church's mission to speak to our contemporary culture.

We offer our students in philosophy the opportunity to engage all of Western philosophy, ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary. We are convinced that ancient and medieval philosophy is not merely of historic interest, but should be studied systematically and for its own sake.

True to the approach of St. Thomas Aquinas, our model and teacher, we are convinced that it is necessary to understand the theological tradition in order to apply it. Accordingly, our core program emphasizes a systematic approach to theology, while availing our students of the best in contemporary approaches to theological questions.

While our school is small, we have at our disposal what is, possibly, the most extensive academic resource in the country: our students take advantage of the resources of the Graduate Theological Union, which boasts one of the largest theological libraries in the United States, and our graduate students can supplement their core studies through classes at the University of California at Berkeley. As a Dominican institution, we are able to bring to our students the educational and pastoral resources, local, national and international, of the Order.

Professors at the DSPT emphasize not only publication, but also teaching. The academic atmosphere of the school is informal: our professors are readily available to the students, and are fully committed to their studies.

All of us, professors, students, lay collaborators and benefactors have one, common purpose: to bring the Catholic tradition, in its integrity, into dialogue with our culture, so that the Gospel may be preached compellingly and without compromise. As the president of the school, I invite you to join with us in this most important work.

Rev. Michael Sweeney, OP

Click here to read more about Fr. Michael Sweeney and full texts of some of his lectures.

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