The cultivation of the intellect is a Catholic enterprise.
All education, insofar as it is authentic education, is Catholic. And therefore, when we speak about the Catholic principles of education we are, in truth, speaking about nothing other than the principles of education itself. Is not the world (and the various orders that can be known through human reason) by its very nature a Catholic world? And is not the cultivation of the intellect in its attempt to know the various orders that God created (the attempt which we call education) a Catholic attempt? Education itself is an enterprise that is proper to man. Education is an enterprise that disposes the one who receives it to the knowledge of God. Education is something that ultimately disposes man to the complete vision of God Himself in heaven. Education is a Catholic enterprise. It is an enterprise that begins in wonder and ends in Wisdom. It is an enterprise that assumes a great unity among all sciences and arts and disciplines, all of which might be imagined as serving in a great palace as “handmaidens” serving Theology as their Queen.
The word education first signifies that which we mean by liberal education. In recent, times because of widespread confusion between education and the myriad studies that amount to no more than a training for a specific career, we do well to use the phrase liberal education to distinguish what it is we are talking about. Strictly speaking, I would argue that, like the phrase “Catholic education,” so also the phrase “liberal education,” is a redundancy.