Thomas More College and the restoration of Christian culture

Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Nashua, N.H., announced last week the inauguration of a new initiative, the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture, the mission of which is a revival of Christian culture in New England.

More specifically, the Center will host speakers and organize seminars and conferences. Serving as a catalyst for cultural renewal, it will encourage intellectuals and civic leaders to take part in cultural initiatives and will support active involvement in the arts, politics, literature, education, and above all in the life of faith.

The founding Fellows of the Center are William Fahey, president of Thomas More College; Anthony Esolen, the translator of Dante’s Divine Comedy, prolific author, and senior contributor to this journal; and Philip Lawler, veteran Catholic journalist and author.

Fahey had long hoped that TMC might be able to establish a center for cultural renewal, but it wasn’t until Esolen and Lawler had become involved with the college that the Center became a practical possibility.

“Esolen is one of America’s foremost writers and a trenchant observer of our cultural malaise,” Fahey explained, “and Lawler has had years of experience commenting on the ebb and flow of Catholic leadership within America and the wider world, always with a wise sense of how we should direct our attention and renew our conversation.”

Esolen commented that the Center was needed because “culture is disappearing from the West—certainly from the United States and Canada” due to what he termed “massive cultural amnesia.”

Lawler added that he believed the Center could benefit from a healthy reaction to the progressive malaise with which New England was particularly afflicted: “The pendulum has swung so very far in New England—prevailing public opinion is so far from the truths that are inscribed on the human heart—that a reaction is inevitable.”

The inauguration of the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture received vociferous support from those in the forefront of the struggle to restore and renew the culture.

Robert Royal, president of the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, D.C., described the founding of the Center as “one of the most promising new initiatives in decades.”

“Lots of people have written and spoken about what’s gone wrong with Catholic thought, as well as ways of life and community,” he said. “This is one of the few things I’ve seen that may actually do something about bringing them all together again in a faithful and viable whole. And its right to begin with a specific region in mind. Given the scope of problems we face, they can only be dealt with first at a more local level. I hope that this project not only grows rapidly, but that it is imitated and adapted to many other parts of the country, and the world.”

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, said she hopes that the Center will become “a focal point for a great renewal of all that is good and worthy in Christian civilization.”

Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, serves on the Center’s advisory board and also offered his support for the TMC initiative, as did other scholars, artists, and activists, including:

  • Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute;
  • Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., founder and editor of Ignatius Press;
  • Maggie Gallagher, senior fellow of the American Principles Project and bestselling author;
  • James Hitchcock, prolific author and professor emeritus of history at St. Louis University;
  • Thomas Howard, author of many books including Hallowed Be This House and Evangelical is Not Enough;
  • Andrew Kern, founder and president of the CiRCE Institute and co-author of The Lost Tools of Writing;
  • Robert Reilly, author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind and Surprised by Beauty;
  • Austin Ruse, president of the Center for Family and Human Rights;
  • Father John Saward, author of The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty; and
  • Duncan Stroik, professor of architecture at Notre Dame and founding editor of Sacred Architecture.

JOSEPH PEARCE is a senior fellow at The Cardinal Newman Society and editor of its journal. He is a senior contributor at The Imaginative Conservative and senior editor at the Augustine Institute. His books include biographical works on C.S. Lewis, Shakespeare, Tolkien, Chesterton, Solzhenitsyn and Belloc.