The educational approach of the CEU Cardenal Herrera University is grounded in the values of Christian humanism. These principles are present throughout our day-to-day work, as our aim is to produce fully-rounded individuals who are able to come together for the good of society. In many ways, it is about passing on what we have received. The values of this humanistic education then accompany us throughout our lives, in the personal and professional spheres, wherever we go.
The French philosopher Jacques Maritain developed the school of thought that we call “Christian humanism” and which concerns the comprehensive development of each person on the basis of Christian values. Below, we consider the three fundamental values of Christian humanism.
Dignity is the first of these values. All human beings are the children of God and we have been made in his image and likeness. The dignity and the sanctity of our lives flow from this. This means that human beings have a series of fundamental rights from the moment of conception until death.
The second value of Christian humanism is freedom. As people, we are free and, therefore, can choose to lead our lives in the way in which we wish. It is important to note, however, that freedom is not about doing whatever we want, but about loving what we do. Freedom is not neutral: it is oriented towards what is good.
The freedom we speak of is given to us by God and it is also something that we can give each other. That’s why we must work to safeguard and enhance the freedom of others.
The third value of Christian humanism is solidarity. We are not meant to live as mere individuals, alone and isolated from others. We must live in a community. And that means that the limits of our freedom consist of where it intersects with the freedom of other people.
The brotherhood that Christian humanism promotes is based on a single key premise: there can be no brothers or sisters without there first being a father. We are all brothers and sisters to each other, because we have one father, God. And He gives us our dignity and freedom and makes us brothers and sisters.
“Cain, where is your brother?” This is a fundamental question and one that we cannot dismiss. We are responsible for our brothers and sisters.
In short, these are the three values of Christian humanism:
- dignity, because we are the children of God,
- freedom, so that we can do good work,
- and solidarity and fraternity, because being the children of God means that we are responsible for each other.
We all journey through life searching for happiness, but we can beat a straighter path towards it if we remember that we do have dignity, that we are free, and that we live in a community with others. At CEU UCH we know that the comprehensive education our students receive will make them stand out from other people and will make society better.
The “Learning and Service” method is an example of an activity which draws inspiration from the values of Christian humanism. This approach brings together students from a range of fields (Medicine, Education, Architecture, and others) who use their knowledge and skills to make a positive difference to society. It’s more than a normal volunteering programme. It’s about giving back what you receive – and, by doing so, receiving even more. Find out more about these initiatives.