Philosopher Alice von Hildebrand Honored by Pope Francis, Cdl Burke

The aim of education is to cultivate in students a “listening heart,” Cardinal Raymond Burke said in New York this week.

The cardinal, an American who works in the Vatican and was touted by some as a candidate to succeed Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year, spoke at an Oct. 30 dinner honoring philosopher Alice von Hildebrand.

Cardinal Burke invested von Hildebrand as a Dame Grand Cross of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great, an honor Pope Francis bestowed on her Sept. 19. The investiture took place during a dinner at A CLUB in midtown Manhattan. The affair marked von Hildebrand’s 90th birthday and was held by the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project, which seeks to disseminate the work of the German Catholic philosopher of the same name. Since Von Hildebrand's death in 1977, Alice von Hildebrand has devoted her life and work to promoting his thought.

Cardinal Burke, prefect of the Vatican Signatura – the highest judicial body in the Church – said in a keynote address that both Dietrich von Hildebrand, a professor at Fordham University, and his wife, who taught philosophy for 37 years at Hunter College in New York, faithfully carried out the role of Catholic educators in engendering in students the “listening heart” that leads one to the fullness of truth in the Catholic faith.

“So often today, we find individual Catholics as well as Catholic endeavors and institutions in the state of some confusion or even error about their Catholic identity,” he said. “In particular, a notion of tolerance of ways of thinking and acting contrary to Catholic teaching and morals seemingly has become the interpretative key of many of our Catholic activities. This notion is not securely grounded in the moral tradition, but it tends to dominate our approach to the extent that we end up claiming to be Catholic while tolerating ways of thinking and acting which are diametrically opposed to the moral law and therefore to the Catholic faith.”
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