Written by Fr. Michael Sweeney, OP, on May 2009 at the Induction in the College of Fellows
Michael J. Naughton, husband and father, educator, administrator, loyal son of the Church, the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology salutes you.
In his Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens, Pope John Paul II insisted that the realization of the divine vocation of each man and woman is intimately linked with the subjective character of human work. “Man has to subdue the earth and dominate it, because as the “image of God” he is a person, that is to say a subjective being capable of acting in a planned and rational way, capable of deciding about himself, and with a tendency to self-realization. As a person, man is therefore the subject of work.” In the mind of John Paul, human work is not merely the manifestation of the divine dignity of the human person, but also the means by which the divine vocation is made manifest to each human person.
As Moss Endowed Chair in Catholic Social Thought and Director of the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, you have answered your own vocation by undertaking the work of discovering the means by which students may integrate their professional training in business and administration with a profoundly theological understanding of their personal and human vocation.
Such a realization has an eminently practical character: you have worked to design curricula in order that that your students may grasp the graced possibilities for themselves and for others by integrating their faith and their work within the business world and in their profession. You have taught them the profound relation between work as a practical wisdom and the contemplative leisure that must sustain it.
You have been called upon to participate in national and international symposia, inviting educators and business leaders into a conversation through which human work may be appreciated in its moral and theological dimensions.
At the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology we have an urgent interest in the integration of the philosophical and theological tradition with the needs of contemporary society, and we are delighted that you have consented to collaborate with us in this most important work.
Therefore, as an expression of our esteem and gratitude, and in virtue of the authority invested in me by the Board of Trustees of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, I am privileged to bestow upon you, Michael J. Naughton, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa, and to name you as a Fellow of the School.