The archbishop of Toronto visited UTM for an hour-long lecture on Dante Alighieri’s classic The Divine Comedy to kick off Catholic Students Week on Monday.

Cardinal Thomas Collins praised the poem and expounded on its theology during the event, which was attended by some 40 UTM students and faculty, as well as by a group of students from Holy Name of Mary College School in Mississauga.

“There’s nothing wrong with reason. We need it,” Collins said during a subsequent question period. “If we just have faith alone, just sort of an emotional faith, that’s just not sensible—it’s destructive. God gave us our minds to seek the truth.”

Lisa D’Souza, a fourth-year UTM student and the president of the Catholic Students Club, said the club was able to connect with Collins through their chaplain.

“We live in a fast-paced world, trying our best as students to make ends meet, balancing our academics, work, and personal life. It’s not the easiest of things to do, especially when we only have 24 hours in a day,” said Raymond Noronha, the president of UTMSU, after the lecture. “We should take some time out at the end of every day, even if it’s five minutes, even if it’s one minute, to reflect upon our actions.”

Marilena Tesoro, the head of school at Holy Name of Mary, commented on the all-girls’ school’s decision to send the class. “It’s inspiring the girls to be able to use their faith and their reason,” she said. “It’s broadening the horizons of the girls […] and empowering them to be future Catholic leaders.”

The audience learned during an introductory speech by Michael Lettieri, the founder of UTM’s language studies department, that Collins, a native of Guelph, Ontario, holds multiple degrees, including a doctorate in sacred theology from Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.

This was the first event of Catholic Students Week hosted by the Catholic Students Club.