Monday, May 7, 2012

US Bishops and Pope on Catholic colleges: "Much remains to be done..."

To the Bishops from Regions ten to thirteen of the US Bishops Conference, the Pope said on Saturday:
On the level of higher education, many of you have pointed to a growing recognition on the part of Catholic colleges and universities of the need to reaffirm their distinctive identity in fidelity to their founding ideals and the Church's mission in service of the Gospel. Yet much remains to be done, especially in such basic areas as compliance with the mandate laid down in Canon 812 for those who teach theological disciplines. The importance of this canonical norm as a tangible expression of ecclesial communion and solidarity in the Church’s educational apostolate becomes all the more evident when we consider the confusion created by instances of apparent dissidence between some representatives of Catholic institutions and the Church’s pastoral leadership: such discord harms the Church’s witness and, as experience has shown, can easily be exploited to compromise her authority and her freedom.
Canon 812 states:
Those who teach theological disciplines in any institutes of higher studies whatsoever must have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority.
The role of Catholic educators is not only to impart knowledge but to form:
First, as we know, the essential task of authentic education at every level is not simply that of passing on knowledge, essential as this is, but also of shaping hearts. There is a constant need to balance intellectual rigor in communicating effectively, attractively and integrally, the richness of the Church’s faith with forming the young in the love of God, the praxis of the Christian moral and sacramental life and, not least, the cultivation of personal and liturgical prayer... An essential role in this process is played by teachers who inspire others by their evident love of Christ, their witness of sound devotion and their commitment to that sapientia Christiana which integrates faith and life, intellectual passion and reverence for the splendor of truth both human and divine.

Meanwhile Catholic in Name Only Kathleen Sebelius is invited as Commencement Speaker at Georgetown University.


  1. So, every theology professor in all Catholic universities needs the mandatum? Very few do, no?

  2. WE ARE BACK!!! We are all so happy, This is the power of prayer. Looking forward to reading your great blogs again,We got to see the lovely birds in your garden. :-)

  3. Yes, the Mandatum

    I can recall growing up in Ireland when Catholics were forbidden to attend Trinity College in Dublin by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid. Granted, that was a different time and such a ban would be unenforceable and roundly ignored – especially in the Ireland of today.

    But why aren’t bishops pushing the Mandatum…? Granted, that too would probably be unenforceable, given the activism of college administrations and issues of tenure. But, at minimum, bishops could call upon all teachers of theology in their dioceses to apply for a Mandatum. They could then publish the names of those who have it and warn potential students that those who don’t are not authorized as faithful teachers of Catholic Doctrine.

    Yes, it would cause a stir and probably result in lawsuits. But the salvation of souls is at stake here and Catholic colleges should be put on notice that continuing to employ heterodox teachers of Catholic Doctrine will have consequences – including denial of their designation as orthodox Catholic institutions.

  4. Father John - We are so thrilled that the Blog is back on!We have been praying to Our Lady and we had our monthly Mass and we prayed that we could get your blog freed!
    While we lost your blog we got to watch the DVD of St john Bosco - (were you named after him?LOL!) We all love St John Bosco he helped those in need and we all imagined if we had been one of those boys!
    Great to be back on and when Catholic Schools put their mind to it they can so achieve the best for our faith! 9A

  5. some very interesting thoughts here. A couple of these points came to mind when I was looking for Catholic colleges in PA. Some of the changes would be for the better while others I am not so sure of. Food for thought though


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