Thursday, August 19, 2010

20 Years After Ex Corde Ecclesiae

As Paul gets ready to go back to school for another year (he'll finish his Masters this spring) I stumbled across this article on CalCatholic (emphasis mine)...
"Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) -- "Only the Catholic university that conserves its identity will have a future," the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education said just days before the 20th anniversary of John Paul II's document Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, in speaking about the continued relevance of the document on Catholic higher education, explained that if a Catholic university loses its identity, it becomes just like any other.

The Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which established guidelines for the functioning of Catholic universities, was presented by Pope John Paul II 20 years ago Sunday. Cardinal Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education and prefect emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, spoke with CNA about the importance of the document on Aug. 13.

According to Cardinal Grocholewski, two motivations led John Paul II to write the document. The first was the importance that he attributed to the Catholic university, which, he said, the pope himself explains best at the end of the document in an exhortation for Catholic witness.

The second reason, the prefect pointed out, was that John Paul II believed it was necessary to create legislation outlining the nature and mission of Catholic universities, while giving them juridical norms for their creation and the composition of their faculty.

Ex Corde Ecclesiae has produced "great results," he said, most of all we can see this in the foundation of so many Catholic universities "with a clear disposition" since its publication in 1990.

Citing the creation of more than 250 Catholic universities during Pope John Paul II's pontificate, he said, "many of these have had a guideline from the very beginning, a clear vision of what a Catholic university should be."

This has been especially significant in African and ex-Communist countries, he explained. "I think that many universities, also based on this document, have strengthened their identities, which is very important," he added.

CNA asked the cardinal about certain challenges that have come up in the course of applying norms for John Paul II's ideal for the Catholic university, such as the need for a "mandatum," a statement from the local bishop that assures theologians are in communion with the Church's teachings.

The cardinal prefect said that this is a question of methodology as with any other field of study. He explained that "to be a theologian, one must believe in the Sacred Scriptures and Tradition and must be united to the Magisterium (teaching) of the Church."

"It is a rather risky assumption if a single person wishes to be more important than the Magisterium of the Church," he remarked. "

To read the entire article click here.
I'm really praying that next time around Paul ends up at a Catholic University that actually has an authentic Catholic Identity. We will have a better idea of what to look for this time around...

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