Newman Society Lauds Renewal of Higher Education

Marks 10 Years of Ex Corde Ecclesiae in the US

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MANASSAS, Virginia, MAY 9, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Cardinal Newman Society is marking ten years since the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae in the United States, celebrating the steps taken to renew Catholic higher education.

The U.S. bishops’ «Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States» became effective on May 3, 2001, implementing the 1990 apostolic constitution by Blessed John Paul II regarding Catholic colleges and universities.

Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, noted that «hundreds of thousands of American Catholics» have joined his organization «in support of the renewal of Catholic higher education.»

«It is fitting to celebrate signs that renewal is underway, led by several new and established institutions modeling a strong Catholic identity,» he said.

Reilly added, however, that «it is also a certain fact that Church law has been ignored at many, perhaps most, Catholic colleges and universities in the United States, which have greatly secularized over the last 50 years.»

He continued: «It would be tragic if this situation were to continue for another decade at those institutions that Blessed John Paul II called ‘one of the best instruments that the Church offers to our age’ to assist man’s search ‘for certainty and wisdom.’

«As a second decade begins, The Cardinal Newman Society recommits itself to advocating and assisting renewal, so that the next decade is one of great progress in Catholic higher education.»

Catholic intellectual tradition

The society outlined some of the requirements in the document released by the U.S. bishops, which called for the development and conformity of a plan «that communicates and develops the Catholic intellectual tradition, is of service to the Church and society, and encourages the members of the university community to grow in the practice of the faith.»

It underlined the students’ right to receive from their university «instruction in authentic Catholic doctrine and practice.»

The bishops requested that the majority of the trustees for the institution be «Catholics committed to the Church.»

As well, they noted, the president and most professors should be Catholic, with all faculty demonstrating «good character» and «respect for Catholic doctrine.»

The society noted that theologians in particular should have a «mandatum» from the local bishop to «present authentic Catholic teaching,» and to «be faithful to the Church’s magisterium as the authoritative interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.»

It added that Catholic colleges and universities are urged to make the requirements of these documents «their own, include them in the university’s official documentation by reference and in other appropriate ways.»

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