Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Patrick Reilly

4/19/2008 (8 years ago)

Inside Catholic (www.insidecatholic.com)

Catholic identity must be comprehensive: "Each and every aspect of college life must reverberate within the ecclesial life of faith."

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Highlights

By Patrick Reilly

Inside Catholic (www.insidecatholic.com)

4/19/2008 (8 years ago)

Published in College & University


WASHINGTON, DC (Inside Catholic) - Pope Benedict XVI's address to Catholic college presidents yesterday afternoon was brilliant.

The pope built upon a generation of Vatican efforts to encourage the renewal of Catholic identity in Catholic education. But more than that, he laid out a vision and roadmap for renewal that are ultimately tied to the survival of the West.

At first blush, the pope's speech boils down to this:
Catholic colleges must be unwavering in their commitment to Catholic teaching in everything they do, from the classroom to the dorm room; and Academic freedom at a Catholic college must be informed and tempered by the Catholic faith and the teachings of the Church.

Here are some highlights from the address, with a translation provided for those college presidents who haven't yet realized that yesterday cemented the renewal that has been quietly taking root.

Catholic institutions are in the business of saving souls: "It is timely, then, to reflect on what is particular to our Catholic institutions. How do they contribute to the good of society through the Church's primary mission of evangelization?"

Translation: Telling students that your college is "in the Catholic tradition" does not exempt you from the mandate to evangelize; colleges must live and actively witness the faith.

The truth is not relative: "The 'crisis of truth' that exists in society is rooted in a 'crisis of faith'" and Catholic educators have a responsibility to "evoke among the young the desire for the act of faith, encouraging them to commit themselves to the ecclesial life that follows from this belief."

Translation: The truth is not found in moral relativism, the undermining of Catholic teachings, or in faddish academic disciplines; it is found through the marriage of faith and reason.

Catholic identity must be comprehensive: "Each and every aspect of college life must reverberate within the ecclesial life of faith."

Translation: So, once and for all, a play like The Vagina Monologues serves no academic purpose and is inappropriate for a serious Catholic institution.

Catholic colleges must not waver in their convictions: "We observe today an aimless pursuit of novelty parading as the realization of freedom. We witness an assumption that every experience is of equal worth. . . . And particularly disturbing is the reduction of the precious and delicate area of education in sexuality to management of 'risk', bereft of any reference to the beauty of conjugal love."

Translation: Catholic colleges must take seriously their responsibility to affirmatively foster and promote a campus environment that cherishes chastity.

Academic freedom must be tied to faith:"[A]ny appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission . . . ."

Translation: The "Queer Film Festival" and handing out condoms do not fall under academic freedom.

Students must receive authentic Catholic teachings:

Colleges have the duty to "ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church's Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution's life, both inside and outside the classroom. Divergence from this vision weakens Catholic identity . . . ."

Translation: Three credits in Wiccan Studies is not a substitute for a required Catholic Theology course. Oh, and that Catholic Theology course must teach authentic Catholicism (for reference, please see the Catechism).

There is, of course, much more in the pope's speech, and it deserves serious reflection and analysis. Thursday was a great day for Catholic higher education, and Pope Benedict XVI deserves our prayers and gratitude for lighting the path of renewal.


Patrick J. Reilly is president of The Cardinal Newman Society (www.cardinalnewmansociety.org), a national organization that works to renew and strengthen Catholic higher education.

---

The mission of InsideCatholic.com is to be a voice for authentic Catholicism in the public square.We believe that truth is both attractive and compelling and that in the marketplace of ideas, it will invariably win out.



Comments


More College & University

Christian students in U.S. not allowed to speak to other students without permits Watch

Image of Christian liberties denied at North Carolina State University (Wikipedia).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a move reminiscent of the early 1900s, North Carolina State University segregated a student Christian group from the rest of the student population. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Grace Christian Life is a registered student Christian group on NC State's ... continue reading


Benedict XVI Centre approved by Holy See, but what will they be doing there? Watch

Image of The center will focus on religion and social sciences (CDJ).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

St. Mary's University in Twickenham, London has been formally approved to name one of their buildings after Benedict XVI. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to its website, St. Mary's University will name one of their buildings the Benedict XVI Centre for ... continue reading


Alarming University campaign threatens First Amendment rights Watch

Image of The University of Portland asks students to report discrimination, interactions of intolerance and incidents of discomfort (Stefan Redel/Shutterstock.com).

By Thomas Heed (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The University of Portland recently launched a "Speak Up" campaign designed to put an end to discrimination, intolerance and "incidents of discomfort." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The University's Speak Up website specifies inclusion is a top priority - one ... continue reading


Comparing some students to 'Catholic jihadis,' Mount St. Mary University president comes under fire Watch

Image of Mount St. Mary University President Simon Newman said in a memo,

By Adelaide Mena and Matt Hadro, CNA News

Amid uproar over comparing struggling students to bunnies that should be drowned or shot, Mount St. Mary's University president is now under fire for criticizing expressions of the Catholic faith at the school. Emmitsburg, Md. (CNA) - Already facing turmoil, the ... continue reading


The fight for religious liberty: How one Catholic college deals with threats Watch

Image of

By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)

The future of religious freedom in the United States will one day be in the care of today's college students, so one Catholic college is working to equip them for that struggle. Washington D.C., (CNA/EWTN News) - Wyoming Catholic College is trying to form a "community ... continue reading


4 reasons Catholic education needs your help this year Watch

Image of Are America's Catholic schools being attacked? (Wordpress)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Catholic education system is coming under attack by a plethora of policies designed to make the hiring process, acceptance of anti-Christian viewpoints, transgender issues and Catholic identity concerns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Cardinal Newman ... continue reading


Catholic identity or education: Are the top Catholic universities falsely rated by secular standards? Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A list of the top 40 traditional Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America was created, but were they rated fairly? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Newsmax revealed their top forty Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America, but what were their standards?The United ... continue reading


Becoming Divine Mercy: A Mission of Mercy Watch

Image of

By Jessie Tappel, Communications Director at Divine Mercy University

God, the source of all mercy, provides us with an experience so great that we have no choice but to reflect it to our own brother and sister. Mercy calls for an outward response, which is made clear in the examples of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. You can ... continue reading


UST Breaks Ground on New Center for Science and Health Professions Watch

Image of

By Darnell Miller - University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas, a member of the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, broke ground on a new Center for Science and Health Professions on Nov. 12, 2015. The new facility, containing more than 100,000 square-feet of modern lab space and classrooms, will meet ... continue reading


Religion and Science: The Evolutionary Controversy

Image of

By Kyle Jorstad, Grove City College

Catholic Online welcomes scholarly submissions for consideration, contact marshconnolly@catholiconline.email Abstract: Though members of the scientific and atheistic community alike often tout science as the downfall of religion, theories regarding Darwinian evolution ... continue reading


All College & University News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES Killer nanny asks judge for freedom because ...
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • Christians stand your ground: Graduating class recites The Lords ...
  • St. Mechtildis: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: God is Good
  • Advent Prayer HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Peter 1:2-7
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of our ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 14-15, 15-16
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend your nights in the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 12:1-12
1 He went on to speak to them in parables, 'A man planted a vineyard; he ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 30th, 2016 Image

St. Joan of Arc
May 30: St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and ... Read More