DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     September 27, 1999     vol. 10, no. 183

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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US BISHOPS STAND FIRM ON CATHOLIC HIGHER ED

        WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - A committee of US bishops has prepared a document calling for a renewal of America's Catholic colleges and universities ahead of the US bishops' semi-annual meeting in November, according to the Cardinal Newman Society on Thursday.

        The society reported that the document takes steps to move closer to the spirit of Pope John Paul II's 1990 document on higher education Ex Corde Ecclesiae. In that document the Pope called on each country's bishops to develop norms specific to Catholic colleges and universities. Patrick Reilly, Executive Director of the Cardinal Newman Society, praised the revisions as "prudent and masterful."

        "The bishops have not backed off one inch from their commitment to the renewal of Catholic higher education," Reilly said. He added that the document, revised from an earlier draft, would ensure that colleges would be able to maintain their Catholic identity in the face of any threats to their independence or academic excellence.

        "These revisions to the bishops' earlier draft should ensure that this document will be approved in November, and we can finally move forward," said Manuel Miranda, president of the society. "All the valid reasons for criticism have been wiped away. The debate about control and authority is ended. Let's move forward with the important tasks before us."

        Some groups have criticized the bishops and the Ex Corde Ecclesia document for seeking to undermine Catholic schools by tampering with their academic freedom and ability to attract students in a pluralistic society. Many college presidents and faculties also worried that the bishops' document would increase the risk of faculty lawsuits, loss of accreditation, and denial of public funds.

        Among the most controversial provisions were a Vatican requirement that Catholic theologians must receive a "mandate" from their local bishop, and provisions stating presidents and a majority of faculty and trustees should be "faithful" Catholics.


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September 27, 1999       volume 10, no. 183
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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