Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Ex corde Ecclesiae, 20 Years Later


The upcoming August 15 will be the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s  apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae, which defined what the Church means by a Catholic university or college, and which has the binding effect of Church law. To commemorate this landmark proclamation, the Cardinal Newman Society (on whose board of advisers I serve) is revisiting and reflecting on its meaning and effects. 

As the society indicates, Ex corde remains of great importance today, both to Catholics and the general public, as Pope Benedict XVI works to fortify the Catholic identity in the public square, a main goal of his pontificate.  

For two decades the Church has worked to implement this directive in face of massive opposition from the “Catholic-in-name-only” higher education status quo. 

Writes a society spokesman in an e-mail:

We have seen the tide start to change in the last ten years in favor of Ex corde, and we must keep up the momentum.  New Catholic colleges are forming, faithful to the Church; older Catholic institutions are learning the boundaries better; and several Catholic universities are developing offices dedicated to maintaining their Catholic identity.  Even the U.S. bishops are now more emboldened than ever to fight for our Catholic identity!

For those of you for whom such matters resonate, read more here, in particular under “Ex corde Ecclesiae: A Backgrounder.”


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