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Final Report for the Ten Year Review of
The Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States
June 11, 2012
As Chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, I am pleased to offer this report regarding the ten year review of The Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States. In January 2011 bishops were asked to hold conversations with college and university presidents in their dioceses. With more than 100 bishops reporting on their conversations at regional meetings during the November 201I General Assembly, the prevailing tone was positive and the news was good. Bishops reported that they believe our institutions of Catholic higher education have made definite progress in advancing Catholic identity. The relationship between bishops and presidents on the local level can be characterized as positive and engaged, demonstrating progress on courtesy and cooperation in the last ten years. Clarity about Catholic identity among college and university leadership has fostered substantive dialogues and cultivated greater mission driven practices across the university. In acknowledging that much progress has been made, we recognize there is still work to be done.
The robust discussion among bishops at the regional meetings in November 2011 generated some constructive suggestions. The Committee on Catholic Education, having reviewed the compilation of the regional discussions, offers the following recommendation for your consideration.
Under the auspices of the Committee on Catholic Education, a working group of bishops and presidents will be formed to continue the dialogue about strategic subjects on a national level. As they consider topics, they will gather information regarding best practices, offer suggestions for conversation at the local level, and as needed, develop resources. The subject areas to be addressed by the working group are as follows:
- Continuing dialogue between bishops and presidents toward greater cooperation in advancing the mission of the Church
- Hiring for mission
- Forming trustees, faculty, and staff regarding Catholic identity
- Addressing the need for improved, accurate, and deeper theological and catechetical knowledge through curricular and pastoral means.
With this report, I officially conclude the ten year review of The Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States. The review process yielded fruitful and necessary dialogue. The Committee on Catholic Education echoes the attitude of Pope John Paul II: "I turn to the whole Church, convinced that Catholic universities are essential to her growth and to the development of Christian culture and human progress." The success of the ten year review provides a clear course for continued dialogue regarding Catholic higher education and its essential contribution to the Church and society.
In the 2001 document, The Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States, the bishops of the United States committed themselves to a ten-year review. The guidelines provide a reference tool for both bishops and presidents of Catholic Institutes of Higher Learning. We hope the ten-year review, modeled on the five-year review of 2006, will occur in a spirit of ecclesial communion and will yield an appreciation of the positive developments and the remaining challenges in the implementation of the Application document for the United States.
This process consists of a conversation between a bishop and each university president within his diocese. Following the local conversations, bishops will share their reflections with one another at USCCB regional meetings, and the minutes of the discussions at the regional meetings will be compiled and presented to the president of the USCCB and the Chair of the Committee on Catholic Education.
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