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WASHINGTON—The relationship between the U.S. bishops and Catholic colleges has led to increased cooperation over the last decade, according to the "Final Report for the 10-year Review of The Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States."
Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the one-page report, found at www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/higher-education/.
The report recommends formation of a working group of bishops and college presidents under the Catholic Education committee "to continue the dialogue about strategic subjects on a national level." The working group would gather information on best practices, offer suggestions for local conversation, and, as needed, develop resources.
Areas to be studied include:
″Continuation of dialogue between bishops and presidents toward greater cooperation in advancing the mission of the Church
″Hiring for mission
″Formation of trustees, faculty and staff regarding Catholic identity
″Addressing the need for improved, accurate and deeper theological and catechetical knowledge through curricular and pastoral means.
The report, dated June 11, 2012, provides a clear course for continued dialogue regarding Catholic higher education. The review process began in January 2011 when bishops were asked to hold conversations with college and university presidents in their dioceses. More than 100 bishops reported on their conversations at regional meetings during the November 2011 General Assembly and, the report said, "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 report said. "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 1990, Pope John Paul II in 1990, issued Ex corde ecclesiae (From the heart of the Church), an apostolic constitution on Catholic higher education. It described the identity and mission of Catholic colleges and universities and provided General Norms to help fulfill its vision.
On November 17, 1999, the U.S. Catholic Bishops approved "The Application of Ex corde ecclesiae for the United States." The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in Rome May 3, 2000 and became particular law May 3, 2001.
Keywords: Ex corde ecclesiae, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Joseph McFadden, Catholic bishops, Pope John Paul II, Committee on Catholic Education, Catholic identity, Catholic colleges and universities
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