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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pope Benedict's address to Catholic Educators

I haven't found much on what the Pope had to say on this subject, apart from this story from Catholic News Service.

I found three aspects of the excerpts I was able to find rather significant.

1) The first involves the Pope's reference to the reputation of Catholic schools in the United States:
"I know from my own days as a professor, and I have heard from your bishops and officials of the Congregation for Catholic Education, that the reputation of Catholic institutes of learning in this country is largely due to yourselves and your predecessors," he said.
Notice what he doesn't say. He doesn't say if that reputation was good or bad. He just said that the current instructors and their predecessors are responsible for the reputation Catholic education has now. That's quite a bit less of a statement than one might hope for.

2) President Lazarus, president of the University of Dallas, is reported to have been happy that the Pope emphasized the importance of academic freedom.

Those of you who heard the Guadalupe Radio Network broadcast on the blasphemy permitted on UD campus might recall that President Lazarus hid behind academic freedom. You might think I have egg on my face. Read the excerpt below and decide for yourself how accurate President Lazarus' summary of that portion of the speech seems to be:
He made one specific reference to Catholic college presidents, near the end of his address, telling them he wished to "reaffirm the great value of academic freedom." He also noted that any appeals to academic freedom "to justify positions that contradict the faith and teaching of the church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission."
3) The Pope seems to have read my book (or I seem to have read Catholic documents fairly accurately - take your pick):

"Catholic identity is not simply a question of the number of Catholic students," he said. It also is not "dependent upon statistics" nor can it be "equated simply with orthodoxy of course content." Instead, he stressed that the Catholic identity of a school or religious education program "demands and inspires much more: namely that each and every aspect of your learning communities reverberates within the ecclesial life of faith."

I look forward to reading the whole speech when it is made available.

1 comment:

Jordan Potter said...

The complete text of the Holy Father's address is available here:

President Lazarus either wasn't listening, or else he's lying, take your pick.