Catholic Colleges 20 Years After 'Ex Corde'
David B. House: Twenty years ago, Pope John Paul II issued Ex corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church), an Apostolic Constitution that defined Roman Catholic colleges and created guidelines to assist them in fulfilling their missions...
Many advocates maintain that the bishops have never fully enforced its guidelines. Catholic colleges still remain highly autonomous and do more or less what they want. When I talk to American Catholics outside academe, most draw a blank when Ex corde is mentioned. When Pope Benedict XVI addressed Catholic educators during his visit to the United States in April 2008, he made no direct reference to the Apostolic Constitution.
As a consequence, it is understandable that many today might regard Ex corde as "clinically dead." But they would be wrong. In fact it has had a steady and profound impact on Catholic higher education in the United States, albeit more subtle than critics feared and reformers hoped. Moreover, there are several reasons why it will continue to shape, guide, and inspire us in the future...Read on
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"When we have spiritual readings at meals, when we have the rosary at night, when we have study groups, forums, when we go out to distribute literature at meetings, or sell it on the street corners, Christ is there with us. What we do is very little. But it is like the little boy with a few loaves and fishes. Christ took that little and increased it." ---Dorothy Day, By Little and By Little: The Selected Writings of Dorothy Day, edited with an introduction by Robert Ellsberg (New York: Knopf, 1984).