With this post we move from schools for children and teens to Universities and advanced institutes of Catholic education. Universities have a few more connecting threads to the larger culture than schools for children, which usually only reach into the neighborhood. Let’s read about some expectations:
341. By its very nature, the Catholic university provides important assistance to the Church in its evangelizing mission. It is a vital witness to Christ and his message institutional in nature that very necessary and important for cultures permeated with secularism. The fundamental activities of a Catholic university must be linked and harmonized with the Church’s evangelizing mission. They are carried out through research pursued in the light of the Christian message, which places new human discoveries at the service of people and society. It thus offers a formation given in a context of faith to prepare people capable of rational and critical judgment, conscious of the transcendental dignity of the human person. This entails a professional training that includes ethical values and the dimension of service to people and society; dialogue with the culture, which fosters better understanding and transmission of the faith; and theological research which helps faith to be expressed in language that makes sense to these times. Because the church is ever more aware of its saving mission in this world, it wants to feel these institutes close to it and wishes to have them present and operating in spreading the authentic message of Christ.(Ex Corde Ecclesiae 49)
The institutional church is concerned about something called “Catholic identity.” I think that is a start on this issue. But we’re looking at something a bit more broad, an identity that embraces fully the mission of the Church, according to Jesus’ mandate in Matthew 28:19-20.
342. Catholic universities, accordingly, must faithfully develop their Christian uniqueness, because they carry gospel responsibilities that other kinds of institutions are not obliged to fulfill. These particularly include dialogue between faith and reason and faith and culture, and the formation of professors, students and administrative staff through the church’s social and moral doctrine, so that they may be capable of commitment in solidarity to human dignity and to the community, and to display prophetically in the life of Latin American and Caribbean societies the newness represented by Christianity. Hence, care must be taken with the human, academic, and Christian profile of those primarily responsible for research and teaching.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.