THERE IS LITTLE HOPE THAT THE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES THAT HAVE LOST THEIR CATHOLIC IDENTITY WILL EVER REGAIN IT

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Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and the band played on

By Phil Lawler  | January 11, 2013 2:21 PM

Oh, good. The US bishops announce that they remain in “dialogue” with the heads of Catholic colleges and universities about the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Their report tells us:

“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.”

Well, that makes everything perfectly clear, doesn’t it?

Look: Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which called upon bishops to ensure the authentic Catholic identity of Catholic colleges and universities, was released in 1990. A child born that year is now an adult—possibly a graduate of one of those Catholic institutions. Our bishops are still talking about it, and happily reporting “progress on courtesy and cooperation in the last ten years.”

Courtesy and cooperation are nice, of course. But what about Catholic identity? Wake me up when the “progress” is such that I won’t be readily able to find abortion advocated, Church doctrines condemned, condoms distributed, and same-sex marriage defended on the campuses of America’s largest Catholic universities.

The bishops say they’re in “dialogue” with university administrators. But there’s another word to describe the process, and it too begins with the letter “d.” Last year when Georgetown students called upon the school’s leaders to ignore the US bishops, and begin offering contraceptive coverage immediately, a faculty member told Reuters that Georgetown President John DeGoia was “in a complicated political situation.” He explained: “There is a dance that has to be done with the church and the students.”

A dance. Perfect. The partners know the steps, from long practice, perform them energetically. They show courtesy and cooperation. And nobody’s in a hurry to get anywhere.

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I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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