Christendom College president Dr. Timothy O'Donnell attended a meeting of the Pontifical Commission on Latin America in Mexico City recently, where he participated in a group discussing Catholic higher education in America, the college reported.
"The commission discussed the new evangelization in light of Pope Francis' pontificate as well as other topics including the challenges facing Catholic higher education in America," according to Christendom.
The group focusing on Catholic colleges and universities in America was led by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Penn. Their discussion analyzed the potential to strengthen the Catholic identity of institutions.
During the meeting of the Pontifical Commission, O'Donnell visited and met with Church leaders such as Cardinal Marc Oulette, the president of the Commission, and Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston.
"A re-emphasis on the liberal arts—especially philosophy and theology—is essential to any Catholic education," O'Donnell said. "We also noted that 'Ex corde Ecclesiae' needed to be taken as the definitive and defining document for the strengthening of Catholic identity."
The group agreed in their final report from a plenary session, that above all else a Catholic college and university must be a place where the student encounters Jesus Christ.
"If that is not taking place, then there is no reason for the college's or university's existence," O'Donnell said.
A video message from Pope Francis was played at the Commission's meeting. The Holy Father "expressed his hope that the Americas would become a source for a new evangelization," O'Donnell noted in the Christendom release.
Catholic Education Daily reported in November that O'Donnell attended and contributed to the Pontifical Council for the Family's 21st Plenary Assembly in Rome.
Christendom College is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.
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