Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily


Catholic Colleges Get Valuable New Tool to Assess Catholic Identity

As the U.S. Catholic bishops continue their 10-year review of Catholic colleges and universities, The Cardinal Newman Society has published a new handbook that will help leaders of Catholic colleges and universities evaluate and strengthen their institutions’ Catholic identity.  The handbook Assessing Catholic Identity is published by the Society’s Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education and is available at

“At this crucial time when Catholic college and university presidents are thinking critically about the mission and identity of their institutions, it is essential that they draw upon the treasure-trove of guidance offered by the magisterium of the Catholic Church on the subject,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Assessing Catholic Identity provides a compendium of Church directives for Catholic higher education organized by college function, with open-ended questions revealing strengths and weaknesses in Catholic identity. A veritable roadmap to faithfulness, this handbook reminds us that the path to strong Catholic identity is both practical and attainable.”

This month marks the ten-year anniversary of the U.S. bishops’ Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States, which became effective in 2001 following approval by the Holy See. The Application implements Bl. Pope John Paul II’s 1990 apostolic constitution for Catholic higher education, Ex corde Ecclesiae.

In January, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that bishops and Catholic college leaders would engage in conversations this year as the first step in a review of the first decade of implementing the Application. The bishops will “sharetheir reflections with one another at USCCB regional meetings during the General Assembly in November 2011,” according to the announcement.  “The presentations will then be compiled and presented to the president of the Conference.”

Assessing Catholic Identity draws entirely from directives of the Vatican and U.S. bishops under the authority of Canon Law. Ex corde Ecclesiae and the U.S. bishops’ Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae in the United States provide universal standards for every institution of Catholic higher education that is not an ecclesiastical faculty under direct Vatican oversight.

The handbook considers four basic subject areas of Catholic higher education: institutional identity, leadership and administration, faculty and academics, and students and campus life.  These subject areas are further broken down into sub-sections. For each particular topic, Assessing Catholic Identity summarizes magisterial guidance and proposes review questions to help Catholic colleges evaluate their Catholic identity.

Catholic college and university officials may request copies of Assessing Catholic Identity by calling 703-367-0333, ext. 107 or emailing The handbook is also available online at

A division of The Cardinal Newman Society, The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education advises and assists academic and religious leaders in efforts to strengthen the Catholic identity and academic quality of Catholic colleges and universities.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.


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