Benedict urges colleges to bolster Catholic identity

May 21, 2012

Pope Benedict called on America's Catholic colleges and universities to reaffirm their Catholic identity by ensuring orthodoxy in theological studies and accepting the oversight of bishops.

The pope made his remarks May 5 to a group of U.S. bishops who were making their ad limina visits to the Vatican.

While he acknowledged recent efforts by America's Catholic institutions of higher education to "reaffirm their distinctive identity in fidelity to their founding ideals and the Church's mission," Pope Benedict said "much remains to be done."

The pope emphasized the need for compliance with canon law in the appointment of theology instructors, who are required to possess a "mandate" from the local bishop.

The requirement for a mandate was underscored in 1990 by Blessed John Paul II in his apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, but many Catholic theology departments in the U.S. have yet to comply.