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Identity and Vision at Catholic Colleges and Universities1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 March 2013

Anne M. Clifford
Iowa State University


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College Theology Society Presidential Address
Copyright © The College Theology Society 2008

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2 Maclean, Norman, “Publisher's Note,” Young Men and Fire (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), vii.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

3 Dulles, Avery, The Catholicity of the Church (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), 185.Google Scholar

4 Panikkar, Raimon, “Christians and so-called Non-Christians,” Cross Currents 22 (Summer-Fall 1972): 281308.Google Scholar

5 Dulles, , The Catholicity of the Church, 185.Google Scholar

6 Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, “Catholic Higher Education Frequently Asked Questions,” (accessed 12 September 2008).

7 Greinacher, Norbert, “Catholic Identity in the Third Epoch of Church History, The Second Vatican Council and Its Consequences for the Theory and Practice of the Catholic Church,” in Provost, James and Walf, Knut, eds., Catholic Identity, Concilium 1994/5 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1994), 6.Google Scholar

8 This purpose is reflected in an emphasis on character formation, which was featured strongly in the literature of Catholic universities and colleges prior to the 1960s; see Gallin, Alice O.S.U., Negotiating Identity, Catholic Higher Education Since 1960 (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000), 1.Google Scholar

9 Hogan, Peter E., The Catholic University of America, 1887–1896: The Rectorship of Thomas J. Conaty (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1949), 49Google Scholar; cited by O'Brien, David J. in “The Church and Higher Education,” Horizons 17 (1990): 13.Google Scholar

10 Ibid., 13–14.

11 Hesburgh, Theodore M., “Looking Back at Newman,” America, 3 March 1962, 721Google Scholar; cited by O'Brien, 15.

12 O'Brien, 8.

13 Phan, Peter, “Catholic Identity and Religious Education Today,” Horizons 25 (1998): 169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

14 For a detailed account of these developments during the 1960s, see Gallin, , Negotiating Identity, 3370.Google Scholar

15 Autonomy of Catholic universities and colleges from external Church authority is delineated in the International Federation of Catholic Universities document, entitled “The Nature of the Contemporary Catholic University,” approved at a meeting held at Land of Lakes in 1967, cited with analysis by Gallin, in Negotiating Identity, 5456.Google Scholar She points out that some judged the move to autonomy to be “legitimate and necessary,” while others believed it would “lead Catholic universities away from the church and down the slippery slope to secularization” (56).

16 Ibid., 83. Gallin reports that in 1970 the College and University Department of the National Catholic Education Association set up a special task force to consider “the purpose and identity” of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

17 “The Catholic University in the Modern World,” College Newsletter [of the National Catholic Educational Association] 35 (March 1973): 4; for the entire thirteen page document see (accessed 15 May 2008). In preparation for the Second Congress, the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education invited the member institutions of the International Federation of Catholic Universities to elect delegates. Forty delegates representing twenty-three nations participated in the congress held on 22–29 November 1972 at the Vatican.

18 Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae (15 August 1990), http://www. (accessed 15 May 2008).

19 Orsy, Ladislas, “Comment on ‘A Canonical Commentary on Ex Corde Ecclesiae’ by James H. Provost,” in Langan, John P. SJ, ed., Catholic Universities in Church and Society, A Dialogue on Ex Corde Ecclesiae (Washington: Georgetown University Press, 1993), 149.Google Scholar

20 Ex Corde Ecclesiae states: “In order not to endanger the Catholic identity of the University or Institute of Higher Studies, the number of non-Catholic teachers should not be allowed to constitute a majority….” (“General Norms,” Article 4 (“The University Community”), #4). This norm, however, does not take into consideration how knowledgeable about Catholicism are the Catholic and non-Catholic faculty members.

21 Dwyer, Judith A. and Zech, Charles E., “ACCU Survey of Catholic Colleges and Universities: Report on Faculty Development and Curriculum,” Current Issues in Catholic Higher Education 16, No. 2 (1996): 524.Google Scholar

22 Sullins, D. Paul, “The Difference Catholic Makes Catholic Faculty and Catholic Identity,” Journal for Scientific Study for Religion 43, 1 (2004): 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

23 Conglin, Richard, “How Catholic the Faculty?”, Notre Dame Magazine (Winter 20062007): Scholar (accessed 10 September 2008). This article has prompted many responses including Miscamble, Wilson D. CSC, “The Faculty ‘Problem,’ How Can Catholic Identity Be Preserved?America, 10 September 2007, 27.Google Scholar

24 Morey, Melanie M. and Piderit, John J. SJ, Catholic Higher Education (New York; Oxford University Press, 2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

25 Ibid., 62–63 and passim. (Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, with over 2,000 students, is the largest immersion institution of higher learning.)

26 This statistic was compiled by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in 2006 and is available at (accessed 18 May 2008).

27 Ibid., 64–65. This type of institution is the most common and includes Villanova University on the east coast and Loyola Marymount University on the west.

28 Ibid., 65–66. Georgetown University in Washington, DC is the most prominent of the cohort institutions.

29 Ibid., 64–65. DePaul University in Chicago seems to fit the criteria for a diaspora institution.

30 “Meeting with Catholic Educators: the Address of Benedict XVI” at The Catholic University of America (Washington, DC), 17 April 2008, (accessed 20 May 2008). Benedict XVI does not attribute the Catholic identity of Catholic universities and colleges to statistics (student or faculty), but rather to making every Catholic educational institution a place “to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth.”

31 Yanikoski, Richard, “Do Catholic Universities Make the Grade?U.S. Catholic, 72, No. 11 (November 2007): 19.Google Scholar

32 “Men and Women for Others,” a speech given in Valencia, Spain on the Feast of St. Ignatius (31 July 1973), in Pedro Arrupe, Essential Writings, ed. Burke, Kevin (Mary-knoll, NY: Orbis, 2004), 173.Google Scholar

33 Currie, Charles L. SJ, “Sunset or Sunrise? Where Are We and Where We Are Going in Jesuit Higher Education,” America, 20 May 2000, 89.Google ScholarPubMed

34 “Catholic Colleges and Universities,” (accessed 10 May 2008).

35 Pressures to meet the requirements of accrediting bodies for professional degrees contributed to this. Fortunately, after discussion, the faculty voted in favor of a curriculum that included a creative arts requirement.

36 For more on this point, see Ross, Susan A., “Women, Beauty, and Justice: Moving Beyond von Balthasar,” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, 25 (2005): 7998.Google Scholar

37 Plato recognized this to be true in the Symposium 211e-212a, where he has Diotima argue that only when a person sees the beautiful is she able to give birth to “true virtue” and take hold of what is true. See The Symposium and the Phaedrus: Plato's Erotic Dialogues, trans. Cobb, William S. (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press 1993), 49.Google Scholar

38 “Hurrahing in Harvest,” in Poems and Prose of Gerard Manley Hopkins, ed. Gardner, W. H. (New York: Penguin Books, 1963), 31.Google Scholar

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