Thursday, August 20, 2009

The new school year and Ex Corde Ecclesiae: On Catholic Universities

Next week the 2009-2010 school year begins for a great many universities and colleges in the United States. For those at Catholic institutions, an appropriate prelude to the year would be to read (or reread) John Paul II's Ex Corde Ecclesiae: On Catholic Universities. Here is an excerpt (citations and notes omitted) :

The primary mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel in such a way that a relationship between faith and life is established in each individual and in the socio-cultural context in which individuals live and act and communicate with one another. Evangelization means "bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new... It is a question not only of preaching the Gospel in ever wider geographic areas or to ever greater numbers of people, but also of affecting and, as it were, upsetting, through the power of the Gospel, humanity's criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation."

By its very nature, each Catholic University makes an important contribution to the Church's work of evangelization. It is a living institutional witness to Christ and his message, so vitally important in cultures marked by secularism, or where Christ and his message are still virtually unknown. Moreover, all the basic academic activities of a Catholic University are connected with and in harmony with the evangelizing mission of the Church: research carried out in the light of the Christian message which puts new human discoveries at the service of individuals and society; education offered in a faith-context that forms men and women capable of rational and critical judgment and conscious of the transcendent dignity of the human person; professional training that incorporates ethical values and a sense of service to individuals and to society; the dialogue with culture that makes the faith better understood, and the theological research that translates the faith into contemporary language. "Precisely because it is more and more conscious of its salvific mission in this world, the Church wants to have these centres closely connected with it; it wants to have them present and operative in spreading the authentic message of Christ."

2 comments:

Rondinelly Ribeiro said...

Hi dr. Francis Beckwith. I'm from Brazil. I can't find the article A Lutheran's Case for Catholicism from dr. Robert Koons anymore on internet (in links to Univ. of Texas and Scribid). What happened? There's any other link where i can read or download it?

Francis J. Beckwith said...

I really don't know what's happened to Professor Koons' essay. Perhaps you can write him at the University of Texas and see if he would email you a copy. I have an electronic copy, but I don't think it would be right for me to post or send it with the permission of Professor Koons.