In the 25 years following Vatican II, Catholic colleges and universities experienced an identity crisis that closely paralleled the one taking place within the larger context of the Roman Catholic church itself. American Catholic Higher Education is a reference volume containing the documents that reveal church officials’ and university presidents’ collaborative efforts to answer the questions: What does it mean to be a university or college? And, specifically, what does it mean for such an institution to be Catholic?
The documents in this collection have been arranged to show that in the struggle to articulate the special role of a Catholic university, Vatican officials and university presidents engaged in a dialogue that went back and forth for 25 years, beginning in 1965 with the International Federation of Catholic Universities’s attempt to formulate a definitive statement, and culminating in the adoption of the apostolic constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, signed by Pope John Paul II in 1990. So that the reader can trace the development of this dialogue, various drafts of several of the documents are given. They are presented here in 4 groupings: Those which fed into the statement issued by the International Federation of Catholic Universities, “The Catholic University in the Modern World,” (1972); those which have subsequently attempted to explicate and/or modify that statement, (1973–1980); the documents that dealt specifically with the development of the revised Code of Canon Law, (1977–1983); and finally, the many drafts of the Ex Corde Ecclesiae (1985–1990).
“This is a collection of the documents on Catholic higher education compiled by the executive director of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. They represent a continuing dialogue between U.S. university presidents, U.S. bishops, and Roman authorities. Documents for which the official language is Latin are presented in English.” — Theology Digest
“. . . [T]his book provides indispensable documentary context for discussion of issues of identity and mission in U.S. Catholic higher education. Her collection chronicles a dialogue of more than two decades between the Vatican and Catholic university presidents on the question of Catholic identity.”— www.catholicbooksreview.org, PRE-2000