July 16, 1999

Fr. Horacio de la Costa in his book Light Calvary tells the story of the beginning of the Ateneo de Manila and of Jesuit schools in the Philippines 140 years ago. In that story, he dwells long on an image, that of the bridge over and a street connecting the Jesuit Residence with the Ateneo Municipal. To quote him [Light Cavalry, p.39].

“The Ayuntamiento grants the first Rector, Father Cuevas, the singular privilege of building a bridge over the street by which the professors will be able to pass from their living quarters to the school. There was something symbolic in that bridge when it was built, something almost sacramental in its air of being at once aloof from, and in the midst of the ever increasing swirl and eddy of traffic that reared and rumbled beneath it for close upon eighty years.”

Times would change, but “the bridge itself did not change, nor did the stream of learning that ran through it… in the line of Jesuit teachers passing and repassing … Spanish, American, Filipino, but taught, and teaching-in the same tradition; the tradition of Stonyhurst, of Coimbra, of La Fleche; the tradition that trained Francis of Sales the saint, Bossuet, the orator and that also trained Jose Rizal, who died for his country.”

Today that physical bridge is gone. The Ateneo de Manila has moved several times in its history, arriving now at its present campuses in Loyola Heights and Makati. But the image and symbolism of the bridge endures.

You also used the image of a bridge in the important “Ignatian Spirituality in Education” workshop you held for all the Ateneos in 1998. You then went back across the bridge of memory and time to the beginnings of Jesuit schools in Master Ignatius and the first Jesuits. The workshop also strengthened the bridges across mountains and seas between the five Ateneos, in Manila, Naga, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Zamboanga. It was bridge as well between Jesuits and lay co-workers and co-leaders in the mission of the Ateneos and between different generations of leaders. I am told that your exercise in the communal history of each of the Ateneos gave you a deep sense of and pride in the spiritual and educational tradition of which we are all heirs. That single bridge over Anda street in 1859 has become, in our increasingly interconnected world, a network of bridges across time and space and cultures.

It is good then to begin this celebration of the 140 years of Jesuit Education in the Philippines by going back over time to important events and people. First, Father Jose Cuevas who was the first rector of the Ateneo Municipal de Manila and the founder of both the Ateneo and the Escuela Normal de Maestros. These institutions embodied the long Jesuit tradition of education of the young and the preparation of teachers. Next, father Federico Faura, the key leader in the early years of he Manila Observatory, exemplifying our commitment to science and learning in the service of the nation. In 1996 and 1998 you held symposia and other events to commemorate distinguished alumni, who had showed exemplary leadership and courage in the Philippine Revolution. Above all, you memorialized Dr. Jose Rizal, your national hero. In remembering them, we remember also the Jesuits of the old Ateneo, such as Father Sanchez, who were beloved mentors and friends of this earlier generation of alumni and leaders.

With the shift of the Philippines colonial history from Spain to the United States, came also the courageous decision of the Spanish Jesuits in th Philippines. These men, “finding themselves working continually at a disadvantage in a country rapidly being Americanized in language and institutions… pleaded for Americans to whom they might entrust the Mission and the people that they loved so well.” In 1921 twenty American Jesuits arrived. Among them Father Francis X. Byrne, Superior, Father Henry Irwin, distinguished dramatist after whom this theater is named, and Father John Pollock, beloved missionary and confessor to thousands.

The American period would see the growth of the Ateneo de Manila along the model of the Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. You remember its distinguished tradition in language, literature and drama and, in later years, in the natural and social sciences. We remember, too, the work of Father Joseph Mulry, Father Walter Hogan and others in pushing for social reform along the lines of Catholic social Teaching. This work would follower in later years into Ateneans taking leadership for the cause of workers through th Federation of Free Workers, of farmers through the Federation of Free Farmers, and of principled political parties through the Christian Social Movement.

The 20the century saw the deeper insertion of the Jesuit educational apostolate into the life of a growing nation through the building and development of other Ateneos: Zamboanga in 1916, Cagayan de Oro in 1933, Naga in 1940, Tuguegarao in 1945, San Pablo in 1947 and Davao in 1948. Each of them grew to be a a center of learning and religious and secular culture, deeply immersed in the life and hopes of the community and region where they are located. Today, the four that remain, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Naga and Davao are considered the outstanding educational institutions in their regions and continue to form new generations of leaders for the nation. Among the many pioneers to whom we owe these outstanding institutions, we should cite Fr. William Masterson, whose vision, which was far ahead of his time, was so decisive for the future of the Ateneo de Manila and Xavier University.

The expulsion of the Jesuit missionaries from China 50 years ago created new bridges and relationships. These great missionaries built Jesuit schools with a special focus on the Filipino-Chinese community: Sacred Heart School in 1954, Xavier School in 1956 and Santa Maria in 1958. Their goal in building these schools was evangelization and integration. They wished to help the Chinese Filipinos discover their link to Christ and to build a bridge between them and th Filipinos. Their success may be measured by remembering that for example, only 30% of the students of Xavier School in the early years were Catholic. Today 90% are Catholic. A look at their student population today shows that they are indeed a bridge between Chinese Filipinos and the Philippines, their present home. This vision and this apostolate are a gift to the Philippines in this time of globalization and the interweaving of nations, religions and cultures in Asia and the world.

I invite you to travel today through the eyes of our imagination across time and across the Philippines to the eight Jesuit schools, colleges and universities and to the many alumni and alumnae here and in many countries of the world. We can marvel at how the bridge over Anda street has grown into a great network spanning islands, cities, faith and cultures. We may also recall, as part of the society’s educational apostolate, the great work of forming and education future priests for the Philippines in San Jose and St. John Vianney seminaries. Today this Jesuit educational network brings the same coeducational and spiritual tradition that gave birth to the Ateneo Municipal 140 years ago to over 60,000 students across the archipelago.

The last 30 years have seen much change in the Philippines, and the Jesuit schools have experienced and been part of this change. You have seen the transition from American Jesuits for Filipino Jesuits. We remember Father Horacio de la Costa who, as provincial during this time of change, gave so much of himself to bridge this transition. That task was not without its share of difficulties and pain. You have seen also the transition ten years ago from the missionaries from China to Filipino Jesuits. You have seen the transition, too, to the increasing leadership role of lay co-workers and to the realization of Jesuit-lay partnership in the leadership of our schools. Through th years of martial law and the intense processes of social and political reform, our schools have been more deeply immersed in the struggles transitions you have not only grown, but you have grown much more closely together.

Today then we celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Ateneo de Manila and Jesuit education in th Philippines. We not only have many reasons to be grateful and to celebrate, but above all we are asked to reflect on the challenges of the next millennium and how we might face them together. In the spirit of the Spiritual Exercises, we ask ourselves: “what more might we do for Christ?” what more? Quid magis?

This “magis” in Jesuit spirituality has always emerged from a vision of the needs of the world in the spirit of the contemplation on the Incarnation. Our response to the needs of the world of our time continues, [in the words of 34th General Congregation} to be that of servants of Christ’s mission. What is the world of our time? It is a world in which the globalization of the economy has brought about undeniable advantages, but in which also it has widened the gap between the winners and the losers. You know this better than I through your experience of the Asian boom and the Asian crisis of the last decade. You know what this means in the successes and pains of many of your friends and acquaintances. You know this, too, through the so many Filipino migrant workers and through their children studying in your schools.

In this globalizing world, the role of the educational apostolate, which has always been so important to the Society of Jesus in th Philippines and in the word, is ever more crucial. For one of the defining directions of this world is the move from the industrial to the knowledge society. In that emerging society, the future of individuals and nations depends most crucially on the quality of their education.

The response that is asked of us in this newly globalizing world begins with a renewed fidelity to core values in our educational mission. In 1973 Father Pedro Arrupe issued to us an enduring call: “Today our prime educational objective must be to form men and women for others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ.” We are invited to ask how well we have helped our students to grow as Father Arrupe asked them: to live simply,not to profit from injustice, to help change the structures of injustice.

We are asked to reflect as well on our pursuit of excellence, in the development of th fullest human and spiritual potential of our students. As Jesuit schools, colleges and universities you are asked to be centers of excellence in the major tasks of teaching, research an service. In the actual care that such excellence not be for the benefit or a few only. Rather let it be at the service of the integral development pf the entire society. In a world where the bar of excellence continues to escalate, this is an increasingly difficult challenge.

Moreover, the forces of globalization are carried forward by developments in technology, communications, and business. Our colleges and universities, therefore, are challenged to develop and expand schools and programs in these fields, in which expertise and leadership are crucial for the Philippines. But these are precisely the fields where there is most intense competition for expertise and resources.

At the same time, teaching and research in Jesuit schools must look to the whole and to greater good for the human person and society. It is thus of the utmost importance that you preserve the humanistic tradition so central to our Ignatian educational heritage.

The Society of Jesus has always been international in vision, mission, and organization. The early Jesuits established what was the first school system in the world. You already have international linkages through the East Asian Jesuit Educational Conference, through bilateral links with many schools and colleges. You have also been responding to our mission in Cambodia by contributing programs to the building up of their universities and schools. Our globalizing world invites us to renew ans strengthen our commitment to this international dimension of our apostolate.

I invite you to reflect on the challenges to Jesuit schools in the Philippines in the context of the mission of the Society of Jesus today. [the 34th General Congregation] demands an integrated approach to all our apostolates. Proclamation of faith, promotion of justice, encountering cultures with th gospel and dialogue with people of other faiths form essential elements of the one integral movement in our evangelizing mission. This defines our call to answer the needs of the world of our time.

It is faith that allows us to see goodness and hope in a world filled with so much evil and suffering. You have the gift of a great majority of students who have already been blessed by faith through baptism and through sacramental life. But you know well that is not enough. We continue to ask ourselves how can it be that in the only Christian country in Asia there is so much corruption, dishonesty, insufficient concern for the poor and the needy. How can the Jesuit schools in the Philippines help students grow into the mature and authentic faith that finds God in this sinful world and then lives by the Gospel in all its implications?

You have done much already to help students grow in faith: through religion and theology classes, through the new Catholic Catechism for Filipinos,through liturgy, retreats Days with the Lord. You have also begun more intensely to develop programs for sharing the Ignatian spirituality with students, faculty and staff. You are working to let these programs flower into programs in ethics, in formation in character and discipline. But you are challenged to continue to ask: What more are we called to do to form our students and one another in faith?

This faith must issue into the promotion of justice. Father Arrupe had already said in 1973 that we must form “men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for people is a farce.” this is a particular challenge for the Philippines where so many families live in desperate and degrading poverty and where the gap between rich and poor is so great. It is a special challenge for Jesuit schools. So many of our alumni and alumnae hold key positions of leadership. Many of our alumni and alumnae hold key positions of leadership. Many of our students are both among th privileged elite and likely to be important leaders in the future. As the Gospel of Luke reminds us, “To whom more has been entrusted.” This is true of our students and alumni. It is true also of our schools.

Much, of course, is already being done. Many of our students in the provinces already come from the poor and the less privileged. The Ateneo de Manila has a large scholarship program and seeds to expand this even further. You have developed programs to form students towards a life of service, and the Jesuit Volunteer Program is a beacon of hope and challenge to many. You have programs to help strengthen teachers in th public schools. You have also developed programs to form government leaders, particularly at the local level in both the needed competence and skills and in values and ethics. But the face of Christ in the millions of families who remain desperately poor must continue to haunt us and to invite us to ask what more can we do?

The rhetoric of globalization invites a picture of the global village and a homogenizing world culture. But that is the view from the mountaintops. In the end, life is lived in the valleys, and from that viewpoint we find that the world actually patchwork of a multitude of cultures. As the wars an ethnic cleansing in Africa and the Balkans daily have reminded us, harmony and dialogue across this multitude of cultures is a major endeavor yet to be achieved. In less dramatic ways, we see this fragmentation of cultures among our youth. Commentators tell us that a medium such as television in the 1950s an 1960s contributed to the unifying of national culture. Whole families an even neighbors sat together to watch th same shows. Today the world is filled with isolated individuals living in their own Internet world. Parents hardly know what shows their children watch or what may be their favorite Internet sites.

Perhaps more than any other institution, a school is a privileged place for the dialogue of cultures. As Catholic and Jesuit schools, we are asked to reflect how we may be privileged place for the dialogue between the Gospel and culture. Again, you have the gift of a nation where the Gospel has already been planted in the heart of Filipino culture. Again, you have the gift of a nation where the Gospel has already been planted in the heart of Filipino culture. But that culture today is under immense pressure:from the diversity of islands, languages and cultures in the nation; from the tensions across socio-economic cultures; from the influences and pressures from foreign cultures coming through migrant workers, through media and a globalizing economy. How can we bring the liberating power of the Gospel to exercise its trans formative power on individuals and institutions, first in our schools and then in the larger Philippine society?

Lastly, we are asked to respond to the challenge of inter-religious dialogue. The Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia, which is the home of the world’s great religions. While cultures in Europe and North America may be dominantly secular or secularizing, nations and cultures in Asia retain a deep seated religiosity, not only in the individual sphere, but also in institutional and national life. Within the Philippines, our schools particularly in Mindanao are asked how we contribute to Christian-Muslim dialogue, in the four-fold dealogue of life, of action, of religious experience and theological exchange. The future world of our students will be more and more that of religious pluralism. We are asked to reflect on how we help our participation in what John Paul II calls “the age-long dealogue which God maintains with humanity.”

The challenges are immense. They have always been from the very roots of Jesuit mission in Ignatius’ vision of the Trinity, looking down at the “whole circuit of the globe”. How will we get there? Who will bring us there?

We need new leadership teams, and these teams will be partnerships between Jesuits and lay. Such cooperation of Jesuit and laity is a theme of major importance for the Society. In all Jesuit schools there is already de facto sharing of leadership between Jesuits and lay academic an administrative leaders. You have taken many important steps to make this a true partnership and to build teams in the spirit of our First Fathers, who called themselves “Friends in the Lord”. We are called not only to share mission and responsibility, but to share vision as well and to share spirituality and life. This is so crucial for the future vitality of our schools that i invite you to give highest priority to continuing reflection on it an on th concrete changes and challenges to us.

We need resources and support from our alumni and friends. The mission of building up the Jesuit schools in the Philippines to be the centers of teaching, learning, and research for Church and nation cannot be carried out by just some of you. It demands the friendship, dedication and support of all of you, particularly our alumni an alumnae and friends. The demands of excellence today require ever increasing resources. Our commitment to make Jesuit education accessible to the greater majority of the country is based in the openness and generosity of those who have been more blessed in life.On our part, our task is to make you a genuine participant and partner in our educational mission. It is to build with you a community committed to the strengthening of Jesuit schools of excellence in the service of Church and nation.

We need to build bridges to the next generation and prepare the new teams of Jesuit and lay leaders. The experience of the last decades teaches us that we cannot easily see the challenges for this next generation. But we also know that they are almost sure to be even greater and more complex. We owe it, therefore, to our institutions, to the church and to the country, to begin even now with preparing the next generation of leaders for out Jesuit schools.

Finally, perhaps the time has come to bring into full fruition and reality the creation of a true Jesuit school system in the Philippines. I know that you have discussed this several times over the last few years and that many difficulties and obstacles remain. But in a world defined more and more by globalization and networking, it is time to bring these schools bound by a common Jesuit spiritual heritage and tradition into an effective institutional system. This may be a great part of the “more”, the magis that is asked of you enter the new millennium.

This network of Jesuit schools, bridging time, distance, and cultures, may then be the gift that you bring to Church and Nation as the Philippines faces the challenges of the new millennium. A hundred and forty years ago the first Jesuits, with the bridge over Anda Street began symbolically to build bridges between the Ateneo and the dynamic Filipino society about it. A hundred forty years later I end with the confident hope that the Ateneo will be able to continue building such bridges through time and space toward a new millennium in which there will flourish development, the justice of the Kingdom, and peace for all in the Philippines and in the entire world.

The Service of the Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education

Address of Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, at Santa Clara University about faith and justice in Jesuit higher education, October 6, 2000

Within the complex time and place we are in, and in the light of the recent General Congregations, I want to spell out several ideal characteristics as manifest in three complementary dimensions of Jesuit higher education: in who our students become, in what our faculty do, and in how our universities proceed. When I speak of ideals, some are easy to meet, others remain persistently challenging, but together they serve to orient our schools and, in the long run, to identify them. At the same time, the U.S. provincials have recently established an important Higher Education Committee to propose criteria on the staffing, leadership, and Jesuit sponsorship of our colleges and universities. May these criteria help to implement the ideal characteristics we now meditate on together.

Today’s predominant ideology reduces the human world to a global jungle whose primordial law is the survival of the fittest. Students who subscribe to this view want to be equipped with well-honed professional and technical skills in order to compete in the market and secure one of the relatively scarce fulfilling and lucrative jobs available. This is the success that many students (and parents!) expect.

All American universities, ours included, are under tremendous pressure to opt entirely for success in this sense. But what our students want — and deserve — includes but transcends this “worldly success” based on marketable skills. The real measure of our Jesuit universities lies in who our students become.

For 450 years, Jesuit education has sought to educate “the whole person” intellectually and professionally, psychologically, morally, and spiritually. But in the emerging global reality, with its great possibilities and deep contradictions, the whole person is different from the whole person of the Counter-Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, or the 20th Century. Tomorrow’s “whole person” cannot be whole without an educated awareness of society and culture with which to contribute socially, generously, in the real world. Tomorrow’s whole person must have, in brief, a well-educated solidarity.

We must therefore raise our Jesuit educational standard to “educate the whole person of solidarity for the real world.” Solidarity is learned through “contact” rather than through “concepts,” as the Holy Father said recently. When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change.

Students must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering, and engage it constructively. They should learn to perceive, think, judge, choose, and act for the rights of others, especially the disadvantaged and the oppressed. Campus ministry does much to foment such intelligent, responsible, and active compassion, compassion that deserves the name solidarity.

Our universities also boast a splendid variety of in-service programs, outreach programs, insertion programs, off-campus contacts, and hands-on courses. These should be at the core of every Jesuit university’s program of studies.

Our students are involved in every sort of social action — tutoring drop-outs, demonstrating in Seattle, serving in soup kitchens, promoting pro-life, protesting against the School of the Americas — and we are proud of them for it. But the measure of Jesuit universities is not what our students do but who they become and the adult Christian responsibility they will exercise in the future. For now, the activities they engage in, even with much good effect, are for their formation. The students need close involvement with the poor and the marginal now, in order to learn about reality and become adults of solidarity in the future.

If the measure and purpose of our universities lies in what the students become, then the faculty are at the heart of our universities. Their mission is tirelessly to seek the truth and to form each student into a whole person of solidarity who will take responsibility for the real world. What do they need in order to fulfill this essential vocation?

The faculty’s research not only obeys the canons of each discipline but ultimately embraces human reality in order to help make the world a more fitting place for six billion of us to inhabit. I want to affirm that university knowledge is valuable for its own sake and at the same time is knowledge that must ask itself, “For whom? For what?”

In some disciplines such as the life sciences, the social sciences, law, business, or medicine, the connections with our time and place may seem more obvious. But every field or branch of knowledge has values to defend, with repercussions on the ethical level. Every discipline, beyond its necessary specialization, must engage with human society, human life, and the environment, cultivating moral concern about how people ought to live together.

All professors, in spite of the cliche of the ivory tower, are in contact with the world. But no point of view is ever neutral or value-free. By preference, by option, our Jesuit point of view is that of the poor. So our professors’ commitment to faith and justice entails a most significant shift in viewpoint and choice of values. A legitimate question, even if it does not sound academic, is for each professor to ask, “When researching and teaching, where and with whom is my heart?” To expect our professors to make such an explicit option and speak about it is obviously not easy; it entails risks. But I do believe that this is what Jesuit educators have publicly stated, in Church and in society, to be our defining commitment.

To make sure that the real concerns of the poor find their place in research, faculty members need an organic collaboration with those who work among and for the poor and actively seek justice. They should be involved together in all aspects: presence among the poor, designing research, gathering data, thinking through problems, planning and action, doing evaluation and theological reflection. In each Jesuit Province where our universities are found, the faculty’s privileged working relationships should be with projects of the Jesuit social apostolate — on issues such as poverty and exclusion, housing, AIDS, ecology, and Third World debt — and with the Jesuit Refugee Service helping refugees and forcibly displaced people.

Just as the students need the poor in order to learn, so the professors need partnerships with the social apostolate in order to research and teach and form. Such partnerships do not turn Jesuit universities into branch plants of social ministries or agencies of social change, but are a verifiable pledge of the faculty’s option and really help, as the expression goes, “to keep your feet to the fire!”

If the professors choose viewpoints incompatible with the justice of the Gospel and consider researching, teaching, and learning to be separable from moral responsibility for their social repercussions, they are sending a message to their students that they can pursue their careers and self-interest without reference to anyone “other” than themselves.

By contrast, when faculty do take up interdisciplinary dialogue and socially engaged research in partnership with social ministries, they are exemplifying and modeling knowledge that is service, and the students learn by imitating them.

If the measure of our universities is who the students become, and if the faculty are the heart of it all, then what is there left to say? It is perhaps the third topic, the character of our universities — how they proceed internally and how they impact on society — which is the most difficult.

What, then, constitutes this ideal character? And what contributes to the public’s perception of it? In the case of a Jesuit university, this character must surely be the mission: the diakonia fidei (the service of faith) and the promotion of justice, as the Jesuit university way of proceeding and of serving socially.

In the words of the 34th general congregation, a Jesuit university must be faithful to both the noun “university” and to the adjective “Jesuit.” To be a university requires dedication “to research, teaching and the various forms of service that correspond to its cultural mission.” To be Jesuit “requires that the university act in harmony with the demands of the service of faith and promotion of justice.”

The first way that our universities began living out their faith-justice commitment was through their admissions policies, affirmative action for minorities, and scholarships for disadvantaged students; and these continue to be effective means. An even more telling expression of the Jesuit university’s nature is found in policies concerning hiring and tenure. As a university it is necessary to respect the established academic, professional, and labor norms, but as Jesuit it is essential to go beyond them and find ways of attracting, hiring, and promoting those who actively share the mission.

I believe that we have made considerable and laudable Jesuit efforts to go deeper and further: we have brought our Ignatian spirituality, our reflective capacities, some of our international resources, to bear. Good results are evident.


Address of Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Superior General of the Society of Jesus To the International Meeting of Jesuit Higher Education Rome (Monte Cucco), May 27, 2001


1. It gives me great pleasure to greet all of you, Jesuits, lay men and women, responsible for higher education for the Society throughout the world, and to welcome you to Rome. I thank you for finding time, amid all your activities and responsibilities, to come to this meeting. I very much appreciate your commitment and devotion to the service of the mission of the Society in the field of education in your various countries.

2. The last time I addressed an assembly such as this was in Frascati in 1985. In barely sixteen years, events have occurred which have changed the world. To respond to the challenges of the new times, the universities of the Society have undertaken during this period a profound reflection and have taken action. At this meeting, the body and the head of the Society have a wonderful opportunity for contact, in order to discern the signs of the times and try to discover together what it is that the Lord wants of us.

3. I would like in this address to comment upon the topics you have chosen for this Conference, from the perspective of the founding charism of Ignatius of Loyola, and contribute some elements which may help in the process of your reflection. I realize that you represent very diverse institutions. Thus, when I refer without distinction to the universities or to higher education, in your reflections and discussions you will have to make the necessary adjustments to your particular situation.


The Society’s option for education

4. The ties that unite the Society of Jesus with the university world date from the time when Ignatius and the first companions met at the University of Paris. This was where Ignatius recruited his first followers, for the most part lay students. Nevertheless, at first Jesuits did not consider the university as a special instrument of the apostolate. The active involvement of the Society with education, in particular with higher education and the education of externs, came later, but still within the lifetime of Ignatius.

5. We need to go back to the founding charism of Ignatius to understand fully the evolution of the Society’s involvement in education, and to recover the meaning of Jesuit education today. We would look in vain, however, for this charism in the person of Ignatius himself. His education takes place outside the university. He is a gentleman of the sword, not of the pen. After the military defeat at Pamplona, the Lord enters into his life of sickness as a school teacher treats a child –as St. Ignatius would say much later–, that is to say, teaching him.[i] After this mystical experience, there follow three years of human counter-culture, leading to a new defeat: his apostolic plan to follow the steps of Jesus in Palestine fell through, even though he was convinced that the Lord wanted him in the Holy Land. Not knowing what to do, he lets himself be guided in Barcelona by his inclination to “study for some time.”[ii] Prayerfully considering options, he acts “according to the greater motion arising from reason, and not according to some motion arising from sensitive human nature.”[iii] He starts to frequent universities –Alcalá, Salamanca, and Paris– in order to obtain a university diploma, also to protect himself from the Inquisition, suspicious of charismatic movements without proper credentials.

6. The Society was born in a university environment, but not for the purpose of founding universities and colleges. The Constitutions of 1541 would still impose a prohibition: “no studies or lectures in the Society.”[iv] Initially the Society was content to take advantage passively of existing university structures, such as in Coimbra and in Padua, in Louvain and in Cologne, for the formation and education of the Jesuits. But by 1548, eight years before the death of Ignatius, the involvement in the educational apostolate moved from being passive to being active, even ultra-active. At the rate sometimes of four or five new colleges per year, often without the necessary academic, professional and financial preparation, the Society founded educational institutions both for the formation of Jesuit students, and, significantly, for the education of “externs.”

7. The “priests of Christ who have chosen to be poor,” as the first companions were recognized,[v] had opted for a “learned” ministry. The reason why the Society had embraced colleges and universities was to “provide for the edifice of learning, and of skill in employing it so as to help make God our Creator and Lord better known and served.”[vi] Ignatius realized the formidable apostolic potential to be found in education, and did not hesitate to give it pride of place above the other “usual ministries.” The Society of the last years of Ignatius underwent a new radical change. At the death of Ignatius, the “colleges” of the Society exceeded 30 in number, while the professed houses, conceived as the classic residence of the itinerant Society, were no more than two. Clearly, the Society had taken “another path.”[vii]

8. Changing course so many times in a few years, had it not disfigured the initial image of a Society pilgrim and poor? Once again, it is essential to recall the founding charism. If Ignatius introduced the new ministry of teaching into his apostolic plan, he was “moved by the desire of serving” his Divine Majesty,[viii] as a new “offering of greater worth and moment.”[ix] The involvement of the Society with what we today call the “intellectual apostolate” was a consequence of the MAGIS, the result of the search for a greater apostolic service through an insertion into the world of culture.

9. The option for a learned ministry and the involvement in the field of education had, in fact, changed the face of the early Society. Poverty, the gratuity of ministries, apostolic mobility, the assignment of personnel, the governance of the Society itself, all this was affected by the entry of the Society into education, and by the entry of education into the Society. For some, the Society had gotten itself into a minefield. The Rector of the German College in Rome from 1564 until 1569, Gioseffo Cortesono, wrote bluntly: “The Society of Jesus is being ruined by taking on so many schools.”[x] But the “greater glory and service of God our Lord and the universal good, which is the only end sought in this matter,”[xi] was the reason for the Society’s initial involvement and for its persistence in the field of education. For the Society there is no such thing as an either-or approach between God or the world, however dangerous the latter may look. The meeting with God always takes place in the world, so that the world may come to be fully in God.[xii]

The objectives of higher education

10. If we now ask ourselves why the Society entered into higher education, we cannot find the answer in Ignatius himself but in his mission, that is his eagerness to be available apostolically to assume any ministry whatever that the mission requires. We have to wait until late in the 16th century when the Spanish Jesuit Diego Ledesma was finally able, after long inquiry, to list four reasons for promoting the Jesuit involvement in higher education.[xiii] It is quite astonishing to read in many mission statements or charters of Jesuit universities today –400 years after Ledesma– these same characteristics updated according to the needs and feelings of our times, translated into modern language. Let us look at Ledesma’s reasons and compare them with the statement of a college in the United States, published in November 1998.

11. The first motivation given by Ledesma is “to give students advantages for practical living”. Four centuries later it is expressed this way: “Jesuit education is eminently practical, focused on providing students with the knowledge and skills to excel in whatever field they choose.” That demands academic excellence. The second reason Ledesma proposes is “to contribute to the right government of public affairs.” This short sentence becomes in 1998: “Jesuit education is not merely practical, but concerns itself also with questions of values, with educating men and women to be good citizens and good leaders, concerned with the common good, and able to use their education for the service of faith and promotion of justice.”

12. Ledesma formulates with baroque words a third dimension of Jesuit higher education: “to give ornament, splendor and perfection to the rational nature of humanity.” More sober but to the point is the U.S.A. college: ‘The Jesuit education celebrates the full range of human intellectual power and achievement, confidently affirming reason, not as antithetical to faith, but as its necessary complement.” Finally Ledesma’s God-centered view of higher education: “to be a bulwark of religion, and to guide man most surely and easily to the achievement of his last end.” In more inclusive language, and in a broader dialogue approach, our modern charter states: ‘The Jesuit education places all that it does firmly within a Christian understanding of the human person as a creature of God whose ultimate destiny is beyond the human.”

13. Ignatius and the first Jesuits saw in letters and science a way to serve souls. Within the modern mentality, in which science and faith seem to run on parallel tracks, this approach may seem to many today as a threat to the essence of a university and to the methodology proper to academic research. Far be it for us to try to convert the university into a mere instrument for evangelization, or worse still, for proselytizing. The university has its own purposes that cannot be subordinated to other objectives. It is essential to respect institutional autonomy, academic freedom, and to safeguard personal and community rights within the requirements of truth and the common good.[xiv] Still, a Jesuit university pursues other objectives beyond the obvious objectives of that institution. In a Catholic university, or one of Christian inspiration, under the responsibility of the Society of Jesus, there does not exist –nor can there exist– incompatibility between the goals proper to the university, and the Christian and Ignatian inspiration that should characterize any apostolic institution of the Society. To believe the contrary, or to act in practice as if it were necessary to choose between being a university or being of the Society, would be to fall into a regrettable reductionism.

14. More now than ever, the Christian identity of our universities and the public witnessing to that identity are crucial issues because of increased secularization and dechristianization in some areas and the total marginalization of Christianity in other regions. I could say that never as in these last years have the universities of the Society shown such concern about deepening and manifesting their Catholic, Christian, Jesuit, or Ignatian identity, as the case may be. According to the specific cultural and eclesial context, this concern has been experienced in some places without special difficulty, while in others there have been tensions and misunderstandings. With “creative fidelity” to the charism of Ignatius and to the mission of the Society, I am sure that Jesuit higher education will know how to find ways to overcome the tensions and continue to “distinguish itself” in its service to the Church and to the world.

15. We would fall into a historical anachronism if we understood today “study” and the “help of souls” literally as Ignatius and the first companions understood them. Nevertheless, in continuity with the Ignatian charism, we must ask ourselves how we can make present this reality today and maintain the balance between the academic dimension and the apostolic dimension in Jesuit higher education. In a modern transposition of the problematic of times past, today we ask ourselves how we can respect the noun “university” and the adjective “Catholic,” “Christian” or “Ignatian” of our institutions; how to recognize the autonomy of earthly realities and, at the same time, the referral of all things to the Creator; how to reconcile the “service of faith” with the “promotion of justice;” how to fly in the search for truth with the two wings of faith and reason.

The involvement of the Society with intellectual work

16. Let us highlight now some specific aspects of the Ignatian understanding of higher learning. Ignatius very quickly saw the need for learning and teaching. Progressively the Jesuits felt called to learned ministry with the creative tension of a total reliance on divine grace and of the use of all human means, science and art, research and intellectual life.

17. With its lights and its shadows, the history of the Society has a long trajectory in the intellectual field, through teaching and research. This tradition would appear, according to some, to be on the wane. Several of the preparatory documents for this Conference call for the taking of a more determined position and the adoption of a clear policy on the part of the Society with respect to the intellectual apostolate. The 34th General Congregation proved to be elusive and deceptive for many, who think that intellectual apostolate was brushed aside and that the General Congregation limited itself to generalities regarding the “intellectual dimension of Jesuit ministries.”[xv]

18. It will not be documents that will invigorate intellectual work. Nevertheless, it will not be out of place to recall that already the 31st General Congregation (1965) emphasized the importance of this apostolate, insisted upon the need to prepare competent personnel and asked that facilities be given to those who work in institutions of the Society, or in other universities and scientific institutions not attached to the Society.[xvi]

19. The 32nd General Congregation (1975), which seems to some to have signified a questioning of the university apostolate for the sake of social activism, in reality insisted on scientific rigor in social research, and upon the need to dedicate oneself to the hard and in-depth study required to understand contemporary problems.[xvii] The 33rd General Congregation once again stressed the importance of the social apostolate and of research, recommending a closer link between the intellectual, pastoral and social fields.[xviii] The tension and uneasiness lasted for several years, aggravated by a disaffection of the young with respect to education. This situation, in general, appears to have now reversed itself, although the decline in the recruitment of Jesuits and the rising age of the Jesuits in some countries present a serious problem for the foreseeable future.

20. After my address at the University of Santa Clara last October, I hope it has become clear that it is not legitimate to make an incomplete, slanted and unbalanced reading of the Decree on faith and justice. The theme should be part of a comprehensive vision of the mission of the Society, such as the 34th General Congregation proposes in its Decrees on the mission.[xix] The unique character of a university of the Society is given by the mission: “the diakonia fidei and the promotion of justice, as the characteristic Jesuit university way of proceeding and of servicing socially.”[xx]

21. Periodically, in the history of the Society, there have been phases of increased intellectualism or of strident anti-intellectualism, which keep springing up in our times as well. Perhaps in our days, the temptation to short-term efficiency and the search for rapid results are threatening more than in other times the commitment of the Society to a deep intellectual effort.

22. The quality of the apostolic service, which the Society renders, will depend in large measure on its academic rigor and the level of its intellectual research. Not all Jesuits are called to work in the intellectual apostolate, but each one is called to competent and serious work in whatever field he is involved, including the pastoral and social areas. The availability to render this type of service is becoming a criterion of a vocation to the Society.[xxi] The work of a Jesuit scholar, often hard and solitary, is already a form of apostolate for Ignatius.[xxii] Plainly speaking, a vigorous spiritual and intellectual formation is necessary for our young people, as is necessary the on-going formation for every Jesuit.[xxiii]

23. The Society, then, still considers the intellectual apostolate along the lines of its mission to be of the highest importance. In a world at once globalized and diversified, one cannot expect the Society to give universal norms valid for all contexts. The fundamental criterion will always be the greater divine service and the good of souls, and the wise Ignatian principle of “adapting to places, times and persons.”[xxiv] It will be up to each Province or Region to discern what their involvement with the intellectual apostolate should be, and the means to put it seriously into practice.


Academia and society

24. Earlier when we referred to the four reasons why the Society actively took up university education, we listed the link between academic life and human society. It is already a cliché to repeat that the university is not an ivory tower, and that it does not exist for itself but for society. Other than theory, the profound meaning of this affirmation was given by the witness of Ignacio Ellacuría and his companions, assassinated in the UCA of El Salvador, who demonstrated with their lives the seriousness of their commitment and that of their university to society. Few other events have had such an impact and led to so much reflection in our universities these past years.

25. I do not think that any of our universities today runs the risk of academic isolation in a tower. The danger could be considering that what happens in a distant university of a small country is felt to be detached from one’s own reality. It is true that the surrounding reality varies from one country to another and from one continent to another. Nevertheless, whatever may be the context, the university should see itself as challenged by society, and the university should challenge society. Within an unequal interaction of mutual influences, the local and global context influences the university, and the university is called to influence society, locally and globally.

26. Pure science and research still maintain their purpose, although apparently they are no longer always linked to the practical sphere. According to John Henry Newman –perhaps more often quoted than read, now 200 years since his birth–, “knowledge is capable of being its own end, […] an end sufficient to rest in and to pursue for its own sake, surely.”[xxv] This was not exactly Ignatius’ way of thinking. While Cardinal Newman defended knowledge for its own sake, Ignatius stressed the education of future “doctores” as the practical end of a Jesuit university. Because if higher education as both means and medium has intrinsic value, it must still always ask itself: “For whom? For what?”[xxvi] The answer to these questions will always be related to the common good and the progress of human society.

27. Let us not delude ourselves: knowledge is not neutral, because it always implies values and a specific conception of the human person. Teaching and research cannot turn their backs on the surrounding society. It was in and through the colleges that the early Society interacted with culture. The university remains the place where fundamental questions that touch the person and community can be aired, in the areas of economics, politics, culture, science, theology, the search for meaning. The university should be a bearer of human and ethical values; it should be the critical conscience of the society; it should illuminate with its reflection those who are addressing the problematic of the modern or postmodern society; it should be the crucible where the diverse tendencies in human thought are debated and solutions proposed.

University and globalization

28. We have to keep in mind that Ignatius inaugurated the commitment to higher learning because the good that could be accomplished was more “universal.” To come back for a moment to Cardinal Newman: for him the university comprises the universality of knowledge; for Ignatius a university accomplishes the function of education and scholarly investigation more universally. The originality of the Society of Jesus in creating its own universities in the 16th century was that of proposing a new model of higher education, in response to the needs of the new culture and the new society that was being born. The Jesuit universities sprung up as a critique of the model of the university closed in upon itself, the heirs of the “cathedral schools,” incapable of finding answers to the new times. Although at first with reticence, the Jesuits made a clear option for Christian humanism, and by means of education contributed to the shaping of the new society.

29. Likewise Jesuit higher education is called upon in our day to give creative responses to the changing times. Ignatius would be fascinated by the phenomenon of globalization, with its incredible opportunities and threats, and would not run from the challenges that it involves. To the universities corresponds an indispensable role in the critical analysis of globalization, with its positive and negative connotations, to orient the thought and the action of society. In Ignatian language, it is a matter of an authentic process of discernment, in order to discover what is coming from the good spirit and what is coming from the bad.

30. We will discover at a glance that making the market and the economic interest the only driving force in society cannot come from God. The frightful results of economic globalization that have been introduced, against all ethics, are obvious: dehumanization, individualism, lack of solidarity, social fragmentation, a widening of the already existing gap between rich and poor, exclusion, lack of respect for human rights, economic and cultural neo-colonialism, exploitation, deterioration of the environment, violence, frustration. Not to speak of the “perverse connection” with the globalization of crime: traffic in human beings and arms, drugs, exploitation of women and sex, child labor, manipulation of the media, mafia of all types, terrorism, war, and the debasement of the value of human life. How can we not in this moment think of Africa, the paradigm for all the negative faces that the globalization of the market can offer?

31. The university as a university has its word to say on these topics, which touch on fundamental aspects of the person and society. I know of the efforts that our universities are making, depending on their contexts, to address questions such as ethnic minorities, cultural pluralism, diversity, interreligious dialogue, migrants, refugees, injustice, poverty, exclusion, unemployment, the crisis of democracy. It is not enough to denounce: it is necessary to also pronounce and propose. Committing oneself in this field, is one consequence of the service that the university should render to society. And for Jesuit universities, it is also a consequence of the vision of Ignatius in the contemplation of the Kingdom, and of the mission of the Society to strive for the service of faith and the promotion of justice.

32. Although closely tied to economic processes, it must be recognized that globalization also includes other dimensions which offer unique possibilities for the construction of a world more fraternal and solidary. Never before have there been so many opportunities for communication, for integration, for interdependence and unity of the human race. The growing awareness of the dimensions of globalization, the tension between the global and the local, the emergency of civil society, the forces of resistance from different sides which have entered the scene –such as the “Seattle people”– constitute opportunities and threats which the university cannot overlook.

33. The universities have the duty to orient, to stand at the convergence between the diverse currents, to bring to bear their thought to the deep study and the search for solutions to burning issues. In the words of John Paul II, it is necessary to contribute to the “globalization of solidarity.”[xxvii] The “complete person,” the ideal of Jesuit education for more than four centuries, will, in the future, be a competent, conscious person, capable of compassion and “well educated in solidarity.” [xxviii]

34. Ignatius’ vision of the world was clearly global. Although he wanted Jesuits to adapt to the place where they were working and learning the local language and culture –“inculturation” we would say today–, he wanted them to be available to “travel through the world and live in any part of it,”[xxix] always open to the MAGIS. This is the way he experienced the tension between the local and the global, that is, thinking on a global level, but acting on the local.

Academia and the market

35. One last word on the university and the market economy. Whether we like it or not, the academy cannot evade from the forces of the market. The financial limitations faced by universities not subsidized with public funds force them to depend ever more on the financial support of their students, and to make recourse to various systems for raising funds to secure the necessary resources to operate. Ignatius knew this, concerned as he was with foundations, and always so grateful to the founders, such that in 1551 he would open the doors of the Roman College with the title of “gratis.” In spite of efforts to create funds that would permit the granting of scholarships to those who needed them, the danger of elitism is real.

36. It may happen that a university has to redesign its degree programs and offer courses according to the demands of the market, and thereby yield to the pressures of its clients in an ever-competitive environment. Let us not deceive ourselves: how many of our students come to our universities simply in search of the excellence we offer, and the preparation that permits them to obtain a good position and earn more money. Some can spend years in our institutions of higher education, without ever taking notice that this is a Catholic institution directed by the Society of Jesus.

37. The growing costs of education and the trend to privatization imply a progressive dependence on financial subsidies, which can turn into a veritable social mortgage. It may happen that not all the sponsors or trustees are always disinterested, nor identify with the mission statements and the orientation of the university. The autonomy itself of the university and the freedom of research and instruction are at stake. The institution may end up moderating the tone of its voice, or refrain from speaking about certain issues. There are faculties which are “for sale” and others that “are not for sale,” according to economic swings, or the interests of industry, commerce, and tourism; there are profitable professions and non-profitable ones; there is money for some schools, faculties, laboratories, research, topics, while there is none for others. The quality of the teachers who can be hired, and their stay in the institution are conditional in large part on economic factors and by what similar institutions may offer.

38. The challenge could not be greater. It is necessary at all costs to not lose sight of the raison d’être of the university, as a center of integration of knowledge which proposes the search, not for the “narrow truth,” but for the “whole truth” of which Newman spoke,[xxx] with an “accurate vision and comprehension of all things.”[xxxi] It is necessary to discern and to make a choice for the kind of greater service, which we intend to give to Church and society through our universities. More than knowledge and science, it is wisdom, which our academies should offer. “For what fills and satisfies the soul consists, not in knowing much, but in our understanding the realities profoundly and in savoring them interiorly.”[xxxii] The Ignatian seal is what can and should make the difference.


A change of accent

39. The few references in the Constitutions to the participation of lay people in the educational process are not very heartening for a modern reader. The only role especially conferred upon lay people is no more than the corrector, that is to say, the person who should “keep in fear and should punish” those who have deserved correction. Ignatius and the Jesuits were scrupulous about applying physical punishment on the students with their own hands, according to the usage of the time. The ingenious solution was to give those who were guilty to the secular arm, engaging a lay person to give the culprit a proper thrashing. One can suppose there was “much to be done,” because such a person was to “receive a good salary.”[xxxiii] Times have changed, and today the Society depends upon lay men and women for more noble tasks.

40. We should recognize that, in fact, it has been the decrease in the number of Jesuits, which has made us to turn our eyes to lay people and to develop a theological reflection and practice of Jesuit-lay collaboration. The figures are eloquent: it is estimated that the proportion for education at large in the Society is 95% lay and 5% Jesuits. For simple realism and by the Ignatian principle of accommodation to persons and times, the Society considers today the “partnership with others” to be one of the characteristics of our way of proceeding.[xxxiv]

41. The change of accent came a mere six years ago, with the two Decrees of the General Congregation on “Cooperation with the Laity in Mission” and on “Jesuits and the Situation of Women in Church and Civil Society.”[xxxv] Both documents were considered at the time of their appearance to be innovative, although sometimes our practice does not always respond everywhere to the ideal we have set.

The practice of collaboration

42. On the part of the Jesuits, at times a certain hesitation and doubt is detected as far as collaboration with lay people is concerned, when it is not rejected outright. On the part of lay people, the desire for more information and formation. It pleases me to know of the efforts that Jesuit higher education has made to explore this new ground. In the last few years there has been undeniable progress, but in the venture that Jesuits and lay people have jointly undertaken there still remains much road to cover. This meeting is a good opportunity to share the best practices as well as deficiencies, and push forward together.

43. I will not repeat what is already in the official documents and what you yourselves have prepared in your regional reports. I would like only to highlight some aspects, which I consider to be greater challenges for our higher education. Whether we like it or not, the identity of Jesuit higher education is at stake for the short term, especially in the West and in the industrialized countries. The problem of the “next generation” is not an imaginary one. At the pace that the physical presence of the Jesuits is disappearing, the ethos of the institution, its Ignatian, Catholic, Christian culture, may also disappear, if no attention is paid to the preparation of the generation that is to take over. This responsibility falls above all on Jesuits themselves. Preparation in the vision and the shared mission between Jesuits and collaborators is a priority of the first order in our higher education. (I am aware of the negative connotations that the word “mission” can have in some countries. In that case, you will have to make the necessary adaptations.)

44. There exist various levels of collaboration, according to the vocation and level of commitment of each person –human, professional, Christian. Not all collaboration with the laity is in keeping with the mission. We have the right to assume that the Jesuits identify with their mission, but we cannot assume that all the lay people identify themselves with the specific mission of the Jesuits. Lay people are not called to be mini-Jesuits, but rather to live their own lay vocation. Respecting the way in which the Lord leads each person is fundamental to Ignatian spirituality. This having been said, a collaborator of an institution of higher education in the Society should identify in some manner with the institutional mission.

45. On the other hand, it would be odious to catalogue and discriminate among personnel according to their supposed level of commitment with the mission. In the mission of the Society, as in the house of the Lord, there are many mansions. For Ignatius, there is no worse error in spiritual life than trying to lead all by the same road. The mission of a Jesuit institution of higher education –as with the faith– is not imposed, rather it is proposed. In an “interface” of mutual respect and sincerity, collaborators are invited to share this mission and make it their own, to different degrees.

46. The level of partnership in mission and identity will depend upon the dynamics of the institution and the options that each person takes. There are minimum limits of commitment that, for reasons of honesty and coherence, should be respected. The only limit on the top is imposed by the capacity for response of a human being to the call of God. We are touching upon the Ignatian “MAGIS,” the “ALL” –another Ignatian which embraces the totality of the human person: “Loving and serving in all things.” I would like to emphasize only some concrete practices, which without a doubt are helping to share the mission and deepen the identity:

47. a) The courses for orientation or induction for new professors and board members, to share the ethos of our education. It may happen that not all the lay persons will choose to commit themselves wholeheartedly to the Jesuit mission of the work. But the Society expects of all, including people of others faiths, that they recognize and accept the values contained in the Ignatian spirituality and apostolic mission that animate the word.[xxxvi]

48. b) The programs of on-going formation, as much for lay people as for Jesuits. The goal is to form an apostolic team of Jesuits and colleagues for the purpose of realizing the Jesuit identity and mission of the work.[xxxvii] This would be the way to create the “critical mass” –as is said now– indispensable to insure the identity of the institution.

49. c) The priority given to the identity and the mission in the hiring of personnel. “Hiring for mission” is a delicate point, and can result in a veiled form of apartheid. A university cannot discriminate in its personnel, but –if it is still possible– one does have the right to choose men and women capable of sharing its identity. Other non-confessional corporations know how to do this very well for their own aims.

50. d) The offering of the Spiritual Exercises to our personnel, in their various modalities, particularly through the practice of the Exercises in daily life.

51. e) Finally, the decisive role corresponding to the Jesuits. Even while responsibilities are shared more and more, or are transferred to non-Jesuit collaborators, the Jesuits, both as a community and as individuals, should see ways of still being present, now no longer exercising power but still exercising influence in the institution.

The topic of Jesuit-lay collaboration is far from being exhausted.


52. By definition, universality and the possibility of exchanges at all levels belong to the very nature of the university. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that universities, including those of the Society, are extremely jealous of their autonomy and independence, and more easily lend themselves to scientific exchange than to concrete forms of joint cooperation among equals. This being said, the need for coordination, often more than the concern for the universal, has brought Jesuit higher education to come together in various ways, as is demonstrated by the regional associations represented here. I am pleased to know that Europe, the only region which up until now has not had an instance of common coordination, is also planning to form an association, which will include the Near East and Africa. These associations are limited by general rule to lending services to their members and have no more attributions than those, which their members have conferred. But they are absolutely indispensable if we hope to see the Society act as a body.

53. There are several other groups and platforms for scientific encounters for those working in Jesuit higher education, by disciplines, specialties, or interests: theology, philosophy, spirituality, social sciences, positive sciences, communication, research centers, journals, and surely many others. All of these accomplish their role in the universal apostolic service of the Society. By its universal vocation, and even more in times of globalization, the Society encourages the creation of these national and international networks. This is the way in which Jesuit higher education can face common global problems, by means of mutual assistance, information, planning and shared evaluation, or the putting into action of projects which are beyond the capacity of each individual institution. Obviously, the institutions of higher education participate in many networks other than Jesuit. But this does not substitute for the coordination and cooperation of Jesuit institutions among themselves.

54. Successful experiences of international cooperation are now underway within the Society which can serve as an inspiration. Permit me to mention the MBA Program in Beijing, under the responsibility of the AJCU, and the consortium effort in The Beijing Center for Language and Culture; the collaboration of various universities of the AJCU-EAO in the training of professors in Cambodia, and in the reconstruction of the University of East Timor; the coordination between AJCU and AUSJAL and the exchanges of universities of Latin America with universities in Spain and in the United States; the programs of distance education, with their enormous possibilities of mutual exchange.

55. Although each university has a particular responsibility in a concrete and limited place in the vineyard of the Lord, the Ignatian MAGIS and the “more universal” impel us not to enclose ourselves in this particularity but to open out to a greater service in the Lord’s vineyard.

56. As we consider more deeply the international dimension of the Society, it becomes clearer how much more we can accomplish by cooperation, not competition, as we venture abroad. This is especially true in developing countries. I am thinking of consortium efforts, which can reach out eventually to Vietnam, Laos, East Timor, Cambodia, as well as to Africa and developing countries around the world. I think also of the examples of fraternal collaboration and concrete gestures of solidarity, which can arise in a meeting such as this, between Jesuits and lay people from different continents. The important thing is to cooperate together for the sake of our brothers and sisters around the world as we seek to put a human face on the process of globalization.


57. In 1551, the Roman College opened its doors, an emblematic figure of what would become the Society’s venture in the university field. Four and a half centuries later, the Society remains intensely dedicated to the work of higher education, with numberless universities and other institutions throughout the world. The times in which we happen to live are radically different from those lived by Ignatius of Loyola. But the “help of souls,” the “greater glory of God and the universal good” remain the fundamental motivation for the Society’s commitment to education. The “for whom” and the “for what” of our universities, the profound importance of the work that Jesuits and lay people accomplish in them, and the reason for the presence of all of you here, are anchored in this vision of Ignatius.

58. May the creative fidelity to the founding charism of Ignatius of Loyola inspire all of you to make real in your institutions the greater divine service and the help of men and women of our age.

[i] Autobio. 27.

[ii] Autobio. 50.

[iii] Sp.Ex. 182.

[iv] MI Const. I, 47.

[v] Cf. The Bull of Approbation, 1540.

[vi] Const.[307].

[vii] Const.[308].

[viii] Const.[540].

[ix] Sp.Ex. 97.

[x] M Paed. II, 870. Cf. John W. O’Malley, The First Jesuits, Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge Mass, 1993, p. 227.

[xi] Const.[508].

[xii] GC34, D.4, n.7.

[xiii] M Paed. II, 528-529.

[xiv] John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Rome,1990, n.12.

[xv] GC34, D.16

[xvi] GC31, D.29.

[xvii] GC32, D.4, nn.35,44.

[xviii] GC33, D.1, n.44.

[xix] GC34, DD.3,4,5.

[xx] Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in Higher Education of the Society of Jesus in the United States, Santa Clara, 6 October 2000.

[xxi] Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Address to the Congregation of Procurators 3 September 1987, AR XX, 1987, pp.1076-1077.

[xxii] Const.[361].

[xxiii] GC34, D.16, n.3.

[xxiv] Const.[455].

[xxv] John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University, Discourse V, 2.

[xxvi] GC34, D.17, n.6.

[xxvii]John Paul II, Address to the Secretary General and the Administrative Committee on Coordination of the United Nations, April 7, 2000.

[xxviii] Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in University Education of the Society of Jesus in the United States, Santa Clara, 6 October 2000.

[xxix] Const.[304].

[xxx] John Henry Newman, Op.cit., Discourse IV, 12.

[xxxi] John Henry Newman, Op.cit., Discourse VI, 6.

[xxxii] Sp.Ex. 2.

[xxxiii] Const.[397,488,500], as well as other similar quotations in the Ratio Studiorum.

[xxxiv] GC34, D.26, n.15.

[xxxv] GC34, DD.13 & 14.

Address of Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach to the Students, Faculty and Staff of Elisabeth University of Music

To the Students, Faculty and Staff of Elisabeth University of Music

It is a pleasure for me to send greetings to you through President Hideaki Nakamura, Prof. Yuuji Kawano, his assistant, and Chancellor Lawrence McGarrell, S.J., following our meeting in Tokyo on 26 and 27 August together with the administrators of Sophia University.

I have many warm memories of my visit to Elisabeth University of Music on 4 July 1992, and I am happy to learn of the progress and achievements of your school since then. Through music, you can communicate joy and hope to others in a unique and powerful way. I hope that you will continue to engage in this important work with great competence and compassion.

Elisabeth University of Music holds an important place in Jesuit education as the only Jesuit-founded school specializing in music among more than 200 Jesuit colleges and universities throughout the world. Your school belongs to a very large family, as Jesuit education institutions today number more than 3,400, where some 2,400,000 students and nearly 128,000 faculty and administrative staff study and work together. I hope that you will take pride in being part of this tradition, which reaches back in history to the activity of Saint Francis Xavier and his successors in Japan more than 400 years ago.

Today students, faculty and staff in Jesuit schools are asked to take up the challenge of becoming persons ‘for others’ who are ‘with others’ in true solidarity. It is a challenge that has great meaning for us all. As musicians, you know well that harmony and energy are achieved in ensemble only when competent players listen to one another carefully. Indeed, it is only in this way that they can discover the full meaning and beauty of the music they are performing and blend their energies successfully to create it. Music, thus, offers you a valuable paradigm for every aspect of your lives: listen carefully in order to understand well, discover what you can create for and with others, and use your competence generously in order to achieve it. I hope that as musicians ‘for others’ and ‘with others’, you will contribute much to make modern society more truly humane.

May you be blessed with strength and joy in your lives and in your work.

Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.
Superior-General of the Society of Jesus
Rome, 30 September 2005

Excerpts from Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. De statu Societatis: Our Ministries

The Apostolate of Education

Inspired and led by Ignatius’ vision, I would like now to look at some aspects of the reality facing the Society in our time. First of all, our educational apostolate. We can be thankful that, despite increasing difficulties and concerns, our institutions continue to be highly visible, international and vibrant manifestations of Ignatius’ desire to “help souls.” Statistically, there are two and a half million students in 3451 institutions of various kinds in 68 countries: 202 schools of higher education, 444 if secondary, 123 of primary, 79 offering technical or professional training and 2603 Fe y Alegría schools, carried out in collaboration with other religious and lay people, in 19 Latin American countries. In response to new needs, more schools are being established.

In the past seven years, the number of Jesuits working in the ministry of education has remained stable. They are approximately 4600, although the Society is decreasing in number. On the other hand, the non-Jesuit presence has grown significantly to 123,985 teachers and administrators. They make up more than 96 per cent of the staffs with a consequent challenge to the identity of our schools. Several assistancies and provinces are making efforts to promote Ignatian pedagogy, and have worked out identity documents which apply the vision of Ignatius to the local context and are meant to affect every level and type of Jesuit education. But it can easily happen that the urgent nature of the identity issue is not taken seriously enough, with the result that in the very near future we are likely to have institutions that will be Jesuit in name only, relying on an inevitably fading tradition. We are responsible for guaranteeing in one way or another the apostolic values of the educational institutions that bear our name.

This situation imposes on the Major Superiors the need to consider or to reconsider their clear responsibility with regard to the institutions formally belonging to or sponsored by or affiliated with the Society of Jesus. The necessary distinction between the director of the work, Jesuit or lay partner, and the unique responsibility of a provincial require him to ensure, within the possibilities available to him, that the mission and apostolic purpose of the Society’s schools are kept alive. It is not sufficient for him to be attentive solely to the welfare of the Jesuits involved in the institution. A periodic evaluation of its Jesuit character is an integral part of his charge. In the course of his visits, he should reaffirm, encourage and support the mission of the school and call to accountability those who are responsible for running it.

The apostolic importance of education should be urged on the Jesuits of a province and a proper formation should be made available to them so that they will be up to the task. Jesuits and non-Jesuits should receive leadership training. The spirit of cooperation should be developed so that they learn to work as partners. As you know from experience, there remains a reluctance among many Jesuits, even in the younger generation, to relinquish the idea that this is exclusively “our” work. We should be more active in identifying and promoting potential non-Jesuit leaders and offering them the incentives and religious and professional formation that will strengthen their motivation to engage in the work of education inspired by Ignatian pedagogy. Jesuits also need on-going formation in education and even more in partnership in the face of rapid changes and new challenges. The promotion of justice and the option for the poor should be kept at the forefront of our concerns along with the pursuit of academic excellence. There is around the world much creative effort and energy in developing service programs and in making scholarship aid available for disadvantaged students. However, the goal of forming “men and women for others” can easily become marginalized to the extent that mere lip service is given to the issues that are important to the Society in its work of education, seen as an integral part of the proclamation of the Gospel message. Major Superiors need to be attentive to ensure that the cry of the poor not cease to be heard in the halls of our educational apostolate.

The guidelines provided by the Complementary Norms from number 285 on should not remail a dead letter, particularly as they refer to the qualities we look for in a teacher who makes a personal commitment to the educational apostolate. He must not be content with being a transmitter of knowledge only. The characteristics and paradigms of Ignatian education will have a diminished influence if they do not become flesh in the person of the educator (CN 277, 3), who must be both a teacher and a witness to Christian and human values. Thanks to the creative imagination of so many Jesuits in the reorganization of our educational institutions, these values are still very alive and present. However, we should take care that in establishing efficient, competent administration we also safeguard the Jesuit influence, so as to maintain and foster the vision of Ignatius.

Address of Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach to the The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Catholic University of the North

Allow me first to thank the Grand Chancellor and the Rector of the Catholic University of the North for the honor and privilege of addressing the academic community on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation. In 1956 my brother Jesuits of the College of St. Aloysius had the initiative of establishing a college in Antofagasta, helped by some lay people, one of whom was Mrs. Berta Gonzalez, widow of Astorga, the principal and most generous benefactress of the new academic institution. The Jesuits were not alone… Upon their invitation, many religious men and women, priests and lay, rallied around from the early years, to lend a hand to the new foundation which certainly benefited greatly from such indispensable support. The young university, since the recognition of its autonomy by the Chilean Government in 1974 has not ceased growing in the attainment of its intended objectives in areas scientific as well as technical.

A point I would like to discuss at great length is the decision taken in the year 1990 to add to the original title: University of the North, the word Catholic to indicate and show the university’s intention to live the ethical and human values of the Catholic Faith, since it wished to be identified as a Catholic University of renown, conscious of its social responsibilities. The Catholic University of the North has indeed exerted great effort in updating its program of studies, its pedagogical strategies, introducing new instructional techniques centered on apprenticeship {learning by doing}. It has shown intense interest in improving the formation of students. Besides this, it has given aid to students in the form of scholarships, given excellent attention to their health needs and provided library services and computer facilities. It has furthermore, an institutional policy of developing its research efforts resulting successfully in investigations of issues of national and international interest. The University’s confessional character gives a very special emphasis on the {cultivation} practice of Christian values in all strata of society and helps in giving certain direction to the community’s various services in favor of the poorer sectors.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Catholic Church believes profoundly in the specific identity of a university that is inspired by its catholicity. It is true the Second Vatican Council did not discuss explicitly the catholic universities. The year 1978 and the troubled years that followed, shook to its very foundation the universities almost all over the world. It was then that the Holy See started its reflection on the Catholic character of a university. Today, the more than one thousand three hundred catholic universities of the world have at their disposal the Apostolic Constitution “Ex Corde Ecclesiae”, which upholds their existence and which should certainly be given prominence. What then was the vision of the late John Paul II of a university like the Catholic University of the North?

There is one principal point which strongly attracts attention in the reading of the Apostolic Constitution and it is the enormous importance attributed by Pope John Paul II to catholic universities.

There are repeated expressions that leave no doubt about this importance. “Indispensable mission” (n.11), “irreplaceable task” (10), “mission evermore necessary” (10), words eminently expressive of the importance of catholic universities, according to the very words of the Pope. This importance was formulated by the Pope not only objectively being derived from the very nature of things, but comes concretely supported by his personal conviction, which, at least twice, he inequivocably expressed. These expressions and avowals of the Pope enable us to understand, in themselves surprising, those first words of the Constitution, which gives it its title, words chosen with utmost care, words in which the catholic university is presented as “born from the heart of the Church”. There is therefore no doubt whatsoever about the exceptional importance given by the Holy Father to the catholic universities. If, sometimes, there had been questions raised within catholic circles over the reason for existence of catholic universities these days, the official response of the Church to such questions is emphatic and unmistakable: The catholic universities have today an indispensable and irreplaceable mission in the Church and their tasks are more than ever urgent and necessary; the catholic university springs from the very heart of the Church.

This conviction should give those who have some responsibility in the university the inspiration to spend their lives to a work that is truly transcendental and from which they draw the necessary energy to constantly undertake their grave and demanding responsibility.

Seeing the impact of the rather strong formulation of the importance of Catholic universities comes now the question of the “why” of the same.

The whole Apostolic Constitution is a response to such a fundamental question. The entire document is in effect an answer to the questions on the identity and the mission of the Catholic University – what it is, what it does, and what it is called to do, and to give special witness through its daily life to that identity and mission. Let us recall briefly the thoughts of the Holy Father on these fundamental points.

What the Catholic University is: Its Identity

As an institution, a Catholic University is, in the first place, a University. Citing the “Magna Carta of the European Universities” signed in Bolonia in September 1988, a university is an academic community ,which in a rigorous and extremely careful manner, contributes to the preserving and fostering of human dignity and of cultural heritage through research, instruction and the offering of various services to communities local, national, and international. The Constitution accepts completely this primary and basic reality of a university in all its meaning. And consequences: The Catholic University is primarily a University. This clearly defined concept of a university is the basis of the whole discussion of the Constitution. Significant proof of this is the immediate recognition of the institutional autonomy in the management of the Catholic University and the academic freedom of all its members.

Having understood what a university is, what then does the catholic character of the university mean? According to the Constitution, it means that a Catholic University by institutional commitment incorporates also in its task the inspiration and the light of the Christian message. Thus in such a university, the ideals, the attitudes and catholic principles permeate and animate the activities of the university depending upon the nature and uniqueness of such activities. {no.14}

From this, stems the basic institutional commitment of a catholic university, her “honor and responsibility”, of “consecrating herself without reserve to the cause of the truth”, to the search of all aspects of the truth in their essential relationships with the Supreme Truth which is God.” (n.4) And thus, as a Catholic University, like all universities, but in accordance with its specific catholic character, and impelled by it, pursues the search for the full meaning of reality and particularly, the meaning of man himself.

And thus the Catholic University, as a university, should consider as constitutive element of its institutional obligation the following: the progressive attainment of integrated knowledge in an evermore comprehensive and enlightened synthesis which leads to the advancement of knowledge and understanding of reality; the dialogue between faith and reason, which shows that both are found in the knowledge of one and same truth; an ethical concern which includes in its investigation the moral, spiritual, and religious dimension of problems, appreciating the discoveries of science and technology in the total perspective of the human person; finally, a theological perspective, which helps the other disciplines in recognizing and appreciating their own discoveries, in the panorama of knowledge, for the good of the human person.

This fundamental aspect of the Catholic University appears, on the one hand, very attractive, but on the other, fought with serious difficulties. It is attractive, because it responds to the natural and insatiable hunger of man for truth and full of difficulties, because of the efforts that must be expended, in order to, on the one hand, adhere with great fidelity to the methological rigors of the various disciplines that are required in knowing and understanding reality, and on the other, to employ in the same task, with no less fidelity, and without distorting and deforming it, the ethical and theological perspectives embedded in the same reality and which can be discovered by the light that the Christian faith provides. That is why the Catholic University which the Apostolic Constitution has initially envision, more than a reality that has already been accomplished, much less perfected, will always be a challenge that must be met and a job that must be continuously realized.

After having expounded on the basic institutional aspect of what a catholic university is (the nature of identity), the Constitution now goes into a discussion of the university as a “university community”. In succinct words, it tells us that the source of the unity of that community,- of teachers, students, officials and administrative personnel-, inspired by the spirit of Christ, springs from their common consecration to the truth, their identical vision of the dignity of man and finally of the person and the message of Christ, which gives to the institution its distinctive character; it speaks of the spirit of freedom and of charity which should animate such a community, of mutual respect, of sincere dialogue and the respect for the rights of each one, and finally, the responsibility that each one should have in the decisions that affect that same community and in the maintaining of the catholic character of the institution.

Here once again, is the ideal vision, which each catholic university should aspire to realize, as a challenge that it must face constantly, and a task that is never completely finished.

Finally, as a last distinctive mark characteristic of a catholic university, is the special relationship that it should have with the Church. This was one of the most debated points, perhaps the most debated of all, in the formulation of the Constitution. In the end, they came out with words that were sober, balanced, and positively favorable to the universities, in which were underlined the duties of the bishops in promoting and assisting in the maintenance and strengthening of the university’s identity in the face of challenges from civil authorities {n.28} and by inviting the whole ecclesial community, to help and assist them in their development and renewal, to preserve their rights and freedom in civil society, to offer them financial help, to contribute in putting up new catholic universities where they are needed.

In order that such relationship may thrive and develop harmoniously and in a manner favorable both to the Church and the universities, it exhorts that between them and the bishops, there should exist and they should maintain “relationships that are intimate, personal and pastoral characterized by mutual understanding, consistent collaboration, and continuous dialogue” {n.28}. The exhortation could not have been more reasonable and its fulfillment, faithful and generous and certainly beneficial to both parties.

From another point, the relationship of the catholic university with the church, does not consist only in its fidelity to the Christian message and in acknowledging the authority of the magisterium, this relationship is much, much richer, specially when we recall the great importance attributed by the Constitution to the catholic universities and as we shall soon appreciate when we deal with their mission.

What the Catholic University does: Its Mission

It is interesting to note from the very start, that the Constitution refers to the mission of the catholic university as “a mission of service”.

The mission or what the catholic university does, is described by the Constitution first by a brief reference to what is its fundamental mission and later, by reference in more detail to the services which it renders to the church and the society where it its inserted. The fundamental mission of the catholic university “is the constant search for truth by means of research and the communication of knowledge, contributing its specific characteristics and unique objectives.
This fundamental mission in its realization is concretized in a variety of services to the church and to society. Here are some of them.

First, the formation of men and women capable not only of living maturely and consistent with their personal vocation, but also to give signal service to the church and society.

Moreover, the catholic university, “immersed in human society”, like any other university, is called upon to be an effective instrument in the advancement of culture of man as well as of the whole community. Thus, its research activities should include the study of serious contemporary problems, like for instance, the dignity of human life, the promotion of justice for all, the quality of personal life and of the family, the protection of the environment, the search for peace and political stability, the more equitable distribution of resources of the earth, and a new economic and political order that serves the human community in the national and international level.” {n.32} It is of great interest to recall here the explicit pronouncement of the Constitution in this context, which says literally: “If it is necessary, the catholic university should have the courage to express uncomfortable truths, truths that are not popular with public opinion, but which are necessary to safeguard the genuine welfare of society.” {Ibid}

All these activities of a catholic university are conducted in an open and extensive dialogue, where the privileged speakers would be the academic world, cultural and scientific, in the region where it operates, with what the actual culture of the moment is and what it signifies, and with the modern natural and human sciences. In this way, the catholic university would help society to understand and resolve its own problems, which are actually in play, not only for its welfare and progress, but also understand “the meaning itself of man”. Likewise it will also help the church in its tremendous task, urgently needed in the postmodern era, of introducing the Gospel, with truth and competence, into the vital fabric of culture and of human cultures of the moment, as an essential ferment for their transformation for the greater good of man and of society.

Here too, and not just for the sake of insistence or symmetry of ideas, we also see an ideal picture, which at the same time that it directs the catholic university to develop its activities, it is constantly challenged to improve and even surpass itself. Here once again, from the point of view of its mission, the catholic university is presented as a continuing task, never completed.

Very likely for this reason, for the reason that the job of a catholic university is one that is never accomplished and a task that is open-ended, the Apostolic Constitution sounds a call that is vigorous, confident and inspiring, to a renewal. “In this context, the catholic universities are called to constant renewal both by a university and by being catholic.” {n.7}; a renewal that extends to the future, which requires courageous creativity couples with rigorous fidelity.” {n.8}

Here in summary, are the essential points of the thinking of Pope John Paul II on the importance, the identity and the mission of the catholic universities.

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Thus, it is renewal, both by virtue of its being a university and by being catholic; a projection towards the future, courageous creativity, rigorous fidelity… What does all this mean to the Catholic University of the North looking towards its future from the vantage point of its first fifty years?

It is a question that must be answered primarily by all of you, the members of the university community and collaborators in the maintenance and development of the university. To help you in this, I would like to share with you briefly some reflections on the nature and mission of catholic universities drawn from the tradition of Jesuit universities. It would not be difficult for you, I hope, to see a full agreement between them and those contained in the Apostolic Constitution which we have just considered.

If we are convinced of the importance of our work, and of its profound significance for the understanding of the nature of man, of society, and of history, and for its dignity, we shall, spare no effort in promoting incessantly the excellence of the university. A mediocre university cannot, in any manner, attain the objectives proper to it. We know the parameters of that excellence. Before everything, a university is an institution with a truly global perspective, where the teaching is continually updated as a result of a rigid and uncompromising investigation (research). A program of studies that truly responds to the latest advances of each discipline, and which, together, give a view of the present and answer the real needs of society. A teaching force that is adequate, competent and dedicated to work with joy and devotion in the university, as if it were its own, a faculty that engages in worthwhile research activities and develops a teaching methodology that is alive and appropriate. It has a pool of resources sufficient to support all the above, and in all cases, a rational and strict use of those that have priority over all the other important objectives of the university.

But this university is not a university with nothing else; it seeks to be a university that makes the Christian message institutionally present in it as an animating and inspiring principle of all its activity. It obliges her to function with a broad view of the interrelationships of all knowledge, transcending the prejudices of each discipline without violating methodological rules and without falling into a deforming relativism, for the better understanding of the full meaning of man, of culture and of history.

Here the university could find a distinctive trait of its work, required by its very nature, which defines it and which would give her a profile uniquely her own among all the other universities in the area…

For the same reason, the university should strengthen its concern for ethical problems and the ethical aspects of all problems that she encounters, and which, although it embraces it, it means more than just juxtaposing to programs a discipline that deals with the corresponding concept. It means discovering and explaining the relationships which the theoretical and practical sciences have with the human person, and, consequently, modify profoundly, the world view and orientation of each discipline. Let it serve as an explanatory example of what I want to express, that which I had said some years ago to the rectors and presidents of Jesuit universities gathered in Rome. The “Economy”, which has its own methods and principles, if it is taught and studied from the perspective of the promotion of justice, cannot be limited to an economy that deals exclusively with “things” but should also take into account interpersonal relationships. In this perspective, the Economy would look at material goods as instruments for the service of man. In the same manner, all other sciences and technologies, when they are taught and studied with the view to the promotion of justice, should be deeply aware that all investigations should promote ultimately the dignity of the human person.

It is clear that a holistic and interdisciplinary view of problems as well as the concern for their ethical implications can only be perceived and appropriated by a faculty properly prepared for it… indeed a task, – this preparation – which gets translated into a primary commitment to the University.

In his instructions to educational institutions, St. Ignatius of Loyola was also concerned with the personal aspects of the community of teachers, students and “officers or administrators of the university”, of the duties and responsibilities of each class, and the relationships among them. This fact emphasizes the importance it has for him, the group of people that make up the university, the university community, and the personal attention for every member. The quality of the climate of the university and of the interpersonal relationships in the community, as well as the attention and importance given to each person could be another characteristic quality of this university, that would distinguish it from other similar institutions; this would also be the climate to freely participate and collaborate, for every member of the same community, in accordance with the commitment of each one to the attainment of the objective.

Finally, there is the element of the Ignatian Spirituality, and the manner of actualizing it, which, although it is not a specific educational task can have very beneficial consequences. It is called discernment, or in words less precise, “the reflection that illumines action”. Frequently, – at least from the outside – looking at the life of a university, one gets the impression that teaching and research are the nucleus of the enterprise, and anything that implies reflection on the running and future of the institution, to evaluate and improve it, is merely a decoration, an extra work, that can be put aside for lack of time, of motive and of energy. But without this evaluation, this renewal and planning for the future revitalizing the very blood of the university, the essence of its work is dissipated and it ends up converting itself into a diploma mill. Without this work, which presupposes dedication and “waste” of time, on the part of those charged with managerial functions, and also, in the same measure, on all those responsible for the running of the university, it would be impossible to realize, with the necessary relevance and quality, the ideal of a catholic university that is capable of playing its designated role.

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Many more things could be mentioned. But if, at least, all the above were performed with vigor and insistence in this university, you would be in a better condition to render quality service to the Church and the society which expects it.

At this moment, a great opportunity is being offered to you. Not just because of the fact that the celebration of the fifty years of the university brings into view its future, but also because it is a moment when the Church, through the voice of the Holy Father, calls us to a radical renewal, realized with “courageous creativity and at the same time, rigid fidelity”, which should make us “better able to respond to the task of bringing the message of Christ to man, to society and to all cultures”. It is, furthermore, a moment of singular meaning within the scope of all universities called upon in their turn, to effect a real change in their programs and their activities, which should answer the exigencies of a society at the start of the 21st century.

Let these simple reflections, then, be my modest contribution to the celebration of the fiftieth year of the university, together with my encouragement in this work of renewal and my sure support for its realization. Thank you very much.

Faith, Reason and the University Memories and Reflections Pope Benedict XVI. in Bavaria

Meeting with scientists and academics in the Great Hall, University of Regensburg

Note: Mistakes in the text are transmission errors and could not be corrected because of the nature of the file.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a moving experience for me to stand and give a lecture at this university podium once again. I think back to those years when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the University of Bonn. This was in 1959, in the days of the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves. We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus, when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of universitas: the reality that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason – this reality became a lived experience. The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the “whole” of the universitas scientiarum, even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That even in the face of such radical scepticism it is still necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was accepted without question.

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on – perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara – by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur’an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the “three Laws”: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an. In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point – itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself – which, in the context of the issue of “faith and reason”, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation (äéÜëåîéò – controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: “There is no compulsion in religion”. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threaten. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without decending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels”, he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached”. The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably (óõí ëüãù) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”. The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practise idolatry. As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God’s nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God.

Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: “In the beginning was the ëüãoò”. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos. Logos means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” (cf. Acts 16:6-10) – this vision can be interpreted as a “distillation” of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry. In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and declares simply that he is, is already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates’ attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: “I am”.

This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Ps 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature. Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria – the Septuagint – is more than a simple (and in that sense perhaps less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act “with logos” is contrary to God’s nature. In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which ultimately led to the claim that we can only know God’s voluntas ordinata. Beyond this is the realm of God’s freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God’s transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions. As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf. Lateran IV). God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf.

Certainly, love “transcends” knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is ëïãéêç ëáôñåßá – worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1). This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history – it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe.

The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral part of Christian
faith has been countered by the call for a dehellenization of Christianity – a call which has more and more dominated theological discussions since the beginning of the modern age. Viewed more closely, three stages can be observed in the programme of dehellenization: although interconnected, they are clearly distinct from one another in their motivations and objectives. Dehellenization first emerges in connection with the fundamental postulates of the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Looking at the tradition of scholastic theology, the Reformers thought they were confronted with a faith system totally conditioned by philosophy, that is to say an articulation of the faith based on an alien system of thought. As a result, faith no longer appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching philosophical system. The principle of sola scriptura, on the other hand, sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word. Metaphysics appeared as a premise derived from another source, from which faith had to be liberated in order to become once more fully itself. When Kant stated that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith, he carried this programme forward with a radicalism that the Reformers could never have foreseen. He thus anchored faith exclusively in practical reason, denying it access to reality as a whole. The liberal theology of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries ushered in a second stage in the process of dehellenization, with Adolf von Harnack as its outstanding representative. When I was a student, and in the early years of my teaching, this programme was highly influential in Catholic theology too. It took as its point of departure Pascal’s distinction between the God of the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In my inaugural lecture at Bonn in 1959, I tried to address the issue. I will not repeat here what I said on that occasion, but I would like to describe at least briefly what was new about this second stage of dehellenization. Harnack’s central idea was to return simply to the man Jesus and to his simple message, underneath the accretions of theology and indeed of hellenization: this simple message was seen as the culmination of the religious development of humanity. Jesus was said to have put an end to worship in favour of morality. In the end he was presented as the father of a humanitarian moral message. The fundamental goal was to bring Christianity back into harmony with modern reason, liberating it, that is to say, from seemingly philosophical and theological elements, such as faith in Christ’s divinity and the triune God. In this sense, historical-critical exegesis of the New Testament restored to theology its place within the university: theology, for Harnack, is something essentially historical and therefore strictly scientific. What it is able to say critically about Jesus is, so to speak, an expression of practical reason and consequently it can take its rightful place within the university. Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason, classically expressed in Kant’s “Critiques”, but in the meantime further radicalized by the impact of the natural sciences. This modern concept of reason is based, to put it briefly, on a synthesis between Platonism (Cartesianism) and empiricism, a synthesis confirmed by the success of technology. On the one hand it presupposes the mathematical structure of matter, its intrinsic rationality, which makes it possible to understand how matter works and use it efficiently: this basic premise is, so to speak, the Platonic element in the modern understanding of nature.

On the other hand, there is nature’s capacity to be exploited for our purposes, and here only the possibility of verification or falsification through experimentation can yield ultimate certainty. The weight between the two poles can, depending on the circumstances, shift from one side to the other. As strongly positivistic a thinker as J. Monod has declared himself a convinced Platonist/Cartesian. This gives rise to two principles which are crucial for the issue we have raised. First, only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific. Anything that would claim to be science must be measured against this criterion. Hence the human sciences, such as history, psychology, sociology and philosophy, attempt to conform themselves to this canon of scientificity. A second point, which is important for our reflections, is that by its very nature this method excludes the question of God, making it appear an unscientific or pre-scientific question.

Consequently, we are faced with a reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be questioned. We shall return to this problem later. In the meantime, it must be observed that from this standpoint any attempt to maintain theology’s claim to be “scientific” would end up reducing Christianity to a mere fragment of its former self. But we must say more: it is man himself who ends up being reduced, for the specifically human questions about our origin and destiny, the questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within the purview of collective reason as defined by “science” and must thus be relegated to the realm of the subjective. The subject then decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers tenable in matters of religion, and the subjective “conscience” becomes the sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and religion lose their power to create a community and become a completely personal matter. This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate. Before I draw the conclusions to which all this has been leading, I must briefly refer to the third stage of dehellenization, which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself.

And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which reflects one of the basic tenets of Christianity. The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith. Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology. Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based. Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought – to philosophy and theology. For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding. Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so Socrates says: “It would be easily understandable if someone became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised and mocked all talk about being – but in this way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss”. The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. “Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God”, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.

NOTE: The Holy Father intends to supply a subsequent version of this text, complete with footnotes. The present text must therefore be considered provisional

Jesuits and University Life

Jesuits and University Life

404 1. Jesuits have been engaged in university teaching, research, and scholarly publication almost since the foundation of the Society. From astronomy to classical ballet, from the humanities to theology, Jesuits try to enter into the languages and discourses of their inherited or emerging cultures. They attempt to discover, shape, renew, or promote human wisdom, while at the same time respecting the integrity of disciplined scholarship. They also seek to accompany in faith the men and women molded by the potent cultural forces inherent in the university as an institution. St. Ignatius was aware of the wide cultural impact of universities and chose to send Jesuits there, as places where a more universal good might be achieved. Throughout our history we have continued to affirm this basic Ignatian intuition.

405 2. Today, approximately three thousand Jesuits work in nearly two hundred of our own institutions of higher learning, touching the lives of more than half a million students; other Jesuits exercise this mission in other universities. This apostolic activity not only has an influence on the lives of students; it goes beyond the immediate university milieu. We recognize that universities remain crucial institutional settings in society. For the poor they serve as major channels for social advancement. In and through universities, important debates take place about ethics, future directions for economics and politics, and the very meaning of human existence, debates that shape our culture. Neither the university as an institution and as a value for humanity nor the still urgent imperative for an unflagging Jesuit commitment to our tradition of fostering university life stands in need of any fresh defense.

406 3. Moreover, many excellent documents already exist which treat the role and future of Jesuit universities.1 General Congregation 34 wishes only to encourage Jesuits engaged in this important and traditional Jesuit work and to consider two relatively fresh challenges to Jesuit universities. A Challenge from the Structure of Universities

407 4. During the past thirty years, Jesuit higher education has undergone very rapid development in size, complexity, and more participative structures of government. During this same period, the number of Jesuits engaged in a university, or at least the proportion of Jesuits within the entire university community, has greatly diminished: lay and religious colleagues join with us in a common enterprise. In some places Jesuits no longer ìownî our universities in any real sense. In others, government regulations create a situation in which we no longer fully ìcontrolî them. In places, some ecclesiastical superiors may be distrustful of the freedom necessary for a university truly to function in accord with its specific aims.

408 5. In response to this challenge, Jesuits must continue to work hard, with imagination and faith and often under very difficult circumstances, to maintain and even to strengthen the specific character of each of our institutions both as Jesuit and as a university. As we look to the future, we need consciously to be on guard that both the noun ìuniversityî and the adjective ìJesuitî always remain fully honored.

409 6. The noun guarantees a commitment to the fundamental autonomy, integrity, and honesty of a university precisely as a university: a place of serene and open search for and discussion of the truth. It also points to the mission proper to every universityæits dedication to research, teaching, and the various forms of service that correspond to its cultural missionæas the indispensable horizon and context for a genuine preservation, renewal, and communication of knowledge and human values.2 As Jesuits, we seek knowledge for its own sake and at the same time must regularly ask, ìKnowledge for what?î A Challenge from Faith and Justice

410 7. We affirm the adjective ìJesuitî no less strongly. This presupposes the authentic participation in our basic Jesuit identity and mission of any university calling itself Jesuit, or any university which operates ultimately under our responsibility. While we want to avoid any distortion of the nature of a university or any reduction of its mission to only one legitimate goal, the adjective ìJesuitî nevertheless requires that the university act in harmony with the demands of the service of faith and promotion of justice found in Decree 4 of GC 32. A Jesuit university can and must discover in its own proper institutional forms and authentic purposes a specific and appropriate arena for the encounter with the faith which does justice.

411 8. We applaud the many ways in which Jesuit universities have tried to apply this decree, both in the lives of students through outreach programs of mutual contact and service with the poor, and in the central teaching, research, and publication aims of the university. If it remains true that most Jesuit universities must, in various ways, strive to do even more in order to embody this mission of service to the faith and its concomitant promotion of justice, this only reflects the challenge all Jesuits face to find concrete and effective ways in which large and complex institutions can be guided by and to that justice which God himself so insistently calls for and enables. The task is possible; it has produced martyrs who have testified that ìan institution of higher learning and research can become an instrument of justice in the name of the Gospel.î3

412 9. The complexity of a Jesuit university can call for new structures of government and control on the part of the Society in order to preserve its identity and at the same time allow it to relate effectively to the academic world and the society of which it is part, including the Church and the Society of Jesus. More specifically, in order for an institution to call itself Jesuit, periodic evaluation and accountability to the Society are necessary in order to judge whether or not its dynamics are being developed in line with the Jesuit mission. The Jesuits who work in these universities, both as a community and as individuals, must actively commit themselves to the institution, assisting in its orientation, so that it can achieve the objectives desired for it by the Society.

413 10. Jesuit universities will promote interdisciplinary work; this implies a spirit of cooperation and dialogue among specialists within the university itself and with those of other universities. As a means toward serving the faith and promoting justice in accord with their proper nature as universities, they can discover new perspectives and new areas for research, teaching, and university extension services, by means of which they can contribute to the transformation of society towards more profound levels of justice and freedom. Thus our universities have a clear opportunity to promote interuniversity collaboration and, in particular, to undertake common projects between Jesuit universities of developed and developing countries.

414 11. A Jesuit university must be outstanding in its human, social, spiritual, and moral formation, as well as for its pastoral attention to its students and to the different groups of people who work in it or are related to it.

415 12. Finally, we recall how crucial it is for the whole Church to continue to have dedicated Jesuits engaged in university work. They are committed, in the most profound sense, to the search for the fullness of truth. We are assured that, despite occasional appearances to the contrary, the truth we seek will ultimately be one. That truth, rooted as it is in God, will make us free. GC 34 sends a warm word of greeting and encouragement to all those Jesuits dedicated to make authentic and currently fresh this long-standing but sometimes challenged Jesuit commitment to the university apostolate.

  1. Cf.
  2. GC 31, DD 28, 29, 30; GC 32, D 4; GC 33, D 1, n. 44
  3. Pedro Arrupe, ìDiscourse at the Universidad de Deusto,î Bilbao, May 1970 (Rome, C.I.S. 1971, pp. 102-16); ìApostolic Priorities,î Address to the Congregation of Procurators, Rome, 5 October 1978 (AR 17 [1980]: pp. 518-81); ìThe Intellectual Apostolate as a Mission of the Society Todayî (AR 16, [1976]: p. 76)
  4. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, ìThe Jesuit University Today,î 5 November 1985, AR 19 (1985): pp. 394-403; ìAddress at the Centenary Celebration of the Universidad de Deusto,î Bilbao, 5 June 1987, SelecciÛn de escritos del Padre Peter-Hans Kolvenbach (Provincia de EspaÒa, 1992), pp. 377-84); ìAddress to the U. S. Jesuit Higher Education Assembly,î 7 June 1989, S.J. Documentation 64 (August 1989): pp. 1-11; ìLa Universidad: Espacio para la unidad de las ciencias,î Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, 26 February 1990; ìEducaciÛn y valores: A la Universidad Iberoamericana sobre un nuevo modelo de Universidad,î Mexico City, 23 August 1990; ìApostolado educativo, familia y sociedad nueva,î Guadalajara, Mexico, 29 August 1990; ìEn el centenario de la Universidad Pontificia Comillas,î October 1992
  5. John Paul II, Apostolic constitution Ex Corde EcclesiÊ
  6. John Paul II, Apostolic constitution Ex Corde EcclesiÊ, Art. 2.1.
  7. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Address to the Congregation of Provincials 1 (20 September 1990), AR 20 (1990): p. 452.



BORN FROM THE HEART of the Church, a Catholic University is located in that course of tradition which may be traced back to the very origin of the University as an institution. It has always been recognized as an incomparable centre of creativity and dissemination of knowledge for the good of humanity. By vocation, the Universitas magistrorum et scholarium is dedicated to research, to teaching and to the education of students who freely associate with their teachers in a common love of knowledge(1). With every other University it shares that gaudium de veritate, so precious to Saint Augustine, which is that joy of searching for, discovering and communicating truth(2) in every field of knowledge. A Catholic University’s privileged task is “to unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth”(3).

2. For many years I myself was deeply enriched by the beneficial experience of university life: the ardent search for truth and its unselfish transmission to youth and to all those learning to think rigorously, so as to act rightly and to serve humanity better.

Therefore, I desire to share with everyone my profound respect for Catholic Universities, and to express my great appreciation for the work that is being done in them in the various spheres of knowledge. In a particular way, I wish to manifest my joy at the numerous meetings which the Lord has permitted me to have in the course of my apostolic journeys with the Catholic University communities of various continents. They are for me a lively and promising sign of the fecundity of the Christian mind in the heart of every culture. They give me a well-founded hope for a new flowering of Christian culture in the rich and varied context of our changing times, which certainly face serious challenges but which also bear so much promise under the action of the Spirit of truth and of love.

It is also my desire to express my pleasure and gratitude to the very many Catholic scholars engaged in teaching and research in non-Catholic Universities. Their task as academics and scientists, lived out in the light of the Christian faith, is to be considered precious for the good of the Universities in which they teach. Their presence, in fact, is a continuous stimulus to the selfless search for truth and for the wisdom that comes from above.

3. Since the beginning of this Pontificate, I have shared these ideas and sentiments with my closest collaborators, the Cardinals, with the Congregation for Catholic Education, and with men and women of culture throughout the world. In fact, the dialogue of the Church with the cultures of our times is that vital area where “the future of the Church and of the world is being played out as we conclude the twentieth century”(4). There is only one cultre: that of man, by man and for man(5). And thanks to her Catholic Universities and their humanistic and scientific inheritance, the Church, expert in humanity, as my predecessor, Paul VI, expressed it at the United Nations(6), explores the mysteries of humanity and of the world, clarifying them in the light of Revelation.

4. It is the honour and responsibility of a Catholic University to consecrate itself without reserve to the cause of truth. This is its way of serving at one and the same time both the dignity of man and the good of the Church, which has “an intimate conviction that truth is (its) real ally … and that knowledge and reason are sure ministers to faith”(7). Without in any way neglecting the acquisition of useful knowledge, a Catholic University is distinguished by its free search for the whole truth about nature, man and God. The present age is in urgent need of this kind of disinterested service, namely of proclaiming the meaning of truth, that fundamental value without which freedom, justice and human dignity are extinguished. By means of a kind of universal humanism a Catholic University is completely dedicated to the research of all aspects of truth in their essential connection with the supreme Truth, who is God. It does this without fear but rather with enthusiasm, dedicating itself to every path of knowledge, aware of being preceded by him who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”(8), the Logos, whose Spirit of intelligence and love enables the human person with his or her own intelligence to find the ultimate reality of which he is the source and end and who alone is capable of giving fully that Wisdom without which the future of the world would be in danger.

5. It is in the context of the impartial search for truth that the relationship between faith and reason is brought to light and meaning. The invitation of Saint Augustine, “Intellege ut credas; crede ut intellegas”(9), is relevant to Catholic Universities that are called to explore courageously the riches of Revelation and of nature so that the united endeavour of intelligence and faith will enable people to come to the full measure of their humanity, created in the image and likeness of God, renewed even more marvellously, after sin, in Christ, and called to shine forth in the light of the Spirit.

6. Through the encounter which it establishes between the unfathomable richness of the salvific message of the Gospel and the variety and immensity of the fields of knowledge in which that richness is incarnated by it, a Catholic University enables the Church to institute an incomparably fertile dialogue with people of every culture. Man’s life is given dignity by culture, and, while he finds his fullness in Christ, there can be no doubt that the Gospel which reaches and renews him in every dimension is also fruitful for the culture in which he lives.

7. In the world today, characterized by such rapid developments in science and technology, the tasks of a Catholic University assume an ever greater importance and urgency. Scientific and technological discoveries create an enormous economic and industrial growth, but they also inescapably require the correspondingly necessary search for meaning in order to guarantee that the new discoveries be used for the authentic good of individuals and of human society as a whole. If it is the responsibility of every University to search for such meaning, a Catholic University is called in a particular way to respond to this need: its Christian inspiration enables it to include the moral, spiritual and religious dimension in its research, and to evaluate the attainments of science and technology in the perspective of the totality of the human person.

In this context, Catholic Universities are called to a continuous renewal, both as “Universities” and as “Catholic”. For, “What is at stake is the very meaning of scientific and technological research, of social life and of culture, but, on an even more profound level, what is at stake is the very meaning of the human person”(10). Such renewal requires a clear awareness that, by its Catholic character, a University is made more capable of conducting an impartial search for truth, a search that is neither subordinated to nor conditioned by particular interests of any kind.

8. Having already dedicated the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana to Ecclesiastical Faculties and Universities(11), I then felt obliged to propose an analogous Document for Catholic Universities as a sort of “magna carta”, enriched by the long and fruitful experience of the Church in the realm of Universities and open to the promise of future achievements that will require courageous creativity and rigorous fidelity.

9. The present Document is addressed especially to those who conduct Catholic Universities, to the respective academic communities, to all those who have an interest in them, particularly the Bishops, Religious Congregations and ecclesial Institutions, and to the numerous laity who are committed to the great mission of higher education. Its purpose is that “the Christian mind may achieve, as it were, a public, persistent and universal presence in the whole enterprise of advancing higher culture and that the students of these institutions become people outstanding in learning, ready to shoulder society’s heavier burdens and to witness the faith to the world”(12).

10. In addition to Catholic Universities, I also turn to the many Catholic Institutions of higher education. According to their nature and proper objectives, they share some or all of the characteristics of a University and they offer their own contribution to the Church and to society, whether through research, education or professional training. While this Document specifically concerns Catholic Universities, it is also meant to include all Catholic Institutions of higher education engaged in instilling the Gospel message of Christ in souls and cultures.

Therefore, it is with great trust and hope that I invite all Catholic Universities to pursue their irreplaceable task. Their mission appears increasingly necessary for the encounter of the Church with the development of the sciences and with the cultures of our age.

Together with all my brother Bishops who share pastoral responsibility with me, I would like to manifest my deep conviction that a Catholic University is without any doubt one of the best instruments that the Church offers to our age which is searching for certainty and wisdom. Having the mission of bringing the Good News to everyone, the Church should never fail to interest herself in this Institution. By research and teaching, Catholic Universities assist the Church in the manner most appropriate to modern times to find cultural treasures both old and new, “nova et vetera”, according to the words of Jesus(13).

11. Finally, I turn to the whole Church, convinced that Catholic Universities are essential to her growth and to the development of Christian culture and human progress. For this reason, the entire ecclesial Community is invited to give its support to Catholic Institutions of higher education and to assist them in their process of development and renewal. It is invited in a special way to guard the rights and freedom of these Institutions in civil society, and to offer them economic aid, especially in those countries where they have more urgent need of it, and to furnish assistance in founding new Catholic Universities wherever this might be necessary.

My hope is that these prescriptions, based on the teaching of Vatican Council II and the directives of the Code of Canon Law, will enable Catholic Universities and other Institutes of higher studies to fulfil their indispensable mission in the new advent of grace that is opening up to the new Millennium.




1. Nature and Objectives

12. Every Catholic University, as a university, is an academic community which, in a rigorous and critical fashion, assists in the protection and advancement of human dignity and of a cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to the local, national and international communities(14). It possesses that institutional autonomy necessary to perform its functions effectively and guarantees its members academic freedom, so long as the rights of the individual person and of the community are preserved within the confines of the truth and the common good(15).

13. Since the objective of a Catholic University is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the great problems of society and culture(16), every Catholic University, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics:

“1. a Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such;

2. a continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research;

3. fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church;

4. an institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life”(17).

14. “In the light of these four characteristics, it is evident that besides the teaching, research and services common to all Universities, a Catholic University, by institutional commitment, brings to its task the inspiration and light of the Christian message. In a Catholic University, therefore, Catholic ideals, attitudes and principles penetrate and inform university activities in accordance with the proper nature and autonomy of these activities. In a word, being both a University and Catholic, it must be both a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge, and an academic institution in which Catholicism is vitally present and operative”(18).

15. A Catholic University, therefore, is a place of research, where scholars scrutinize reality with the methods proper to each academic discipline, and so contribute to the treasury of human knowledge. Each individual discipline is studied in a systematic manner; moreover, the various disciplines are brought into dialogue for their mutual enhancement.

In addition to assisting men and women in their continuing quest for the truth, this research provides an effective witness, especially necessary today, to the Church’s belief in the intrinsic value of knowledge and research.

In a Catholic University, research necessarily includes (a) the search for an integration of knowledge, (b) a dialogue between faith and reason, (c) an ethical concern, and (d) a theological perspective.

16. Integration of knowledge is a process, one which will always remain incomplete; moreover, the explosion of knowledge in recent decades, together with the rigid compartmentalization of knowledge within individual academic disciplines, makes the task increasingly difficult. But a University, and especially a Catholic University, “has to be a ‘living union’ of individual organisms dedicated to the search for truth … It is necessary to work towards a higher synthesis of knowledge, in which alone lies the possibility of satisfying that thirst for truth which is profoundly inscribed on the heart of the human person”(19). Aided by the specific contributions of philosophy and theology, university scholars will be engaged in a constant effort to determine the relative place and meaning of each of the various disciplines within the context of a vision of the human person and the world that is enlightened by the Gospel, and therefore by a faith in Christ, the Logos, as the centre of creation and of human history.

17. In promoting this integration of knowledge, a specific part of a Catholic University’s task is to promote dialogue between faith and reason, so that it can be seen more profoundly how faith and reason bear harmonious witness to the unity of all truth. While each academic discipline retains its own integrity and has its own methods, this dialogue demonstrates that “methodical research within every branch of learning, when carried out in a truly scientific manner and in accord with moral norms, can never truly conflict with faith. For the things of the earth and the concerns of faith derive from the same God”(20). A vital interaction of two distinct levels of coming to know the one truth leads to a greater love for truth itself, and contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the meaning of human life and of the purpose of God’s creation.

18. Because knowledge is meant to serve the human person, research in a Catholic University is always carried out with a concern for the ethical and moral implications both of its methods and of its discoveries. This concern, while it must be present in all research, is particularly important in the areas of science and technology. “It is essential that we be convinced of the priority of the ethical over the technical, of the primacy of the person over things, of the superiority of the spirit over matter. The cause of the human person will only be served if knowledge is joined to conscience. Men and women of science will truly aid humanity only if they preserve ‘the sense of the transcendence of the human person over the world and of God over the human person”(21).

19. Theology plays a particularly important role in the search for a synthesis of knowledge as well as in the dialogue between faith and reason. It serves all other disciplines in their search for meaning, not only by helping them to investigate how their discoveries will affect individuals and society but also by bringing a perspective and an orientation not contained within their own methodologies. In turn, interaction with these other disciplines and their discoveries enriches theology, offering it a better understanding of the world today, and making theological research more relevant to current needs. Because of its specific importance among the academic disciplines, every Catholic University should have a faculty, or at least a chair, of theology(22).

20. Given the close connection between research and teaching, the research qualities indicated above will have their influence on all teaching. While each discipline is taught systematically and according to its own methods, interdisciplinary studies, assisted by a careful and thorough study of philosophy and theology, enable students to acquire an organic vision of reality and to develop a continuing desire for intellectual progress. In the communication of knowledge, emphasis is then placed on how human reason in its reflection opens to increasingly broader questions, and how the complete answer to them can only come from above through faith. Furthermore, the moral implications that are present in each discipline are examined as an integral part of the teaching of that discipline so that the entire educative process be directed towards the whole development of the person. Finally, Catholic theology, taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, provides an awareness of the Gospel principles which will enrich the meaning of human life and give it a new dignity.

Through research and teaching the students are educated in the various disciplines so as to become truly competent in the specific sectors in which they will devote themselves to the service of society and of the Church, but at the same time prepared to give the witness of their faith to the world.

2. The University Community

21. A Catholic University pursues its objectives through its formation of an authentic human community animated by the spirit of Christ. The source of its unity springs from a common dedication to the truth, a common vision of the dignity of the human person and, ultimately, the person and message of Christ which gives the Institution its distinctive character. As a result of this inspiration, the community is animated by a spirit of freedom and charity; it is characterized by mutual respect, sincere dialogue, and protection of the rights of individuals. It assists each of its members to achieve wholeness as human persons; in turn, everyone in the community helps in promoting unity, and each one, according to his or her role and capacity, contributes towards decisions which affect the community, and also towards maintaining and strengthening the distinctive Catholic character of the Institution.

22. University teachers should seek to improve their competence and endeavour to set the content, objectives, methods, and results of research in an individual discipline within the framework of a coherent world vision. Christians among the teachers are called to be witnesses and educators of authentic Christian life, which evidences attained integration between faith and life, and between professional competence and Christian wisdom. All teachers are to be inspired by academic ideals and by the principles of an authentically human life.

23. Students are challenged to pursue an education that combines excellence in humanistic and cultural development with specialized professional training. Most especially, they are challenged to continue the search for truth and for meaning throughout their lives, since “the human spirit must be cultivated in such a way that there results a growth in its ability to wonder, to understand, to contemplate, to make personal judgments, and to develop a religious, moral, and social sense”(23). This enables them to acquire or, if they have already done so, to deepen a Christian way of life that is authentic. They should realize the responsibility of their professional life, the enthusiasm of being the trained ‘leaders’ of tomorrow, of being witnesses to Christ in whatever place they may exercise their profession.

24. Directors and administrators in a Catholic University promote the constant growth of the University and its community through a leadership of service; the dedication and witness of the non-academic staff are vital for the identity and life of the University.

25. Many Catholic Universities were founded by Religious Congregations, and continue to depend on their support; those Religious Congregations dedicated to the apostolate of higher education are urged to assist these Institutions in the renewal of their commitment, and to continue to prepare religious men and women who can positively contribute to the mission of a Catholic University.

Lay people have found in university activities a means by which they too could exercise an important apostolic role in the Church and, in most Catholic Universities today, the academic community is largely composed of laity; in increasing numbers, lay men and women are assuming important functions and responsibilities for the direction of these Institutions. These lay Catholics are responding to the Church’s call “to be present, as signs of courage and intellectual creativity, in the privileged places of culture, that is, the world of education-school and university”(24). The future of Catholic Universities depends to a great extent on the competent and dedicated service of lay Catholics. The Church sees their developing presence in these institutions both as a sign of hope and as a confirmation of the irreplaceable lay vocation in the Church and in the world, confident that lay people will, in the exercise of their own distinctive role, “illumine and organize these (temporal) affairs in such a way that they always start out, develop, and continue according to Christ’s mind, to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer”(25).

26. The university community of many Catholic institutions includes members of other Churches, ecclesial communities and religions, and also those who profess no religious belief. These men and women offer their training and experience in furthering the various academic disciplines or other university tasks.

3. The Catholic University in the Church

27. Every Catholic University, without ceasing to be a University, has a relationship to the Church that is essential to its institutional identity. As such, it participates most directly in the life of the local Church in which it is situated; at the same time, because it is an academic institution and therefore a part of the international community of scholarship and inquiry, each institution participates in and contributes to the life and the mission of the universal Church, assuming consequently a special bond with the Holy See by reason of the service to unity which it is called to render to the whole Church. One consequence of its essential relationship to the Church is that the institutional fidelity of the University to the Christian message includes a recognition of and adherence to the teaching authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals. Catholic members of the university community are also called to a personal fidelity to the Church with all that this implies. Non-Catholic members are required to respect the Catholic character of the University, while the University in turn respects their religious liberty(26).

28. Bishops have a particular responsibility to promote Catholic Universities, and especially to promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic identity, including the protection of their Catholic identity in relation to civil authorities. This will be achieved more effectively if close personal and pastoral relationships exist between University and Church authorities, characterized by mutual trust, close and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue. Even when they do not enter directly into the internal governance of the University, Bishops “should be seen not as external agents but as participants in the life of the Catholic University”(27).

29. The Church, accepting “the legitimate autonomy of human culture and especially of the sciences”, recognizes the academic freedom of scholars in each discipline in accordance with its own principles and proper methods(28), and within the confines of the truth and the common good.

Theology has its legitimate place in the University alongside other disciplines. It has proper principles and methods which define it as a branch of knowledge. Theologians enjoy this same freedom so long as they are faithful to these principles and methods.

Bishops should encourage the creative work of theologians. They serve the Church through research done in a way that respects theological method. They seek to understand better, further develop and more effectively communicate the meaning of Christian Revelation as transmitted in Scripture and Tradition and in the Church’s Magisterium. They also investigate the ways in which theology can shed light on specific questions raised by contemporary culture. At the same time, since theology seeks an understanding of revealed truth whose authentic interpretation is entrusted to the Bishops of the Church(29), it is intrinsic to the principles and methods of their research and teaching in their academic discipline that theologians respect the authority of the Bishops, and assent to Catholic doctrine according to the degree of authority with which it is taught(30). Because of their interrelated roles, dialogue between Bishops and theologians is essential; this is especially true today, when the results of research are so quickly and so widely communicated through the media(31).


30. The basic mission of a University is a continuous quest for truth through its research, and the preservation and communication of knowledge for the good of society. A Catholic University participates in this mission with its own specific characteristics and purposes.

1. Service to Church and Society

31. Through teaching and research, a Catholic University offers an indispensable contribution to the Church. In fact, it prepares men and women who, inspired by Christian principles and helped to live their Christian vocation in a mature and responsible manner, will be able to assume positions of responsibility in the Church. Moreover, by offering the results of its scientific research, a Catholic University will be able to help the Church respond to the problems and needs of this age.

32. A Catholic University, as any University, is immersed in human society; as an extension of its service to the Church, and always within its proper competence, it is called on to become an ever more effective instrument of cultural progress for individuals as well as for society. Induded among its research activities, therefore, will be a study of serious contemporary problems in areas such as the dignity of human life, the promotion of justice for all, the quality of personal and family life, the protection of nature, the search for peace and political stability, a more just sharing in the world’s resources, and a new economic and political order that will better serve the human community at a national and international level. University research will seek to discover the roots and causes of the serious problems of our time, paying special attention to their ethical and religious dimensions.

If need be, a Catholic University must have the courage to speak uncomfortable truths which do not please public opinion, but which are necessary to safeguard the authentic good of society.

33. A specific priority is the need to examine and evaluate the predominant values and norms of modern society and culture in a Christian perspective, and the responsibility to try to communicate to society those ethical and religious principles which give full meaning to human life. In this way a University can contribute further to the development of a true Christian anthropology, founded on the person of Christ, which will bring the dynamism of the creation and redemption to bear on reality and on the correct solution to the problems of life.

34. The Christian spirit of service to others for the promotion of social justice is of particular importance for each Catholic University, to be shared by its teachers and developed in its students. The Church is firmly committed to the integral growth of all men and women(32). The Gospel, interpreted in the social teachings of the Church, is an urgent call to promote “the development of those peoples who are striving to escape from hunger, misery, endemic diseases and ignorance; of those who are looking for a wider share in the benefits of civilization and a more active improvement of their human qualities; of those who are aiming purposefully at their complete fulfilment”(33). Every Catholic University feels responsible to contribute concretely to the progress of the society within which it works: for example it will be capable of searching for ways to make university education accessible to all those who are able to benefit from it, especially the poor or members of minority groups who customarily have been deprived of it. A Catholic University also has the responsibility, to the degree that it is able, to help to promote the development of the emerging nations.

35. In its attempts to resolve these complex issues that touch on so many different dimensions of human life and of society, a Catholic University will insist on cooperation among the different academic disciplines, each offering its distinct contribution in the search for solutions; moreover, since the economic and personal resources of a single Institution are limited, cooperation in common research projects among Catholic Universities, as well as with other private and governmental institutions, is imperative. In this regard, and also in what pertains to the other fields of the specific activity of a Catholic University, the role played by various national and international associations of Catholic Universities is to be emphasized. Among these associations the mission of The International Federation of Catholic Universities, founded by the Holy See(34), is particularly to be remembered. The Holy See anticipates further fruitful collaboration with this Federation.

36. Through programmes of continuing education offered to the wider community, by making its scholars available for consulting services, by taking advantage of modern means of communication, and in a variety of other ways, a Catholic University can assist in making the growing body of human knowledge and a developing understanding of the faith available to a wider public, thus expanding university services beyond its own academic community.

37. In its service to society, a Catholic University will relate especially to the academic, cultural and scientific world of the region in which it is located. Original forms of dialogue and collaboration are to be encouraged between the Catholic Universities and the other Universities of a nation on behalf of development, of understanding between cultures, and of the defence of nature in accordance with an awareness of the international ecological situation.

Catholic Universities join other private and public Institutions in serving the public interest through higher education and research; they are one among the variety of different types of institution that are necessary for the free expression of cultural diversity, and they are committed to the promotion of solidarity and its meaning in society and in the world. Therefore they have the full right to expect that civil society and public authorities will recognize and defend their institutional autonomy and academic freedom; moreover, they have the right to the financial support that is necessary for their continued existence and development.

2. Pastoral Ministry

38. Pastoral ministry is that activity of the University which offers the members of the university community an opportunity to integrate religious and moral principles with their academic study and non-academic activities, thus integrating faith with life. It is part of the mission of the Church within the University, and is also a constitutive element of a Catholic University itself, both in its structure and in its life. A university community concerned with promoting the Institution’s Catholic character will be conscious of this pastoral dimension and sensitive to the ways in which it can have an influence on all university activities.

39. As a natural expression of the Catholic identity of the University, the university community should give a practical demonstration of its faith in its daily activity, with important moments of reflection and of prayer. Catholic members of this community will be offered opportunities to assimilate Catholic teaching and practice into their lives and will be encouraged to participate in the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist as the most perfect act of community worship. When the academic community includes members of other Churches, ecclesial communities or religions, their initiatives for reflection and prayer in accordance with their own beliefs are to be respected.

40. Those involved in pastoral ministry will encourage teachers and students to become more aware of their responsibility towards those who are suffering physically or spiritually. Following the example of Christ, they will be particularly attentive to the poorest and to those who suffer economic, social, cultural or religious injustice. This responsibility begins within the academic community, but it also finds application beyond it.

41. Pastoral ministry is an indispensable means by which Catholic students can, in fulfilment of their baptism, be prepared for active participation in the life of the Church; it can assist in developing and nurturing the value of marriage and family life, fostering vocations to the priesthood and religious life, stimulating the Christian commitment of the laity and imbuing every activity with the spirit of the Gospel. Close cooperation between pastoral ministry in a Catholic University and the other activities within the local Church, under the guidance or with the approval of the diocesan Bishop, will contribute to their mutual growth(35).

42. Various associations or movements of spiritual and apostolic life, especially those developed specifically for students, can be of great assistance in developing the pastoral aspects of university life.

3. Cultural Dialogue

43. By its very nature, a University develops culture through its research, helps to transmit the local culture to each succeeding generation through its teaching, and assists cultural activities through its educational services. It is open to all human experience and is ready to dialogue with and learn from any culture. A Catholic University shares in this, offering the rich experience of the Church’s own culture. In addition, a Catholic University, aware that human culture is open to Revelation and transcendence, is also a primary and privileged place for a fruitful dialogue between the Gospel and culture.

44. Through this dialogue a Catholic University assists the Church, enabling it to come to a better knowledge of diverse cultures, discern their positive and negative aspects, to receive their authentically human contributions, and to develop means by which it can make the faith better understood by the men and women of a particular culture(36). While it is true that the Gospel cannot be identified with any particular culture and transcends all cultures, it is also true that “the Kingdom which the Gospel proclaims is lived by men and women who are profoundly linked to a culture, and the building up of the Kingdom cannot avoid borrowing the elements of human culture or cultures(37). “A faith that places itself on the margin of what is human, of what is therefore culture, would be a faith unfaithful to the fullness of what the Word of God manifests and reveals, a decapitated faith, worse still, a faith in the process of self-annihilation”(38).

45. A Catholic University must become more attentive to the cultures of the world of today, and to the various cultural traditions existing within the Church in a way that will promote a continuous and profitable dialogue between the Gospel and modern society. Among the criteria that characterize the values of a culture are above all, the meaning of the human person, his or her liberty, dignity, sense of responsibility, and openness to the transcendent. To a respect for persons is joined the preeminent value of the family, the primary unit of every human culture.

Catholic Universities will seek to discern and evaluate both the aspirations and the contradictions of modern culture, in order to make it more suited to the total development of individuals and peoples. In particular, it is recommended that by means of appropriate studies, the impact of modern technology and especially of the mass media on persons, the family, and the institutions and whole of modem culture be studied deeply. Traditional cultures are to be defended in their identity, helping them to receive modern values without sacrificing their own heritage, which is a wealth for the whole of the human family. Universities, situated within the ambience of these cultures, will seek to harmonize local cultures with the positive contributions of modern cultures.

46. An area that particularly interests a Catholic University is the dialogue between Christian thought and the modern sciences. This task requires persons particularly well versed in the individual disciplines and who are at the same time adequately prepared theologically, and who are capable of confronting epistemological questions at the level of the relationship between faith and reason. Such dialogue concerns the natural sciences as much as the human sciences which posit new and complex philosophical and ethical problems. The Christian researcher should demonstrate the way in which human intelligence is enriched by the higher truth that comes from the Gospel: “The intelligence is never diminished, rather, it is stimulated and reinforced by that interior fount of deep understanding that is the Word of God, and by the hierarchy of values that results from it… In its unique manner, the Catholic University helps to manifest the superiority of the spirit, that can never, without the risk of losing its very self, be placed at the service of something other than the search for truth”(39).

47. Besides cultural dialogue, a Catholic University, in accordance vith its specific ends, and keeping in mind the various religious-cultural contexts, following the directives promulgated by competent ecclesiastical authority, can offer a contribution to ecumenical dialogue. It does so to further the search for unity among all Christians. In inter-religious dialogue it will assist in discerning the spiritual values that are present in the different religions.

4. Evangelization

48. 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”(40).

49. 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”(41).



Article 1. The Nature of these General Norms

§ 1. These General Norms are based on, and are a further development of, the Code of Canon Law(42) and the complementary Church legislation, without prejudice to the right of the Holy See to intervene should this become necessary. They are valid for all Catholic Universities and other Catholic Institutes of Higher Studies throughout the world.

§ 2. The General Norms are to be applied concretely at the local and regional levels by Episcopal Conferences and other Assemblies of Catholic Hierarchy(43) in conformity with the Code of Canon Law and complementary Church legislation, taking into account the Statutes of each University or Institute and, as far as possible and appropriate, civil law. After review by the Holy See(44), these local or regional “Ordinances” will be valid for all Catholic Universities and other Catholic Institutes of Higher Studies in the region, except for Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties. These latter Institutions, including Ecclesiastical Faculties which are part of a Catholic University, are governed by the norms of the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana(45).

§ 3. A University established or approved by the Holy See, by an Episcopal Conference or another Assembly of Catholic Hierarchy, or by a diocesan Bishop is to incorporate these General Norms and their local and regional applications into its governing documents, and conform its existing Statutes both to the General Norms and to their applications, and submit them for approval to the competent ecclesiastical Authority. It is contemplated that other Catholic Universities, that is, those not established or approved in any of the above ways, with the agreement of the local ecclesiastical Authority, will make their own the General Norms and their local and regional applications, internalizing them into their governing documents, and, as far as possible, will conform their existing Statutes both to these General Norms and to their applications.

Article 2. The Nature of a Catholic University

§ 1. A Catholic University, like every university, is a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge. It is dedicated to research, to teaching, and to various kinds of service in accordance with its cultural mission.

§ 2. A Catholic University, as Catholic, informs and carries out its research, teaching, and all other activities with Catholic ideals, principles and attitudes. It is linked with the Church either by a formal, constitutive and statutory bond or by reason of an institutional commitment made by those responsible for it.

§ 3. Every Catholic University is to make known its Catholic identity, either in a mission statement or in some other appropriate public document, unless authorized otherwise by the competent ecclesiastical Authority. The University, particularly through its structure and its regulations, is to provide means which will guarantee the expression and the preservation of this identity in a manner consistent with §2.

§ 4. Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities, while the freedom of conscience of each person is to be fully respected(46). Any official action or commitment of the University is to be in accord with its Catholic identity.

§ 5. A Catholic University possesses the autonomy necessary to develop its distinctive identity and pursue its proper mission. Freedom in research and teaching is recognized and respected according to the principles and methods of each individual discipline, so long as the rights of the individual and of the community are preserved within the confines of the truth and the common good(47).

Article 3. The Establishment of a Catholic University

§ 1. A Catholic University may be established or approved by the Holy See, by an Episcopal Conference or another Assembly of Catholic Hierarchy, or by a diocesan Bishop.

§ 2. With the consent of the diocesan Bishop, a Catholic University may also be established by a Religious Institute or other public juridical person.

§ 3. A Catholic University may also be established by other ecclesiastical or lay persons; such a University may refer to itself as a Catholic University only with the consent of the competent ecclesiastical Authority, in accordance with the conditions upon which both parties shall agree(48).

§ 4. In the cases of §§ 1 and 2, the Statutes must be approved by the competent ecclesiastical Authority.

Article 4. The University Community

§ 1. The responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the University rests primarily with the University itself. While this responsibility is entrusted principally to university authorities (including, when the positions exist, the Chancellor and/or a Board of Trustees or equivalent body), it is shared in varying degrees by all members of the university community, and therefore calls for the recruitment of adequate university personnel, especially teachers and administrators, who are both willing and able to promote that identity. The identity of a Catholic University is essentially linked to the quality of its teachers and to respect for Catholic doctrine. It is the responsibility of the competent Authority to watch over these two fundamental needs in accordance with what is indicated in Canon Law(49).

§ 2. All teachers and all administrators, at the time of their appointment, are to be informed about the Catholic identity of the Institution and its implications, and about their responsibility to promote, or at least to respect, that identity.

§ 3. In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfil a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition(50).

§ 4. Those university teachers and administrators who belong to other Churches, ecclesial communities, or religions, as well as those who profess no religious belief, and also all students, are to recognize and respect the distinctive Catholic identity of the University. 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 within the Institution, which is and must remain Catholic.

§ 5. The education of students is to combine academic and professional development with formation in moral and religious principles and the social teachings of the Church; the programme of studies for each of the various professions is to include an appropriate ethical formation in that profession. Courses in Catholic doctrine are to be made available to all students(51).

Article 5. The Catholic University within the Church

§ 1. Every Catholic University is to maintain communion with the universal Church and the Holy See; it is to be in close communion with the local Church and in particular with the diocesan Bishops of the region or nation in which it is located. In ways consistent with its nature as a University, a Catholic University will contribute to the Church’s work of evangelization.

§ 2. Each Bishop has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the Catholic Universities in his diocese and has the right and duty to watch over the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic character. If problems should arise conceming this Catholic character, the local Bishop is to take the initiatives necessary to resolve the matter, working with the competent university authorities in accordance with established procedures(52) and, if necessary, with the help of the Holy See.

§ 3. Periodically, each Catholic University, to which Artide 3, 1 and 2 refers, is to communicate relevant information about the University and its activities to the competent ecclesiastical Authority. Other Catholic Universities are to communicate this information to the Bishop of the diocese in which the principal seat of the Institution is located.

Article 6. Pastoral Ministry

§ 1. A Catholic University is to promote the pastoral care of all members of the university community, and to be especially attentive to the spiritual development of those who are Catholics. Priority is to be given to those means which will facilitate the integration of human and professional education with religious values in the light of Catholic doctrine, in order to unite intellectual learning with the religious dimension of life.

§ 2. A sufficient number of qualified people-priests, religious, and lay persons-are to be appointed to provide pastoral ministry for the university community, carried on in harmony and cooperation with the pastoral activities of the local Church under the guidance or with the approval of the diocesan Bishop. All members of the university community are to be invited to assist the work of pastoral ministry, and to collaborate in its activities.

Article 7. Cooperation

§ 1. In order better to confront the complex problems facing modern society, and in order to strengthen the Catholic identity of the Institutions, regional, national and international cooperation is to be promoted in research, teaching, and other university activities among all Catholic Universities, induding Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties(53). Such cooperation is also to be promoted between Catholic Universities and other Universities, and with other research and educational Institutions, both private and governmental.

§ 2. Catholic Universities will, when possible and in accord with Catholic principles and doctrine, cooperate with government programmes and the programmes of other national and international Organizations on behalf of justice, development and progress.


Art. 8. The present Constitution will come into effect on the first day to the academic year 1991.

Art. 9. The application of the Constitution is committed to the Congregation for Catholic Education, which has the duty to promulgate the necessary directives that will serve towards that end.

Art. 10. It will be the competence of the Congregation for Catholic Education, when with the passage of time circumstances require it, to propose changes to be made in the present Constitution in order that it may be adapted continuously to the needs of Catholic Universities.

Art. 11. Any particular laws or customs presently in effect that are contrary to this Constitution are abolished. Also, any privileges granted up to this day by the Holy See whether to physical or moral persons that are contrary to this present Constitution are abolished.


The mission that the Church, with great hope, entrusts to Catholic Universities holds a cultural and religious meaning of vital importance because it concerns the very future of humanity. The renewal requested of Catholic Universities will make them better able to respond to the task of bringing the message of Christ to man, to society, to the various cultures: “Every human reality, both individual and social has been liberated by Christ: persons, as well as the activities of men and women, of which culture is the highest and incarnate expression. The salvific action of the Church on cultures is achieved, first of all, by means of persons, families and educators… Jesus Christ, our Saviour, offers his light and his hope to all those who promote the sciences, the arts, letters and the numerous fields developed by modem culture. Therefore, all the sons and daughters of the Church should become aware of their mission and discover how the strength of the Gospel can penetrate and regenerate the mentalities and dominant values that inspire individual cultures, as well as the opinions and mental attitudes that are derived from it”(54).

It is with fervent hope that I address this Document to all the men and women engaged in various ways in the significant mission of Catholic higher education.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters, my encouragement and my trust go with you in your weighty daily task that becomes ever more important, more urgent and necessary on behalf of Evangelization for the future of culture and of all cultures. The Church and the world have great need of your witness and of your capable, free, and responsible contribution.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 15 August, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, in the year 1990, the twelfth of the Pontificate.

1 Cf. The letter of Pope Alexander IV to the University of Paris, 14 April 1255, Introduction: Bullarium Diplomatum…, vol. III, Turin 1858, p. 602.

2 SAINT AUGUSTINE, Confes. X, xxiii, 33: “In fact, the blessed life consists in the joy that comes from the truth, since this joy comes from You who are Truth, God my light, salvation of my face, my God”. PL 32, 793-794. Cf. SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, De Malo, IX, 1: “It is actually natural to man to strive for knowledge of the truth”.

3 JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the “Institut Catholique de Paris”, 1 June 1980: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, Vol. III/1 (1980), p. 1581.

4 JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the Cardinals, 10 November 1979: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, Vol. II/2 (1979), p. 1096; cf. Discourse to UNESCO, Paris, 2 June 1980: AAS 72 (1980), pp. 735-752.

5 Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the University of Coimbra, 15 May 1982: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, Vol. V/2 (1982), p. 1692.

6 PAUL VI, Allocution to Representatives of States, 4 October 1965: Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, Vol. III (1965), p. 508.

7 JOHN HENRY CARDINAL NEWMAN, The Idea of a University, London, Longmans, Green and Company, 1931, p. XI.

8 Jn 14:6.

9 Cf. SAINT AUGUSTINE, Serm. 43, 9: PL 38, 258. Cf. also SAINT ANSELM, Proslogion, chap. I: PL 158, 227.

10 Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Allocution to the International Congress on Catholic Universities, 25 April 1989, n. 3: AAS 18 (1989), p. 1218.

11 JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana concerning the Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties, 15 April 1979: AAS 71 (1979), pp. 469-521.

12 VATICAN COUNCIL II, Declaration on Catholic Education Gravissimum Educationis, n. 10: AAS 58 (1966), p. 737.

13 Mt 13:52.

14 Cf. The Magna Carta of the European Universities, Bologna, Italy, 18 September 1988, “Fundamental Principles”.

15 Cf. VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, n. 59: AAS 58 (1966), p. 1080; Declaration on Catholic Education Gravissimum Educationis, n. 10: AAS 58 (1966), p. 737. “Institutional autonomy” means that the governance of an academic institution is and remains internal to the institution; “academic freedom” is the guarantee given to those involved in teaching and research that, within their specific specialized branch of knowledge, and according to the methods proper to that specific area, they may search for the truth wherever analysis and evidence leads them, and may teach and publish the results of this search, keeping in mind the cited criteria, that is, safeguarding the rights of the individual and of society within the confines of the truth and the common good.

16 There is a two-fold notion of culture used in this document: the humanistic and the socio-historical. “The word ‘culture’ in its general sense indicates all those factors by which man refines and unfolds his manifold spiritual and bodily qualities. It means his effort to bring the world itself under his control by his knowledge and his labor. It includes the fact that by improving customs and institutions he renders social life more human both within the family and in the civic community. Finally, it is a feature of culture that throughout the course of time man expresses, communicates, and conserves in his works great spiritual experiences and desires, so that these may be of advantage to the progress of many, even of the whole human family. Hence it follows that human culture necessarily has a historical and social aspect and that the word ‘culture’ often takes on a sociological and ethnological sense”. VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, n. 53: AAS 58 (1966), p. 1075.

17 L’Université Catholique dans le monde moderne. Document final du 2ème Congrès des Délégués des Universités Catholiques, Rome, 20-29 November 1972, § 1.

18 Ibid.

19 JOHN PAUL II, Allocution to the International Congress on Catholic Universities, 25 Aprii 1989, n. 4: AAS 81 (1989), p. 1219. Cf. also VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern WorldGaudium et Spes, n. 61: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 1081-1082. Cardinal Newman observes that a University “professes to assign to each study which it receives, its proper place and its just boundaries; to define the rights, to establish the mutual relations and to effect the intercommunion of one and all”. (Op. cit., p. 457).

20 VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, n. 36: AAS 58 (1966), p. 1054. To a group of scientists I pointed out that “while reason and faith surely represent two distinct orders of knowledge, each autonomous with regard to its own methods, the two must finally converge in the discovery of a single whole reality which has its origin in God”. (JOHN PAUL II, Address at the Meeting on Galileo, 9 May 1983, n. 3: AAS 75 [1983], p. 690).

21 JOHN PAUL II, Address at UNESCO, 2 June 1980, n. 22: AAS 72 (1980), p. 750. The last part of the quotation uses words directed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 10 November 1979: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, Vol. II/2 (1979), p. 1109.

22 Cf. VATICAN COUNCIL II, Declaration on Catholic Education Gravissimum Educationis, n. 10: AAS 58 (1966), p. 737.

23 VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, n. 59: AAS 58 (1966), p. 1080. Cardinal Newman describes the ideal to be sought in this way: “A habit of mind is formed which lasts through life, of which the attributes are freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation and wisdom”. (Op. cit., pp. 101-102).

24 JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, 30 December 1988, n. 44: AAS 81 (1989), p. 479.

25 VATICAN COUNCIL II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, n. 31: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 37-38. Cf. Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam Actuositatem, passim: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 837ff. Cf. also Gaudium et Spes, n. 43: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 1061-1064.

26 Cf. VATICAN COUNCIL II, Declaration on Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae, n. 2: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 930-931.

27 JOHN PAUL II, Address to Leaders of Catholic Higher Education, Xavier University of Louisiana, U.S.A., 12 September 1987, n. 4: AAS 80 (1988), p. 764.

28 VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, n. 59: AAS 58 (1966), p. 1080.

29 Cf. VATICAN COUNCIL II, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, nn. 8-10: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 820-822.

30 Cf. VATICAN COUNCIL II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, n. 25: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 29-31.

31 Cf. “Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian” of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of 24 May 1990.

32 Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis,

nn. 27-34: AAS 80 (1988), pp. 547-560.

33 PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, n. 1: AAS 59

(1967), p. 257.

34 “Therefore, in that there has been a pleasing multiplication of centres of higher learning, it has become apparent that it would be opportune for the faculty and the alumni to unite in common association which, working in reciprocal understanding and close collaboration, and based upon the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, as father and universal doctor, they might more efficaciously spread and extend the light of Christ”. (Plus XII, Apostolic Letter Catholicas Studiorum Universitates, with which The International Federation of Catholic Universities was established: AAS 42 [1950], p. 386).

35 The Code of Canon Law indicates the general responsibility of the Bishop toward university students: “The diocesan bishop is to have serious pastoral concern for students by erecting a parish for them or by assigning priests for this purpose on a stable basis; he is also to provide for Catholic university centers at universities, even non-Catholic ones, to give assistance, especially spiritual to young people”. (CIC, can. 813).

36 “Living in various circumstances during the course of time, the Church, too, has used in her preaching the discoveries of different cultures to spread and explain the message of Christ to all nations, to probe it and more deeply understand it, and to give it better expression in liturgical celebrations and in the life of the diversified community of the faithful”. (VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, n. 58: AAS 58 [1966], p. 1079).

37 PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 20: AAS 68 (1976), p. 18. Cf. VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastotal Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, n. 58: AAS 58 (1966), p. 1079.

38 JOHN PAUL II, Address to Intellectuals, to Students and to University Personnel at Medellín, Colombia, 5 July 1986, n. 3: AAS 79 (1987), p. 99. Cf. also VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, n. 58: AAS 58 (1966), p. 1079.

39 PAUL VI, to the Delegates of The International Federation of Catholic Universities, 27 November 1972: AAS 64 (1972), p. 770.

40 PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, nn. 18ff.: AAS 68 (1976), pp. 17-18.

41 PAUL VI, Address to Presidents and Rectors of the Universities of the Society of Jesus, 6 August 1975, n. 2: AAS 67 (1975), p. 533. Speaking to the participants of the International Congress on Catholic Universities, 25 April 1989, I added (n. 5): “Within a Catholic University the evangelical mission of the Church and the mission of research and teaching become interrelated and coordinated”: Cf. AAS 81 (1989), p. 1220.

42 Cf. in particular the Chapter of the Code: “Catholic Universities and other Institutes of Higher Studies” (CIC, cann. 807-814).

43 Episcopal Conferences were established in the Latin Rite. Other Rites have other Assemblies of Catholic Hierarchy.

44 Cf. CIC, Can. 455, § 2.

45 Cf. Sapientia Christiana: AAS 71 (1979), pp. 469-521. Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties are those that have the right to confer academic degress by the authority of the Holy See.

46 Cf. VATICAN COUNCIL II, Declaration on Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae, n. 2: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 930-931.

47 Cf. VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, nn. 57 and 59: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 1077-1080; Gravissimum Educationis, n. 10: AAS 58 (1966), p. 737.

48 Both the establishment of such a university and the conditions by which it may refer to itself as a Catholic University are to be in accordance with the prescriptions issued by the Holy See, Episcopal Conference or other Assembly of Catholic Hierarchy.

49 Canon 810 of CIC, specifies the responsibility of the competent Authorities in this area: § 1 “It is the responsibility of the authority who is competent in accord with the statutes to provide for the appointment of teachers to Catholic universities who, besides their scientific and pedagogical suitability, are also outstanding in their integrity of doctrine and probity of life; when those requisite qualities are lacking they are to be removed from their positions in accord with the procedure set forth in the statutes. § 2 The conference of bishops and the diocesan bishops concerned have the duty and right of being vigilant that in these universities the principles of Catholic doctrine are faithfully observed”. Cf. also Article 5, 2 ahead in these “Norms”.

50 VATICAN COUNCIL II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, n. 25: AAS 57 (1965), p. 29; Dei Verbum, nn. 8-10: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 820-822; Cf. CIC, can. 812: “It is necessary that those who teach theological disciplines in any institute of higher studies have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority”.

51 Cf. CIC, can 811 § 2.

52 For Universities to which Article 3 §§ 1 and 2 refer, these procedures are to be established in the university statutes approved by the competent ecclesiastical Authority; for other Catholic Universities, they are to be determined by Episcopal Conferences or other Assemblies of Catholic Hierarchy.

53 Cf. CIC, can. 820. Cf. also Sapientia Christiana, Norms of Application, Article 49: AAS 71 (1979), p. 512.

54 JOHN PAUL II, to the Pontifical Council for Culture, 13 January 1989, n. 2: AAS 81 (1989), pp. 857-858.