Ex Corde Ecclesiae and American Catholic Higher Education

Discussions over the extent to which Roman Catholic colleges and universities can maintain their religious identities in a secular world have been ongoing for well over half a century. The more than 200 Catholic colleges and universities that are spread throughout the United States, many of which trace their origins back to the 19th century, represent the single largest single block of religiously affiliated institutions of higher learning in the United States. As these institutions seek to preserve their religious identities, the Vatican entered the debate on August 15, 1990, when Pope John Paul II promulgated Ex Corde Ecclesiae (Ex Corde), literally, “from the heart of the Church.” In writing Ex Corde, Pope John Paul II sought to reinvigorate the debate over how Catholic ...

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