Action Alert!

Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and the band played on

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 11, 2013

Oh, good. The US bishops announce that they remain in “dialogue” with the heads of Catholic colleges and universities about the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Their report tells us:

Clarity about Catholic identity among college and university leadership has fostered substantive dialogues and cultivated greater mission driven practices across the university. In acknowledging that much progress has been made, we recognize there is still work to be done.

Well, that makes everything perfectly clear, doesn’t it?

Look: Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which called upon bishops to ensure the authentic Catholic identity of Catholic colleges and universities, was released in 1990. A child born that year is now an adult—possibly a graduate of one of those Catholic institutions. Our bishops are still talking about it, and happily reporting “progress on courtesy and cooperation in the last ten years.”

Courtesy and cooperation are nice, of course. But what about Catholic identity? Wake me up when the “progress” is such that I won’t be readily able to find abortion advocated, Church doctrines condemned, condoms distributed, and same-sex marriage defended on the campuses of America’s largest Catholic universities.

The bishops say they’re in “dialogue” with university administrators. But there’s another word to describe the process, and it too begins with the letter “d.” Last year when Georgetown students called upon the school’s leaders to ignore the US bishops, and begin offering contraceptive coverage immediately, a faculty member told Reuters that Georgetown President John DeGoia was “in a complicated political situation.” He explained: "There is a dance that has to be done with the church and the students."

A dance. Perfect. The partners know the steps, from long practice, perform them energetically. They show courtesy and cooperation. And nobody’s in a hurry to get anywhere.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Jan. 15, 2013 9:12 AM ET USA

    Oh, thx, that's too funny! I can't stop laughing!

  • Posted by: thx1688 - Jan. 14, 2013 11:02 AM ET USA

    Give them some credit. At the very least they are cultivating substantive practice missions across fostered dialogs. No, wait, I mean at least they are fostering driving dialogs across cultivated practice missions. Woa, that can't be right either. Clearly progress has been made in fostering cultivated practice dialogs that drive substantive..., that practice dialog fostering..., that mission practice across fostered driving..... What the hell are they doing again?