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Ensure orthodoxy in Catholic schools, Pope urges US bishops

May 07, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI spoke at length about the need to preserve the Catholic identity of Church schools, during a May 5 address to a group of visiting bishops from the US.

The Pope told the American prelates, who were making their ad limina visits, that they should “preserve the great patrimony” of the parochial-school system in the US. He urged them to do whatever is possible to ensure that a sound Catholic education “remains within the reach of all families, whatever their financial status.”

At the same time, the Pope said, it is vital that Catholic institutions provide a solid founding in the faith. Tacitly acknowledging that many American parochial schools have strayed from that mission, he observed that “great progress that has been made in recent years in improving catechesis, reviewing texts and bringing them into conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” Still more work should be done to ensure that students are properly formed in the faith, he said.

At American Catholic colleges and universities, too, there is a “need to reaffirm their distinctive identity in fidelity to their founding ideas and the Church’s mission in service of the Gospel,” the Pope continued. He encouraged the bishops to ensure orthodox instruction especially in the field of theology, and called their attention especially to “the mandate laid down in Canon 812 for those who teach theological disciplines.”

Adherence to that canonical norm and to the teaching magisterium is “a tangible expression of ecclesial communion and solidarity,” the Pope said. He contrasted such union with “the confusion created” when representatives of Catholic institutions engage in public dissent from Church teachings. "Such discord harms the Church’s witness and, as experience has shown, can easily be exploited to compromise her authority and her freedom," he said.


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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: bruno - May. 07, 2012 9:35 PM ET USA

    I wonder if it would be helpful to refer to administrators and educators who publicly dispute church teaching as 'separatists' because that is ultimately what they desire?

  • Posted by: txRuth8 - May. 07, 2012 7:06 PM ET USA

    Orthodox teaching in our Catholic schools would inspire many parents like me to enroll their children. Changes attempted in the past to move the school from a liberal bent failed, so for now many of us home school our children. Our bishop is encouraging the Catholic schools, but the schools much like the Catholic hospitals and universities are still in need.