Catholic World News

Pope challenges Notre Dame to safeguard Catholic identity

January 30, 2014

Pope Francis issued an unambiguous call for Catholic universities to support the teachings of the Church, in a January 30 meeting with directors of the University of Notre Dame.

The Pope spoke of the need for “the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom.” He continued:

It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness.

The Pope’s references to efforts to dilute the university’s Catholic witness and to defense of the Church’s freedoms, could be read as indirect references to the Obama administration’s insistence that Catholic universities adhere to the contraceptive mandate in the new federal health-care program.

In his remarks to the Notre Dame officials, Pope Francis recalled the vision of Father Edward Sorin, who founded the university in Indiana, and emphasized the importance of preserving “the university’s distinctive character.” Catholic universities, he said, should be “committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life.”

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  • Posted by: robertrees1422 - Feb. 01, 2014 12:28 PM ET USA

    It was mentioned that "why couldn't the USCCB" say something about this. The problem is that the USCCB is too content with being politically correct. It's time that we true Catholics take back our beloved Mother Church from the CINO's, Catholics in name only. I'm tired of the rhetoric of the politicians, Biden, Pelosi, Brown, Cuomo, et al in complete diregard to the teachings of Mother Church and also the democrats who purport to be Christian (that's an oxymoron).

  • Posted by: unum - Jan. 31, 2014 11:32 AM ET USA

    Why couldn't the USCCB have said this years ago? Just asking!

  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Jan. 30, 2014 10:21 PM ET USA

    The Holy Father is being way too kind to these "Catholic" Universities. Many of them have left Christian concepts out of their principle curricula for a very long time. It would have still been politic to have asked them to return to or rediscover their Catholic identity.

  • Posted by: mario.f.leblanc5598 - Jan. 30, 2014 9:39 PM ET USA

    Possibly the Pope is charitable enough to claim that the mission, though compromised, was never completely abandoned. If he were to comment on the state of things at the one nominally Catholic University here in Quebec (Université de Sherbrooke), what would he say?

  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Jan. 30, 2014 8:01 PM ET USA

    FAT CHANCE! And it is my hope I will become King of the World, a more likely scenario than Notre Dame offering testimony to its Catholic identity!

  • Posted by: patmitchell1846 - Jan. 30, 2014 6:30 PM ET USA

    And then there is Georgetown University that could do with a little shaking up.

  • Posted by: jacobtoo - Jan. 30, 2014 2:11 PM ET USA

    "It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony . . .' I hope this is a translation mistake and in the original "continue" was "begin."

  • Posted by: jacquebquique5708 - Jan. 30, 2014 11:16 AM ET USA

    If this is what the Pope is about, then I support him.