The Church, under the papacy of Benedict XVI, will likely refuse to support and maintain ties with institutions that have weakened or lost their Catholic identity, says Archbishop Michael Miller, secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education.
The archbishop made this speculation during his speech Monday at the 2005 Terrence Keeley Vatican Lecture at Notre Dame University, reported the Notre Dame University Observer.
The lecture reportedly drew some of Notre Dame's most prominent leaders, including the university’s president emeritus, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, and the dean of arts and letters, Mark Roche.
Archbishop Miller based his prediction on the writings of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. He said the writings indicate that the new Pope believes it is a mistake to uphold institutions that lack a solid Catholic identity.
"[The Pope] argued that it might be better for the Church not to expend its resources trying to preserve institutions if their Catholic identity has been seriously compromised," the archbishop was quoted as saying. "His writings show that a time of purification lies ahead, and this undoubtedly will have some ramifications for Catholic institutions."
Archbishop Miller said the Pope believes the “measure of an institution can be judged by its Catholic integrity."
"Benedict and others may believe that if a Catholic institution is no longer motivated by a Catholic identity, it is better to let it go," he reportedly said.
The archbishop suggested that the Church could take two approaches to such institutions: the Pope's "evangelical pruning" or a method of hopeful patience that the institution will eventually come around, the archbishop said.
He said the Pope “appears to be more inclined to avoid scandal and lead a path of evangelical pruning, but we don't know. We await."
The Catholic university is called to give collective witness to the faith, carry out the Church's evangelizing mission and provide service to the world, said the archbishop. One significant way to provide service is by developing partnerships with “emerging countries,” he suggested.