Feb 14, 2011
Recent, apparently unrelated developments point to a stepped-up effort by the bishops to bolster the Catholic identity of Catholic higher education and Catholic health care in America. Along with many other people, I wish the bishops well in this enterprise, but I can’t help noticing that the new initiatives come mighty late.
Expressing concern about “the ability of our institutions to carry out their mission in conformity with our faith,” Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York cited “increasing political and social pressures that are trying to force the Church to compromise her principles.” Archbishop Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was speaking specifically of Catholic hospitals, but the much the same concerns apply to Catholic colleges and universities.
Start with them. Last month USCCB announced plans for a 10-year review of the bishops’ policy document on the Catholic identity of Church-related institutions of higher learning. Worked out in collaboration with university representatives, the scheme calls for bishops to meet one-on-one in the months ahead with the presidents of Catholic colleges and universities in their dioceses.
The bishops will discuss the results at their general meeting next November, and the findings will then be presented to Archbishop Dolan for whatever action he may care to take.