John Allen Jr. reports on Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles last night addressing the annual convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America. In a understatement John Allen Jr. writes "The relationship between the CTSA and the bishops has not always been irenic." Well when you are talking Cardinal Mahony and CTSA they probably agree more than disagree.
Mahony also described meeting with area theologians in September 2000 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, in response to Pope John Paul II’s 1990 apostolic letter Ex Corde Ecclesiae, on the Catholic identity of church-run schools and colleges. Among other things, the pope’s letter requires a Catholic theologian to have a license from the local bishop, called a “mandatum.”
“We were able to arrive at procedures whereby I fulfill my responsibilities as the ordinary, in a way that respects the autonomy and integrity of Roman Catholics teaching Catholic theology in this archdiocese,” Mahony said.
I am obviously not a theologian because I just can’t understand arguments like that and I have not been educated enough for them to somehow make sense. The idea that you need autonomy from the Catholic Church to teach truth is a paradox I am unable to unravel. Gee in my ignorance I thought you could have total autonomy in seeking and teaching the truth and still be fully within the Catholic faith.
Though it is rather ironic that the Cardinal even talked about Ex Corde Ecclesiae in front of the CTSA since they opposed it and issued a statement of disapproval when the Bishops addressed it.
The Cardinal said he did "fulfill my responsibilities as the ordinary" and I wonder exactly when the following was done with universities in his diocese?
§ 1. The responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the University rests primarily with the University itself. While this responsibility is entrusted principally to university authorities (including, when the positions exist, the Chancellor and/or a Board of Trustees or equivalent body), it is shared in varying degrees by all members of the university community, and therefore calls for the recruitment of adequate university personnel, especially teachers and administrators, who are both willing and able to promote that identity. The identity of a Catholic University is essentially linked to the quality of its teachers and to respect for Catholic doctrine. It is the responsibility of the competent Authority to watch over these two fundamental needs in accordance with what is indicated in Canon Law(49).
§ 2. All teachers and all administrators, at the time of their appointment, are to be informed about the Catholic identity of the Institution and its implications, and about their responsibility to promote, or at least to respect, that identity.
§ 3. In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfil a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition(50).
§ 4. Those university teachers and administrators who belong to other Churches, ecclesial communities, or religions, as well as those who profess no religious belief, and also all students, are to recognize and respect the distinctive Catholic identity of the University. In order not to endanger the Catholic identity of the University or Institute of Higher Studies, the number of non-Catholic teachers should not be allowed to constitute a majority within the Institution, which is and must remain Catholic.
§ 5. The education of students is to combine academic and professional development with formation in moral and religious principles and the social teachings of the Church; the programme of studies for each of the various professions is to include an appropriate ethical formation in that profession. Courses in Catholic doctrine are to be made available to all students(51).
I would like to be more charitable than cynical, but the facts point to his idea of responsibility as doing exactly nothing in regards to holding Catholic universities to this standard. Somehow pastoral has come to mean doing nothing. I think I will kick back on my couch and be pastoral.
I guess if the Cardinal is right James J. Walter, chairman of the Bioethics Institute at Loyola Marymount University didn’t support physician assisted suicide and also didn’t have pro-abortion speakers at commencement addresses, and is not listed by homosexual sites as being "gay friendly." Somehow I don’t think the faithfulness to the magisterium of Thomas Aquinas College has anything to do with the archdiocese, and is more likely despite the archdiocese.
Though it is unfair to single out the Cardinal in regards to Ex Corde Ecclesiae. For several years the squeaking sound we heard across the country was the foot-draging of the USSCB in even addressing implementation and mainly they have just gone all "pastoral" on us.