Enhancing Religious Identity: Best Practices from Catholic Campuses

Enhancing Religious Identity: Best Practices from Catholic Campuses

Enhancing Religious Identity: Best Practices from Catholic Campuses

Enhancing Religious Identity: Best Practices from Catholic Campuses

Excerpt

Many administrators, trustees, faculty, and students are still not sure what Catholic identity means and why it has become such an important issue. This anthology is a response to their puzzlement. On the one hand, the essays describe steps colleges and universities may take to enhance that identity. They make it clear why the topic is timely and important. On the other hand, the practical steps described will also help the reader better to understand what Catholic identity means.

Identity has taken on a higher profile since the Apostolic Constitution of Pope John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae. While the document offers a rich description of Catholic intellectual life and the profoundly humanis; tic nature of Catholic higher education, it has also moved Catholic insti; tutional identity into the realm of canon law and the issue of episcopal jurisdiction over colleges and universities. Meanwhile, the highly pluralis; tic nature of American culture and higher education continues to affect, both positively and negatively, the evolution of Catholic institutions.

While identity, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and pluralism are not the only issues facing Catholic higher education, they are particularly important in both an American setting and in the Church universal, where these colleges and universities play a unique role in education. As a result, the reader will have a context for assessing “;best practices”; to enhance identity and help achieve the mission of Catholic higher education.

Why Religious Identity Is Important

“;Without a vision, the people perish.”; That utterance in the Book of Prov; erbs (29:18) goes to the heart of the current controversy surrounding the

*John R. Wilcox is professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, Bronx, New York.

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