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Volume XV, No. 4
Ex Corde Ecclesiae the "dialogue" continues
Transcript of Bishops' Discussion on Mandatum Guidelines
Wednesday, November 15, 2000
Following is a verbatim transcription of the bishops' discussion of the "mandatum" guidelines of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, from WFF tapes recorded at the NCCB meeting.
Because of a technical problem with the taping, the introductory remarks by Archbishop Pilarczyk and the beginning of Daniel Finn's address (in brackets) are summarized from notes. The actual transcription begins at the beginning of Finn's remarks. Editor.
Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk (Cincinnati), Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee on the Mandatum: [We refer to Supplementary Document #2 , Ad Hoc Committee on the Mandatum, in the documentation provided for this meeting. I wish to communicate for the comfort of the body at large that this is the last time I will be up here. We will have a guest presentation. Then I will present a history of the matter at hand. With respect to Ex Corde Ecclesiae, we promised a fuller treatment on the mandatum the "how", the practical application. Cardinal Bevilacqua, Bishops Braxton, Doran, Wuerl were appointed as a subcommittee to work out the details.
[We asked major Catholic learned societies. CLS, CTSA, College Theological Society, Association of Catholic Colleges and University to submit a panel of consulters. We chose 4 consulters from this group.
[The Committee worked initially through faxes, phone. We met all day Nov 1. The result is what lies before you in supplementary document #2. It was decided that it would be good for the body of bishops to hear from someone representative of the theological community.]
The archbishop introduced Daniel Finn, professor of theology at St. John's University, Collegeville Minnesota, a representative of CTSA to the bishops' "consulting committee" who was invited to address the plenary session.
Daniel Finn: [I'm from the diocese of St Cloud., chair of committee on mandatum of St John's University. I am married with two children, ages 20 and 16. I teach social ethics, introducing economic social teaching. I teach works of Clement of Alexandria,] ...Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, Aquinas, Leo XIII, Pius XI, John Paul II and a number of others, both religious and secular.
I mention all this only because I think I am not untypical of the many Catholic theologians across the US who daily introduce their students to the riches of the Catholic tradition. The vast majority, however, are deeply concerned about the implementation of the mandatum. And for this reason I stand before you today.
I regret that I do not carry better news. I hope that what I am about to say will not sound overdrawn, excessively dramatic or disrespectful, because I intend none of that, especially disrespect. My convictions are engendered by a deep love for the Church and a commitment to Christ's mission to the world.
Catholic theologians and bishops have had a long history of fruitful cooperation. This continues today in their basic agreement on the vast majority of issues surrounding Ex Corde. Most fundamental here is a shared conviction about the importance of the Catholic character of our colleges and universities. Theologians also share with bishops the conviction that bishops are the ultimate arbiters of authentic Catholic doctrine. There may be nothing more important that I say today than this. The deep-seated misgivings that so many theologians have about the mandatum should not be interpreted as either questioning the truth of Catholic teaching, or challenging your role as episcopal guardians of our tradition. Perhaps the most basic concern that many theologians have about the mandatum is that it threatens the Church's mission to the world, in which Catholic higher education plays so central a role. As the Holy Father put it in Ex Corde, the mission of Catholic universities appears increasingly for the encounter of the Church with the development of the sciences and with the cultures of our age.
The faculty at Catholic colleges and universities daily reach out to the professions, the arts, the sciences, technology, politics, economics and business. The growing respect of Catholic higher education among secular universities has played a major role in the influence Catholicism has had in this outreach. The American Catholic college or university is a place where culture and faith intersect, as your own document has described it. But it is an institution in tension, but that's a creative tension, that exists between the wisdom of our faith tradition and the wisdom of the secular world. This same tension produced patristic theology and the work of Thomas Aquinas. It is a thoroughly Catholic tension.
To those of us who teach in Catholic colleges and universities, this balance of commitments is in danger of being upset from either side. Some voices in academy could threaten basic values of religious belief; some voices in the Church could threaten basic values of academic discourse. The genius of Catholic colleges and universities depends on the balancing of this twofold commitment. In the academy, credibility is the coin of the realm. The dictionary defines "credibility" as relational. It is the capacity to elicit belief. Proclaiming the truth is not the same thing as proclaiming the truth with credibility. In higher education, intellectual credibility is tied to the strengths of ideas, and intellectual differences are not resolved by administrative decision. The greatest would be the resolution by administrative power from outside the university itself. Many are unaware of just how serious a violation of prevailing standards such an arrangement would be in the US.
The balance within Catholic higher education is mirrored by a balance within academic theology there, which begins with the matter of faith and reflects upon it. But evangelical proclamation is not primary to the academic theologians role as theologian. Academic Catholic theology exists in a reciprocal, communal and mutually supportive relation with the proclamation of the faith, but it is not reducible to it. Some conversations on the mandatum have made the error of assimilating academic theology to an evengelical, or pastoral or catechetical role.
Now, in spite of these concerns, theologians recognize that the NCCB is committed to implementing the mandatum. Thus it is important that I identify four neuralgic areas of theologians' concerns about the current draft of guidelines before you today.
The first is that the local bishop is left unspecified discretion in deciding what he will insist upon as necessary to be "a teacher within the full communion of the Catholic Church". Now this phrase is a recent invention, and fraught with ambiguity. Apparently, a bishop might rightfully insist even on a minor diocesan norm.
Similarly troubling, is the absence of widely recognized standards of due process for those hard cases where a bishop is inclined to withhold or withdraw a mandatum. The draft cites no requirement that the bishop divulge the charges against the theologian, or identify the accuser; no requirement that the bishop allow the theologian to mount a defense, or to meet with the bishop with a theological advisor present. There's no recognition that a diocese might lack the theological resources necessary to sort through the issues in the case of some theologians.
Second, the appeal process is not adequate. The most recent draft includes two important improvements. It does identify some of the standards of due process, and includes the NCCB document Doctrinal Responsibilities. However, reliance on administrative recourse in Canon Law is unlikely, it seems, to rectify any injustices that might occur at a diocesan level. The recourse offered in Canon 1732 and following was designed for, and far as we know has been used only for, administrative issues not doctrinal ones, which will surely be the focus of any appeal, especially since there are almost no required procedures in the draft that a bishop might be charged with violating. In addition, recent history indicates that any doctrinal issue would be quickly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where many of the due process standards affirmed in Canon 1732 and following have been explicitly disavowed. In a democratic society like the United States this, we fear, will damage the Church's credibility, and not just in the eyes of academics.
Third, there are a number of troublesome legal issues surrounding the mandatum. Labor lawyers seem convinced that under our labor and civil rights laws, the mandatum would have to be a bona fide occupational requirement if it ever came to play a part in employment decisions. But then each bishop, as well as the university, would be legally liable for how it was handled. The attorneys for the NCCB, I am told, predict that the bishop would win such suits due to a religious or ministerial exemption from prevailing law. Now, I'm no attorney, but it does seem to me that either the latter view is false, and the local bishop would be liable for damages; or it is true, and theologians may be giving up rights they currently hold in civil law as soon as they begin to cooperate with the mandatum process. This may vary locally. Theologians, of course, don't know the answer to this legal question, and many, especially lay theologians supporting families, cannot afford to hire an attorney to find out.
Fourth, one of the main sources of concern about the mandatum is only hinted at in the draft guidelines, where it says the bishop should inform university authorities if a theologian does not obtain the mandatum in the prescribed time frame. Some have described this as a simple courtesy, but it is well known that other voices in the Church believe each college and university should change its statutes to require that all Catholic theologians have a mandatum to teach theology. History, however, would seem otherwise. First, I believe it's fair to say that the mandatum is based on a juridical European model of episcopal-university relations that is foreign in the US context. Second, prior to the publication of the 1983 Code this very concern, we are told, led to intense deliberations resulting in Canon 812 not requiring universities to insist on the mandatum for their theology professors. So its absurd for some to argue today that the mandatum, once implemented, would logically require a change of university statutes. That seems to me to blindly ignore its historical context. The change of statutes would be a most serious error, greatly exacerbating all the problems cited above, and flying in the face of two centuries of American Church history.
In conclusion, I urge you, even those of you who are not ordinaries or who do not have a college or university in your diocese, to take the time to read the CTSA report and to converse with theologians. The NCCB consulted with the presidents of the colleges and universities for most of the decade of the 1990's; a formal meeting to dialog with theologians about the mandatum occurred for the first time fourteen days ago. I hope you'll understand why so many theologians feel their concerns have not been heard.
It has been a century since the potential for open conflict between bishops and theologians has been this great. May the relation of bishops and theologians exhibit those traits endorsed in Ex Corde Ecclesiae : mutual trust, close and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue. In that spirit, I hope you will believe me when I repeat that the grave misgivings that so many theologians have about the mandatum arise from a deep-seated love for the Church and a concern that her voice be effective in academe, not from any challenge to Catholic teaching, and not from any challenge as episcopal guardians of our tradition.
Once again I want to thank Archbishop Pilarczyk and his committee, and in the name of a multitude of colleagues around the nation I want to thank you all for you consideration today. And I pray that the Spirit of Wisdom be with you in your deliberations. Thank you.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: I would now like to walk you through the draft guidelines. First of all we need to say that this is not particular law. The Committee views this document as a resource, as a help, as a source of ideas, of information that will assist you in the responsibility that we have.
On page 2, #1, we talk about the nature of the mandatum. What is it? It does not make its recipient a member of the Magisterium. It is an acknowledgement by Church authority that a Catholic professor of a theological discipline is a teacher within the full communion of the Catholic Church. It is not an appointment, an authorization, a delegation or an approbation of one's teaching by Church authorities.
In #2, which is page 2, lines 20 and the following, we list some of what we already have in the applications and in the Code of Canon Law. We define what we mean by teaching, and we list those theological disciplines whose proponents need a mandatum: Sacred Scripture, dogmatic theology, moral theology, pastoral theology, canon law, liturgy and Church history. We also define university; that means not just university, but catholic colleges as well.
In #3 on page 3, the mandatum is to be granted by the diocesan bishop. We had some discussion about refinement. Which diocesan bishop? Because some universities have campuses in more than one diocese. We have come up with the diocesan bishop of the diocese in which the Catholic university is located, generally understood to be where the president's office is located. You can delegate this responsibility to someone else if you wish.
How do you go about granting the mandatum? One way is for the professor who is supposed to have the mandatum to apply to the bishop, and the bishop responds. It is the opinion of the Committee that an ecclesiastical authority has the right to confer the mandatum on his own initiative. This is in c 4c. This might be an approach that you'd want to consider at the beginning, when you're dealing with giving the mandatum for the first time to large numbers of teachers of theological disciplines. We have dates by which this should be done.
On page 4, lines 5 and the following, we are saying that once a teacher of a theological discipline has received a mandatum he doesn't have to get another one if he goes somewhere else.
In #5 and 6 we have, as you heard, what is perhaps one of the most neuralgic aspects of this whole undertaking. We presume that the mandatum will be given to all those who have a right to it. To withhold it without due cause is an injustice. We also think its important, in lines 16 to 18, that we take the position that right conduct and right intentions are to be presumed until the contrary is proven. This means you don't get the teacher of theological discipline in and say to him or her: "Prove to me that you're in union with the Church." It seems to me the onus is on the other side.
Appeals and disputes. I think that some of the concerns that Professor Finn expressed are real concerns, and that's why we put in page 4, lines 28 and 29. If you have a dispute about withholding or withdrawing the mandatum, its important for all parties to have appropriate canonical counsel. That includes the bishop.
Likewise we have three options for the resolution of disputes. One is the option that is set forth in our document Doctrinal Responsibilities from 1989. Secondly, if there are local mechanisms for the resolution of disputes, those can be employed. Thirdly, under "d", we cite the appropriate canons of the Code of Canon Law, which are available and accessible to every member of the Church.
We thought we needed some place where bishops and others could go for information, inquiries, enlightment, the sharing of experiences and we are suggesting that our USCCB as it will be by then, we hope USCCB bishops and college and university presidents committee be established, be identified as the source to which you go for information and guidance. There is a staff person for that committee, which will probably the person to whom we will go if we have questions or comments.
Finally, just before the end of our meeting on the first of November, we agreed that we ought to give these a try as they are being presented, or as they will be modified by this body in due time, and then have another committee with other members and another chair review the whole thing in five years.
On pages 6, 7 and 8 we have provided for you sample drafts for mandata. The first one, on page 6, is the one that could be used these are only samples could be used for the situation in which a professor of a theological discipline is applying for a mandatum. The next one, given motu proprio, is one that you might use if you decide you, the bishop decide to take the initiative and grant the mandatum. That then requires, as you see on the last page of our fascicle, that the theologian accept the mandatum and express his willingness to accept it.
Now, we are requesting the committee and its consultants are requesting that since you now have this, and since this is now a public draft, that those of you who have teachers of theological disciplines in your diocese plan a meeting, a dialog session, one or more, with the teachers of theological disciplines in your local churches. We believe that this will be helpful to enlighten and perhaps refine our thinking about the mandatum, but it will also have an effect, we hope, of speaking to and perhaps even allaying some of the concerns that you heard expressed earlier this afternoon here.
Next we want to offer you an opportunity. It was suggested by a bishop member of our committee that the bishops who have Catholic colleges and universities in their dioceses might benefit from having a gathering of some sort after they have studied this draft, after they have had a session with their teachers of theological disciplines, to kind of compare notes and all get on the same page together.
I stress that what is in this document is suggestion and resource. We cannot bind anybody to anything beyond what the law of the Church and Ex Corde and its canonical implementations require. But it would be nice if we all dealt with this in more or less the same way. Obviously you cannot legislate uniformity of prudential judgments, as we said earlier today. However, the committee and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities some time next spring will sponsor perhaps a one-day session to which all bishops will be invited with the purpose of giving all bishops, especially those who have Catholic colleges and universities the chance to put their heads together and discuss questions, get some input from canonists and lawyers and others.
Finally, a prognostication. We are hopeful hopeful that the process that we have outlined; namely, your consultation with theologians, the opportunity for a one-day get-together for bishops who have Catholic colleges and universities and other interested bishops. We are hopeful will enable this ad hoc committee to prepare a final draft for your approval in the June 2001 meeting.
I believe that's all I needed to say.
Monsignor Strynkowski do I need to say any more? No. Sister Sharon, you're set? I don't need to say any more? We're open for questions.
Bishop Joseph Fiorenza (Galveston-Houston, NCCB president): Thank you, Archbishop. Now is the time for questions and discussion and observations. Archbishop John Roach. Archbishop Roach.
Archbishop John Roach (former archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, retired 1995): Thank you. Archbishop Pilarczyk, I would say in a preliminary way, I think what you've done in your committee, considering the difficulty of the problem, has been very helpful and very good. I'd like to make a couple of comments, however, almost by way of background. May be a little gratuitous, but I want to make them. We're talking about Ex Corde Ecclesiae which is now ten years old, and in this room there are many bishops who ten years ago did not have the responsibility of dealing with this issue. The climate upon the publication of Ex Corde Ecclesiae was difficult, in this country certainly. And I think what Dr. Dan Finn described as the climate, was even more troubling then, though the mandatum was not being dealt with as rigorously at than time.
I'd like to make a kind of personal expression of gratitude to one of our members. Bishop JohnLeibrecht, right from the start, was carrying the ball on this issue, and he did it with grace, with patience, in a non judgmental way, and I really think that the tone that he established helped the rest of us in dealing with the issue on the local scene. And I want to pay my expression of gratitude to John, and I expect the expression of gratitude of all the rest of us. He did an extraordinary job of setting a kind of climate in which this discussion could take place without real rancor, and I think very civilly. So we're very grateful to him. [Applause]
Second, I don't mean to comment on Dr. Finn's comments, but I should say this. A part of me says that I wish that we were still involved in the dialog on Ex Corde itself; that was a marvelous dialog. We, in this country, had not had that kind of dialog with people in higher education, or at least, if we did it was in a minimal fashion. And that document gave us a platform for a very meaningful kind of dialog, and I think that's been helpful.
Now we're at a different point; we're at the point of the mandatum. And that's going to be tougher. My plea really is this and this is very gratuitous but my plea is that we bring to that discussion, not just civility, but a real understanding of the kind of anxiety that Dr. Finn has expressed. We may not buy it, but we need to be conscious of it. And we need to be very sensitive to that fact. And I think if we can do that with the help that your committee is giving us, we can rise above the difficulties of this new stage, and accomplish what I think we're all hoping for, and that is a closer and closer kind of support between the Church and Catholic higher education. Thank you.
Bishop Fiorenza: Thank you, Archbishop. Next is Bishop Brucato.
Bishop Robert A Brucato (Aux. New York): Thank you, Archbishop. Possibly this would be called asking for a clarification, or a suggestion to move in the direction of addressing it in terms of the Catholic professor rather than the Catholic institution. I remember in previous meetings you referred to this as being a mandatum belonging to the individual, and not the institution. Yet some of the terminology refers to the profession in the Catholic university and Catholic college.
I'm wondering if that's necessary phraseology from the parent documents or whether that is only your selection for the guidelines here. And if it is, I would suggest moving away from that because the authenticity of Catholic teaching shouldn't be confined to just the Catholic university. There are many areas in which we have a Catholic presence outside the Catholic university. At times voices that claim to be Catholic, that are really not authentically so; at other times, voices that claim to be Catholic, that are authentically so, and should have, at least, the right to have requested the mandatum to be able to say: I truly teach on Catholic teaching. There are many courses in our metropolitan area or many universities in our metropolitan area where there are courses in which Catholic belief surfaces, and there are many individuals who are simultaneously teaching in a Catholic environment and in a non-Catholic environment. There are parents who are wondering: does this particular person, teaching in this secular college, my student, my son, my daughter, really presenting Catholic teaching or not?
I don't think its true to imply that every Catholic professor is seeing this as a great and onerous thing; I think many are looking to this as a tool as an authentication of their standing in the classroom.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: Bishop, its our understanding that Ex Corde Ecclesiae calls for the mandatum for Catholic teachers in Catholic institutions, and that was the task that our committee was given to deal with.
Bishop Fiorenza: Bishop Rosazza.
Bishop Peter Rosazza (Aux. Hartford): Thanks, Archbishop, for all your wonderful work. Would it be out of order to address the question to Dr. Finn? He raised the problem of due process, and I wonder how that coincides with #6, on page 4, where we do spell out, it seems to me, a process that could be used in case of difficulty.
Bishop Fiorenza: You wish Dr. Finn to respond?
Bishop Rosazza: If that's in order.
Bishop Fiorenza: Certainly.
Dr. Finn: Thank you, Your Excellency. Section 6 is about appeals. After a decision is made, it can be appealed. Our concern is, why would there not be due process in the original decision, not just after a mistake may have been made.
Bishop Fiorenza: Does that clarify it for you, Peter? Thank you. Bishop Banks.
Bishop Robert Banks (Green Bay): I have a lot of questions, really, but I'll bring them up in that meeting that you're suggesting we have at some time. The reason I get up now is this truly is a very serious matter, that if its handled the wrong way, it could result at least in one theologian, if not more, suffering the loss of a job or suffering loss of a reputation as a Catholic scholar, etc. So really this is a grievous matter that we're taking up at the present time.
Now, first of all, if I might ask a couple of questions. Are we today saying that the basic requirement of the mandatum is stated by the Canon and not by our application or by Ex Corde? And, if so, why are we putting down a date for its going into effect?
Archbishop Pilarczyk: First of all, it seems to me that we are bound by the Code and by Ex Corde, which requires the issuance of a mandatum. The effective date of the applications was already established voted on by this body at our last meeting. What we are doing is trying to fill in the blanks between what was left to be determined by the Applications and the Code, and the time in which it becomes effective.
Bishop Banks: All I'm saying is that, if the requirement basically is the requirement in the Code, then it went into effect 20 years ago.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: No, it's the Applications, too, Bishop Banks.
Bishop Banks: I understand it is also the Application, but is that which are we going to place most attention on? The fact that's its in the Application? In other words, prior to the Application, it did not apply in the United States?
Archbishop Pilarczyk: There was some controversy about that, and it seems that the common opinion is that the requirement for getting the mandatum becomes effective when the Applications go into effect.
Bishop Banks: OK. It makes all the difference in the world to me whether the requirement has been put in place by the Code of Canon Law, which was passed by our Holy Father some 27 years ago. I forget the exact date; my math isn't too good. And 17 years ago? Or whether it's us that have decided that we will now require that this be done.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: Well, we have been required to require this. [Laughter]
Bishop Banks: OK. Because if we're the ones that are requiring it, then I think we take it with a certain seriousness that we might not have taken if it's being required by the Code of 17 years ago.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: Well, I think you've got Ex Corde and the Applications in between. this undertaking of ours is not sponte nostro .
Bishop Banks: But if we're the ones that are, in effect, imposing it then I think we have to be more careful than if it was simply out there anyway, and the professors should have been doing this for the past 17 years.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: But it is not our option to decide whether to have this or not.
Bishop Banks: I know that. I'm not raising that question. I'm just saying there'd be a different attitude on our part. And so that the other question for me has to do with, first of all, being in full communion, and then teaching in full communion. If the "being in full communion" means that the person is not in a state of excommunication, then that would be very important to know, because if a person is excommunicated can they teach in full communion? I think that's an important question.
Then the other one, about "teaching in full communion". Is a person not teaching in full communion? How do we decide that? In other words, it would be clear if the person is a heretic. I think that would be clear. Probably a schismatic; I think that would be fair. But if we were to go back to those theological notes that you and I were familiar with once upon a time, if its "offensive to pious ears", would that be adequate to say that a person is not teaching in full communion?
Archbishop Pilarczyk: No.
Bishop Banks: What I'm thinking of right now is I believe that Professor Jacques DepuisI'm not sure of this, you can correct me. But I think Fr. Jacques Depuis at the Gregorian University is in conversion with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about some of his teaching. I believe, however, he's still on the faculty of the Greg, and I believe he's still teaching, but I do not know that. But that at least indicates that a person can be teaching something, or have written something, that is so questionable that conversation is being had with Cardinal Ratzinger at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and yet, the person can still continue to teach.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: I think that we have to make these judgments in a very strict- constructionist way. That you don't say that somebody is not in full communion because some of his or her teachings are offensive to pious ears. It seems to me that some theologians raise questions about: "Is this what the Church teaches?" That, to me, does not break full communion. It seems to me that you have to give everybody the benefit of every doubt before you lower the boom.
Bishop Banks: It's just that I think Dr. Finn raised a good point when he said we don't have clear criteria concerning when one is not teaching in full communion. I think that is a serious issue.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: Bishop Banks, if you would like to draw up a schedule of those criteria, the Committee would be very happy to receive it.
Bishop Banks: All I'll say is that as soon as a bishop turns down or requires that someone be fired because the person is not teaching in full communion, then we will have to have a criterion in place.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: May I observe, however, that the mandatum or lack thereof has nothing to do with hiring or firing of tenured professors. This is a university matter. What we are dealing with is an ecclesiological matter.
Bishop Banks: So there's no requirement by the Church that a university fire someone who does not have a mandatum?
Archbishop Pilarczyk: That is correct.
Bishop Banks: Would a bishop be out of order if he were to say to a president or the board of a Catholic college: you must fire the person from whom I have taken the mandatum?
Archbishop Pilarczyk: Yes.
Bishop Banks: Thank you
Bishop Fiorenza: Archbishop Schulte.
Archbishop Francis Schulte (New Orleans): Archbishop, I think I know the answer, but I'd like to hear you give me the answer yourself. This is not particular law that we're talking about, this is a process. After we've gone through these stages that you mention is there to be any, since its not particular law, any sort of recognitio.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: No, this is not subject to recognitio by any agency of the Holy See.
Archbishop Schulte: And then to go back, I share some of the concerns that Bishop Banks mentioned. Do we hear correctly, too, that there are no canonical results or something as a result of the person, professor, teacher, not asking for or not accepting a mandatum.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: That is the understanding of our committee.
Bishop Fiorenza: Bishop Wcela.
Bishop Emil Wcela (Aux. Rockville Centre): I understand that this is not legislation, that these are guidelines, and that the people involved are the bishop and the theologian. But still we're obviously talking some kind of responsibility. Where does the responsibility to find out about someone teaching theology at a Catholic university? If someone is teaching, and has not asked for the mandatum, does the bishop have some kind of responsibility to go and find out who is teaching, and then to ask questions about the mandatum?
Archbishop Pilarczyk: It seems to me that the bishop has the responsibility to inform the university or college people that this person seems to be teaching and has not requested, or has not accepted, the mandatum.
Bishop Wcela: And that would be as far as it goes?
Archbishop Pilarczyk: That's correct.
Bishop Wcela: Thank you.
Bishop Fiorenza: Archbishop Weakland.
Archbishop Weakland: Thank you very much. I think that we all understand that these are guidelines, and they're guidelines between the theologians and the bishops. On the other hand, that we're all a little nervous that somehow the universities and the presidents are outside the loop. It's just us two. But wouldn't it be wise, since these are guidelines, to put in there somewhere that if the university intends to hire somebody where the president knows this could pose a problem, that that be worked out with the bishop ahead of time? I'm just If these are guidelines, surely the presidents have some responsibilities, and not just the bishops, especially in the hiring process.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: Archbishop, it would be my opinion that such direction, or recommendation, should have been in the Applications and not here. Because this document is concerned exclusively with the mandatum. We don't want to work any harder than we have to.
Bishop Fiorenza: Bishop Goedert.
Bishop Raymond Goedert (Aux. Chicago): Archbishop, I have the feeling that between the last meeting and today's another meeting must have taken place and I fell asleep. Because it seems to me to be quite different, what we're talking about today and what we were talking about after the last time we discussed this. I was given the impression I'm not saying by you or the committee, but in our conversations I was given the impression that it was up to the individual teacher to seek the mandatum, and that if he chose not to seek it, that's OK, that's his decision. It's sort of like if he wanted a brownie point he could seek it and get a certificate that he is now in full communion in his teaching. But that it was strictly up to him, and that there be no repercussions if he didn't choose to seek it.
When I read this, this is more than guidelines. This is saying by such and such a date you will apply for it and you will get it, because if you don't we will then tell the university. And we're not going to tell the university just because we're We're going to expect that university to do something about it. It just seems as though there's been a real leap between the last time we talked about it. Again, I might be the only one that's feeling this, but it just seemed to me to be more benign a year or so ago, and quite strict. It just seems as though we're lowering the boom, and if I were a teacher of theology, I'd probably be very nervous.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: First of all, Bishop Goedert, it is the law of the Church either in the Code or in Ex Corde that says that theologians are expected to request the mandatum. This was never an option, if you want to or not. This is a requirement of law. The issue is enforcement. The local bishop does not have any mechanism to enforce non-compliance with this provision of the law. He may inform the university. I'm not sure that every bishop who informs, or any bishop who informs the university, is going to expect the university to take some kind of disciplinary action. This is not envisioned as part of the mandatum. It may be the difference of tonality between the abstract and the concrete. Our job is to make it all concrete, and that, as it were, is where the rubber hits the road. I do not believe that this is any more severe or demanding than what we've had before. It's more concrete.
Bishop Fiorenza: Thank you. Archbishop Curtiss.
Archbishop Elden Curtiss (Omaha): I think from a practical point of view bishops are concerned about undergraduates at universities, and the quality of the theology that they're receiving there. I think at the graduate level, there has to be an understanding of the difference between exposure to a lot of speculative ideas and the kind of undergraduate base that needs to be provided for students. And the expectation of Catholics, if they send their children to a Catholic college or a Catholic university, that that grounding is going to take place.
Now that's my concern for the university and the college that I have at Omaha, that that would happen. It seems to me that, from my perspective, that I would expect those who are teaching undergraduates at the university to seek the mandatum. To say, "yes, I am teaching, I'm in sync with the Church and can be trusted to with these young people who are being sent to a Catholic university to be in sync with the Church". It seems to me that would be my obligation to have them seek that and to dialogue with them if they didn't, for some reason, and want to know why. And to make that public. I would probably make that public in some way, that there were teachers who said they were professors of Catholic theology who would not seek the mandatum, and therefore, I would want that to be known.
I don't think its just a matter of take it or leave it. I don't think that's the intention of Pope John Paul, I don't think that's the intention of Ex corde Ecclesia. I think there was concern expressed around the world that if people send their kids to a Catholic college or a Catholic university that they are going to be grounded in the Faith, and not be led in directions that call into question the teachings of the Church.
So I suppose what it comes down to is that the committee offers us some guidelines, but all of us in our own situation are going to have to follow those guidelines. I have to follow them according to my conscience as the chief catechist in the archdiocese. And I don't think there is a division between catechetics and theology at the undergraduate level; I think that's been part of our problem. I think we're responding to a problem that has taken place. I think the Church is responding to that; I think the Holy Father's responding to that. And he expects us to do that. So I don't think we're playing games.
If we're playing games, if it doesn't make any difference whether somebody asks for it or not, or whether the bishop's going to grant it or not, well, then, this is an exercise in futility. It seems to me that in conscience I have to try implement this. Anybody who wants to say "I'm teaching Catholic theology" in my archdiocese ought to seek the mandatum, and I ought to be in dialogue with them about that. Otherwise I don't think I'm fulfilling my obligation as teacher.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: Fine. The issue, however, is how do you force somebody to do something? The issue is enforcing conformity to the law. We do not have the mechanism to do that. Either in law or in fact or in civil law. This is not to say it doesn't make any difference.
Archbishop Curtiss: When I'm talking about enforcement, I'm just saying that if I declare that this person doesn't have a mandate to teach Catholic theology in this university, it's going to have some impact. That's not using any force. That's not saying to the college president and I would be in dialogue. We've had a great dialogue about this matter at the university. And I certainly would be in contact with the president of the university and the head of the department. But, at least in Omaha, if I say this person does not have the mandate to teach Catholic theology, that's going to have an impact. Just perforce of the constituents, the public that's out there, the parents who think their kids are getting the kind of base that they're sending them for to a Catholic university. I mean, you know you can't force anybody, but you can certainly can have an impact if you say, "this teacher does not have a mandatum from me".
Archbishop Pilarczyk: You're certainly free to say that.
Bishop Fiorenza: OK. Bishop DiNardo.
Bishop Daniel DiNardo (Sioux Falls): Archbishop Pilarczyk, I have a question about 5b, simply as a help to me as I would meet with the theologians in my own diocese. It says that right intentions and right conduct are to be presumed until the contrary is proven. "Hence the ecclesiastical authority should presume, until the contrary is proven, that those who attest that they teach in full communion actually do so".
My question would relate it is basically left "until proven" in a relatively undeveloped state here. One would not necessarily have to do an intense amount of looking at a theologian if the theologian already wrote you and said they teach in full communion.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: That would be our understanding. I would call your attention, bishop, also to lines 20-25 on that page (Page 4), 5c: If you withhold or withdraw the mandatum you have to state your reasons in writing, enable the person who believes his rights, or her rights, have been violated to seek recourse, and such withholding and/or withdrawal should be based on specific and detailed evidence that the teacher does not fulfill the requirements.
Bishop DiNardo: Just simply as a question that has come to my mind listening to the discussion. In the course of this happening this is between a bishop and a theologian it can happen in some places, let's say another group of interested laity may begin saying something to the bishop, relative to this particular theologian. I presume that can enter into the discussion, though it need not necessarily preclude that the person is teaching in full communion with the Church.
Archbishop Pilarczyk: And it may also not preclude the demand for specific and detailed evidence. Unsubstantiated complaints are not specific and detailed evidence.
Bishop DiNardo: Fine. Thank you.
A few minor remarks are omitted here. Archbishop John Donoghue (Atlanta) makes the point that although the document says that a mandatum is "required" there is no enforcement because "there is no `or else' here". Archbishop Pilarczyk agrees that that is the case.
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