What makes a College Catholic?
Ex Corde Ecclesiae is the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic higher education that describes the identity and mission of Catholic colleges and universities. It was issued by Pope John Paul II on 15 August 1990, and provides general norms to assist Catholic colleges and universities in fulfilling their vision and mandate. Ex Corde Ecclesiae identifies the common characteristics of Catholic colleges and universities.
According to that document, Catholic institutions of higher learning are defined by:
- Shared Christian vision and goals.
- Reflection in the light of faith.
- Fidelity to tradition.
- Commitment to service.
Each Episcopal conference of bishops adapts the norms to particular circumstances of the educational institutions of the country, which the Pontifical Congregation for Catholic Education also approves.
The document states: "Every Catholic university is to maintain communion with the universal Church and the Holy See; it is to be in close communion with the local Church and, in particular, with the diocesan bishop of the region or the nation in which it is located."
The Canadian ordinances, which were approved by the Bishops of Canada in October 2003, have also received the approval of the Holy See on August 18, 2004. The ordinances were drawn up after consultations with the heads of Catholic colleges and universities across Canada.
The Canadian ordinances for the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae came into force as particular law for Canada on May 31, 2006.
To access the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) decree of promulgation and ordinances for the implementation in Canada of the Vatican document Ex Corde Ecclesiae, click on these links: