While it’s easy to focus on this new commencement controversy, Benedict’s address represents another skirmish in more than two decades of conflict between Rome and liberal Catholics entrenched on many college and university campuses. At the heart of the conflict is a 1990 “apostolic constitution” on education issued by Pope John Paul II entitled “Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church).”
That document contains numerous statements that trouble American academics, including this one: “Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities, while the freedom of conscience of each person is to be fully respected. Any official action or commitment of the University is to be in accord with its Catholic identity.”
Read it all and make sure to follow the link to the Pope’s full address if you have not yet read it.