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MSW's Final Thoughts on Ex Corde


All this week, we have been discussing the 20th anniversary of Ex corde Ecclesiae on this blog. Later today, I will be posting a guest commentary by Bishop David O’Connell, who served as President of the Catholic University of America for the past 12 years and so was charged with implementing Ex Corde at the bishops’ own university. Also, in today’s Q & A we will have comments from Professor John Cavadini, who served for the past thirteen years as the Chair of the Theology Department at the University of Notre Dame.

Yahoo Watch: American Family Association


I disagree with those who object to the placing of a house of worship near Ground Zero because that house of worship happens to be a mosque. That said, I do not have a hard time imagining that someone who lost a loved one on 9/11 might feel differently. That such an emotional reaction is understandable on the part of families who lost a member to the terrorist attack does not mean that the emotional reaction should govern the decision of the authorities in New York. Certainly, such an emotional reaction should not be encouraged by politicians who did not lose loved ones on 9/11.

Q & A: Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland


Today, we continue our focus on Ex Corde Ecclesiae in advance of its twentieth anniversary on Sunday. Our interviewee today is Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland, the Archbishop Harry Flynn Chair of Christian Ethics and Vice President for Catholic Identity and Mission at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

The question: What is the most important thing we have learned from the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae?

Blast From the Past: Shay's Rebellion


Not every entry in the Compton’s Encyclopedia from 1970 appears dated. In fact, the following entry might be very timely if you choose to attend a Tea Party meeting. Yesterday morning, driving up to Vermont, I drove through Western Massachusetts where Shays’ Rebellion took place. The Tea Party crowd likes to talk about rebellion but they tend to forget that this early rebellion was crushed because it was undertaken against a non-tyrannical, legitimate government. Indeed, Shays’ Rebellion helped pave the way for the calling of the Constitutional Convention which produced the document the tea Party crowd claims to celebrate.

Religious Leaders Condemn Anti-Muslim Bigotry


Glad to see that our tireless – and fearless – friends at Faith in Public Life are leading the charge in organizing opposition to the Muslim-bashing that has become the modus operandi in some political circles. They organized a group of religious leaders to speak out against this new wave of religious intolerance, an intolerance that is little different in essence from that which torched the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1834 or stoked the flames of French anti-Semitism during the Dreyfus Affair. The text of their press release is here.

Ex Corde: Diversity in Higher Ed


The other evening at a cookout here in Connecticut, I was speaking with some very smart, very liberal women about the importance of small women’s colleges in shaping a cadre of women with the education and the self-confidence to break the glass ceilings of earlier times. The women were all agreed that while young women can now gain access to Harvard or Yale too, there will always be a place for the women’s schools such as Wellesley or Smith or Mount Holyoke, not only because their own traditions are worth preserving, but because some percentage of young women will want that experience of a mostly all-female school, the freedom it confers from the non-stop pressure imposed by a hyper-sexualized culture, and that the women there are capable of bringing something different, and something important, to their subsequent careers because of their time at a women’s college. I am sure that much the same argument could be made for historically black colleges.

Yahoo Watch: LeBron James


Okay, so I have held off criticizing LeBron James for abandoning Cleveland for South Beach. Lord knows he is not the first to leave Cleveland for warmer climes, although South Beach is all glitz and little else and I wish he had picked almost any place else. But, it is his life, and he can work and play where he wants.

But, after weeks of not responding to the ciriticism, Mr. James could have come forward with something magnanimous, something gracious, something about how much he loved his time in Cleveland. Instead, he sent out a 'tweet' that read: "Don't think for one minute that I haven't been keeping mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone." Nice. A dark, threatening tweet. Add me to your list LeBron. When will these guys realize that they are role models for our youth and they need to behave like grow-ups?

Q & A: Father Robert Imbelli


Today, we continue our focus on Ex Corde Ecclesiae in advance of its twentieth anniversary on Sunday. Our interviewee today is Fr. Robert Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York who teaches theology at Boston College.

The question: What have we learned from the implementation of Ex Corde?

Father Imbelli: (The following observations do not pretend to generalize beyond one person’s limited experience, though that experience represents 25 years of involvement with Catholic higher education in various colleges and universities.)

I think Ex Corde has significantly altered the conversation regarding Catholic higher education. Most importantly in that it has reintroduced into the discussion the crucial issue of what is the distinctive identity of the school in question. How does it differ from its competitors in the higher education field (and, inevitably, “market”).


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October 10-23, 2014


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