A school has been stripped of its Catholic status? Good!

Pontifical Catholic University of Peru

Attending a university that actually upholds the teachings of the Catholic Church is becoming an increasingly difficult task. I wrote about my own experience in grad school a while back, but it seems that I’m not alone in my dissatisfaction with Catholic higher education.

According to the Catholic News Agency, the Vatican has stripped the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru of its Catholic identity for refusing to comply with their requests over the past 22 years.

The first thought that popped into my mind was, “it’s about time!”

In fact, there are a few institutions here in America that should undergo the same treatment. I won’t name names, but it’s common knowledge that attending a Catholic university in this day and age doesn’t necessarily mean you will receive a Catholic education.

One of the problems with Catholic higher education today is that many colleges make the mistake of hiring faculty and staff who are a) not Catholic or b) don’t support the mission of the Catholic Church.

I don’t think it’s necessary to have all employees take a pledge similar to the Diocese of Arlington’s “fidelity oath,” but there should be a preferential option for practicing Roman Catholics.

Hiring practices aren’t the only problem, though. University presidents and boards of trustees deserve some of the blame as well. Their refusal to adhere to John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesia has weakened the Catholic identity of many institutions and has allowed for a slow and creeping secularism to infiltrate Catholic campuses.

Whatever the case may be, far too many Catholic universities have flown under the radar for far too long; it was just a matter of time before the Vatican took a stand.

I just hope it doesn’t take them 22 years to do it again.

Stephen Kokx is an adjunct professor of political science and a featured columnist at RenewAmerica.com. Follow him on twitter @StephenKokx



  • Paul Sadek

    22 years! Wow! Let it NEVER be said that the Church has not dealt with such situations with PATIENCE!

  • Matt

    @ Russell
    Should a university require that a chemistry instructor be a chemist? Should they require that a mathematics instructor be a mathematician? Should they require that an English instructor, at the very least, speak English? You may counter that universities, especially 2-year schools, have instructors with no experience in that particular field teach base-level courses all the time, but does anyone question the quality of the education those students receive when this is done? It is no different with Catholic universities. If you are going to pass yourself off as providing a “Catholic” education, be Catholic.

    It’s the difference between an instructor who weights the material with depth and personal experience, and fires the students’ minds with personal example after personal example of real-world applications for what they are teaching; and the instructor who is simply teaching out of the book. The biology professor at either school will teach, by and large, the same material. But the Catholic instructor can demonstrate how to work in the field and be Catholic. What other reason is there to go to a Catholic school?

  • Noel Hyde

    Allowing the university to violate teachings for 22 years is not setting a good example for those trying to teach on the results of sin. Instead of illustrating “tough love”, it reinforces the definition of “cafeteria catholic”.

    • Kevin

      While I agree with you in that it took way too long it has to start somewhere. I am glad that it has started and hope that it has not ended.

  • Russell

    I know I’ll get a lot of thumbs down, I can live with that.
    It speaks volumes when one of your suggestions is that teachers be Catholic. A statement that blatantly defies federal discrimination policy. I would bet if an organization refused someone employment BECAUSE they were Catholic, there would be an outcry that could be heard in Heaven. I can’t believe you would espouse such a policy.

    • Shawn

      How does one teach the tenets of the faith if one does not believe in the faith?

    • Steve

      So let me get this right Russell you think it is alright that any Institution be forced to hire a person that does not support that institutions mission. Just because anybody turns in a resume does not mean you have to hire them.

    • Ellie Dee

      The reason for this blog has nothing to do with employment. The essense of the argument is about adherence of a private institution to its faith. It has been found, that secularist teachers dont have the same proclivity in keeping true to the Catholic faiths agenda, as would someone of the same mindset. Not everything falls into a civil rights issue. And if thats the case, than having someone whose rights have been violated by not being taught the doctrines of faith, would be a violation of those who pay for, and expect, a Catholic University education..The Catholic religion as its main principle.

    • Paul Sadek

      Russell, if you would take a closer look at federal employment law, you would find that non-profit corporations–such as churches and church-affiliated schools–are indeed allowed to require membership for employment under certain conditions.

      • ccmnxc

        I understand where you’re coming from, but I can’t say I agree. Think of it this way: most employers hire the person who willdo the best job. In this case, Catholics will most often do the best because it is also what they believe and uphold.

    • nancy janzen

      Either you are a Catholic school or you are not. If you don’t believe Catholic teachings how can you teach them. Think of it as advanced CCD classes. Would you hire an atheist to teach Catholic theology? Would you hire a Catholic to teach Buddhism.

    • Joe M

      This is just a case of Russell not being familiar with current law.

    • Anne

      In this case, its a matter of qualifications and skills. If I wasn’t to be hired to be a brain surgeon because I’m Catholic, that’s discrimination. But if I’m not hired to be a brain surgeon because I’m not a brain surgeon – that is prudent. I can’t do a job I’m not qualified to do. If the job is to teach Catholicism to people pay a lot of money (tuition) to learn it; I must either be a Catholic, or show proof that I understand the Church and am willing to communicate it correctly to those who are paying to learn.

  • David

    Yeah, one less Catholic school and one more secular school are indeed good for everyone. I’m glad that you agree.

    • Peggy

      I don’t think that was the point they were trying to make. I have a child who attends a *true* Catholic University. I like knowing, and she likes knowing, that she is being taught the fullness of truth.

    • Brian C

      David, in cased like these, the situation you describe had already occurred, the action by the Vatican is simply formalizing what the school has chosen to do.

    • Mark

      The point, David, is that a school MASQUERADING as a Catholic school has had its mask ripped away to expose them for what they are. And it’s not Catholic.

      …So what was your point again?

    • Paul Sadek

      No, David…one less secular school which FALSELY CLAIMS to be Catholic is good for everyone. Get it?

  • Serena Rainey

    Good. I hope all “Catholic” institutions that don’t obey the teachings of the Church lose their claim to the Catholic name, and in a hurry. May it be done by the time school starts this fall, as a matter of fact.
    Phony Catholic institutions are probably the main source of anti-Catholicism among Evangelical Christians. Their arguments, weak as ditchwater at first, always gain credibility when they produce examples of “Catholic” schools that hand out condoms, “Catholic” newspapers that promote other religions, and “Catholic” multiply-divorced politicians etc.
    Let’s get that problem taken care of by disavowing all the pretenders, this year.

    • Luiz Garcia

      I agree and should start “now”.



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