Pope challenges Notre Dame to safeguard Catholic identity CWN – January 30, 2014
Pope Francis issued an unambiguous call for Catholic universities to support the teachings of the Church, in a January 30 meeting with directors of the University of Notre Dame.
The Pope spoke of the need for “the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom.” He continued:
It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness.
The Pope’s references to efforts to dilute the university’s Catholic witness and to defense of the Church’s freedoms, could be read as indirect references to the Obama administration’s insistence that Catholic universities adhere to the contraceptive mandate in the new federal health-care program.
In his remarks to the Notre Dame officials, Pope Francis recalled the vision of Father Edward Sorin, who founded the university in Indiana, and emphasized the importance of preserving “the university’s distinctive character.” Catholic universities, he said, should be “committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life.”