Catholic Colleges Brace for Pope's Criticism

Free-thinking academics anticipate call to toe the line
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Mar 14, 2008 12:50 PM CDT
A statue of John Carroll, founder of Georgetown University, sits before Healy Hall on the school's campus in Washington, DC. Georgetown is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the U.S.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Pope Benedict XVI’s April address to top Catholic educators is likely to be a call to observe church teachings more closely, reports the Washington Post. All but 20 of the 235 American Catholic colleges and universities are too freethinking to suit the Vatican, says one expert, and the situation "is something that's been simmering for so long that it's reached a boiling point."

The speech will almost certainly include a stern injunction to Catholic schools, under scrutiny for such unorthodox acts as welcoming pro-choice political candidates to their campuses, to "realize that they aren't independent contractors," says the president of Catholic U. A Benedict biographer foresees a question guaranteed to spur some soul-searching: "If you're not going to be an authentically Catholic, orthodox institution, why should you exist?"