By Elise Harris/ Jan. 29, 2018 / CNA/EWTN News
VATICAN CITY — On Monday Pope Francis released a new apostolic constitution calling for a “radical” reform to the nature and curriculum of ecclesiastical universities and institutions.
“The primary need today is for the whole People of God to be ready to embark upon a new stage of Spirit-filled evangelization,” the Pope said in the document, Veritatis Gaudium.
This new stage of evangelization, he said, “calls for a resolute process of discernment, purification and reform. In this process, a fitting renewal of the system of ecclesiastical studies plays a strategic role.”
Signed Dec. 8, 2017, and published Jan. 29, 2018, the 87-page document’s title means “The Joy of Truth.”
The document deals specifically with ecclesiastical universities and faculties, which, differing from regular Catholic universities, offer Vatican-approved degrees required to teach in seminaries or at pontifical universities.
It consists of two parts dedicated to general norms and specific norms and also contains an appendix and norms of application. The document is meant to “update” previous norms and abrogates any prior rules that contradict the new ones laid out by Pope Francis in Veritatis Gaudium.
The document abrogates any contrary norms established by John Paul II’s 1979 apostolic constitution Sapientia Christiana, issued after a careful study of the Second Vatican Council’s decree Optatam Totius on ecclesiastical studies. However, John Paul II’s 1990 apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae is not impacted, as it deals specifically with Catholic colleges and universities, rather than ecclesiastical academic entities.