The 1960s through 1980s saw a dramatic shift in Catholic higher education as numerous Catholic colleges and universities declared themselves outside the authority of the magisterium.

Having personally witnessed the breakdown of education while a student during WWII, Pope John Paul II recognized the negative effects of this modern crisis on modern students. The year 1990 saw the pope’s release of Ex corde Ecclesiae (“From the Heart of the Church”), an Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Higher Education, aimed at bringing Catholic colleges and universities back to their roots in the Catholic faith.

On November 14-15, 2014, Franciscan University of Steubenville will begin the celebration of Ex corde Ecclesiae‘s 25th anniversary with the first installment of the Fidelity and Freedom Series—a free three-symposium series continuing into 2015.

The November symposium, titled “Academic Freedom and Revealed Truth” is open to all interested in better understanding and implementing Ex corde Ecclesiae.

“The primary aim of the Fidelity and Freedom Series is to reflect on Ex corde Ecclesiae so that we might develop a deeper appreciation for, and understanding of, the central issues at the heart of this apostolic constitution,” says Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, president of Franciscan University. “We will address the themes of the relationship between academic freedom and revealed truth, the dialogue of faith and reason, and engaging the culture.”

Father Sheridan expressed his hope that “the deliberations we pursue on our campus will be of help not only to us, but to other universities and to the culture at large.”

Questions to be addressed at the symposium include “What is academic freedom?” “Does a Catholic university support a different type of academic freedom than a secular university?” “Does the Catholic university, and in particular the academic freedom it maintains, provide the model for university education generally?”

Presenters who will discuss these questions at the November 14-15, 2014 symposium include Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, JD, JCD, serving as symposium host; Dr. Terrence Tilley, professor of theology at Fordham University in New York and the Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, Chair in Catholic Theology; Dr. Reinhard Hütter, professor of Christian theology at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina; Richard Jusseaume, president of Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio; and Father Peter French Ryan, SJ, executive director, secretariat of doctrine and canonical affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Symposium commentators will be Franciscan University professors Dr. Stephen Hildebrand, director of the Graduate Theology Program; Dr. Scott Hahn, the Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Professor of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization; Dr. Daniel R. Kempton, vice president for Academic Affairs and professor of political science; and Dr. John Crosby, director of the Graduate Philosophy Program.”Fidelity and Freedom: Academic Freedom and Revealed Truth” begins on Friday, November 14 at 2:45 p.m. and ends on Saturday, November 15 at 1:00 p.m.

For more information and to register, go to the Fidelity and Freedom Series webpages.

There is no charge to attend the Fidelity and Freedom Series, which is sponsored by the Franciscan University Henkels Lecture Series.