Ex Corde Ecclesiae

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Ex Corde Ecclesiae (English: From the Heart of the Church) is an apostolic constitution issued by Pope John Paul II regarding Catholic colleges and universities.

Promulgated on August 15, 1990[1] and intended to become effective in the academic year starting in 1991, its aim was to define and refine the Catholicism of Catholic institutions of higher education. Institutions newly claiming to be Catholic would require affirmation from "the Holy See, by an Episcopal Conference or another Assembly of Catholic hierarchy, or by a diocesan bishop".

Institutions currently claiming to be Catholic are considered Catholic unless declared otherwise by the same. The document cites canon 810[1] of the Code of Canon Law[2] which instructs Catholic educational facilities to respect norms established by local bishops. Ex Corde underscores the authority of the bishops and mentions that canon law (canon 812)[2] requires all teachers of theology in Catholic colleges and universities to have the mandate of the local ecclesiastical authority (normally the local bishop).

The apostolic constitution was viewed as a rebuttal to the Land O'Lakes Statement, [3] a 1967 position paper adopted by the participants of a seminar sponsored by University of Notre Dame on the role of Catholic universities. Attendees at this American seminar included the University Presidents of Notre Dame, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Boston College, Fordham, St. Louis University, Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, the Archbishop of Atlanta and more than a dozen other educators of North American Catholic higher education.[3]


  1. ^ a b Ex Corde Ecclesiae at the Vatican website. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  2. ^ a b Canons 807-814, Code of Canon Law Vatican website. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  3. ^ a b [1] at http://www.nd.edu/. Retrieved 2011-10-16.

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