Catholic higher education is prospering, but most colleges and universities exhibit uncertainty about their specifically Catholic mission and identity. For 30 years, these schools have lived with the consequences of separate incorporation, as religious orders passed control to mixed boards of trustees and the institutions sought to improve the quality of their programs. Now their faculty and staffs are lay, highly professional, and religiously very diverse. If the institutions are to be meaningfully Catholic, trustees, faculty, and professional staff must develop programs which foster Catholic intellectual life and influence the work of teaching, research, and service. In doing so, they have reason for confidence, because the tradition is rich and the contemporary Church is filled with resources, but also for modesty, for there are no blueprints for Catholic scholarship and teaching. The keys are commitment, the decision to be constructively Catholic, conversation, willingness to engage the entire community in a dialogue about the religious dimensions of academic life, and competence.

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