Can College Presidents And Bishops Get Along?

After a year of public clashes between bishops and some Catholic colleges, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick—the 79-year-old retired archbishop of Washington and a former college president himself—urged U.S. Catholic university presidents to forge stronger relationships with their local bishops. During his address on Jan. 31 at the annual meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Washington, the cardinal told college presidents they would receive better cooperation from their dioceses and experience less friction with the hierarchy if they welcomed their local bishops onto campus and included them in the academic fold of their institutions. Cardinal McCarrick only alluded to the controversy in 2009 provoked by President Obama’s commencement address at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. The university’s decision to invite President Obama and present him with an honorary law degree set off a firestorm of criticism from at least 70 U.S. bishops and ignited a national debate on the university’s status as a Catholic institution.

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