Newman Studies Journal

Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2004

Donald W. Wuerl
Pages 20-28

Academic Freedom and the University

This article contrasts a secular definition of “academic freedom” with a Catholic model, where freedom of discussion and investigation is one component of a wider process that leads to the Church’s judgment about a particular teaching. Three questions arise about academic freedom: (1) its purpose and goal, (2) its limits, and (3) its relationship to the Church. While there is sometimes tension between some people and the teaching office, fruitful doctrinal development usually takes place within the—sometimes heated—world of theological discussion. A postscript describes the mandatum as a concrete expression of the intrinsic role that the magisterium has in Catholic theology and the role of the university and faculty in relation to the wider church.