The primary goal of 1887 Trust is to encourage Gonzaga University’s boards, administrators, faculty members, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends to work to strengthen Gonzaga’s Catholic character.
The mission that the Church, with great hope, entrusts to Catholic universities holds a cultural and religious meaning of vital importance because it concerns the very future of humanity. The renewal requested of Catholic universities will make them better able to respond to the task of bringing the message of Christ to man, to society, to the various cultures. –St. John Paul II, Ex corde Ecclesiae
Informed by the experience of Catholic educators around the country, and in keeping with St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities,
Ex corde Ecclesiae
, we urge those who govern Gonzaga to embrace the following goals in order to strengthen Gonzaga’s Catholic identity:
- Confirm and support its academic freedom to be an authentically Catholic university, witnessing to and upholding Church teaching on faith and morals as proclaimed by the Magisterium.
- Be a place where students and faculty carry out research, teaching, and other activities informed by Catholic ideals, principles, and attitudes.
- Become a model for other Catholic colleges, demonstrating how faith and reason work together in the Catholic university setting in pursuit of truth.
In order to meet and maintain these goals, we believe that Gonzaga should implement the following concrete steps:
- Work to attract and maintain a faculty body that is composed of a majority of faithful Catholics.
- Acquire and maintain a Board of Trustees that is composed of a majority of faithful Catholics.
- Require theology professors to obtain a mandatum—an ecclesial confirmation of their intent to teach in communion with the Church, to disclose publicly their receipt of the mandatum, and to present students with authentic Catholic teaching.
- Commit to achieving compliance with the letter and spirit of Ex corde Ecclesiae.
While the above steps do not begin to exhaust the ways in which Gonzaga can strengthen Catholic identity, we believe they represent the foundation blocks that must be in place in order to build a sustainable Catholic character.
There are many concerns expressed by stakeholders about the faithfulness of Catholic universities to their core Catholic mission. Concerned Catholics across the country raise issues such as these:
- Conceptions of academic freedom that undermine Catholic institutions’ freedom to be specifically Catholic universities.
- Speaker policies that on occasion provide honors and unchallenged platforms for those who publicly and persistently oppose settled Church teaching.
- Core curricula that follow secular trends that tend to marginalize the rich heritage of the Catholic intellectual tradition.
- University ministry efforts that downplay the content of Church teaching.
These are legitimate concerns. If Gonzaga’s leaders take the four key steps described above, however, we believe that GU can more easily correct the problems that flow from today’s overly secularized Catholic university environment. With majorities of faithful Catholics on key boards and in faculty positions, and with a commitment to be faithful to authoritative Catholic teaching, GU’s leaders will greatly enhance the possibilities for strengthening Gonzaga’s authentic Catholic character.
Through frequent publication via our website, email, and social media, as well as public meetings, and individual outreach, 1887 Trust endeavors to provide information and support to key decision makers and stakeholders willing to press for the changes needed to restore and to perpetuate a more faithful Catholic identity for Gonzaga University.
You can help our efforts with your prayers, by
staying in touch
, relaying your own concerns to
, and by
so our efforts can continue.
St. Aloysius, pray for Gonzaga University and all who love her.