From the Cardinal Newman Society:
Cardinal Burke Says Theologians’ Mandatum Should Be Required by Colleges, Disclosed to Students
Theologians, Canonists Respond to Pope Benedict’s Call for Compliance
Manassas, Va. – Catholic families have a right to know which theology professors have the mandatum, and Catholic colleges and universities should require it as a condition for employment, [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] affirmed the Vatican’s chief judge Cardinal Raymond Burke in a new report prompted by recent concerns from Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Burke and several bishops, canon law experts, and theologians discussed the mandatum with The Cardinal Newman Society in an online report published today at www.cardinalnewmansociety.org.
The report, titled “A Mandate for Fidelity,” follows upon a May 5th address by Pope Benedict to several American bishops during their ad limina visit to Rome. The Pope expressed concern that “much remains to be done” toward the renewal of Catholic identity in U.S. Catholic colleges and universities, “especially in such areas as compliance with the mandate laid down in Canon 812 for those who teach theological disciplines.” [Can we have some compliance with can. 915?]
He cited “the confusion created by instances of apparent dissidence between some representatives of Catholic institutions and the Church’s pastoral leadership.”
Canon 812 of the Catholic Church’s canon law states, “Those who teach theological disciplines in any institutes of higher studies whatsoever must have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority.”
As implemented by the U.S. bishops, a theology professor requests a “mandate” (commonly identified by the Latin mandatum) from the bishop presiding over the diocese where the theologian is employed. The professor commits, in writing, “to teach authentic Catholic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to the Church’s Magisterium,” according to U.S. guidelines.
But in the United States, many Catholic colleges and universities have not required theology professors to have the mandatum, or even to disclose to students and their families which professors have the bishop’s recognition. The 1990s saw vigorous opposition to the mandatum by some theologians and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, but the controversy has since cooled down, largely because in practice the mandatum has not had much relevance to students and college leaders.
Be sure to read the rest there.