It was once customary for bishops to sport after their names the “D.D.” of the “Doctor of Divinity” degree. Whenever I see that designation I think of a limerick I learned from the late Msgr. Richard Schuler…
There once was a bishop named Fiddle
who refused to accept his degree.
“It’s hard enough being ‘Fiddle’”, he said,
“without being ‘Fiddle, D.D.’”
Richard Chonak did some gumshoe work to find out which cardinals hold which doctoral degrees. According to the Code of Canon Law, the men chosen to be bishops ought to have a doctorate. Can. 378 § 5 says, that the candidate should “hold a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred Scripture, theology or canon law, from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least be well versed in these disciplines.”
So, which cardinals hold which degrees? Read Chonak’s whole post there, but here is the list and final remarks.
Doctorates in canon law
Monteiro de Castro (PT)
Doctorates in theology
Irosa Savino (VZ)
Cipriani Thorne (PE)*
Cañizares Llovera (ES)
Braz de Aviz (BR)
Doctorates in moral theology
Doctorates in Sacred Scripture
Monsengwo Pasinya (CG)
Doctorates in philosophy
Cipriani Thorne (PE)*
Pell (AU): Church history
O’Malley (US): Spanish literature
Rylko (PL): Social science
Nycz (PL): Catechetics
Dolan (US): Church history
Which cardinals have the most academic accomplishments? Well, it’s a little hard to say, since I’m leaving out the licentiates here. But within this limited survey, the top is Oscar Rodriguez-Maradiaga of Honduras, with doctorates in theology, moral theology, and philosophy, plus a diploma in clinical psychology and conservatory studies in piano! What a guy!
Perhaps the most unusual field one of the cardinals has studied is industrial engineering. Cdl. Cipriani was an engineer working for W.R. Grace before he entered priestly studies.
To summarize: of the 67 cardinals in this age range, 18 have doctorates in canon law; 21 in dogmatic theology; 3 in moral theology, 3 in Scripture.
And 24 do not have that top-level degree in one of the sacred sciences required by the canon — which really surprises me.