Cardinals and their doctorates… or not.

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
Romeo (IT)
Coccopalmerio (IT)
Monteiro de Castro (PT)
Cafarra (IT)
Brady (IE)
Grocholewski (PL)
Rai (LB)
Vallini (IT)
Bertello (IT)
Tauran (FR)
Versaldi (IT)
Sandri (AR)
Piacenza (IT)
Gracias (IN)
Filoni (IT)
Burke (US)
Harvey (US)
Erdö (HU)*

Doctorates in theology
Amato (IT)
Dziwisz (PL)
Hon (CN)
Wuerl (US)
Scola (IT)*
Irosa Savino (VZ)
Rodriguez-Maradiaga (HN)*
Calcagno (IT)
Sepe (IT)*
Cipriani Thorne (PE)*
Onaiyekau (NG)
Ouellet (CA)
Ricard (FR)
Schönborn (AT)
Alencherry (IN)
Cañizares Llovera (ES)
Collins (CA)
Braz de Aviz (BR)
Scherer (BR)
Koch (CH)
Erdö (HU)*

Doctorates in moral theology
O’Brien (US)
Rodriguez-Maradiaga (HN)*
Pengo (TZ)

Doctorates in Sacred Scripture
Monsengwo Pasinya (CG)
Betori (IT)
Turkson (GH)

Other fields:

Doctorates in philosophy
Scola (IT)*
Rodriguez-Maradiaga (HN)*
Bagnasco (IT)
Sepe (IT)*
Cipriani Thorne (PE)*
Filoni (IT)*
Barbarin (FR)

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Simon_GNR says:

    What doctorates did St. Peter the fisherman hold?

  2. JPD says:

    What about Cardinal Ranjith>

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Interesting list. We need educated clergy and an educated curia. It would be even more interesting to find out from where these men got their degrees as well.

  4. Jucken says:

    I think you forgot Cardinal Tagle of Philippines, father! I believe he holds a doctorate in Sacred Theology. [I didn’t forget anyone. Read the top entry… it’s not my list.]

  5. Supertradmum says:

    Simon_GNR, to be anti-intellectual is not to be a Catholic.

  6. New Sister says:

    Wiki says Card Bertone holds a doctorate in canon law

  7. The Masked Chicken says:

    “What doctorates did St. Peter the fisherman hold?”

    An honorary doctorate from the Holy Spirit given by the College of Angels.

    The Chicken

  8. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    For those wondering why some Cardinals are not mentioned, this may be why. From Richard’s post:

    For the sake of simplicity, I excluded about half the cardinals from my study population: those over 75 and those under 60 years of age, since I doubt that the cardinals will want to elect them.

  9. Supertradmum says:

    C. Ranjith has a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture.

  10. StJude says:

    Very Impressive.

    On the other end of the spectrum….I couldn’t pass 9th grade algebra and I have no idea where I parked my car.. Ugh.

  11. Phil_NL says:

    Dear Father Z.,

    The list is not complete. Far from it, most likely. [Take it up with the guy who made the list.] For example, Card Eijk (chosen cause he’s our cardinal, and I knew his bio a bit) holds two doctorates, but isn’t on the list. Moreover, one is a doctorate in medicine (rivals card Cipriani for oddness, though he wrote on the – regrettably – appropriate topic of euthanasia), the other is one in philosofy from the Angelicum.

    (source in english: )

    I suspect many more cardinals got their doctorates but didn’t make the list.

  12. Phil_NL says:

    and, I should have read a bit more rather than just to confirm what I already knew – that way you learn something from time to time: he has a third doctorate too: “Eijk also gained a master’s degree and doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome”.

  13. Chick says:

    among others missing, Cardinal George of Chicago holds both an STD in Ecclesiology form Pontifical Univ. Rome and a PhD. in American Philosophy from Tulane.

  14. frjim4321 says:

    Burke (US)

    As a moderate, I can’t say I’m a big fan.

    But I surely would acknowledge he has his chops as canonist and then some. I’m pretty sure he writes a lot if not most of his own stuff, and it’s heady. (Or at least he used to.)

  15. racjax says:

    I wish there was more critical thinking before posting. If one goes to the links Fr. Z provided in his post you will read the author’s statement that

    For the sake of simplicity, I excluded about half the cardinals from my study population: those over 75 and those under 60 years of age, since I doubt that the cardinals will want to elect them.

  16. An American Mother says:

    A parson named Fiddle, from Leigh,
    Refused to accept his degree.
    “It’s bad enough, you see,
    Being Fiddle,” said he,
    “Without being Fiddle, D.D.!”

  17. Blaise says:

    Fr Z’s intro to the list contains the following quotation from CIC:
    Bishops 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.”
    To me this suggests that the article quoted is seriously misleading when it states: “And 24 do not have that top-level degree in one of the sacred sciences required by the canon — which really surprises me.” The canon requires a doctorte “or at least a licentiate” and even goes so far as to allow for someone who is “well versed” in these disciplines. Thus if those other 24 Cardinals have a licentiate in the appropriate subject they have the degree required by the canon. The licentiate is less than ideal of the canon but meets the “requirement. ” Otherwise it might be that the ordination of some of these bishops was in some way illicit which would seem an odd result.

    That said, I think a Pope who did not have a doctorate (properly earned) would be at a disadvantage.

    I think a little research on the bishops of my own hierarchy is called for.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    I think that I am one of the few that actually read the comments…and racjax

  19. Ralph says:

    I am not anti-education. I myself have two undergrad degrees, as does my spouse. We struggle to keep 5 children in parochial school. So we value education in our home.

    However, I do not see why a lack of terminal degree should preclude one from being a bishop. I would much rather have a holy man of God with little education, than an over educated man of the world.

    Perhaps if we would have selected men for holiness, such as the (reportedly) learning disabled Solanus Casey, our Church might be better off. Yes, Casey may have lacked in formal learning, but I imagine that holy man would have handled the sex abuse crises a bit differently than some of our other bishops.

  20. An American Mother says:


    St. John Marie Vianney also comes to mind.

  21. Dr. K says:

    “Burke (US) As a moderate, I can’t say I’m a big fan.”

    Surprise of all surprises.

  22. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    PEOPLE, PEOPLE…. (2nd attempt LOL)

    Read the source post: Bunches of Cardinals aren’t missing from the list; they were excluded:

    For the sake of simplicity, I excluded about half the cardinals from my study population: those over 75 and those under 60 years of age, since I doubt that the cardinals will want to elect them.

  23. acardnal says:

    FYI, Bishop Morlino has a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, with specialization in fundamental moral theology and bioethics. So, he is ready for bigger and better things, God willing.

    I once read or heard that most US bishops have advanced degrees in canon law. Perhaps someone can verify that.

  24. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Might help if Father Z edit his post to quote that part which would end confusion over those not included. I doubt people are seeing comments explaining the omissions.

  25. frjim4321 says:

    D.K., my point was he is a true scholar of the law despite any other misgivings I may have.

  26. Phil_NL says:

    Even though I missed that ‘under 60 / over 75’ qualifier, I still think that’s a bit too restrictive and besides the point. BXVI was 78 when chosen, JPII only 58. To discount those cardinals that are – often barely – outside the 60-75 bracket is perhaps good to limit the workload (though not by that much, certainly at the bottom, in Card. Eijk’s case it’s a couple of weeks….) but it makes a poor assumption given recent history.

  27. Phil_NL says:


    Besides the original point, but I can’t hide the fact that every time you describe yourself as a moderate, I have to wonder: ‘how far to the left would one have to be to be seen as a leftie by Fr jim?’

    Joking aside, I think you may want to reconsider your use of that moniker. Or otherwise the range of ‘moderates’ is so wide (as it should extent equally far to the right as to the left) as to be useless. [What does this have to do with the topic of this entry?]

  28. Supertradmum says:

    frjim, I apologize for ad hominems against you. Attacking ideas is one thing, but your person is not to be attacked. I taught logic for years and many here would not have passed my course.

  29. TMKent says:

    I had already created a scorecard eliminating those cardinals over 75, tracking their credentials and noting their “issues”.
    Taking this data into consideration – the pool is getting much smaller.

  30. robtbrown says:

    Phil_NL says:

    but it makes a poor assumption given recent history.

    Given recent history, it makes a good assumption. They will not want a pope to serve as long as JPII. And BXVI was elected despite his age–there were certain moves that only he could have made.

  31. Imrahil says:

    I always thought that the reason for this canon is, normally somehow you have to have to distinguish among your priests. Not everyone can become a bishop. (Holiness is required for a simple priest, and then for a simple Christian, too, right?)

    That said, this is the sort of rules that has exceptions, as proven (one degree furtherly down) with the instance of St. Johnmary of Ars.

    I certainly would not, dear @Blaise, think Cardinal Ranjith a disfortune just because he has a mere licentiate.

  32. chonak says:

    Hi, Fr. Z! Thanks for linking over. The search did bring up some interesting facts.

    For instance, only a few of the cardinals from age 60 to 75 hold doctorates in Scripture, which suggests a broader question: is there perhaps an imbalance in general, with not enough priests studying Scripture at an advanced level?

    Anyway, as others have noted, I only gathered information on the cardinal electors from age 60 to 75, so many worthy prelates are not reflected in my list above. Sorry for any confusion!

  33. frjim4321 says:

    It is good to know that these cardinals have such degrees. It’s irksome to me among laity and some priests who refer to their honorary degrees and “D.Min.” degrees as “my doctorate.

    The real docs I have known tend to eschew the title, where as the honoraries and d.min.’s seem to flaunt theirs.

  34. SingingFinanceProf says:

    With respect to our most gracious host
    (whose mast’ry of Latin we boast):
    The verse that you ran,
    it just doesn’t scan.
    ‘Tis a poem, not limerick, you post.

    Limerick at Wikipedia

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  35. Phil_NL says:

    Sorry to be a bit obtuse, but why would the cardinals prefer someone who would have a shorter pontificate? In fact, given that there is quite a bit of cleaning up to do at the curia – so much seems to be agreed upon by everyone – a pontficate of at least a decade, preferably more, would be needed. Rome simply doesn’t use the ‘fire the lot, hire new staff’ approach. Besides, if there would be a clear majority for a certain type of pope (in terms of position on the theological / ‘political’ spectrum), the cardinals may prefer a long pontificate to get more work done.

    The ‘a shorter pontificate maximizes their influence’ argument – the only one I see used for this supposed preference, and then used implicitly – only passes muster if the cardinals are divided enough so that a blocking minority will demand a candidate that is likely to reign but a short while. If cardinals agree, they may want a longish pontificate. More to the point, over half the current cardinals wouldn’t get to vote again anyway, assuming the next conclave isn’t till 2020. That’s one half that would actually maximize their clout by voting for a long-reiging pope.

    Moreover, with BXVIs abdication, who is to tell how long a potificate will last from now on? Younger candidates who signal they agree with BXVI’s decision may find themselves a lot less ‘disadvantaged’ by their age than now. The mechanics have changed somewhat.

    So I’d rank age in the same category as nationality. It’s nice to speculate about, but at the end of the day it’s a relatively unimportant quality. It may play a role, but likely as not get dwarfed by other considerations. It gets so much attention beccause it is one of the few characteristics we have decent and easily accesible data on.

    Last but not least: in fact I do agree with BXVI being elected in spite of his age, and that there doesn’t appear to be a cardinal in the college right now who could surmount that same hurdle. At least, I’d hope not (Bertone perhaps…? mixed feelings at best). And many of the below 60s are indeed not on my list of papabiles. But age is not the prime reason for that.

  36. Legisperitus says:

    Don’t the critics of Pope St. Pius X usually deride him as uneducated? I wonder if he had a doctorate or licentiate.

  37. Phil_NL says:

    Apologies for messing up the italics….

  38. Ralph says:

    As an un-scholarly reader of this blog, I ask those of you in the know:

    Is there a current member of the College who has the educational “chops” of our current dear BXVI?

    I have always read that BXVI was something of a prodigy in the university circles. Do we have another who compares with him?

    Was his genius helpful or harmful to his pontificate?

    I ask this because I recall at the beginning of his reign that he sometimes seemed to have problems with the press not because of what he said, but because the press couldn’t actually understand what he said and had to try and make something up!

    I wonder if having an intellectual giant can be something of a hindrance at times?

  39. Michael_Thoma says:

    My preferences for the white hat are H.E. Francis Arinze, H.B. Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, H.E. Peter Turkson, H.B. Patriarch Sviatoslav, H.B. Patriarch Lubomyr , H.E. Angelo Scola, H.B. Patriarch Gregory III in that order.

    Realistically, I think HE Scola or HE Turkson will be Pope.

  40. Jacob says:

    I’m going to start using this limerick a lot, except I’m going to substitute the name “Fiddle” for my own last name “Biddle”

  41. fvhale says:

    I am much more concerned about whether or not Catholics will read anything the Pope writes than I am about what degrees the Pope has.

    I believe the most widely read papal document was the encyclical Evangelium Vitae by Bl. Pope John Paul II, which ” sold over 4 million copies in 52 countries.”
    The global Catholic population is now 1.2 billion, so EV sold about 1 copy for every 300 Catholics. Of course, many of them went unread (I am always buying used copies that are “like new” to pass on to others).
    At my parish back in 2007 we had an “adult faith formation” group that met for several months to read and discuss Deus Caritas Est. That was the first time many had ever read anything by a pope; and the last time for many, I am sadly certain. There is a deep “who cares what Rome says” atmosphere in California.

    I am much more concerned about the catechesis and education of the folks in the pews; the cardinals seem to be in pretty good shape, especially those mentioned on this list.

  42. Actually, if I am not mistaken, the D.D. has always been an honorary degree. It was routinely given to bishops who had no advanced title so that they were “doctors” and so fit the old version of this canon. I suppose the routine awarding of D.D.s to new bishops (and consequently to them as future possible archibishops and cardinals) has disappeared as Catholic colleges and universities have decided it better to give honorary degrees to secular politicians.

    By the way, Archbishop. John T. McNicholas, O.P., of Cincinnati, famously refused a D.D. because his Dominican S.T.M. was a “higher” honorary degree.

    He was of course correct. The Dominican S.T.M. is not a “master’s decree” in the usual sense. It is an honorary degree given only to friar academics who already have an earned doctorate, have taught over 10 years at the college/university level, and at least one book length publication internationally reviewed.

    –Augustine Thompson, O.P.

  43. Stumbler but trying says:

    ““What doctorates did St. Peter the fisherman hold?”
    An honorary doctorate from the Holy Spirit given by the College of Angels.”
    The Chicken

    Your post made me smile. I was thinking along the same lines while reading all the commentary herein. I thought a well rounded education is important but what matters to me is that they also possess a heart of love, purity, and humility. That they have an earnest love of Christ and his Church and room enough to love us all.
    I hope too, they will be big and strong like St. Peter and bold and energetic like St. Paul. What a combo that would make and an exciting one for sure. ^^

  44. Simon_GNR says:

    Supertradmum: “Simon_GNR, to be anti-intellectual is not to be a Catholic.”

    Do you conclude, on the basis of one question, in which I asserted nothing, that I am anti-intellectual? Do you then judge me not to be a Catholic? If so, on whose authority? There’s a parish register that confirms that I am a member of the Catholic Church, and, therefore, I am a Catholic.

    If the first Pope and several of the apostles chosen by Christ himself were fishermen, who had, as far as we know, no formal academic qualifications, why should all cardinals now be required to have doctorates or licentiates? Up to a point I agree with Ralph’s comment above:

    “However, I do not see why a lack of terminal degree should preclude one from being a bishop. I would much rather have a holy man of God with little education, than an over educated man of the world.”

    Priests and bishops do need to have a reasonable level of education in theology and scripture, but this needn’t necessarily be any higher than say an ordinary or “pass” bachelor’s degree. Knowledge of the scriptures is particularly important. As we saw in yesterday’s Gospel, the devil has a pretty good knowledge of the scriptures!

    I for one hope that the next Pope won’t be another academic theologian like John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I’d favour someone with plenty of hands-on practical pastoral experience, ideally at parish level. Someone like St. Pius X, in fact. According to the Wikipedia entry about him, “Pius X was the only pope in the 20th century with extensive pastoral experience at the parish level.”

  45. Stumbler but trying says:

    “I for one hope that the next Pope won’t be another academic theologian like John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I’d favour someone with plenty of hands-on practical pastoral experience, ideally at parish level. Someone like St. Pius X, in fact. According to the Wikipedia entry about him, “Pius X was the only pope in the 20th century with extensive pastoral experience at the parish level.”

    Yes! I agree wholeheartedly. I know we here in Los Angeles, CA would benefit. I think too a good deal of common sense, calm and clarity would come in handy especially in dealing with folks who are long entrenched in “doing it their way.”

  46. VexillaRegis says:

    Hmm, me thinks St. Peter might have had a rather fishy doctorate!

  47. PA mom says:

    Seeing the degree in Spanish literature caused me to wonder, is the ability to communicate in English or Spanish or Latin also considered a “requirement”?

  48. Phil_NL says:

    PA Mom: Latin and Italian, no doubt. Spanish one could do without, though it won’t hurt of course. should have a decent bit of latin, any bishop that is upwardly mobile would need a fair bit of Italian too.

  49. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Supertradmum,

    there are lots and lots of Catholics, and those that for this reason or another are called “anti-intellectual” may very well be ones.

    Of course, first, Catholic is he who is baptized into the Catholic Church (leaving a side for the moment the heavily disputed area of how far little children of other denominations are Catholic), is no decided apostate, heretic or schismatic, and has not been excommunicated as a vitandus. Neither sins nor other attitudes, apart from heresies, can touch that.

    Then, even in the colloquial sense of “to be so is a sin”, it cannot be said of an “anti-intellectual” that he is not a Catholic.

    It is wrong to despise true wisdom, and it is, frankly, closing ones eyes if we do not value knowledge at least because it delectates. It does.

    But that is about everything that can be absolutely stated on the matter… For the intellectual is at home in Catholicism just as St. Francis who, reportedly, perpetually fasted from education (and meant that as such). The professor of a branch of the humanities just as well as the simple-minded man who never reads save as a Lenten sacrifice, and so on. There certainly is a place in Catholicism for him who, while valuing education, and perhaps accepting the technical modes of graduation and doctorates for use by the State and employers as a lesser-evil in discerning educated people, personally rather reflects on their limitations in capturing the personality of their recipients and non-recipients.

    Of course, one might say that this is not their purpose, of course, and they fulfil well enough what purpose they do have. Point taken, but why then find a Catholic guilty of a sin if he decides to respect, for use of a practical example, a farmer more than a lawyer (other things being equal)?

    And I for one have a high regard for a man such as Gilbert Chesterton, who overflows with erudition everywhere he writes a thing; yet had no degree, solidarized with the little and unlearned man in the publichouse, and constantly argued against the German professors. (Though he did not mean our present Holy Father :-) . )

    As for the present issue, you need a doctorate for being a professor, which makes immediate sense. To be a pastor, on the other hand, you do need some education in this sense; but the main part of the provision of the canon is discernment. The responsible authorities have to somehow find out smaller groups of priests apt for the episcopate, and perhaps also train priests in this field also.

    The fact that the Pope has made someone a Cardinal, anyway, should throw away any need to further look on educational qualification.

  50. chonak says:

    The fact that the Pope has made someone a Cardinal, anyway, should throw away any need to further look on educational qualification.

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Some bishops get appointed to major sees because they have particular personal qualities needed for the diocese, and get the red hat because of where they serve. It might still make sense to set a higher bar for the papacy, hm?

  51. Imrahil says:

    Dear @chonak, good point! Even though… in an ideal world… the Pope might promote a man of particular personal qualities to a certain diocese, but only appoint him cardinal if he, at the least, could be bishop anywhere.

    I said in an ideal world, but I do guess that besides all the talk of Cardinal-creation automatism, the Pope still does give a specifical check to his cardinalatial creations.

    And then perhaps among this particular personal qualities needed for the diocese might (not necessarily!) by coincidence also be particularly needed for the Papacy.

    And even the first thing would only, really, apply if the Pope, so to speak, granted himself a dispensation from the education canon. If on the other hand he merely applied it… I see little sense in pastoral, non-academic offices (which the Papacy is) to divide into “doctors” and “merely licentiates” classes, or downrate a diocesan bishop of years and years pastoral experience without apparent failures, Cardinal in addition, because he initially was only “at least well versed”.

  52. Darren says:

    Regarding Michael_Thoma’s preferences: The Pope cannot be chosen from among the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches… he must be a Roman Catholic.

  53. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Darren, that is not so.

    Just as well as the Pope can be from some particular Church other than Rome (e. g., that of Munich and Freising), he can also be from some particular sui juris Church other than the Latin one.

    (The term “Roman Catholic” is btw somewhat ambiguous, but the more general use seems to include the Eastern rites and makes it a word of appeasement towards the “Catholic”-called breakaway groups such as the Oldcatholics.)

  54. Daniel says:

    As far as Cardinal O’Malley’s Doctorate in Spanish Literature, I believe his dissertation was on the Spanish Mystics. He was a Capuchin and it was ten years before he was ever consecrated a bishop, which is likely something he had never planned for.

  55. Pingback: The Conclave, Papacy, and Papabili

  56. Darren says:

    I knew someone was going to comment about the term “Roman Catholic”. :O

    So how can the Patriarch of, say, the Byzantine Ruthenian Church serve as the Archbishop of Rome?

    If this is possible, then please explain. (Although, we are moving further and further from the topic of Cardinals and doctorates, etc.)

  57. Bea says:

    As my husband puts it:
    “the only doctorate a bishop and/or pope should have is a doctorate in Common Sense”

    Because Jesus chose fishermen to start His Church was He “Anti-Intellectual”?
    Because Mary appeared to shepherds (Fatima), a weaver/farmer/laborer (Juan Diego-Mexico), an intellectually slow-learner (Curé of Ars), etc., was she “Anti-Intellectual”?
    Because Lucifer (The intellectual, Angel of light) was cast from Heaven, was God, the Father “Anti-Intellectual?

    Too many “intellectuals” are so filled with pride they “can’t see the trees for the forest”
    Too many “intellectuals” seek power, adulation, etc. that they lose their common sense.
    Not all, of course, the humble wise men recognized their God, the scribes, did not.
    Let us now confuse intellectualism with Wisdom.

    As to “moderate” “traditional” or “liberal” I’d rather be none of those.
    I prefer “Catholic” period.
    ala St. Phillip Neri: “Preferisco Paradiso”

  58. chonak says:

    Darren, it would be unusual, but the process is regulated by laws, and if there’s nothing in the law to rule it out, it remains a theoretical possibility.

  59. fvhale says:

    From the Boston College Chronicle, May 27, 2005:

    Sean Patrick O’Malley, OFM, Cap: Son of devout Irish Catholic parents and in his earliest years called to the order of 13th century mystic St. Francis of Assisi, he has embraced a life of humility, poverty, and devotion. Professed as a Capuchin Franciscan at 21 and ordained a priest when 26, he earned a doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese literature and taught at the Catholic University of America. His erudition was more than matched by his dedication to the poor, especially the immigrant poor with whom he used his ability to speak six languages in his ministry in our nation’s capital and the US Virgin Islands. Called to the service of leadership, he successively served as bishop of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, of Fall River, Massachusetts, and of Palm Beach, Florida.

    Boston College pledges its support to the shepherd of the Boston Catholic community, and gratefully proclaims The Most Reverend Sean Patrick O’Malley OFM Cap. Doctor of Sacred Theology, honoris causa.

    Cardinal O’Malley’s CUA doctoral dissertation in Spanish Literature was directed by Prof. Bruno M. Damiani with the title, “The Prologue in the Literature of the Spanish Mystics.” I am unable to find any evidence that it was published. On the Cardinal’s blog he mentions that he was happy to visit El Escorial during World Youth Day in 2011, the university where he taught in 1970: “I was very happy to be able to teach there because they had a wonderful library, which I made good use of. They also had a number of original works of Santa Teresa and many of the Spanish mystics and I was writing my dissertation on the Spanish mystics.”

    He also has a master’s in religious education from CUA.

  60. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Given that St. Andrew was one of the guys who was first to check out both St. John the Baptist and Jesus, he was certainly not against using his head!

    Doctor means teacher, folks. It means you’ve not just working in your field (journeyman or bachelor) or have mastered your field (master), but that you’re capable of teaching others (doctor).

    The office of a bishop is to be a priest and teacher. The office of a cardinal is to be a wise advisor to the Pope, and wise elector of the Pope, from among the ranks of bishops. So yes, it would be generally a good plan for the cardinals to have a field in which they are both masters and fully capable of teaching others.

  61. Nan says:

    @Darren, there are only 5 patriarchs; Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria. The Ruthenian Church has a Metropolitan and is one of 13 Churches in the Byzantine family, all of which have Greek heritage (meaning their liturgy is Greek in origin). Catholic is Catholic. There are Cardinals from the Eastern Catholic churches, so why not a pope? Because all of the Eastern Rite churches except the Maronites have a counterpart in the Orthodox world, it might go a long way to restoring Church unity to have an Eastern pope.

    I’m satisfied that the Holy Spirit has something in mind for us and am praying for Pope Benedict. I’m also praying for the Cardinals as they prepare for the conclave.

  62. jflare says:

    “I for one hope that the next Pope won’t be another academic theologian like John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I’d favour someone with plenty of hands-on practical pastoral experience, ideally at parish level.”

    Ahem! For the record, our late Holy Father John Paul II provided more (serious) youth ministry in Poland during his earliest years as a priest than anything else. ..Per the direction of his bishop at the time (Sapieha?).
    If I recall correctly, Pope Benedict was a pastor for a church for a time, then a university professor, both prior to being selected as the bishop of Munich.

    If someone wishes to grouse that both Benedict and JP II seemed too scholarly and aloof, you should be warned that I thrilled to reading Benedict’s offerings. I attended secular college, so I heard TONS from pretty secular academics; most of them seemed to think Catholics, Christians, and others to be pretty inept intellectually. I rejoiced to read Benedict because the Church FINALLY gave me a pope who could handle round after round, intellectual punch after intellectual punch, with the academics I’d grown to dismiss for their “ignorance”.
    Of course, only within the last 3 years have actually read John Paul II. His academic training shows with his Theology of the Body. It took me some time to get through it, but was quite worthwhile. Lots of philosophical, theological, and spiritual gifts in that work. ..But he might not have been nearly so intense without his two doctoral degrees. He used them well.

    I would be MUCH happier with the hierarchy here in America if they would have given us all the challenge of rising to meet the Church’s teachings head on. I heard more during my teens about how the pope was wrong or the Church’s teachings foolish than I did of why we should attempt to be more holy. Whatever they intended by “making it easier” seems to me to have merely compounded, complicated, and confounded my spiritual path.

    Look, the ultimate point here is this: I don’t know who our next pope will be, nor do I have any idea of his agenda. I DO know that he’ll be faithful to the Church’s teaching, one who”ll offer us the faith as best he’s able.
    It’ll be our role as the faithful people to pursue holiness in our lives as best we’re able, to offer the challenge of faith to those around us wherever we can.
    I presently hope that we’ll have a new pope named before mid-March, mostly for the selfish reason that I’m growing weary of reading all the baloney about how the new pope needs to change this or that.

    I’m hoping that within a month after the conclave; ie. before Easter, that the world’s hubbub can have died down somewhat and we can celebrate Easter with minimal secular idiocy.

  63. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Suburbanshee,

    a bishop must be a teacher and doctor means teacher, yes. But the bishop’s job is not academic teaching, but authoritative teaching. And then that teaching you might also call preaching. And then he does that occasionally and can draw advisors.

    As to Cardinals, it certainly would be good to have a field in which they are both masters and fully capable of teaching others. It would be even better, perhaps even just as necessary, if this field is a specific one: that of faithfully administrating the Church. A Cardinal needs to be a Doctor of Church-Business Administration.

    There certainly is a sense in the canon. But bishophood has not that intrinsic need for a doctorate that professorhood has. Even though the office of bishop is of course above that of professor.

    Wisdom? Yes, that is required. But wisdom cannot be attested with a diploma. We do need the wisdom of St. Andrew, but that is precisely the sort of wisdom a doctorate can neither attest or confer.

    If btw something at least can give a hint that a man is erudite (which might give a further hint to wisdom), etc., it is, rather than a doctorate about a specific topic of expertise, the fact that he has a rather thorough knowledge of many fields in the areas of classical education. Yet in at least most, if not all of them, he would have a bachelor’s level at best, and seldom the degree.

    That said… I do not say the canon makes no sense at all.

  64. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Doctor means teacher, folks. ”

    Strictly speaking, the term comes from, docent, which is a Latin agentive derived from docere, meaning: To teach, instruct; tell, inform; show, demonstrate, or in drama, to rehearse or present on stage.

    In the Medieval period, the term was strictly applied to those in the medical field as being the, “knowledgeable ones,” but the term began to be expanded to include Canonists and Moralists and later, philosophical studies. Thus, the Ph.d is someone who is a docent in the philosophy of that particular discipline.

    As Wikipedia puts it:

    “The doctorate (Latin: doce?, I teach) appeared in medieval Europe as a license to teach (Latin: licentia docendi) at a medieval university.[2] Its roots can be traced to the early church when the term “doctor” referred to the Apostles, church fathers and other Christian authorities who taught and interpreted the Bible.[2] The right to grant a licentia docendi was originally reserved to the church which required the applicant to pass a test, to take oath of allegiance [N. B] and pay a fee. The Third Council of the Lateran of 1179 guaranteed the access – now largely free of charge – of all able applicants, who were, however, still tested for aptitude by the ecclesiastic scholastic.[3] This right remained a bone of contention between the church authorities and the slowly emancipating universities, but was granted by the pope to the University of Paris in 1213 where it became a universal license to teach (licentia ubiquie docendi).[3] However, while the licentia continued to hold a higher prestige than the bachelor’s degree (Baccalaureus), it was ultimately reduced to an intermediate step to the Magister and doctorate, both of which now became the exclusive qualification for teaching.[3]
    The earliest doctoral degrees (theology, law, and medicine) reflected the historical separation of all university study into these three fields. Over time the D.D. has gradually become less common and studies outside theology, law, and medicine have become more common (such studies were then called “philosophy”, but are now classified as sciences and humanities – however this usage survives in the degree of Doctor of Philosophy)…
    The Ph.D. was originally a degree granted by a university to learned individuals who had achieved the approval of their peers and who had demonstrated a long and productive career in the field of philosophy (in the broad sense of the term philosophy, the pursuit of knowledge). The appellation of “Doctor” (from Latin: teacher) was usually awarded only when the individual was in middle age. It indicated a life dedicated to learning, to knowledge, and to the spread of knowledge.
    The Ph.D. entered widespread use in the 19th century at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin as a degree to be granted to someone who had undertaken original research in the sciences or humanities. From there it spread to the United States, arriving at Yale University in 1861, and then to the United Kingdom in 1921. This displaced the existing Doctor of Philosophy degree in some Universities; for instance, the D.Phil. (higher doctorate in the faculty of philosophy) at the University of St Andrews was discontinued and replaced with the Ph.D. (research doctorate). However, some UK universities such as Oxford and Sussex (and, until recently, York) retain the D.Phil. appellation for their research degrees, as, until recently, did the University of Waikato in New Zealand.”

    Just so everyone is on the same page with the term.

    I love that people with doctorates had to take an oath of allegiance to the Church. What was the name of that recent encyclical on Catholic University education, hmmm…

    The Chicken

  65. Darren says:

    @chonak and others
    Darren, it would be unusual, but the process is regulated by laws, and if there’s nothing in the law to rule it out, it remains a theoretical possibility.

    I did a little research (which I should have done beforehand) and cleared up some of my ignorance on the matter. My commenting was based on things I heard or read in 2005, which was probably wrong, or I just recall incorrectly.

    It is probably highly unlikely, infinitely more likely than the cardinals choosing me to be pope :)

  66. catholicmidwest says:

    Education is important because it teaches people to think precisely and carefully, and in this situation it’s going to count. But more important than that is how Christian these men are, and how willing to listen to the Holy Spirit they are.

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