Ex corde ecclesiae and CDU

The Catholic Church has been operating universities for a thousand years and was involved in education for a thousand years before that. When John Paul II issued the apostolic constitution Ex corde ecclesiae (15 August 1990), he restated the tradition and experience of the Church as it relates to Catholic universities.

He explained the role of faith in the working of the faculty, staff, and students. He also set down how research and teaching are illuminated by faith. The university is an intellectual community but it is intellectual in a uniquely Catholic way because it respects the truth. As Pope Benedict XVI said: "Only in faith can truth become incarnate and reason truly human, capable of directing the will along the path of freedom" (cf. Spe Salvi, 23).

It is this faith that nourishes and guides the Catholic university and makes it a genuine intellectual community. Catholic Distance University takes Ex corde ecclesiae as its guiding light.

The Principles That Guide Us

“Every Catholic university, as a university, is an academic community which, in a rigorous and critical fashion, assists in the protection and advancement of human dignity and of a cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to the local, national and international communities” (art.12).

“Since the objective of a Catholic university is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the great problems of society and culture, every Catholic university, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics:
[1] A Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such;
[2] A continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research;
[3] Fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church;
[4] An institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life” (art. 13).

The Motto of Catholic Distance University

The motto of CDU is Joy from the Truth, gaudium de veritate.
John Paul II described Catholic universities as coming from the heart of the Church in his Apostolic Constitution Ex corde ecclesiae. He stated that “[a Catholic university] shares that gaudium de veritate, so precious to St. Augustine, which is that joy of searching for, discovering and communicating truth in every field of knowledge.”
(See St. Augustine, Confessions, X, xxiii, 33, quoted in Ex corde ecclesiae, art. 1)

"Fifty years ago, who would have dreamed you could earn a theological degree wherever you lived, however much time you had? Yet thanks to the Internet and the creative team at Catholic Distance University, it's never been easier. Two-thousand years of Catholic tradition is now just a click away. If you're looking for an innovative, orthodox, and robust education that fits into your busy schedule, I encourage you to consider Catholic Distance University."

- Brandon Vogt
blogger and author of
The Church and New Media
May 2013