Land O’Lakes Statement 1967
University of Notre Dame Wisconsin property
The Catholic University: A True University with Distinctive Characteristics
Statement on the Nature of the Contemporary Catholic University
The Catholic University today must be a university in the full modern sense of
the word, with a strong commitment to and concern for academic excellence. To
perform its teaching and research functions effectively the Catholic university
must have a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of
whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself. To
say this is simply to assert that institutional autonomy and academic freedom
are essential conditions of life and growth and indeed of survival for Catholic
universities as for all universities.
Father Hesburgh of the University of Notre Dame led the group.
“… only 10 universities were represented, including six from the U.S.: Boston College, Catholic University of America, Fordham, Georgetown, Notre Dame, and Saint Louis. (The rector of the Catholic University of America was alone in publicly criticizing the resulting statement.) Of the 26 signers, seven were from Notre Dame and its sponsoring Holy Cross Fathers, and ten were Jesuits or leaders of Jesuit institutions.
“Some of the signers were especially notable: Archbishop Paul Hallinan of Atlanta, Father Theodore McCarrick (then president of the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico and later Archbishop of Washington) and Father Vincent O’Keefe, S.J. (later Vicar General of the Society of Jesus).
“Also intriguing is the signature by John Cogley, a leftist scholar representing the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. It’s not clear what he was doing at Land O’ Lakes, except that he was a celebrated intellectual in certain circles. He had been religion editor of the New York Times and a principal writer of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech advocating the separation of church and state. He later dissented from Humanae Vitae and became an Episcopalian….”