Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” (“Charity in Truth”) can inspire changes in Catholic higher education, said Richard Yanikoski, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
The pope wrote that economic activity should promote the common good. Catholic colleges should take heed.
“We are a business, too,” Yanikoski told CNS. “We’re a big business. We have a responsibility to ensure that the economic decisions we make also are cognizant of the moral consequences.”
Colleges must treat employees fairly, be responsible to the environment, and reserve financial aid for the needy and not just the smartest students, he said.
The pope also wrote of the overlapping areas of truth and human development. Catholic colleges’ role is to further explain Catholic social teaching. Although Yanikoski said the encyclical is not quite a teaching document, it can be used in campus ministry centers, seminars and workshops, and as an assignment to students in majors such as business ethics and environmental protection.
Yanikoski also said Catholic colleges should pay attention to the pope’s emphasis on religious freedom and collaboration between believers and nonbelievers. It reflects “the way Catholic campuses are to accept, not just ‘deal with’ others than Catholics,” he said. “We need to treat as brothers or sisters people who believe other than we do.”