Where does the Church do her thinking?
I’m an academic and yet (therefore? ) I’m reluctant to agree with the statement attributed to the president of Notre Dame (following, I believe, one of his predecessors) that the Catholic university is where the Church does her thinking. If one said “one of the places” where the Church does her thinking, it would be all right. But the Church does her thinking also in the pews, in convents, monasteries and seminaries, in retreat centers, on the Bowery, in hospitals and prisons, in homes and workplaces, etc., etc., etc..
It’s typically only one kind of thinking that goes on at universities, Catholic or other, and as important as that is, it is by no means the only kind of thinking of which the Church stands in need, and which the Church herself generates and favors.
If I think back on the great pioneers of Catholic theology in the twentieth century, very few of them did their thinking at Catholic universities: de Lubac and Congar did not; for most of his life Rahner did not; Chenu did not; Schillebeeckx and von Balthasar did not. It is not at all evident that the most important Catholic thinkers of the present day are at Catholic universities.
I think Catholic universities should come up with another self-justification.