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Distinct from radicalized notions of “academic freedom” that prioritize free expression over the demands of truth, Ex corde Ecclesiae defines academic freedom as “the guarantee given to those involved in teaching and research that, within their specific specialized branch of knowledge, and according to the methods proper to that specific area, they may search for the truth wherever analysis and evidence leads them, and may teach and publish the results of this search, keeping in mind the cited criteria, that is, safeguarding the rights of the individual and of society within the confines of the truth and the common good.”
Catholic education is committed to forming young people in truth. It encourages the free search for truth according to evidence and reason, in an atmosphere of open and respectful dialogue and careful adherence to the methods of science and logic.
The search for truth is pointless, however, without the conviction that truth can be known and error must be corrected. Catholic education confidently and faithfully teaches established truth, especially the certain truths revealed by God and preserved by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, which bears upon all studies. The dignity of both the student and educator is found in their orientation toward unity with God, that Truth which presupposes and gives meaning to freedom. Students and teachers whose intellect, conscience, and will are bound by a secular education that excludes or rejects truths of God, man, and creation are not free but slaves to ignorance and falsehood.