Monday, July 16, 2012

Catholic University of Leuven Withdraws Bishops' Voting Right

The five episcopal board members will only undertake an advisory function in the future, but may not decide on scientific projects like stem cell research.

Brussels/Leuven (kath.net/KNA)  In Belgium the Catholic University of Leuven has revoked its voting rights on the highest board of the University.  The five bishop members of the board will play only an advisory role in the future,  but may not decide over scientific projects like stem cell research, reported the Belgian media of the University's  leadership.  Among the 30 persons included on the board also belongs the President of the Belgian Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard von Mechelen-Brüssel.


The University explained in reports, that this decision took place after long consideration. The Catholic University was indeed founded by the Bishops, but now according to its new mission statement will continue independently regardless. For that reason the word "Catholic" in the name of the University also comes under discussion. The current board decided to use the official designation KU Leuven. The >>K<< should in any case not be obligatory. Internationally, the name "University of Leuven" will be used.

According to reports, the University stressed its independence in its new mission statement. An independent administration is an essential precondition for academic freedom.

The reason for the initiative was brought among other things by statements of Archbishop Leonard in 2010. The Bishops' President had described AIDS as a consequence of misconduct and described it as a form of >>imminent justice<<.
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