The Charter of the Catholic University of Lyon

Founded in 1875, the Catholic University of Lyon (UCLy) is an autonomous institution responding to the triple mission of any Catholic university throughout the world: Research, Education, and Service to Society and the Church. It assumes full responsibility for these three interrelated aspects.

As part of the educational service of "every person and the whole person" (Father François Varillon S.J. 1905-1978), the Catholic University of Lyon defines, by the present Charter, the foundations of its identity and the orientations of its missions.

With our partners (French and foreign universities, schools, companies, as well as public and private organisations), we want to be an authentic "force of intelligence at the service of people", at the service of the human person in all her dimensions: intellectual, physical, psychological, spiritual and religious, cultural, economic, and social, in order to allow the harmonious development, within a holistic framework, of the relationship with others, with creation, with oneself, and with God.


Our university community brings together students, professors and teacher-researchers, and administrative and technical personnel. We collaborate around an anthropology and an ethics inspired by the Gospel.

Our mission of openness leads us to welcome students and staff of diverse philosophical, religious, and political affiliations and motivations to our community, which is an essential element of our universal outlook.

Established in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, in a regional metropolis that is dynamic at the national, European, and world levels, our university is strongly rooted in society, aware of its social responsibility, and rich in its partnerships with the socio-economic world.

As an associate member of the University of Lyon (Community of Universities and Higher Education Institutions Lyon-St Étienne), we participate in the local, national, and international university landscapes, in active partnership with local authorities.


• The State recognises our participation in the functions and duties of the public service of Higher Education, and Research and Innovation, through the EESPIG label (Private Higher Education Institution of General Interest).

• Our university is made up of six departments, within which there are institutes (faculties, schools, research laboratories) which are concerned with research, initial and continuing training, and professionalization. They offer lifelong training in close connection with the economic and associative world as well as with ecclesial structures.

• We want to train graduates and responsible and enterprising professionals. To this end, we personally accompany each student in her choices to build a personal and professional project.

• Our commitment is expressed by a will to fight against the fragmentation of knowledge (faith and reason), by a concern for excellence in fundamental and practical teaching, a personalised follow-up of each student, digital and digital humanities training, and proposals for professional internships.  A personal development course, complementary to teaching, takes into account the physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of each student, as well as proposals to nourish his or her faith and live solidarity, particularly in the context of chaplaincy.

• In all courses and for each discipline, we constantly take a critical look at the objectives and methods of teaching and research, with a concern for the quality of both content and organisation.

• Our research is developed in an interdisciplinary manner (as stated in Veritatis Gaudium, a reference text for ecclesiastical faculties), notably through laboratories that are transversal to the five faculties and the department laboratories, giving the teaching and research staff the means to conduct and develop their research: research teams, publication support, preparation for the qualification to direct research, opening up to national, European and, international networks, and assistance in finding contracts.

• Attentive to the needs of society and respecting academic freedom in teaching and research, we are developing cooperation through teaching and research agreements with the University of Lyon (IDEX). To these collaborative projects, we bring our unique expertise on the convergence of skills, professions, and ethics, and also, a genuine consideration of sustainable development coupling environmental and human aspects, as encouraged by Pope François in the encyclical Laudato Si'.


We affirm our willingness to work on societal issues in the constantly evolving tradition of the Church's social thinking: promotion of the dignity of women and men; the search for the common good; intercultural and interreligious education; dialogue between science, culture, and faith; training in the ethics of science, technology, economics, work, and business; societal commitments, especially as regards marginalised people and, at the international level, in developing countries; physical, mental, and spiritual health. The work of the canonical faculties, in interaction with the other institutes of UCLy, is essential here.

At UCLy, research benefits from academic freedom and university autonomy, as the founding text of Catholic universities in the world states (Ex corde Ecclesiae, 12). The Catholic University enjoys the institutional autonomy necessary for the effective exercise of its functions and guarantees its members academic freedom, while respecting the rights of the individual and the community, including in the areas of the limits of the demands of truth and the common good.

This freedom is also a responsibility that honours us.

Our relationship to the Catholic Church is signified in the institutional structures by the participation of the bishops of the dioceses of the university circumscription in the General Assembly of the Association of Founders and Protectors of the Catholic Institute of Lyon (AFPICL) alongside lay persons, and under the authority of the Chancellor, Archbishop of Lyon.

We participate actively in the national, European, and international bodies of representation, reflection, and research of Catholic higher education (The Union of Catholic Higher Education Institutions, The Federation of Catholic Universities of Europe and Lebanon, whose headquarters we host, and The International Federation of Catholic Universities) where "fidelity to the Christian message" is deepened and renewed (Ex corde Ecclesiae, 13).


UCLy, with all the staff of the university community, is part of the great tradition of social Catholicism,specifically the Lyonnais variety, which pays attention to the uniqueness of each human person and to the common good.

"With humility and audacity, we are concerned about quality, the content of our training courses, internal governance and our social responsibility".

Text reviewed by the University Assembly and published on March 12, 2019.