Yesterday Mark Shea commented on the mandatum controversy. Here's my entry in the comment box, plus a bit more:
The whole "academic freedom" argument trumpetted by those who oppose the mandatum is such a red herring... all the mandatum requires is that when a professor states that what s/he is teaching is Catholic teaching, it really be Catholic teaching! Fr. McBrien could take the mandatum and still teach his own stuff... he just couldn't call it Catholic stuff.
In other words, if I were teaching a class called "Catholic Ecclesiology", I'd have to teach in accord with what the Catholic Church teaches about itself. Now, if the class were called "Contemporary Ecclesiological Theory", I'd be free to teach whatever I wanted, provided that I make it clear what is Catholic teaching, and what isn't.
As my little sister used to say: what's so big?