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State Catholic Conferences Push Legislators to Prioritize School Choice Programs
State Catholic Conferences Push Legislators to Prioritize School Choice Programs
February 4, 2016

Representatives of several state Catholic conferences, which communicate the public policy interests of the bishops, recently told The Cardinal Newman Society that Catholic schools rely heavily on supportive school choice programs that enable families to choose a Catholic education for their children, but this support is lacking in many states where school choice is not prioritized or is outright battled due to anti-Catholic legislation.

In states where school choice programs are readily available, enrollment in Catholic schools is thriving, based on comments from state Catholic conference representatives. In other states — crippled by legislatures that prohibit government aid to private schools — Catholic school closures are at an all-time high, parents face the financial difficulty of paying public school taxes and private school tuition, and families are overall less able to choose schools that will academically and morally form their children. Read more...



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Education Programs at Newman Guide Colleges Place Premium on Moral Teacher Formation

By Kimberly Scharfenberger | February 4

Education Programs at Newman Guide Colleges Place Premium on Moral Teacher Formation
The Catholic Church has repeatedly stressed the critical evangelizing responsibility that educators have in teaching and witnessing the faith to their students, and institutions recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College have made this responsibility a priority in their education programs.

At Ave Maria University (AMU) in Ave Maria, Fla., students majoring in education are given all the tools they need to “engage in the integral formation of the human person by developing each student’s physical, moral, spiritual and intellectual gifts in harmony,” said Dr. Dan Guernsey, chair of the University’s education department and director of The Cardinal Newman Society’s K-12 programs. Read more...

Catholic Colleges and Schools Take Active Role in Struggle Against Pornography

By Adam Cassandra | February 4

Catholic Colleges and Schools Take Active Role in Struggle Against Pornography
Recognizing the “widespread problem of pornography in our culture today,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recentlypublished their formal statement “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” which calls on teachers, religious educators and others who work with young people to “create an environment suitable for learning chastity” and to be “vigilant over technological access” to pornography. The Cardinal Newman Society spoke with several faithful Catholic colleges and schools about how they are responding to the bishops’ call.

The U.S. bishops make it clear in their statement that pornography is “a grave sin against human dignity” that “dehumanizes the persons depicted” as sexual objects. Pornography use “also has direct connections with sins such as adultery, domestic violence, the abuse of children in child pornography, and sex trafficking,” according to the bishops. “It also can be implicated in contraception use and abortion, given that it promotes and even celebrates promiscuity and a view of sexuality devoid of love or openness to new life.” Read more...

School Begun by Parents Boasts Strong Catholic Identity with All-Lay Faculty

By Justin Petrisek | February 3

School Begun by Parents Boasts Strong Catholic Identity with All-Lay Faculty
Mount Royal Academy (MRA) in Sunapee, N.H., one of the Schools of Excellence on The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll, was founded in 1994 with a unique model of offering a faithful Catholic education: a laity-only staff. More than two decades later, the school is thriving and boasts a strong Catholic identity.

“Catholic schools face a great crisis, in that the presence of religious orders in schools has sharply declined,” Ronald Fussell Jr., associate superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Manchester, told the National Catholic Register in a recent article. “It is refreshing to see a school like MRA, which is run entirely by lay educators and leaders, embrace its Catholic identity.”

In 1994, parents in rural New Hampshire were faced with a problem: They wanted a faithful Catholic education for their children, but there were no diocesan schools nearby. So they decided to start one themselves. Read more...

Faithful Catholic Educators Echo Pope’s Words, Build Schools Around the Eucharist

By Justin Petrisek | February 3

Faithful Catholic Educators Echo Pope’s Words, Build Schools Around the Eucharist
While many Catholic schools can boast about their academics, a truly faithful Catholic education is one that sees the school as centered on the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, and knows that its purpose is to lead its students to heaven, educators from Schools of Excellence on The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll shared in interviews.

“The most important purpose of a Catholic school is to bring the students closer to Jesus Christ so that they can live out their Catholic faith in the world and attain eternal life,” Dr. Anne Carroll, principal of Seton School in Manassas, Va., told the Newman Society. “The closest a person can get to Jesus Christ in this life is in the Eucharist. For a school to be truly Catholic, it is therefore very important that the school offer the students frequent opportunities to attend Mass, receive the Eucharist and make visits to the Blessed Sacrament.” Read more...

La Salle Univ. Students Vote on Gender-Neutral Housing, Administration Avoids Debate

By Adam Cassandra | February 3

La Salle Univ. Students Vote on Gender-Neutral Housing, Administration Avoids Debate
Administrators at La Salle University in Philadelphia have decided not to weigh in on a student government ballot measure being voted on this week to allow gender-neutral townhouses on campus despite Catholic identity concerns raised by the student who proposed the measure.

A La Salle Students’ Government Association (SGA) ballot initiative on “Should a gender neutral housing policy be enacted in the townhouses?” was opened up to students for online voting on January 25 and will close February 5. Under the proposal, male and female students could live together under the same roof, but, “Restrictions would include having the double room being single gender and the bathrooms having designated genders.”

According to the ballot description, “This change would allow La Salle students to prepare themselves for the future in which men and women must work side by side in effective and appropriate relationships.” If the referendum passed — a majority of favorable votes from at least 10 percent of the undergraduate student population — it would still require approval from the University administration. Read more...
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