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‘Be Clear about What You Believe,’ Legal Experts Tell Catholic Colleges, Schools
‘Be Clear about What You Believe,’ Legal Experts Tell Catholic Colleges, Schools
July 24, 2015

The first step to protecting the religious freedom of Catholic schools and colleges is to clearly define and enforce their mission and purpose, according to experts recently gathered by the Family Research Council (FRC).

Legal and educational experts took part this week in the FRC’s webinar, “The Court and the Classroom: How the Supreme Court's Redefinition of Marriage Affects Religious Schools.” The event was offered in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which effectively legalized same-sex marriage, and to equip educators with the practical steps needed to defend their religious missions.

Greg Baylor, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), kicked off the event by emphasizing the need for schools to clearly define their missions and their purpose.“ Be consistent and clear about what you believe,” Baylor stated. Many schools might believe that flying under the radar is the way to go in the wake of the Supreme Court decision and ensuing discrimination lawsuits. Catholic schools and colleges should in fact be doing quite the opposite, he said. “Root [your policies] in your theological convictions and then apply them consistently.” Read more...



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Case Representing Little Sisters, Newman Society Goes Back to Supreme Court

By Kimberly Scharfenberger | July 24

Case Representing Little Sisters, Newman Society Goes Back to Supreme Court
For the second time in two years, attorneys representing a broad class of Catholic institutions, including The Cardinal Newman Society, have turned to the Supreme Court for relief from the morally objectionable HHS Mandate. Earlier this week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the government and refused to grant these religious organizations an exemption.

“The federal government is determined to keep playing theologian and determine for religious institutions what their beliefs really require of them,” said Tom Mead, executive vice president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “The Supreme Court must put a stop to this once and for all.”

The lawsuit, widely known as The Little Sisters of the Poor case, also involves the Christian Brothers Health Benefits Trust, which has refused to comply with the HHS mandate and provides morally appropriate insurance benefits for dozens of Catholic organizations. Read more...

Homeschooled Students Increase as Concerns over Common Core Remain

By Justin Petrisek | July 23

Homeschooled Students Increase as Concerns over Common Core Remain
The latest studies show that an increasing number of students are being homeschooled by their parents in order to avoid Common Core, which is found even in many Catholic schools. There is no question that the link is there and that parents are extremely concerned about how Common Core will affect their children’s Catholic education, said Florida Catholics Against Common Core’s Rolando Perez. 

The Florida Department of Education recently released a report detailing a 9.6 percent increase in children being homeschooled, the largest increase in five years, according to the Herald Tribune. Since 2010, nearly 25,000 additional students in Florida have opted for homeschooling in lieu of public and Catholic school options. 

“There is great concern about the indoctrination, data mining and constant testing that Common Core has brought to schools, including Catholic schools,” said Perez, who along with other concerned parents formed Florida Catholics Against Common Core. The priority for Common Core State Standards seems to be preparing students for future jobs, Perez affirmed. The standards then become utilitarian and distract from students’ moral and spiritual formation by placing too much emphasis on testing and performance. Read more...

New Catholic College in London Giving Students ‘Closer Relationship’ with Catholic Faith

By Kimberly Scharfenberger | July 23

New Catholic College in London Giving Students ‘Closer Relationship’ with Catholic Faith
Benedictus College, a new Catholic college in London inspired by the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman, is continuing to offer a unique liberal arts experience that is unavailable elsewhere in the U.K., The Cardinal Newman Society learned in a recent interview with the director of the college.

The curriculum at Benedictus is unique because it “proposes a deep immersion in the European cultural tradition with exposure at first hand to medieval and early modern art and architecture” as well as great literature in a “fully integrated course,” said Dr. Clare Hornsby, the director of Benedictus. Works of art are taught alongside texts as guides for understanding the culture and forming “a closer relationship with the Catholic faith,” she told The Cardinal Newman Society. Read more...

Students Need to Hear Contraceptive Health Risks, Argues Project Rachel Founder

By Kimberly Scharfenberger | July 21

Students Need to Hear Contraceptive Health Risks, Argues Project Rachel Founder
All Catholic colleges should be teaching students about the scientifically documented dangers of birth control, in addition to Catholic teaching against it, argued Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel and organizer of an upcoming symposium set to discuss the biological case for avoiding contraception.

In an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society, Thorn explained that events such as these should set the pace for Catholic colleges to help students and young people understand the health risks of taking oral contraceptives.

The symposium, “Contraceptive Conundrum: Effects and Side Effects”, will be held August 8th, in conjunction with the Edmund D. Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  Read more...

Catholic Colleges Must Listen to Pope Benedict’s Strong Case for Sacred Music, Says Prof.

By Justin Petrisek | July 21

Catholic Colleges Must Listen to Pope Benedict’s Strong Case for Sacred Music, Says Prof.
The availability of well-celebrated liturgy and sacred music should be the norm at all Catholic colleges, not the exception, said Dr. Kurt Poterack, choir director and adjunct professor of music at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va. Poterack spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society regarding Pope Emeritus Benedict’s recent comments on sacred music and what it means for Catholic colleges.

The Pope Emeritus recently received honorary doctorates from the John Paul II Pontifical University of Krakow and from the Academy of Music of Krakow in Poland. The former pontiff took the opportunity to thank the now-saint Pope John Paul II for the profound impact he had in his own spiritual life and also share his own reflections on the benefits of sacred music.

The emphasis on sacred music is certainly something that Catholic colleges should be paying attention to, as it helps students to encounter the living God in liturgy, Poterack stated. Read more...
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