Friday, October 09, 2015

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Pope Francis Visit to Little Sisters ‘Huge Boon’ to Catholic Educators
Pope Francis’ unscheduled visit with the Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington, D.C., is an enormous benefit to faithful Catholic educators who are struggling for religious freedom and depending on the Little Sisters’ case, says Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly.

“What a huge boon to Catholic educators who yearn for relief from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate and protection of their First Amendment rights. This brings attention to the case that represents not only the Little Sisters but so many of us whose rights are denied,” said Reilly.

While the stop was not on the Holy Father’s scheduled itinerary for Wednesday, the Vatican confirmed the significance of the visit and the Holy Father’s continued push for religious freedom.

Newman Guide Colleges Rated ‘Best Buys’ in 2015 Rankings
Colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College for their strong Catholic identities and academics also rank well in leading secular guides, including the 2015 editions from USA Today and U.S. News and World Report. The publications look at factors such as affordability, freshman retention rates, student loan default rates and student-to-teacher ratios.

“These rankings prove that students can opt for strong, faithful Catholic colleges without sacrificing secular prestige,” said The Cardinal Newman Society’s Adam Wilson, managing editor of The Newman Guide.

“But we caution against placing too much importance on rankings that ignore the most important elements of a truly good education—elements that are the primary criteria forThe Newman Guide,” Wilson added. “All things considered, we believe The Newman Guide colleges are superior to all other options, because of their holistic approach to academics and the integration of faith in their studies and campus life.”

Catholic Colleges Praised for Supporting Pregnant Students
Catholic colleges dominate a new list of the “best colleges for pregnant and parenting students,” according to a report released today by Students for Life of America (SFLA). 

“Catholic universities are the majority on this list, because they are living out the teachings of the Church, making their campuses friendly to students who are pregnant and parenting and helping them to accept new life and move forward with their education,” said SFLA President Kristan Hawkins in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. “Children are blessings no matter the circumstances that they may have been conceived under,” she said, “and they deserve every chance at life as anyone else.”

Beth Rahal coordinates SFLA’s Pregnant on Campus Initiative, which works to make campuses more accessible and supportive to pregnant women and parents. “We are happy to see so many Catholic colleges and universities on this list,” she told the Newman Society. “They are shining examples of creative ways to change the culture on campuses to welcome and support women in unplanned pregnancies. This is what being pro-life looks like—helping women and their babies.”

New Education Major at Belmont Abbey College Focuses on Moral Formation
A new major at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., will prepare aspiring Catholic school teachers to guide students in moral formation, first and foremost. The Catholic Educational Studies major is distinct from the College’s Elementary Education major, as it focuses specifically on students who want to teach in a Catholic setting, explained the program’s director, Dr. Laura Campbell, in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

Campbell said that the major’s focus on Catholic spiritual formation is necessary in today’s educational world. “Students who desire to teach in a Catholic middle or secondary school or in a Catholic parish need to learn about the mission and vision of Catholic education,” she said. “It is not enough to have attended Catholic schools.”

Catholic Educators Depend on Supreme Court Appeal Challenging HHS Mandate
A last-ditch appeal by the Little Sisters of the Poor to the Supreme Court for relief from the Obama administration’s “HHS Mandate” is also of great importance to many Catholic educators and The Cardinal Newman Society, which like the Sisters are participants in a unique Catholic health care trust that lies at the center of the case.

In addition to the Newman Society, the case involves Catholic schools and colleges including Iona College, Lewis University, Manhattan College and Belmont Abbey College, a faithfully Catholic institution that is recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

Last Friday, the Christian Brothers Health Benefits Trust was granted temporary relief by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to continue providing morally sound health insurance until the Supreme Court rules on the Trust’s lawsuit with the Little Sisters. The Trust and the Sisters had been granted an injunction by the Supreme Court in 2013 pending a new hearing in the Tenth Circuit, but was then denied reliefby the appeals court last month. The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court.

‘Be Clear about What You Believe,’ Legal Experts Tell Catholic Colleges, Schools
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.”

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.

Catholic Education ‘Going to Win’ HHS Mandate Suits, Predicts Becket Fund Attorney
All the evidence suggests that Catholic schools and colleges are going to win their challenges to the Obama administration’s “HHS mandate,” attorney Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty told The Cardinal Newman Society.

In a summary of lawsuits compiled by the Newman Society with information from the Becket Fund, at least 22 Catholic schools and 11 Catholic colleges have challenged the mandate in federal courts. Two of the schools— Pius X Catholic High School in Lincoln, Neb., and Rhodora J. Donahue Academy in Ave Maria, Fla.—are on the Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll of faithful Catholic high schools.

Eight of the colleges are recommended in the Newman Guide, including Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn.; Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Fla.; Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C.; The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio; Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Cal.; University of Dallas, Tex.; and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.

Winning permanent injunctions against enforcement of the HHS mandate is critical to the protection of Catholic schools and colleges and their ability to faithfully live out their Catholic identity and mission, attested Rienzi, who is also an assistant professor at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. Under the current form of the HHS mandate, most Catholic institutions would be forced to facilitate employee access to full insurance coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including some that cause abortion. If schools and colleges are not granted relief from the HHS mandate, they will be subjected to severe fines for not participating.

Status of Catholic Education Challenges to HHS Mandate
As of July 2015, at least 33 Catholic institutions have filed suits challenging the Obama administration’s “HHS mandate,” requiring employer coverage of sterilization and contraceptives (including some that cause abortion) in employee health plans.

In a summary of lawsuits compiled by the Newman Society with information from the Becket Fund, at least 22 Catholic schools and 11 Catholic colleges have challenged the mandate in federal courts. Two of the schools— Pius X Catholic High School in Lincoln, Neb., and Rhodora J. Donahue Academy in Ave Maria, Fla.—are on the Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll of faithful Catholic high schools.

Eight of the colleges are recommended in the Newman Guide, including Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn.; Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Fla.; Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C.; The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio; Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Cal.; University of Dallas, Tex.; and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.

Professors Say Catholic Colleges Key to Promoting Church Teaching on Marriage, Family
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage ruling last week, several professors at faithful Catholic colleges told The Cardinal Newman Society that their institutions must serve as bulwarks in defense of marriage and family against an increasingly secularized culture.

Colleges and universities have significant influence over young people, the professors agreed, and are uniquely primed to propagate Church teaching among the nation’s youth. But the situation now faced by proponents of traditional marriage is unprecedented and presents significant challenges.

Bishop Dewane: Families Have ‘Right to Know’ Which Theology Professors Have Mandatum
If a Catholic college cannot assure that its theology professors are imparting the truths of the faith, then families should look to more faithful Catholic institutions, suggested Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Fla., in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

Sound theology is the heart of Catholic higher education; it helps students direct their learning, explore the beauty of the faith and better understand their relationship with God and the Church. Therefore the Church provides the academic mandatum, an acknowledgment by the local bishop of a “professor’s commitment and responsibility to teach authentic Catholic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to the Church’s magisterium,” according to the U.S. bishops’ guidelines.

Referencing Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Vatican’s constitution on Catholic universities, Bishop Dewane noted that professors who have obtained the mandatum help Catholic colleges fulfill their mission. “It says that Catholicism is present and operative at such institutions. More profoundly, the individual professor evidences that desire to teach in communion, to express what the teachings of the Church are,” he said.

Belmont Abbey College ‘Centered on Christ’
A recent article in Our State: Down Home in North Carolina highlighted the College’s Benedictine roots, Catholic identity, and relationship with the Benedictine monks.

Faithful College Leaders Agree, Homeschooling Leads to Success at Catholic Colleges
The experience of these administrators with homeschooled students correlates with a 2013 study which found significant evidence of higher ACT and SAT scores and overall GPAs for homeschooled students who attend a Catholic university.

Thousands of Students from Faithful Catholic Colleges to Attend 2015 March for Life
Students and community members from the faithful Catholic colleges and universities recommended in The Newman Guide—about 3,000 of them, according to estimates—are traveling to Washington, D.C., this week to participate in the 42nd annual March for Life.

Women at Catholic Colleges Joining ‘Wear the Veil’ Campaign on Dec. 8
"Wearing the veil, in addition to being a beautiful tradition in the Church, provides women with the opportunity to show an example of true womanhood to the world," Taylor Flanagan, a senior at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., told The Cardinal Newman Society.

Professor Explains Economic Thought of Pope Benedict for Catholic Universities
The final encyclical of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, offers a unique principle for the application and study of economics and business, argues Belmont Abbey College’s Dr. Gary Scott in this year’s volume of the Catholic Social Science Review.

Belmont Abbey Takes Next Step in Providing Affordable, Catholic Education
Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., recently announced the opening of a new student services center. The new center is the next step in a larger plan to provide an affordable, private, and Catholic education, reported the College.

Sport Offers ‘Opportunity to Love, Sacrifice,’ Says Belmont Abbey President
“Sport, properly directed, develops character, makes a man courageous, a generous loser, and a gracious victor,” said Dr. Bill Thierfelder, quoting Pope Pius XII in a recent address to students at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., according to a College news release.

Newman Guide-Recommended Colleges Rank High in New ACTA Curriculum Ratings
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) recently released its sixth annual “What Will They Learn” list rating the core curricula of colleges and universities across the country. Several institutions recommended in The Newman Guide received high marks.

Belmont Abbey President to Discuss ‘Christian Vision of Sports’ at Christendom
The talk, according to the Christendom news release, is part of the College's Major Speakers program which offers students "cultural, intellectual, and spiritual enrichment."

Colleges in Newman Guide Rank Well with U.S. News and World Report
Colleges recommended in The Newman Guide ranked well in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 edition of Best Colleges. 

Colleges Recommended in Newman Guide Comment on HHS Mandate Accommodation
Several Catholic colleges and universities recommended in The Newman Guide have issued press releases and statements commenting on the Obama administration’s recent update to the HHS mandate accommodation.

Washington Monthly Features Colleges Recommended in Newman Guide
Washington Monthly recently released its rankings of four-year colleges and universities across the nation. This year’s 2014 college guide included many colleges and universities recommend in The Newman Guide.

Pro-Life Counseling Service Helps Pregnant College Students, Celebrates Milestone
Heartbeat International is a network of pro-life ministries intended to meet the various needs of those facing unplanned pregnancies, and its pregnancy helpline is reachable by phone, text message, email, or live chat, to provide support for women in need.

Belmont Abbey College: Supreme Court Ruling on HHS Mandate a ‘Meaningful Victory’
President Thierfelder said, “With the continuing help of the Becket Fund, we are inspired to fight on and we are confident that the resolution of our case will further help to ensure religious freedom for all.”

U.S. Bishops Call for Prayer, Education, Action in Fortnight for Freedom
The Fortnight takes place during a time, the bishops note, “when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power...”

Belmont Abbey College, Univ. of St. Thomas (Tex.) Win Sportsmanship Awards
“We are an extension of this great university,” UST Athletic Director Todd Smith said. “We are about graduating champions of faith and character.”

Belmont Abbey College Hosts Olympian on ‘Faithfully Fit for the Kingdom’
Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina is hosting a reception featuring Catholic Olympian, wife, and homeschooling mother of four, Rebecca Dussault.

Belmont Abbey College Announces New Plan to Operate Exclusively on Tuition
The new “Affordable Private College Model” will “serve students better, shrink general administrative costs by $1 million annually and eliminate the need for‘gap’ funding.”

College Students Credited as Driving Force in March for Life
Catholic colleges recommended in The Newman Guide are featured for their participation in and efforts surrounding the March for Life in a recent article by The Catholic News Agency.

Catholic Colleges to Have Major Presence at March for Life
This year, thousands of students from Catholic colleges and universities across the United States will join the throngs of pro-life people attending the 41st annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, January 22.

Supreme Court to Hear Combined Arguments in Two Key HHS Mandate Cases
"...A government that forces any citizen to participate in immoral acts--like the use of abortion drugs--under threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”

BREAKING: Belmont Abbey College Refiles Lawsuit Against HHS Mandate
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is defending the college and its freedom to provide insurance coverage that it considers to be morally acceptable in accordance with Catholic teaching.

‘Reclaim the Game,’ Says Belmont Abbey College President
“A common misconception is that world-class performance and living a life of virtue are at odds with each other.”

Calling All Catholic Athletes: Reflections of a Catholic College Graduate
“Sport, as you well know, is an activity that involves more than the movement of the body; it demands use of intelligence and the disciplining of the will."

Invitation: Catholic Athletes for Christ Conference in Northern Virginia
All are invited to the Catholic Athletes for Christ “Sports Conference” featuring Dr. Bill Thierfelder, president of Belmont Abbey College and a former champion athlete and coach.

Belmont Abbey College President’s New Book Teaches Virtue in Athletics, Life
Less Than a Minute to Go: The Secret to World-Class Performance in Sport, Business and Everyday Life, by Belmont Abbey president Dr. Thierfelder, ties together education, spirituality and athleticism.

Charlotte Diocese Holds Priesthood Discernment Event at Belmont Abbey College
'Quo Vadis is Latin for, "Where are you going?" It is an appropriate question for young people who are trying to determine the direction they are being called in their lives.'

The Higher Cost of Higher Education
Rising costs, spectacular amenities, discounted tuition, and declining enrollments all add up to an uncertain future for higher education.

The Amazing Latin Mass Society at Belmont Abbey College Thrives with New Media
It’s a Friday night on a college campus. Students walk out of their dorms in the dead of winter, their breath billowing out in puffs of steam, greeting friends with nods and handshakes, hopping into cars and convoying over 30 minutes to a nearby city.

Belmont Abbey Back in Court to Stop HHS Mandate
Belmont Abbey College was the first to sue the Obama administration over the HHS mandate last year. Following a setback where a judge, an Obama appointee,dismissed their case because the Obama administration had not yet amended regulations to better reflect religious objections as it has promised to do, Belmont Abbey College will be back in court Friday.

Belmont Abbey College Dramatically Cuts Tuition Rate
Belmont Abbey College announced on Nov. 28 that it is reducing its annual tuition cost to $18,500 beginning in Fall 2013. This represents an almost $10,000 per year reduction in the College’s published tuition price for incoming freshmen and transfer students.

Catholic Families Get Help with Exciting New Edition of The Newman Guide
The Cardinal Newman Society today released the 2012-2013 edition of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College with significant new features, as well as a new companion magazine for Catholic high school students and their parents titled My Future, My Faith.

Newman Guide Colleges Receive Top Marks for Curriculum
Three colleges that appear in The Newman Guide for their fidelity to Catholic teaching were recently honored by the American Council of College Trustees and Alumni for the strength of their curriculum. Many others received high marks as well.

Becket Fund Argues Imminent Harm to College from HHS Mandate
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed its first brief in its appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals requesting the Court reverse the judge’s dismissal of two HHS mandate lawsuits from Belmont Abbey College and Wheaton College.

Catholic Colleges Make the Grade with U.S. News & World Report
The criteria used in most college rankings, like the ones newly released by U.S. News & World Report, don’t include some of the most important factors for Catholic families choosing a college.  These include quality of the core curriculum, study in authentic Catholic theology and philosophy, interdisciplinary study, ethical formation, morality of campus life, and more.

EEOC Harassment of Belmont Abbey College Among Top Religious Liberty Concerns
A report identifying more than 600 recent instances of government hostility to religion cites a federal agency’s 2009 ruling against Belmont Abbey College, a faithful Catholic institution.

DePaul Touts Its Religious Diversity
Recently we posted about a report from DePaul University, revealing that only a third of students identify as Catholic and describing religious services for Jewish and Muslim students. Now DePaul seems to be celebrating the fact, with a brochure-quality puff piece in the online publication Inside Higher Ed: "Not far from the entrance to the student center at DePaul University is a Roman Catholic chapel. The chapel, named after Saint Louise de Marillac...

Federal Government Files Motion to Dismiss Franciscan University’s HHS Lawsuit
The federal government is seeking to have Franciscan University of Steubenville’s lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s HHS mandate thrown out of court.The government is seeking dismissal of the Catholic university’s lawsuit on the grounds that changes are already being made to meet the concerns of religious institutions. That argument has worked in the dismissal of previous lawsuits including the lawsuit by Belmont Abbey College even though those “changes” promised by the Administration have yet to be codified into the rule.

Judge Throws Out Belmont Abbey’s HHS Mandate Lawsuit
A U.S. District Court dismissed Belmont Abbey College’s lawsuit against the department of Health and Human Service over the contraceptive mandate.

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