Tuesday, December 01, 2015

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Thomas Aquinas College

Thomas Aquinas College
Why Do Colleges Require the Oath of Fidelity?
At the beginning of a new school year, professors at some of America’s most faithfully Catholic colleges take the Vatican’s Oath of Fidelity to protect against scandal and fortify the colleges’ Catholic identity. It stands in stark contrast to the infidelity and confusion emanating from some other Catholic campuses.

Some colleges—like Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.—ask all faculty members to take the Oath. At least another 14 Catholic colleges require the Oath from their theology professors, and The Catholic University of America (CUA) requires theology professors to have the “canonical mission,” which is necessary for granting pontifical degrees.

But still, among nearly 200 Catholic colleges in the United States, 17 is a minority.  What inspires these uncommon colleges to require the Oath, and are there any real benefits?

“Theology faculty are asked to the take the Oath of Fidelity, so that they become mindful of the fact that they are witnessing, studying, teaching and handing down truth of which they are not the author,” said Dr. Mark Zia, associate professor of theology at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. “Jesus Christ forever remains the Teacher, and both professor and students are his pupils as they respectfully probe the mysteries of salvation.”

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.”

Theology Sets Faithful Catholic Colleges Apart from Secular Education, Say Scholars
Even as students and alumni anxiously await the outcome of the University of Notre Dame’s ten-year curriculum review, amid fears that required theology courses might be reduced, representatives of faithful Catholic colleges in The Newman Guide say that it is theology that sets a Catholic college apart from its secular counterparts.

 “Since theology is the discipline that has been tasked with leading us into greater knowledge and love of God, it would be absurd to omit this most important study in a four-year curriculum at a Catholic institution,” Dr. Mark Zia, associate professor of theology at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., told The Cardinal Newman Society. “A ‘religious studies’ department is not enough; only a theology department will suffice.”

The Church’s constitution on Catholic higher education, Ex corde Ecclesiae, issued by Saint John Paul II in 1990, states that the study of theology “plays a particularly important role” at Catholic colleges and “serves all other disciplines in their search for meaning.” Ex corde Ecclesiae encourages a strong theological curriculum and even requires every Catholic college to “have a faculty, or at least a chair, of theology” in order to help ensure fidelity to Catholic teaching at the college.

Facing Supreme Court Decision, Thomas Aquinas College Refuses to Compromise Catholic Beliefs
Last week, Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in Santa Paula, Calif., appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for relief from the “HHS Mandate” with The Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. But should the Court fail to protect their religious freedom, TAC President Dr. Michael F. McLean told The Cardinal Newman Society that his faithful college is prepared to pay significant fines rather than violate its beliefs.

In an interview with the Newman Society, McLean discussed the pressing need for religious freedom from the sterilization and contraceptive mandate, especially for Catholic colleges that wish to maintain their sincerely held religious beliefs.

On August 25, attorneys for TAC submitted a brief to the Supreme Court, urging the Court to take up the College’s case and refuting the government’s latest arguments against exempting the College from the federal mandate. The College explained why it should be exempted from the HHS mandate and any government requirements that would compel it to go against its Catholic identity and mission by facilitating free contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilization coverage for its employees.

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.

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.

Catholic College Shuts Down While Faithful Colleges Thrive, Report Finds
A struggling Catholic college in Massachusetts will close its doors next week, raising concerns about the stability of other small, highly tuition-dependent colleges. But a report from The Cardinal Newman Society finds that some small colleges which maintain a strong Catholic identity and promote it to prospective students are doing quite well. 

Marian Court College in Swampscott, Mass., will close at the end of June due to financial difficulties and low enrollment, reports Adam Wilson, managing editor of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. The tuition-dependent College had about 250 students this year and graduated 67 last month, including 41 who were the first to earn four-year bachelor’s degrees after decades of the College providing only two-year associate’s degrees.

Chart-Topping Monks Found Vocations, Sacred Music at Newman Guide Colleges
Far away in Norcia, Italy, a small community of 18 Benedictine monks is topping the music charts with its new album of sacred music—and two of them tell The Cardinal Newman Society that it was at American Newman Guide-recommended colleges where they found the inspiration to pursue religious life and to foster a love of music.

With the conviction that beautiful, sacred music is a powerful tool for evangelization and possesses unique capabilities of attracting the soul to the divine, De Montfort Music recently released the monks’ album honoring the Virgin Mary.

“Music has the ability to reach into all kinds of nooks and crannies in the heart and soul that words may not,” said Monica Fitzgibbons, who manages De Montfort Music with her husband Kevin. “It is an experience of the senses,and it is no surprise that the Psalms, for example, have been an attracting force among many different faiths.”

Q&A: Peter Kwasniewski on Sacraments, Curriculum and Moral Formation at Catholic Colleges
Faithful Catholic colleges have the responsibility and obligation to care for the spiritual and moral well-being of their students, not just their academic well-being, says Dr. Peter Kwasniewksi, professor of theology and philosophy at Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo., and one of the recent panelists during a Cardinal Newman Society panel discussion at Sacra Liturgia USA 2015 in New York City.

During last Tuesday’s session, Dr. Kwasniewski was one of the featured panelists, together with Cardinal Raymond Burke, who discussed why liturgy is essential for today’s college Catholics.

The Newman Society caught up with Dr. Kwasniewski following the conference to ask several follow-up questions on the importance of liturgy, sacraments, curriculum and student life issues at Catholic colleges.

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.

Catholic Colleges Enjoy Advantages in Single-Sex Housing, Private Bedrooms
It is rare today to find even a Catholic college with male-only and female-only dormitories and policies enforcing the privacy of student bedrooms. But officials from such colleges say that they enjoy distinct advantages by encouraging chastity, sobriety, and genuine friendships among their students.

The Cardinal Newman Society recently spoke with officials responsible for student life at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va.; Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif.; and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo., about how single-sex residence halls and visitation policies create a healthy, moral environment for a student’s formative years in college.

“While [the students’] education is the primary mission of the college, we’re also engaged in the ‘formation of the moral character and the fostering of the spiritual life,’” said Amanda Graf, director of residence life at Christendom, citing the College’s mission statement. “By having single-gender halls, students also have a unique opportunity to continue their moral formation distinctly as men and women.”

Thomas Aquinas College Alumna Defends Archbishop Cordileone
"Lawmakers may vehemently disagree with Cordileone's decision," but "[r]eligious leaders should be free to make such decisions without worrying about interference from the government," Katrina Trinko wrote in defense of the archbishop.

Thomas Aquinas College Leads High Schoolers in ‘Pursuit of Wisdom’ at Summer Program
The program, which runs from July 19 to August 1, "is a time for forging new friendships, for enjoying the give and take of rational argument, and for pursuing the truth, which civilizes, ennobles, and liberates," the program website stated.

Thomas Aquinas College Hosts Order of Malta for Lenten Retreat
As part of the day's activities, the group joined TAC students to pray the Rosary and attend Mass together. According to the College, this is the third time that the Order has visited the College in the last three years.

Thomas Aquinas College Receives Large Grant for Concert and Lecture Hall
Named after the fourth-century martyr and patron saint of music, St. Cecilia Hall will reportedly enhance the College's music programs which are a key aspect to its campus life.

TV Host, Producer Encourages TAC Students to Develop Skills through Liberal Arts
Catholic television host and producer Daniel Rabourdin recently spoke at Thomas Aquinas College as part of a series of career presentations to help students see the value of their Catholic, liberal arts education and how it can prepare them for any field.

Thomas Aquinas College Education Good Prep for Workplace, Say Alumni
Three panelists recently spoke with students at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., about their future role as Catholics in the workplace and how the College's liberal arts curriculum can prepare them for any career.

Augustine Institute to Offer Online Summer Course Designed for Catholic Educators
The Augustine Institute, a Denver-based Catholic graduate school, will be offering a special course for teachers and school administrators designed to help them reflect on the connection between Catholic education and teaching.

Thomas Aquinas Alumni Offering Webinar to Aid Call for Faithful Catholic Educators
Dr. Andrew Seeley and Michael Van Hecke will gather Catholic educators from across the country for the webinar and lead an online discussion titled "Answering the Call — An Introduction to Catholic School Leadership."

Faithful Catholic College Students Joined Tens of Thousands in West Coast Walk for Life
The Walk for Life is the largest pro-life demonstration in the Western United States, second in the nation to only the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., and draws large crowds of youth and college students each year.

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.

Thomas Aquinas College Lends ‘Perfect’ Location for Video Series on Blessed Virgin Mary
A film crew shot scenes in and around TAC's Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel in additional to other campus locations that will be featured in "The Bible and the Virgin Mary," part of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology's Journey Through Scripture Bible study series.

Faithful Catholic Colleges Set Standard for Next Generation of Catholic Higher Ed.
A recent PJ Media article compares the compromising of religious mission at many older Catholic colleges with examples of faithful Catholic colleges, observing that the latter institutions are paving the way for the future of Catholic higher education.

Thomas Aquinas College Grad Leads Catholic School, Praises Value of Classical Ed.
Luke Macik, a TAC alumnus and the former vice president of Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo., shared during his "From the Median" radio interview how a classic education, such as the one found at The Lyceum, prepares students for every aspect of life.

Thomas Aquinas President Explains How College Fosters Vocations
"Thomas Aquinas College is certainly doing something right in fostering this impressive number of vocations," McLean reportedly said, while noting three areas—education, moral life, and spiritual life—which aid students in their discernment.

Education in Truth Builds Confidence, Says Thomas Aquinas College Grad
A 2014 alumna from Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., recently spoke on Ave Maria Radio's "Mast Appeal" program about the College's academics, spiritual life, and how it prepares students to encounter the world.

Thomas Aquinas College’s 60th Alumnus-Priest Praises Faithful College Formation
Father Matthew Busch, an alumnus of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., was recently ordained as the College’s 60th alumnus-priest, according to the College. Fr. Busch shared how the College helped form and prepare him to live out his priestly vocation.

Timeless Church Architecture Attracting Catholic Millennials, Argue Chaplains
Students are drawn to the "timeless tradition" of the Catholic Church, particularly in the architecture and art surrounding sacred spaces, according to a new study and several Catholic college chaplains recently interviewed by The Cardinal Newman Society.

Thomas Aquinas College Students Perform Entire Handel’s Messiah
The December 5 presentation was a part of TAC's annual Advent Concert, one of the many events held at faithful Catholic colleges across the country to prepare for and celebrate the upcoming Christmas season.

‘Huge Victory,’ ‘Opportunity’ for Religious Colleges in Labor Board’s Ruling
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last week abandoned its longstanding, unconstitutional practice of measuring how religious a college appears to be before exempting it from federal oversight, but opted instead for a new test that considers whether individual employees perform religious functions.

Faithful Catholic Colleges Featured in Kiplinger ‘Best Value’ Rankings
Several colleges and universities recommended in The Newman Guide were recently recognized as “Best Value Colleges” by Kiplinger, a business and personal finance publisher.

Catholic College Students Surprise Mall Shoppers with Christmas Flash Mob
The performance is one of the many ways students from faithful Catholic colleges across the country are preparing for and celebrating the upcoming Christmas season.

Students Joyfully Await Birth of Christ at Faithful Catholic Colleges
Throughout the month of December, institutions recommended in The Newman Guide are offering students opportunities to celebrate Advent and prepare for Christmas before returning home at the end of the semester.

Students Show Growing Appreciation for Traditional Masses, Say College Chaplains
Among Catholic colleges and dioceses across the country there has been an apparent rise in the celebration of the Mass ad orientem, where the priest and congregation face the same direction, traditionally to the east.

‘Fight Not Done’ over HHS Mandate, Says Thomas Aquinas College President
Dr. Michael McLean, president of Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in Santa Paula, Calif., recently spoke with host Molly Smith on her show "From the Median" about TAC's courtroom battle against the HHS mandate.

Thomas Aquinas College Alumni Brothers Create New Video on Miles Christi Order
Miles Christi: Soldiers of Christ in America is a one hour documentary that features Miles Christi, an order of Argentinian priests dedicated to helping Catholic laity seek holiness in their daily lives.

Thomas Aquinas College Graduates Lead Faithful Catholic Schools
The Cardinal Newman Society recently spoke to four graduates of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., about their experiences at the College and how an education in the liberal arts shaped them to be the educational leaders they are today.

Court Rules against TAC, CUA Challenge to HHS Mandate
“The ruling still puts Catholic University and similar institutions on a lower constitutional footing than houses of worship," Lawrence Morris, CUA general counsel, told The Cardinal Newman Society.

Thomas Aquinas College Announces Tuition Freeze for Next Academic Year
Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in Santa Paula, Calif.,recently announced a tuition freeze for the year. The College’s goal is that a TAC education remains a “viable” option for students during “trying economic times,” President Dr. Michael McLean said in the news release.

Doctors Tell Students at Thomas Aquinas College They Are Needed in Medical Fields
Three practicing physicians addressed topics such as preparing for medical school, choosing the right practice, and overcoming the ethical challenges within the field.

Students Have Rave Reviews for Newman Guide-Recommended Catholic Colleges
Students from colleges recommended in The Newman Guide recently appeared as guests on the Ave Maria Radio program “Mast Appeal.” The Society helped to coordinate interviews to give students the opportunity to share their experiences attending faithful Catholic colleges.

Vocations Continue to Pour from Thomas Aquinas College
Two alumni from Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in Santa Paula, Calif., recently became the 61st and 62nd College graduates to be ordained to the priesthood, announced the College.

Author Explains New Sacred Music Book, Importance for Catholic Education
The Cardinal Newman Society recently conducted an interview with Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, professor of theology and philosophy at Wyoming Catholic College, about his new book of sacred music compositions and its implications for Catholic education and the Church at large.

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.

Catholic Educators Appeal to Obama Administration for Relief from HHS Mandate
Today a coalition including The Cardinal Newman Society, leaders of Catholic schools and colleges, and the expert attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom told the Obama administration that its latest rule still “directly violates the religious liberty of organizations and individuals.”

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. 

TAC Alumnus: People Learn from People, Not SMART Boards
“The error of education today is the emphasis on new-fangled technique and technology, and the de-emphasis on old-fashioned teaching,” states Sean Fitzpatrick, a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College, “people learn from people, not from SMART boards."

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.

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