Sunday, February 14, 2016

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Newman Guide

The Newman Guide
Newman Society Statement on Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.
2/12/2016
As recently as last year, The Cardinal Newman Society enthusiastically recommended Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. (“the Mount”), in our Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College for its strong Catholic identity. We have repeatedly, and very recently, reported on outstanding teaching and practices at the Mount. Nevertheless, we are carefully observing the developments described in recent media reports (including the selection linked at the bottom of this statement), and we find these to be disappointing and even disturbing. Certain facts seem clear, while other troubling claims are unsubstantiated but repeated by several individuals. We invite Catholics to pray for a good outcome.

The Cardinal Newman Society is currently engaged in our standard annual review of Newman Guide colleges for the next edition of the Guide. Our attention to the Mount is heightened due to the leadership transition (now including not only President Simon Newman, who is less than a year into his position, but also the provost and liberal arts dean) and the recent concerns. Adding to our dismay about information coming from media reports and our own private communications with individuals associated with the University, the Mount has declined thus far to provide the required annual information needed for recommendation in The Newman Guide.


Faithful Catholic Colleges Find New Ways to Tackle Marriage Crisis
2/10/2016
Striving to help their students prepare for healthy and strong marriages, faithful Catholic colleges are making a concerted effort to find ways in which they can integrate Church teaching on marriage and family into the lives of their students, representatives from several Newman Guide-recommended colleges told The Cardinal Newman Society during National Marriage Week.

National Marriage Week, which began on February 7 and is being celebrated through February 14, is a collaborative campaign sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Bishops “to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture,” according to its website.

“It is more important than ever that Catholic colleges teach our young people the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage, not only for the salvation of their souls but for the sake of the well-being of our country and the health of our culture,” Anne Forsyth, director of college relations at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., told the Newman Society.


Students at Faithful Catholic Colleges Encouraged to Participate in Lenten Devotions
2/9/2016
The liturgical season of Lent begins this week on February 10, and recognizing the opportunity to help form students in the faith and grow closer to Jesus, colleges and universities recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College have taken an active role in urging their students and communities to engage in the Lenten season by providing opportunities for spiritual reading, retreats, prayer and devotion.

At Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., Stations of the Cross and communal praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet are held every Friday during Lent. Additionally, the chaplaincy office is currently holding meetings to urge students to participate in the Liturgy of the Hours.


Education Programs at Newman Guide Colleges Place Premium on Moral Teacher Formation
2/4/2016
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.


Catholic Colleges and Schools Take Active Role in Struggle Against Pornography
2/4/2016
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.”


Moral Formation, Catechesis at Center of New Teacher Formation Conference
2/2/2016
The Center for Catholic Education at Newman Guide-recommended Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., is responding to the Church’s call for faithful teacher formation programs by offering training for educators, administrators and board members of Catholic schools. The Center’s director, Sister Elizabeth Anne Allen, O.P., told The Cardinal Newman Society that she hopes this training will richly benefit future generations of Catholic students. 

The Center’s new teacher formation conference, called WISE (Witness-Inspire-Serve-Educate), will be held from June 13-16, 2016 on the campus of Aquinas College. Sr. Allen told The Cardinal Newman Society that the conference is a deliberate response to specific issues recently cited by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the World Congress on Catholic Education, including “the Catholic identity of Catholic schools and the formation of those who teach in those schools.”


Catholic Colleges Should Claim Title IX Exemptions, Says Newman Society President
1/27/2016
As Title IX interpretations have expanded to include discrimination policies grounded in gender theory, Catholic colleges should have no qualms about claiming constitutionally-protected exemptions, said The Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly in an interview with National Catholic Register.

“Of course these colleges have no interest in sex discrimination. They have had no problems complying with Title IX,” said Reilly. “But now things are changing, and the Obama administration is pushing the extreme gender ideology that Pope Francis has strongly warned against. The law could be used to force practices that violate our beliefs and even natural law, unless religious educators claim the exemption that Congress gave them to uphold the First Amendment.”


Students Stranded on Turnpike Finally Home, Praised for Defense of Life
1/26/2016
Hundreds of students from the Newman Guide-recommended University of Mary in Bismark, N.D., and Franciscan University of Stubenville in Ohio finally returned home on Sunday after being trapped for over 24 hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike by a blizzard following the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., last Friday.

Even with the threat of severe weather lingering, students from the two universities, along with thousands of pro-life advocates, descended on the nation's capital on January 22 in support of the right to life. Many hoped by leaving early they could avoid the worst of the weather, but an accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Friday afternoon brought traffic to a halt, leaving over 500 vehicles trapped in a blizzard.


College Professors Who Are Building a Culture of Life
1/21/2016
The Cardinal Newman Society’s reporting in 2015 featured interviews with numerous Catholic professors who, doing their best to build a culture of life, spoke on pro-life topics such as the undercover Planned Parenthood videos, support for Planned Parenthood on campus and the Obama administration’s contraceptive “HHS Mandate.”

The following list highlights seven professors that the Newman Society spoke to in the last year who are helping to advance the pro-life movement, both at their respective institutions and within society. This list is not meant to be exclusive or to be considered as a ranking of any kind.


Newman Society, Pro-Life Groups Call on Media to Fairly Cover March for Life
1/21/2016
The Cardinal Newman Society joined with 16 pro-life organizations, two members of Congress and the Media Research Center (MRC) this week to call on media networks and journalists to offer fair coverage of this year’s March for Life and refrain from any kind of undue censorship.

“Thousands of pro-life school and college students join the March for Life every year, often traveling hundreds of miles in buses to declare themselves the pro-life generation,” said Newman Society President Patrick Reilly in the coalition’s press statement. “Any objective reporter would see the news value in this and be on the ground, getting interviews and reporting on this extraordinary youth activism for ‘traditional’ values.”


Catholic University of America Students to Lead 2016 March for Life
1/19/2016
This year, the Newman Guide-recommended Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., will have the honor of leading the 2016 March for Life — a first-time opportunity for CUA and one which the students are eagerly anticipating, according to Father Jude DeAngelo, university chaplain and director of campus ministry at CUA.

“We’ve been participating in the March for Life for years, but we have never led the March to my knowledge,” Fr. DeAngelo told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview. “It’s quite a privilege and our students are really honored and excited.”

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, reached out to John Garvey, president of CUA, to invite the University to lead the 2016 March for Life.


SPECIAL REPORT: Planned Parenthood Offices Located Near Half of Catholic Colleges, Alarming Pro-Life Leaders
1/19/2016
Half of all four-year, residential Catholic colleges in the U.S. are within five miles of Planned Parenthood facilities, a study by The Cardinal Newman Society has found. Catholic pro-life leaders warn that the close proximity of these Planned Parenthood centers threatens the well-being of students and the culture of Catholic campuses.

Planned Parenthood is, by its mission, directly opposed to Catholic values on sexuality, artificial contraception and abortion. Many of its centers perform abortions and distribute contraceptives.

In its review of 188 four-year, residential Catholic colleges in the U.S., The Cardinal Newman Society found that 92, or 49 percent, are within five miles of a Planned Parenthood facility. Of these, 13 are within one mile or less, 37 are within 1.1-3 miles and 42 are within 3.1-5 miles.


Belmont Abbey College Launches Program Making Education Affordable for Catholic Families and Homeschoolers
1/14/2016
A new educational program at Belmont Abbey College launched this week in a concerted effort to help Catholic families and homeschoolers afford a faithful Catholic college education, Dr. Bill Thierfelder, president of the College, told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“As a home schooling father of ten children, I was very aware that many homeschooling families wanted the private Catholic college education that Belmont Abbey College provided but often could not afford it,” Thierfelder said. “While praying, it came to me to create a primarily residential program that would ensure students were well-educated, well-formed and well-prepared at a cost comparable to a public college or university.”

The Bishop Leo Haid Fellowship program, which begins this summer, will save students more than 60 percent on tuition when compared to the average national cost for private colleges in the United States, making the total cost for the first four semesters $20,431.


SCOTUS Brief: Catholic Colleges Know What They Believe, Not the Courts
1/13/2016
Catholic colleges and schools, not the government or the courts, should determine whether or not their beliefs have been violated, argued Ave Maria University in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court stating the government’s implementation of the HHS contraception mandate is in clear violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

“Under RFRA, the religious adherent gets to define the nature of his own sincerely held beliefs as well as what constitutes a violation of those beliefs. Hence, the proper question under RFRA is ‘whether the HHS mandate imposes a substantial burden on the ability of the objecting parties to conduct business in accordance with their religious beliefs,’” Ave Maria’s brief stated, citing the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.


Faithful Catholicism Dependent on Catholic Colleges, Says New York Times Columnist
1/12/2016
An address by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat recently published on First Things touched on the formative role that Catholic universities play in shaping the next generation in the faith and argued that many Jesuit institutions have kowtowed to “liberal Catholicism” over the years, thereby neglecting their duty to instill authentic Catholic faith.

Douthat’s address, “A Crisis of Conservative Catholicism,” given at First Things’ 28th Erasmus Lecture this past October, detailed the tension between “conservative Catholicism” and “liberal Catholicism,” which he said often aligns with popular social mores and demands change from the Church on varying cultural issues. The “liberal” view of Catholicism, argued Douthat, has a history of taking root in Catholic universities, with negative consequences for the faithful.


SCOTUS Brief Against HHS Mandate Defends Catholic Education
1/8/2016
A brief filed today by the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in coordination with The Cardinal Newman Society and six other national religious organizations strongly urged the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the sincerely-held religious beliefs of Catholic universities, colleges and schools by invalidating any directive to provide coverage of sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients in employee health plans as part of Obamacare’s HHS contraception mandate.

The Obama administration’s “HHS Mandate” is the “elephant in the room” threatening faithful Catholic education, said Bob Laird, vice president for program development at the Newman Society. “If our schools can teach the faith and the public good in the classroom but not practice it in the conduct of their own business, then education is merely an ideological shell with no substance.”


Catholic Colleges Prepare for HHS Showdown Before the Supreme Court
1/8/2016
Three Newman Guide-recommended colleges involved in lawsuits against the Obama administration’s HHS contraception mandate submitted their formal briefs this week as they prepare for oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court that could determine the fate of their religious freedom protections.

The government has embraced an unreasonably narrow view of religious freedom which excludes Catholic education and “denies full religious status and protection to clearly religious organizations,” according to Thomas Aquinas College’s summation of thebrief submitted on its behalf. “By concluding that only ‘houses of worship’ but not religious charitable and educational institutions should be considered ‘religious employers,’ the Government betrays a distressingly narrow view of the proper place of religious faith and practice in our society.”


Catholic Education in 150-Year Battle for Religious Freedom
1/5/2016
The anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments and HHS contraception mandate have bookended a 150-year attack on Catholic education and religious freedom and should be overturned immediately so that Catholic universities, colleges and schools can operate according to their mission and the freedoms insured by the U.S. Constitution, said Ave Maria University President Jim Towey in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

“This is a struggle that’s gone on for thousands of years, but for our democracy it’s particularly acute in that we’ve had this history with the Blaine Amendments, with anti-Catholic discrimination, that goes on to this day with the example of the ‘HHS Mandate,’” Towey said.

“One of the reasons Ave Maria University raced to court,” Towey continued, “was because we knew that the Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate was an attack on our religious freedom, and without that you can’t be a Catholic university.”


Opinion: Major Issues We’re Following in Catholic Education in 2016
1/4/2016
The Cardinal Newman Society’s reporting in 2015 highlighted numerous issues — positive and negative — impacting faithful Catholic education in the U.S., and we expect many of these issues to continue trending into 2016.

In the past year, Newman Society reporters covered cultural and institutional threats to faithful Catholic education, including the U.S. Supreme Court marriage ruling, problems with Common Core, Planned Parenthood’s close ties to Catholic colleges, ongoing HHS mandate lawsuits threatening religious freedom and scandalous commencement speakers at Catholic colleges. Yet, many faithful Catholic colleges and schools have responded with vigor to the current challenges and demands of our modern society.

Below, in no particular order, are 10 important issues that we will be following in our news coverage throughout 2016:


Catholic Education ‘Extends God’s Love’ as a Spiritual Work of Mercy
1/4/2016
Catholic professors and teachers have a distinctive calling during this Jubilee Year of Mercy to educate — or “instruct the ignorant” — as a Spiritual Work of Mercy, carried out by offering students the knowledge of God’s created world and fostering the gift of faith, Sister Anne Catherine, O.P., of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“Education is a work of mercy because it extends God’s love in the world,” Sr. Anne Catherine noted. “It is a mercy for teachers to offer their students solid content knowledge and to teach them skills that will help them go forward and take their place in the world.”

But it is especially important “that teachers help students experience wonder in learning about God’s created world and in discovering how deeply they are loved,” she said.


Year of Mercy a Reminder That Catholic Education Should Bring Students to Christ
12/31/2015
The Year of Mercy should be a constant reminder for Catholic colleges this year to not only provide a faithful Catholic education but to make sure that that education is ultimately an encounter with Christ, Ave Maria University President Jim Towey told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

“The Catholic college, if it does its job well, leads students in the pursuit of truth, the fullness of which resides in Jesus Christ,” said Towey. “Whether it’s in biology or business, students are invited to encounter Christ, and at a Catholic college that encounter should be facilitated in each and every aspect of operations — student life, residence life, even in the cafeteria.”


Crisis in Catholic Higher Education Conference: January 23
12/30/2015
The Cardinal Newman Society and the Institute of Catholic Culture (ICC) will present a unique conference on Catholic higher education next month, featuring the presidents of five Catholic colleges who will discuss the crisis in American society “under attack from the secularist agenda” and the solutions found in a faithful Catholic education.

The conference, titled “CRISIS: Catholic Higher Education and the Next Generation,” will take place the day after the March for Life, on Saturday, January 23, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at St. Thomas More Cathedral Hall in Arlington, Va. The public is invited and can register at the ICC’s website.

“There is truly a crisis of faith and identity in much of Catholic education, especially higher education,” said Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “But I expect this conversation with some of the leading lights in faithful education to be very hopeful, and I am especially eager to hear the responses and proposals of the participants.”


Theology Professors ‘Dispel Ignorance’ as Spiritual Work of Mercy
12/21/2015
The call to “instruct the ignorant” as a Spiritual Work of Mercy is carried out by Catholic educators as part of the Church’s mission, and reflecting on that work during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Catholic University of America theology professor Dr. John Grabowksi told The Cardinal Newman Society that theology professors have a responsibility to dispel ignorance and the lack of knowledge of Christ by introducing students to Him in the Scriptures, sacraments, liturgy and tradition of the Church.

In the Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis lamented, “Perhaps we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy.” And as part of its celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the U.S. bishops have invited the faithful to learn more about and live out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, one of which is “Instructing the Ignorant.”

Education, or to “instruct the ignorant,” is a work of mercy because it responds to a drive and a need that is part of our very makeup as human beings, Grabowski told the Newman Society. “We want to know. We want to pursue truth, especially the truth about God.”


Catholic Identity at Colleges Cannot Be Ranked by Secular Benchmarks
12/18/2015
A recent Newsmax list of “top” Catholic colleges illustrates the confusion that can arise when attempting to rank Catholic colleges by mixing matters of the faith with secular standards, such as academic statistics, and should serve as a reminder that a college’s Catholic identity must be of paramount concern, argued The Cardinal Newman Society’s Adam Wilson, managing editor of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

The Newsmax guide ranked 40 “traditional Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America,” and noted in the description of the guide that some students prioritize faith as “the defining factor in deciding where to earn an education.” However, the description goes on to list “subjective criteria” used in compiling the rankings “such as legacy and influence, along with quantifiable measurements like class size, student-to-faculty ratio, and student retention rates.”

While these aspects can be helpful in discerning which college to attend, Wilson warned that they could not accurately reveal a college’s Catholic identity.


Belmont Abbey College on Title IX: Legitimizing Gender Identity ‘Spiritually Harmful’
12/16/2015
Following charges of “discrimination” from a national LGBTQ activist group, Belmont Abbey College defended its request to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) for a Title IX exemption in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society, saying the ED’s broadening of Title IX to include “gender identity” threatened the College’s religious mission and would force the College to advocate practices that are “spiritually harmful.”

“A policy which would legitimize gender identity issues, particularly according to the interpretation put forward by employees of the Department of Education, would, first of all, abdicate the responsibility of the college community as a whole to act in accord with its fundamental identity as a community which publicly identifies itself as in communion with the Catholic Church,” Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., chancellor of the College, told the Newman Society.

He added that, based upon the “essential characteristics” of a Catholic college outlined in the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic universities Ex corde Ecclesiae, such a policy “would abdicate the college's responsibility as an educational and intellectual community to contribute the insights of Catholic faith and reflection to the public discussion on the issues of gender identity … would contradict fidelity to the Christian message as it comes through the Church” and “would abdicate responsibility to serve the transcendent goal of life by advocating practices which, according to the Church's teaching, are spiritually harmful.”


Benedictine College Committed to Forming ‘Architects of God’s Beauty’
12/11/2015
A new architecture major offered at the Newman Guide-recommended Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., will help students fuse Catholic theology with their careers in architecture, and build up the Church by constructing churches, cities and communities that remind people of God’s presence and beauty, Benedictine Academic Dean Dr. Kimberly Shankman told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

“Our hope is that our architecture program can form architects committed to beauty as a sign of God’s presence, committed to developing cities and towns to foster true human community and committed to developing their skills to the highest possible level to put them in service to the Church and the world,” said Shankman.


Students at Faithful Catholic Colleges Prepare for Christmas with Advent Celebrations
12/10/2015
Throughout the month of December, faithful Catholic colleges and universities recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College planned events and opportunities for students to prepare for the birth of Christ in a variety of ways, including charity functions, music services and prayer gatherings. 

Such activities “remind our students that they are participants in the greater mission of the college and of the Catholic Church,” one Newman Guide college representative told The Cardinal Newman Society.

Ave Maria University (AMU) in Ave Maria, Fla., hosted its annual Celebration of Lights Festival on December 4 to prepare for the Christmas season. 


Marian Devotion and Spirituality Flourish at Newman Guide Colleges
12/8/2015
Our Lady has a special place of importance at many faithful Catholic colleges across the country, and at institutions recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, students are given numerous opportunities to participate in devotions and events dedicated to Mary.

“The Blessed Mother has a special place of veneration in the Catholic Church, and devotion to her is a special mark of the Catholic college,” Anne Forsyth, director of college relations at Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in Santa Paula, Calif., told The Cardinal Newman Society.


How Can Catholic Colleges Celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy?
12/7/2015
The Jubilee Year of Mercy inaugurated by Pope Francis is an ideal time for all Catholic colleges to reintroduce students and the greater college community to the transformative power of God’s love, Father Nathan Malavolti, TOR, vice president of pastoral care and evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville, told The Cardinal Newman Society.

The Jubilee of Mercy begins on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and concludes on November 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The “motto” of the Holy Year is “Merciful like the Father.”  “We want to live this Jubilee Year in light of the Lord’s words: Merciful like the Father,” said Pope Francis. “The Evangelist reminds us of the teaching of Jesus who says, ‘Be merciful just as your Father is merciful’ (Lk 6:36).”


Newman Guide Colleges Named for Our Lady Attribute Strong Catholic Identity to Blessed Mother
12/6/2015
In anticipation of the Feasts of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 and Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, The Cardinal Newman Society spoke with three Newman Guide-recommended Catholic universities named after the Blessed Mother to see how they are honoring her and the influence Our Lady has had on their universities.

Representatives of these universities agreed that not only has the Blessed Mother been a part of their history, but she has been a constant reminder and inspiration for strong Catholic identity.

“The Immaculate Conception is not only the patronal feast of the United States but also of our campus,” Mount St. Mary’s University Chaplain Father Brian Nolan told the Newman Society. “She inspires us and encourages us to imitate her trust, surrender and love for others.”


As Faithful Educators Gather in Rome, Newman Society Poised to Provide Answers
11/20/2015
After talking to numerous educators and witnessing many global perspectives on education, it is clear that The Cardinal Newman Society is well-positioned to continue answering the educational emergencies developing in the United States, said the Newman Society’s vice president for program development Bob Laird, who is currently attending the World Congress on Catholic education.

“It is very clear that The Cardinal Newman Society is poised to provide answers to the challenges discussed during the Congress,” said Laird, noting the Society’s keen grasp of pertinent education issues including religious freedom, Catholic identity, student life, curriculum and academics.

“The Cardinal Newman Society is poised to be a leader in Catholic education at both the K-12 level and at the college-university level because it has over the years continued to use the rich history and tradition of the Catholic Church as a backdrop for moving forward into the future,” he said.


Better Education of Church Teaching on Contraception Needed at Catholic Colleges
11/19/2015
Educators at faithful Catholic colleges recently told The Cardinal Newman Society that students can greatly benefit from more thorough catechesis of Church teaching on contraception and human sexuality, which appears to be lacking at some Catholic colleges based on the statements and actions of students on campus. 

“Some students come to college with a strong Catholic formation, others are non-Catholic and still others have never given Church teaching on these issues a second thought,” Dr. Richard White, associate professor and chair of the theology department at Newman Guide-recommended Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. “No matter where they’re coming from, students greatly benefit if the college has courses in the curriculum dedicated to addressing Church teaching on contraception and human sexuality.”


U.S. Bishops Elect Bishop Murry as New Education Committee Chair
11/18/2015
Bishop George Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio, has been named the new chair for the Committee on Catholic Education by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at its general assembly in Baltimore this week, succeeding Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Neb.

The Committee on Catholic Education guides the educational mission of the Church in the United States at all levels, including elementary, secondary, college and college campus ministry. The Committee also advocates for public policy which supports the teaching of the Church and the educational rights and responsibilities of parents.

Bishop Murry was elected over St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson, who is a canon lawyer and has been chair of the bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, in a final count of 132-106. Bishop Murry will serve as chairman-elect for one year before beginning a three-year term as chairman.


Scott Hahn: Studying Sacred Scripture of ‘Critical Importance’ for Catholic Schools and Colleges
11/18/2015
Commenting on the 50th anniversary of Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council’s dogmatic constitution on divine revelation, biblical scholar Dr. Scott Hahn told The Cardinal Newman Society that it is "of critical importance for Catholic schools and colleges to focus on teaching Sacred Scripture" in the classroom. 

"The power of the Word of God to transform our lives cannot happen, it cannot be realized, if people don't know [the Word]." said Hahn, the Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, chair of biblical theology and the new evangelization at the Newman Guide-recommended Franciscan University of Steubenville. 


Catholic Social Scientists: Facts About Unborn Life are Clear, Defund Planned Parenthood
11/12/2015
The Society of Catholic Social Scientists (SCSS) called for an end to federal funding of Planned Parenthood in a recent statement, with the group’s president urging other Catholic academic groups to follow suit, following the release of a series of undercover videos that shocked the public and led to investigations of America’s largest abortion business for potentially illegal activity.

The recent revelations of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the harvesting and selling of aborted baby organs and body parts “must finally awaken us to the horrific reality of the actions of this government-supported organization,” the SCSS statement read.

Dr. Stephen Krason, president of the SCSS and political science and legal studies professor at the Newman Guide-recommended Franciscan University of Steubenville, spoke to The Cardinal Newman Society about academic groups’ responsibility to speak out about such issues.


College Presidents: Embracing Ex corde Ecclesiae Strengthened our Catholic Colleges and Identity
11/11/2015
For the past 25 years, the principles of the Catholic Church’s apostolic constitution on higher education, Ex corde Ecclesiae, have been implemented with mixed success in the U.S., as evidenced by the many abuses of Catholic identity reported by The Cardinal Newman Society, but recent interviews with presidents of Newman Guide-recommended colleges confirm that those principles can be successfully implanted and reap tremendous benefits for the colleges and students when administrators embrace the document’s norms.

“Ex corde Ecclesiae continues to have a central importance in the world of Catholic higher education for it was issued by St. John Paul II who himself was a professor and educator deeply committed to an authentic vision of Christian education,” Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, president of Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., told the Newman Society.

“It is a clear and timely response to the secularization of so many Catholic colleges and universities who, in seeking to imitate their secular counterparts, impoverished the Church’s contribution to higher education,” he said.


Focus on “Success” at Liberal Arts Colleges Shouldn't Exclude Virtue
11/10/2015
A true liberal arts education has the responsibility to teach students wisdom and virtue, yet far too many liberal arts colleges get swept up in focusing on “success,” imparting to students elitist notions of worldly standards, said the former liberal arts dean of Mount St. Mary’s University in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

“Too often, colleges today shirk [their] authority” to impart wisdom, said Dr. Joshua Hochschild, who was the dean of the Mount’s College of Liberal Arts and is currently an associate professor of philosophy. “Instead of trying to shape and redirect the immature desires and interests of students, colleges submit to and try to satisfy those desires and interests.”

Hochschild explained that college education is “an odd business,” because although the college should aim to please its “customers,” or students, they must also bear in mind that “the customers, by definition, are asking a very fundamental question: what is worth being interested in?”


CUA President: Pray for Religious Freedom, “Only So Much Lawyers Can Do”
11/6/2015
As a potential U.S. Supreme Court decision approaches on the Obama administration’s HHS contraception mandate impacting the religious freedom of Catholic colleges and The Cardinal Newman Society, the true future of religious freedom in the United States is in the hands of families and educators who take their faith seriously and pray, Catholic University of America President John Garvey told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

“The future of religious liberty is in our own hands, and it’s going to survive or not depending on whether we think religion itself is important,” Garvey said. “There’s only so much that lawyers and academics can do to change the picture about religious freedom that we have in America.”

While lawyers are still important, the key to a successful defense of religious freedom will be found in those families and educators who make their faith important, stand up for their religious beliefs, understand the importance of faithful education and pray, Garvey stated.


Newman College Ireland Finds Temporary Campus, Continues Evangelizing Mission
11/4/2015
A new Catholic college in Ireland, founded on the educational principles of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman, has procured a temporary campus in Northern Ireland and is beginning the work of evangelizing an increasingly secularized Irish people.

“As young people graduate from Newman College with a full knowledge of the Church and culture, having lived a life consistent with Catholic moral teaching for four years, they’re going to be the leaven in society in so many ways,” Nick Healy, co-founder of Newman College and former president of Newman Guide-recommended Ave Maria University, told The Cardinal Newman Society. “Some will become priests or religious, others professionals, mothers and fathers with good families — the faith naturally expands from there.”


Newman Guide Colleges Receive High Marks on Core Curriculum
11/3/2015
A number of Catholic colleges and universities recommended in The Cardinal Newman Society’s The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College received high rankings from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) last month in their “What Will They Learn? 2015-16” report that rates colleges on having a “solid core curriculum” for general education.

“What Will They Learn?™ rates each college on how many of seven core subjects the institution (or, in many cases, the Arts & Sciences or Liberal Arts divisions) requires,” according to the report’s ratings criteria. “The subjects are: Composition, Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. Government or History, Economics, Mathematics, and Natural or Physical Science. The grade is based on a detailed examination of the latest publicly-available online course catalogs at the time of review.”


Faithful Catholic Colleges Lead K-12 Programs to Renewal, Says Scholar
11/3/2015
Faithful Catholic colleges are producing a wave of strong Catholic schools across the country, signs of a growing renewal in Catholic education, Dr. Christopher Blum, professor and academic dean of the Augustine Institute, a Catholic graduate school and educational non-profit, told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

“For every one renewed Catholic or Christian college, there are dozens of schools and home-schooled cooperatives staffed by its graduates, men and women who have dedicated themselves to the high task of ordering their work by wisdom,” said Blum in his new book, Rejoicing in the Truth: Wisdom and the Educator’s Craft.

“It is an indisputable fact that where colleges and universities go, high schools and middle schools soon follow,” he said.


New ‘Virtuous Leadership’ MBA Program Counters Crisis in Business Leadership
10/30/2015
Catholic colleges have been concerned with the importance of virtue and character since the beginning of the university system, and this is what makes them best equipped to still form strong leaders today, University of Mary president Monsignor James Shea told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview about the launch of the University’s new Virtuous Leadership MBA program this week.

“We know that virtue is indeed something that is missing in American public life and business life. Our culture has become in some senses a breeder of ‘small-souled’ people,” said Msgr. Shea. The virtuous leader however “looks very different from many of those who aspire to or who are in positions of leadership today” because they place their character and greatness at the service of others, he said.

“Hold up any person who aspires to a position of leadership. Hold up a Donald Trump, hold up a Hilary Clinton, and then ask questions about greatness and humility. I think that’s almost an extraordinary litmus test,” Msgr. Shea pointed out.


Dominican Friars Supported in Vocations, Spiritual Formation at Newman Guide Colleges
10/29/2015
Friars from the Dominican Province of St. Joseph in Washington, D.C., recently shared their vocation stories with The Cardinal Newman Society and credited much of their spiritual growth and vocational assistance to institutions recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

In recent months, The Cardinal Newman Society has reported on several religious orders with members who graduated from Newman Guide colleges, including the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, the Sisters of Life and the Benedictine Monks of Norcia. Their testimonies indicate that the importance of faithful Catholic education cannot be overstated in producing vocations and moral formation among young people from all walks of life.


Catholic Nursing Programs on Frontline of Pro-Life Battle
10/27/2015
With many nurses now facing the ethical dilemmas of participating in abortions and assisted suicides or losing their jobs, the nursing profession needs the concerted efforts of Catholic colleges to reinforce the dignity of every human life, Dr. Suzanne Carpenter, a former nursing professor at Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, La., told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

“It is scary to come to the realization that there are nurses in our country who have been told to participate in abortions or lose their jobs,” said Carpenter. “Make no doubt, that unless Catholic colleges with nursing programs on their campuses make the sharing of Catholic teachings a priority, these programs can fall into the confusion of the world.”

Due to the increasing confusion in health care today, it is no wonder nursing students find themselves in these ethical dilemmas, Carpenter pointed out.


CUA President: Only Catholic Schools ‘Permeated by Faith’ Are Worth Supporting
10/27/2015
Reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis, John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., stated that while Catholic schools “remain an essential tool for Christian education,” they are only worthy of support by the faithful if they are “permeated by faith.”

“Do parents — as the declaration teaches — still have a ‘duty of entrusting their children to Catholic schools wherever and whenever it is possible and of supporting these schools to the best of their ability and of cooperating with them for the education of their children?’” Garvey asked, writing in the National Catholic Register. “I say Yes — with a caveat.”

“When Catholic schools provide a community and a curriculum permeated by faith, they will remain an essential tool for Christian education and are worthy of the support of the faithful,” Garvey wrote.


Benedictine College Takes Marriage and Family Prep to New Heights
10/26/2015
For Catholic colleges to truly change the culture, they must become leaders in equipping their students for faithful and strong marriages and families, David Trotter, director of Ministry and Mission at The Newman Guide-recommended Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“A faithful Catholic education communicates the truth and beauty of the reality of love. But many young people today have experienced the dissatisfaction and emptiness from a ‘pleasure-seeking’ love,” said Trotter. “A snap shot of statistics on college aged men and women regarding drug abuse, suicide, binge drinking and sexual assault confirms the importance and urgency for Catholics, especially those involved with higher education, to promote a Culture of Life — one that is rooted in a Love that is self-giving.”

At Benedictine, promoting a Culture of Life begins on campus with student formation and building strong marriages and families.


In Culture Hostile to Marriage, Christendom College Fosters Faithful Unions
10/23/2015
Given the current state of marriage in the United States, it is more important now than ever that Catholic colleges continue to communicate the truth and beauty of the Church’s teaching on marriage and family, said Christendom College alumni Jacob and Jessica Meza in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

“The family is meant to be a reflection of God’s love for man,” they said. “It is imperative then that Catholic colleges continue to communicate the beauty of sacrificial, life-giving love in marriage, otherwise our culture will continue to fall further away from understanding God’s love for mankind.”

As the Synod on the Family wraps up its final week in Rome, the Newman Society reached out to several alumni who met their spouses while attending one of the faithful Catholic colleges recommended in The Newman Guide. Across the board, couples noted the incalculable foundation that a strong Catholic education offered them both in their marriage and in starting a family.


Catholic Education: Antidote to ‘Ideological Colonization’ in America
10/22/2015
In a recent essay for First Things, we encouraged the Synod of Bishops to promote Catholic education as both an evangelistic opportunity and a cultural antidote to ideological colonization.

Here we encourage all Catholics to support the education of the next generation of Catholics, as a communal responsibility, particularly in light of the challenges of ideological colonization.

Faithful, well-formed Catholics are essential to the Church’s evangelizing mission. And Catholic education offers an unparalleled opportunity to evangelize (and catechize) the next generation — a generation increasingly disconnected from God and religious practice, and vulnerable to harmful ideologies.


Synod Confronts ‘Gender Ideology,’ Threat to Education
10/21/2015
An adiutor, or expert, at the Synod on the Family in Rome says that the growing threat to families from the spread of gender ideology, particularly the danger it poses to all levels of education, has been discussed at length during the Synod.

“[Gender ideology] has enormous implications for Catholic education at every level – including college,” said Dr. John Grabowski in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. Grabowski is a professor of moral theology and ethics at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and an adiutor assisting the Special Secretary and the Relator at the Synod. “The concern about ‘gender ideology’ has been discussed in the Synod, both in the general assembly and in small groups.”

“College students are growing up in a culture that tells them that they are self-creating subjects whose personal reality is constituted by their own perception of their bodies and attractions,” Grabowski noted.


Catholic Colleges Must Tell Story of God’s Vision for Marriage, Says CUA Chaplain
10/16/2015
In a culture that often discounts the sanctity and permanence of marriage, Catholic colleges are uniquely placed to show students the reality of God’s vision for marriage and family. The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., is one Catholic college that takes great pains to ensure its students are properly formed in this regard.

Modern culture often “presents marriage as a convenience, a good financial arrangement, or simply a lark,” Father Jude DeAngelo, chaplain and director of campus ministry at CUA, told The Cardinal Newman Society. As a response, “our Catholic colleges need to continue to teach the beauty and truth of this profound sacrament.”

It is especially important for young people to fully understand marriage as not just a vocation to holiness, but as the integral framework for Christ’s relationship to the Church, said Fr. DeAngelo.


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