Monday, October 05, 2015

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Catholic Education Daily

Catholic Education Daily Articles


Notre Dame Theologian Moss Attacks Pope Francis Again with Outrageous Claim
Just before Pope Francis visited the United States last week, Notre Dame theologian Candida Moss took the opportunity to attack the Holy Father with the unfounded claim that he “alienates” sterile women.

The professor of biblical studies and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame has earned a reputation for outrageous claims. In 2013, she wrote and heavily promoted a book claiming that early Christian martyrdom stories were exaggerated to combat heresy centuries later. Last year, she launched a new attack claiming that the Church makes life “impossible” for infertile women, accusing Pope Francis of a chauvinistic approach to women and criticizing the Holy Father for his stern warnings against gender theory—again, for the purpose of promoting a book, Reconceiving Infertility.

Last week, Moss co-wrote an article with Yale professor Joel Baden at The Daily Beast, criticizing Pope Francis for urging married couples to welcome children into their families.

Catholic Colleges Ideal Fit for ‘New Evangelization,’ Scholars Agree
There is no better place for the mission of the Catholic Church to flourish than in faithful Catholic colleges, according to scholars presenting at The Fidelity and Freedom Symposium at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

Franciscan University hosted the symposium over the weekend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Church’s constitution on higher education issued by Saint John Paul II in 1990. Speakers included Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, University president Father Sean Sheridan, TOR, and theologian Dr. Scott Hahn, who all agreed that faithful Catholic colleges are a vital and fitting place for the mission of the Church and the New Evangelization.

“I would propose that there is perhaps no other institution within the Church as perfectly suited to advance the Church’s mission of the New Evangelization as a Catholic university,” said Dr. Hahn, the Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Professor of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University. A Catholic education “is not just to get a major, and then a diploma and then a job. It’s to develop nothing less than a Catholic worldview.”

Faithfulness of Catholic Colleges Should Be Defining Difference, Says Franciscan University President
Catholic colleges will prove their faithfulness and strong Catholic identity by embracing what the Church has asked of them, according to Father Sean Sheridan, TOR, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. Yet other Catholic colleges are floundering in their Catholic identity largely due to their failure to recognize the gift and wisdom of Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Church’s constitution on Catholic higher education.

Franciscan University hosted a symposium over the weekend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ex corde Ecclesiae, issued by Saint John Paul II in 1990. Fr. Sheridan’s presentation, titled “Embracing the Gift of Ex corde Ecclesiae to Challenge the Culture,” discussed the document as a “roadmap” that should be embraced by all Catholic colleges as evidence of their faithfulness and proud Catholic identity.

“We as a Catholic institution are supposed to be different than the secular institution down the road. We are supposed to be known for who we are, our identity as Catholic, as faithful in the way in which we present the academic endeavors in which we engage,” Fr. Sheridan said. “Catholic ideals ought to permeate all activities of a Catholic university.”

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.”

New Book Goes Back to the Basics of Authentic Catholic Education
A new primer on Catholic education will help Catholic educators better understand the Catholic intellectual tradition and build a foundation for morally forming students. The book, Renewing the Mind: A Reader in the Philosophy of Catholic Education, is written by Dr. Ryan Topping, who spoke to The Cardinal Newman Society on how his book will benefit Catholic education.

“It’s no secret that Catholic schools have suffered in recent years in North America, and in most other places,” said Topping, who is also a fellow at The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, N.H. “One way we can rebuild is by helping parents and teachers deepen their understanding of the principles that support their practice.” He hopes that Renewing the Mind “in due time will become a standard text in Catholic teacher-training programs and courses in the philosophy of education across the English speaking world.”

Topping’s book has come at a time when Catholic education is being renewed to better integrate students’ moral and spiritual formation with their academic formation. The sources and works which his reader highlights are directed toward this integration.

Spiritual Formation Needed at Catholic Colleges, Says World Meeting of Families Speaker
Catholic colleges need to reconnect with the spiritual and moral roots that once made their education so unique, said Father Dempsey Rosales Acosta in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society leading up to his presentation at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Fr. Dempsey, who is an assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, will present on the topic “Lectio Divina: Praying with Scripture to Connect with the Living God.” His talk will focus on the essential need for prayer within family life—but prayer and a vibrant spiritual life are also needed in higher education, and the World Meeting will be a prime opportunity to remind both families and colleges of this great need, he said.

“To conceive of prayer as an element disconnected or outside of Catholic education at any level would be a grievous mistake. The living connection with God through prayer is what actually gives us the proper reason for everything that we learn and do,” said Fr. Dempsey.

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.

Catholic Education Begins with Family, Says World Meeting of Families Speaker
Catholic families are the first and best educators of their children when it comes to issues of marriage and family, and they have the opportunity to lay a strong Catholic foundation upon which Catholic schools and colleges can build, said Christendom College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society in advance of his address to the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

O’Donnell, who was appointed by Saint John Paul II as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Family, will speak at the World Meeting on the topic, “Rebuild My Church… and Start from the Foundation: Living as ‘Domestic Church.’” He will focus on the challenges of Christian marriage and family and the central role that the family plays in the evangelization of the modern world.

“Catholic education has to start very early,” said O’Donnell. “It shouldn’t just be at college. It should start in the home through mom and dad.”

Holy Angel University in Philippines Sets Example on Mandatum, Catholic Identity
In a public ceremony held last week at Holy Angel University in Angeles City, Philippines, theology professors took the Oath of Fidelity in the presence of Archbishop Florentino Lavarias and received the mandatum, setting an example for other universities in the largely Catholic country and around the world.

At the ceremony, University President Dr. Luis Maria Calingo expressed his hope that others would replicate its public action, in which Holy Angel joined the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila in declaring conformity to the 1990 apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae.

“We hope that more Catholic colleges and universities in the Philippines would follow our lead and do the same,” he said.

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.”

Manhattan College Faculty Do Not Preserve Religious Environment, Government Finds
The trickle-down effect of Catholic identity concerns and unconstitutional oversight from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reared its ugly head at yet another Catholic college, with the latest ruling stating that adjunct faculty at Manhattan College do not perform a specific religious function within the institution.

As has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the regional Board’s recent unconstitutional interference into the affairs of several Catholic colleges has exposed Catholic identity concerns. This week, the NLRB upheld its decision that Manhattan College is not exempt from federal oversight, noting that the hiring and interview practices fall well short in maintaining a Catholic environment.

Archbishop Cordileone Thanks Newman Society, Supporters for Letters
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone recently sent a letter of thanks to The Cardinal Newman Society and all of the supporters who wrote him in April and May, encouraging his efforts to improve the Catholic identity of schools under the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

“The words of support and assurance of prayers humbled me greatly,” the Archbishop wrote in the letter. “Over the past number of months, I have become aware that people, both nationally and internationally, understand and appreciate the importance of my work, especially in regards to the Catholicity of our high schools.”

Earlier in the year, the Newman Society invited and collected more than 7,300 notes from more than 27 countries to deliver to Archbishop Cordileone, so he would know of faithful Catholics’ continued support for his efforts. 

Archbishop Cordileone’s Teacher Contract Successfully Affirms Catholic Values, Says Newman Society Expert
After months of harassment and nasty criticism by opponents of Catholic moral teaching—including dissident groups like Call to Action, politicians, and even many Catholic school teachers—Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has successfully reached a contract agreement with high school teachers in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

While the contract language is not as strong as many other diocesan employment documents, Archbishop Cordileone prevailed in expressing the important moral responsibilities that teachers must accept while working at a Catholic school, says Dr. Dan Guernsey, director of K-12 education programs for The Cardinal Newman Society.

In his recent piece for Crisis Magazine, Guernsey praised Archbishop Cordileone for his “shepherd’s heart” in “moving his flock closer to the heart of the Church and the loving heart of our Savior dwelling within.” Guernsey evaluates the new preamble to the Archdiocese’s updated employment documents, finding much that is commendable but also room for improvement in future contracts.

World Meeting of Families Speaker Urges Faithful Catholic Education
Faithful Catholic education is essential to reclaiming a true understanding of marriage and human sexuality and renewing family life in the United States, according to Dr. John Grabowski, associate professor of moral theology and ethics at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C.

Grabowski will speak on virtue at the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, when the Holy Father visits in September. He has taught moral theology at CUA since 1991, was appointed with his wife to the Pontifical Council for the Family by Pope Benedict XVI, and was recently chosen by Pope Francis to be part of the Synod on the Family in October.

“Education in a Catholic sense always has to be about more than passing on information, it has to be about formation of the person in the life of faith in the life of the Christian community,” said Grabowski. “That means we have to be concerned about how are we forming people in virtue and not simply giving them information and preparing them for careers.”

Jesuit University’s Faculty Not Held to Religious Standards, Government Finds
The chain of events stemming from the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) unconstitutional oversight of Catholic colleges has taken a predictable turn, with the latest ruling stating that professors at Seattle University do not perform a religious function within the Jesuit university.

As has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the regional Board’s recent unconstitutional interference into the affairs of Seattle University has exposed Catholic identity concerns. This week, the NLRB upheld its decision that the University is not exempt from federal oversight.

“Traditional assumptions about religious freedom in our country are quickly eroding,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “Strong Catholic identity is now the surest safeguard of this fundamental liberty for Catholic colleges and schools. Those institutions that have sold their religious mission down the river for decades now find themselves in a tight spot, but faithful Catholic colleges and schools have the surest footing to protect their freedom.”

Newman Society Report Reveals Planned Parenthood Ties to Catholic Colleges
The Cardinal Newman Society has published a new report exposing engagement between Catholic colleges and Planned Parenthood, calling on Catholic educators to dissolve any associations with the nation’s largest abortion business and to teach students about the dignity of every human life. 

Prompted by the recent videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s abhorrent practices, including the harvesting and selling of aborted baby body parts, reporters Justin Petrisek and Kimberly Scharfenberger searched Catholic college websites for connections to the abortion giant. The results prove that Planned Parenthood is still a corruptive and powerful force, even on Catholic campuses that claim to uphold Catholic values. 

The report, A More Scandalous Relationship: Catholic Colleges and Planned Parenthood, was summarized in a Crisis Magazine article this week by Petrisek and Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. Several media outlets and Catholic websites have picked up the story, including New Oxford Review,, Fr. Z’s Blog, Townhall, New Advent, Church Militant and Spirit Daily.

Ex Corde Ecclesiae a Roadmap for Catholic College Renewal, Says Franciscan Univ. President
If Catholic universities truly wish to change the culture, they must embrace the roadmap laid out for them by Saint John Paul II in Ex corde Ecclesiae, said Franciscan University of Steubenville president Father Sean Sheridan, T.O.R., in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

Franciscan University will host a symposium in September to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Church’s constitution on Catholic higher education issued by Saint John Paul II in 1990. Fr. Sheridan’s presentation is titled “Embracing the Gift of Ex corde Ecclesiae to Challenge the Culture.”

“If Ex corde Ecclesiae is embraced as a roadmap for guiding Catholic universities for mission, as it was intended to be, the gift of Ex corde to Catholic universities and the Church becomes evident,” Fr. Sheridan told the Newman Society.

Faithful Catholic Schools Depend on Faithful Teacher Prep., Says U. Dallas Education Chair
If faithful Catholic schools are to survive, there needs to be faithful teacher training programs to prepare the next generation of Catholic educators, argued Dr. Janette Boazman, chair of the University of Dallas education department. Boazman spoke to The Cardinal Newman Society about the University’s new Catholic teacher certification program, and how it will prepare teachers to lead students in moral formation.

“Catholic school leaders and teachers have a duty to be models of moral behavior for their students,” said Boazman. “It is their integrity that brings forth their ability to truthfully guide students morally and spiritually, and to minister to others in the educational setting.”

The new graduate-level teacher certification program at University of Dallas is described as being “[r]ooted in church doctrine and educational research.” Current and aspiring Catholic school teachers will be taught “to provide a Christian education that integrates faith into all teaching and learning experiences.”

‘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.”

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.

Fidelity’s Triumph over Dissent: Remembering the ‘Coup at Catholic University’
Students should graduate from Catholic colleges more in love with the Church and the faith than when they first arrived, encouraged Catholic University of America (CUA) President John Garvey. In interviews with The Cardinal Newman Society, Garvey and author Father Peter Mitchell discussed how Catholic colleges lost sight of this fact in the late 1960s, and how Catholic identity is being regained.

Fr. Peter Mitchell’s book, The Coup at Catholic University: The 1968 Revolution in American Catholic Institutions, details the dramatic events that took place at CUA, the nation’s flagship Catholic university, and the unfortunate precedent it set for other Catholic colleges in America during that time. However, in recent years, CUA has returned to its roots and re-strengthened its Catholic identity in many meaningful ways.

“I grew up realizing that there was a lot of dissent in the way the Church’s teaching was taught at a lot of Catholic colleges,” Fr. Mitchell told the Newman Society. The book, he said, was an attempt to uncover that trail and discover what led to the overwhelming dissent still prevalent in so many of today’s Catholic colleges.

Firing of Teacher in Same-Sex Union Shows ‘Honesty,’ ‘Common Sense,’ Says Archbishop Chaput
Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M., of Philadelphia yesterday publicly praised a Catholic school which fired a teacher in an eight-year same-sex relationship, saying the school demonstrated “character and common sense at a moment when both seem to be uncommon.”

Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion, Pa., fired its director of education on June 22, after parents noted that she had been legally married in Massachusetts to another woman in 2007. Archbishop Chaput addressed the situation on Monday amid protests against the school’s action by some parents and students, but it was welcomed by Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.

“In usual fashion for Archbishop Chaput, he has stood strong and clearly in defense of the faith and in support of the faithful,” Reilly said. “The Archbishop’s statement is very helpful and will be applauded by Catholic families.”

CUA President Teaches Catholic Responsibility to Protect Religious Freedom
Everyone has a role to play in the continued fight to protect religious freedom, says John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., and author of a new teaching aid for Catholic educators to discuss the crucial issues of our time.

Garvey was invited by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to develop the resource, titled “Religious Liberty and the Practice of Charity,” possibly because he has been so regularly involved in matters of religious freedom during his time at CUA, he said.

The USCCB has promoted the teaching aid in advance of Catechetical Sunday, which will be celebrated on September 20. It is a time when U.S. Catholic churches recognize and commission those in the community who will serve as catechists. According to the USCCB, the day also allows Catholics “to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel.”

“Religious freedom is only important in a country where religion is important,” said Garvey, encouraging Catholics not to shy away from defending and witnessing to their faith and morals. All Catholics—especially those involved in education—must find their role in protecting religious freedom if they truly see their faith as important, he said. “The freedom to do that will be important to us because knowing and loving and serving God is important to us, and it is not the business of the government to interfere with our efforts to do that.”

Theology Chairman’s Same-Sex Wedding Begins ‘Flood’ of Challenges to Catholic Identity
The Episcopalian marriage of Fordham University’s theology chairman to his same-sex partner, just one day after the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling, begins a new flood of challenges to Catholic identity that most Catholic colleges and universities are unprepared to face, warns Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly.

“Even if a Catholic college leader wants to uphold Catholic teaching on marriage, the persistent embrace of dissent and opposition to the Church at many Catholic universities makes it highly unlikely that the law will now permit them to uphold moral standards for professors,” Reilly said.

“The fact that a theology chairman at a Catholic university apparently waited for the Supreme Court’s ruling to publicly affirm his disregard for Catholic teaching is a sign that the sky has opened, and wayward Catholic universities are about to face a flood of consequences following upon decades of inconsistent Catholic identity.”

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 School Teacher Fired for Same-Sex Marriage Files Federal Lawsuit
A Catholic school in Macon, Ga., is facing a federal discrimination lawsuit from a former teacher whose employment was terminated in 2014 after the school found that he would be legally marrying his same-sex partner.

The teacher, Flint Dollar, taught music at Mount de Sales Academy for three years before his termination on May 21, 2014. The Telegraph reported that Dollar informed the school of his upcoming same-sex marriage when he signed the contract for the 2014-2015 term on May 1, 2014.

“The argument being made in this suit—that a Catholic school’s commitment to upholding Catholic teaching on marriage is discriminatory toward homosexual employees—is a grave threat to Catholic education,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.

New CUA Provost Stresses Faithful Catholic Hiring for Universities
It is imperative for Catholic universities to hire a majority of faithful faculty in order to properly transmit the faith to students, said The Catholic University of America’s (CUA) new provost, Dr. Andrew Abela, to The Cardinal Newman Society in an exclusive interview.

Dr. Abela spoke to the Newman Society about his new position and his perspective on faithful hiring at Catholic institutions. “We do expect our faculty to support the mission of the University to discover and impart the truth through excellence in teaching and research, faithful to the teachings of Christ and the Church,” said Abela.

“It’s important to hire faithful Catholic faculty because we have, as a Catholic university, a certain view of reality laid out in the Apostles’ and Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creeds,” he explained. “We promote this view of the world by hiring professors who share it.”

Sophia Institute Catechizes, Strengthens Catholic School Teachers
Amid the growing emphasis on Catholic school teacher standards and formation, the Sophia Institute for Teachers is making strides in catechizing and supporting Catholic educators across the country, helping them embrace their vocation as witnesses to Christ.

“Each teacher has a special and irreplaceable role to assist parents in the education of children in their subject area, but most importantly to lead them to joyfully encounter Christ,” Veronica Cruz Burchard, vice president for education programs at the Sophia Institute for Teachers, told the Newman Society.

The Institute has spent the past year running catechetical programs for teachers, hosted in six dioceses across the country. More than 2,500 teachers attended the programs, which are “giving teachers the tools and training they need to develop their students into active and practicing Catholics” as well as “jump-starting their spiritual journey so they will serve as authentic witnesses to Christ.”

Catholic Dioceses Nationwide Hold Teachers to Faith and Moral Standards
In two eye-opening reports, education reform experts at The Cardinal Newman Society have compiled and analyzed employment documents from more than 125 Catholic dioceses in the United States, showing evidence in the Church of a broad and substantial movement toward high standards for Catholic school teachers with regard to faith and morals. 

The two new reports—authored by Dr. Denise Donohue and Dr. Dan Guernsey, deputy director and director respectively of the Society’s K-12 education programs—clearly demonstrate that the several bishops whose updated teacher standards have been reported by news media are not alone in their efforts. Instead, there appears to be a national consensus among Catholic bishops that faith and morals clauses are needed in teacher agreements. 

“The work of these researchers provides valuable support to Archbishop Cordileone and the whole Church,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Not only do these reports dispel false claims that the bishops who are implementing strong teacher standards are out of touch with the rest of the Church, but these reports also will help bishops and school leaders engage in a national conversation about the essential role of faithful Catholic teachers and collaborate in strengthening the Catholic identity of America’s Catholic schools.”

Vatican Supports ‘Morality Clauses’ for Catholic School Teachers, Study Finds
“Morality clauses” and high standards for Catholic school teachers are not radical new policies as portrayed by secular news media, but simply implement what the Vatican has been demanding for several decades, reveals a timely new report from The Cardinal Newman Society. 

“The Vatican has consistently recognized that teachers—lay, clerical or religious—have an essential role in Catholic education and must serve as witnesses to the faith, in both word and deed,” writes Dr. Jamie Arthur, director of the Newman Society's Catholic Education Honor Roll, in her study titled, The Call to Teach: Expectations for the Catholic Educator in Magisterial Teaching.

Notre Dame Seminar to Equip Catholic Teachers with Truth of Science and Religion
Are science and religion really opposed to one another? A seminar currently taking place at the University of Notre Dame is helping equip Catholic high school teachers to debunk that common myth and offer their students a faithful, integrated approach to faith and science.

The summer seminar, “Science and Religion: Strangers, Rivals, or Partners in the Search for Truth?” is hosted by the University’s Institute for Church Life (ICL) and runs from June 14-19. According to the University news release, “some 90 Catholic high school teachers of biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and religion from 23 dioceses from across the country” are attending. The seminar is funded by the John Templeton Foundation, with supplemental funding from the Catholic Extension Society.

“High school teachers have enormous influence over young people and rightly so, and we want to help them maximize that influence by helping them to create an integrated pedagogy at their own school that can renew and perpetuate itself over time,” said John Cavadini, ICL director and professor of theology at Notre Dame.

As such, the primary focus of the seminar is on equipping the teachers. “I admire these teachers very much, they are so dedicated to Catholic education,” Cavadini told the Newman Society. “This seminar is intended to help them.”

Catholic Professors Claim Hostile Environment at Loyola Marymount Univ.
A faculty survey at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, Calif., found that fewer than a third of professors are Catholic—in violation of the Vatican’s minimum requirement of 50 percent—and faculty are under significant duress as a result. 

The “faculty climate survey” commissioned by LMU in July 2014 and obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society reveals “contention” among “conservative” and “progressive” Catholics on staff. The survey report reads, “Conservative Catholics feel they are in an environment that is hostile to what they feel are true Catholic values.” Moreover, recorded faculty comments indicate that the University’s “interreligious point of view is watered down Catholicism and a departure from the Catholic Church.”

A minority of LMU’s faculty reportedly identifies as Catholic. “Of the 299 who chose to disclose their religious preference, 94 (31%) identified as Roman Catholic,” the survey evidenced. This ratio fails to meet the recommendations in Pope Saint John Paul II’s apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae, which indicates that Catholic universities should maintain a majority of Catholic staff to ensure that the Catholic identity of the institution is not compromised.

Notre Dame Policy ‘Opens the Door’ to Campus Group’s LGBTQ Agenda
The University of Notre Dame’s mistakes may be coming back to haunt it. While faithful Catholics connected to the University implore the administration to stop providing employee marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the founder of a dissident LGBTQ advocacy organization at Notre Dame says the benefits policy “absolutely opens the door” to pressing for more of the group’s objectives.

And although the group is not sponsored by the University, it freely opposes Catholic teaching on campus without apparent restriction or response from Notre Dame, thereby diminishing the University’s Catholic identity.

The Cardinal Newman Society interviewed Jake Bebar, a Notre Dame alumnus and founder of “Out at ND,” the new LGBTQ advocacy organization at Notre Dame, to discuss recent developments and the organization’s goals. Out at ND, launched earlier this year, states that its values include “marriage rights and spousal privileges, relationship equality, sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive non-discrimination clauses and health insurance coverage of transition-related expenses, such as mental health care, hormones and gender affirming surgeries, for students, faculty and staff.”

The unofficial group hopes to increase visibility on campus, LGBTQ advocacy and activist practices within the Notre Dame community. Bebar said that the University’s extension of same-sex employee benefits now puts LGBTQ issues such as housing, non-discrimination clauses, equal access policies and other benefits very much on the table.

Catholic Education Must Reach Beyond Intellect to ‘Majesty of God,’ Says Baylor Univ. Professor
In Catholic education, students should encounter God not just intellectually but in the liturgical and sacramental life on campus, the wisdom of the saints and the Catholic identity of the college itself, said Dr. Michael Foley, associate professor of patristics at Baylor University and a recent panelist during a Cardinal Newman Society panel discussion on Catholic colleges and the sacred liturgy.

During last Tuesday’s session at Sacra Liturgia USA 2015 in New York City, Dr. Foley, alongside featured panelist Cardinal Raymond Burke, discussed why liturgy is essential for today’s college Catholics. The Newman Society caught up with him afterward for an interview.

“The Faith cannot be reduced to an intellectual exercise, nor can it be equated with social activism or philanthropy,” Dr. Foley told the Newman Society. “It is not enough to make certain that our Catholic youth are well catechized, that they know their Catholic dogma on faith and morals, although that is certainly very important. They need an encounter with the Faith that awakens both their mind and heart to the majesty of God and to the truth of things.”

Bishop Ricken: Teaching in Catholic Schools is Vocation Primarily for Catholics
Teachers at Catholic schools are daily witnesses to Christ and are tasked with integrating the faith into every lesson, said Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wis., in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. Because of the unique responsibilities inherent in teaching, it should be understood as a “vocation” and not a “career” that is primarily for Catholics, he explained.

The interview with Bishop Ricken, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, is the latest in a series of Newman Society conversations with bishops about Catholic education and teachers. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop John Nienstedt, Bishop David O’Connell and Bishop Richard Lennon have each offered their input on this important subject, especially in light of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s courageous efforts in San Francisco to ensure that Catholic teachers understand their pivotal responsibility to witness to the faith.

A teacher’s most important quality is the ability “to integrate the Catholic faith in every discipline and be a life-long learner in the faith and disciplines which he or she is teaching,” Bishop Ricken stated. The teacher should also ideally “be a practicing Catholic, holding at least a Bachelor’s degree and teacher certification, and be capable of using a variety of teaching methods and differentiated instruction.”

NLRB Continues Dangerous Path with Ruling against Duquesne University
A domino effect has been created by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which continues its unconstitutional oversight of Catholic colleges with a ruling last Friday against Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa., which the University intends to appeal.

But as has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the Board’s interference in religious education has exposed Catholic identity concerns at Duquesne. Despite the Board’s policy of exempting individual faculty members from NLRB-approved labor unions, as long as the college itself identifies the professors as having a religious function, an NLRB regional director found that Duquesne does not in fact have substantial expectations that adjunct faculty members teach and witness to the Catholic faith.

“The adjuncts’ one semester contracts do not reference religious duties or the Employer’s Mission, or any role that the adjunct would be expected to play in furthering the Mission or the Employer’s religious educational environment,” ruled the NLRB director.

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.

Thousands of Newman Society Supporters Rally Behind Archbishop Cordileone
Last Wednesday, the embattled Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco was presented more than 7,300 letters of encouragement from Cardinal Newman Society supporters across the country and around the globe. 

Newman Society President Patrick Reilly presented the letters to the Archbishop prior to a luncheon panel on Catholic education at Sacra Liturgia USA 2015 in New York City. The letters filled four three-ring binders to capacity. 

Archbishop Cordileone has made intensive efforts to strengthen the Catholic identity of Catholic schools in San Francisco by asking teachers to uphold moral standards and serves as witnesses to the Catholic faith. For these efforts, he has faced extreme criticism from dissenting groups such as Call to Action. 

But the Archbishop has also earned strong support from faithful Catholics. In April, The Cardinal Newman Society launched a movement tosupport the Archbishop’s efforts to fortify Catholic education by collecting letters and notes of encouragement from members and other Catholics.

Newman Society Panelists Agree, Liturgy Essential to Today’s College Catholics
Catholic colleges must provide opportunities for students to experience the beautiful and well-celebrated liturgy that they are drawn to, according to a panel of academics at this week’s Sacra Liturgia conference in New York City.

Tuesday’s panel on liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education was hosted by The Cardinal Newman Society and headlined by Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Order of Malta and ecclesiastical advisor to the Newman Society. He was joined by four guest panelists who echoed the Cardinal’s urging for Catholic colleges to expose students to the beauty of properly celebrated liturgy.

The conference brought together over 300 bishops, priests, religious, seminarians, educators, college professors and other lay leaders, and the overarching sentiment was the same: young people desire beauty and truth, and the Church—including Catholic colleges—must not fail provide them with that encounter this time around. The conference was notably populated with many young faces, youth who were brought up through the ranks of faithful Catholic education.

NLRB Finds Saint Xavier University Professors Not Held to Religious Standards
In a ruling Monday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continued its decades-long harassment of Catholic colleges by asserting its authority over employee relations at Saint Xavier University in Chicago and proceeding with its oversight of a vote by adjunct faculty members on whether to form a union.

But as has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the Board’s unconstitutional interference in religious education has also exposed Catholic identity concerns. The NLRB determined that even Saint Xavier University’s theology professors are not exempt from federal oversight, because the University itself fails to identify them as having a religious function.

Last December, religious colleges won a significant concession from the NLRB, when it abandoned its intrusive test into whether a college has a “substantial religious character.” The test violated the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1979 ruling in NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, which forbids the Board to assert jurisdiction over employee relations in religious education and to attempt to decide whether institutions are sufficiently religious for exemption.

Archbishop Cordileone: Catholic Schools Must ‘Re-Sharpen’ Focus on Christ, Sacred Liturgy
Catholic education’s focus on Christ “needs to be re-sharpened” with reverent liturgy, teacher formation and strengthened catechesis, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a public dialogue hosted by The Cardinal Newman Society for Sacra Liturgia USA 2015. 

“Keeping the focus on Christ keeps the focus on what the heart and mission of a Catholic school is,” explained Archbishop Cordileone, who has endured criticism from dissenting groups like Call to Action—and strong support from The Cardinal Newman Society and other faithful Catholics—for his efforts to fortify the Catholic identity of schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. “The heart and the mission of Catholic education is evangelization—to help our young people know and love Christ.” 

Archbishop Cordileone, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage and a member of the Catholic University of America’s board of trustees as well as the International Theological Institute’s governing board, responded to questions from Newman Society President Patrick Reilly on the importance of sacred liturgy to Catholic education. Afterwards, he responded to several questions from participants.

Archbishop Nienstedt Commends Catholic Identity Efforts in San Francisco
The efforts of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco to fortify Catholic identity were praised by Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul-Minneapolis, Minn., who told The Cardinal Newman Society that proper teacher formation is crucial to Catholic education. 

“Catholic schools must be distinctive in our current culture, and the authentic witness that teachers and administrators can provide is crucial to forming disciples of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Nienstedt said in an interview with the Newman Society last week. “I would commend Archbishop Cordileone for his efforts.” 

Today’s culture has made it increasingly important for teachers to provide “witness” to students and families. Archbishop Nienstedt remarked that “this is not always easy, as teachers are just as susceptible as others to the realities of temptation and sin.” Nevertheless, he stressed that “intentionally striving to live as a witness in word and deed, practicing the natural and supernatural virtues and praying on a regular basis will offer a powerful witness.”

‘Natural Family Planning’ Course Links Catholic Morals, Medical Expertise at Georgetown
A course in fertility awareness based methods (FABMs) of natural family planning (NFP) at Georgetown University Medical Center and a resulting organization to inform physicians about NFP/FABMs are two exciting examples of how professors at Catholic institutions can effectively bring Catholic teaching to the medical and scientific world.

The course—one not normally offered to medical students—is leading to increased research and consciousness on the healthful benefits of women and couples utilizing Natural Family Planning as opposed to chemical birth control methods, according to course coordinator Dr. Marguerite Duane. She told The Cardinal Newman Society that the course is making strides in sharing the latest medical research and exposing a growing number of students to the importance of understanding NFP/FABMs.

Titled “Fertility Appreciation Methods in the Learning Years: The FAMILY Planning Selective,” the class was first offered in 2010 and filled to capacity. Since then, it has continued to impact students at the Georgetown Medical Center. 

Teachers ‘Instrumental’ in Developing Students’ Catholic Faith, Says Cleveland’s Bishop Lennon
Catholic school teachers must be role models of faith and morality for their students to emulate, Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland, Ohio, has told teachers in his Diocese.

In a letter sent to diocesan teachers and administrators and provided to The Cardinal Newman Society by diocesan spokesman Robert Tayek, Bishop Lennon highlighted teachers’ irreplaceable role in inspiring their students to deepen their Catholic faith.

“As a teacher or administrator in a Catholic school, you are engaging a beautiful and uniquely important vocation and ministry of Christ’s Church,” his letter states. “You are instrumental in the development of each and every student as a whole and authentically Catholic person… As such, it is a great honor and privilege to play such a special and important role in the life of the Church through your ministry.”

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.

Pope Francis Weighs In On Role of Teachers, Coaches as Witnesses
Pope Francis last week said that the influence of a Catholic educator “depends more on what he is as a person and the way he lives than what he says,” and even athletics coaches—whom he included as educators—must be “formators” and therefore need their own “solid formation” to prepare forgiving witness to the faith. 

The Pope’s words are especially timely in the United States, as many bishops have been working to better define the Church’s expectations for Catholic school employees, even while some teachers in San Francisco are demanding a right to dissent. 

“[H]ow important it is that a coach be an example of integrity, of coherence, of good judgment, of impartiality, but also of joy of living, of patience, of capacity to esteem and of benevolence to all, especially the most disadvantaged!” Pope Francis stated, according to ZENIT’stranslation. “And how important it is that he be an example of faith!”

Archdiocese Explains Removal of Seton Hall Campus Minister, Seeks ‘Accountability’
A Catholic priest’s support for a campaign that advocates the redefinition of marriage was not the direct reason for his removal as campus minister at Seton Hall University, despite his claim to the contrary and subsequent media reports, the Archdiocese of Newark told The Cardinal Newman Society in a statement yesterday.

The incident did, however, cause the Archdiocese to reconsider the position description for Seton Hall’s campus ministry director and to clarify the director’s “accountability to the University and to the Archbishop,” the Archdiocese said. It described plans to assign a new director of campus ministry as an “important opportunity to undertake that clarification.”

Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly celebrated the Archdiocese’s statement.

“Whether or not there was any intent by campus ministry to oppose Catholic teaching on marriage, it is reassuring to Catholic families that the Archdiocese is taking steps to protect the integrity and Catholic identity of Seton Hall University, which is under the authority and responsibility of the Archbishop of Newark,” Reilly said.

The trouble began earlier in the year, when Father Warren Hall, director of campus ministry and a former adjunct professor at the University, was criticized by members of the Seton Hall community for a Facebook post in support of the “No H8” campaign, according to the Archdiocese. The No H8 campaign began as a protest against Proposition 8, a 2008 amendment to the California state constitution that affirmed marriage between one man and one woman. Although the campaign is still tied to support for redefining marriage, it also protests discrimination and bullying.

Bishop O’Connell: Catholic School Teachers Must Be ‘Recognizably Different,’ Share Catholic Mission
Catholic schools have a responsibility to bear authentic witness to the faith and be noticeably different from secular schools, said Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton, N.J., in an exclusive interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

“The Catholic school environment, to be authentic and real, demands” that teachers be witnesses to the Catholic faith, said Bishop O’Connell, who as president of The Catholic University of America from 1998 to 2010 did much to strengthen its Catholic identity. “Teachers in Catholic schools should be recognizably different from their secular counterparts.”

The Cardinal Newman Society has been interviewing bishops about Catholic education and the role of teachers, in light of the courageous efforts of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco to ensure that his Catholic school teachers are witnesses to the Catholic faith. Last week Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Newman Society that the purpose of Catholic schools is “to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to all the nations.”

Bishop O’Connell stressed the important role that Catholic teachers play as witnesses to the faith. “Catholic teachers in a Catholic school should be faithful Catholics. Non-Catholics should respect the Church’s teachings and the Catholic environment. No one should publicly advocate contrary to those teachings or the Catholic identity/environment of the Catholic school,” he affirmed.

Vatican to Address ‘Educational Emergency’ at World Congress Marking Key Anniversaries
Marking the anniversaries of two critical Vatican documents on education, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education is preparing for a World Congress this year to address the growing “educational emergency” in Catholic education.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissium Educationis, issued by Pope Paul VI in 1965, and the 25th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, Ex corde Ecclesiae, issued by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1990.

But while the anniversaries call for celebration of the important mission of Catholic education, the Congregation for Catholic Education plans to discuss some of the more critical concerns in education when its World Congress meets in Rome on November 18-21.

“As part of these celebrations, the Congregation aims to re-energize the Church’s commitment to education, by means of this World Congress,” the Congregation states on its website. “In the years following the Second Vatican Council, the Magisterium has repeatedly spoken of the importance of education, and has also invited the Christian community to play its part in education – particularly in the face of today’s obvious, and often critical, ‘educational emergency.’”

Opinion: Archbishop Cordileone, A Good Shepherd to His Teachers
Since February, the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Catholic schools have been in the spotlight as Archbishop Cordileone has sought to support and strengthen Catholic schools under his guidance. A part of his effort has been to clarify the expectations of Catholic teachers in his diocese. Toward this end he wanted to ensure that the teachers understood their ministerial role as evangelizers of the Catholic faith and that they were specifically aware of “hot button issues” (most around issues of human sexuality and reproduction) that they should not publicly contradict. These efforts were met with a firestorm of complaint, both from over 75 percent of the high school teachers in his schools, plus the efforts of paid publicists and a full-page open letter to Pope Francis demanding his removal for being “intolerant.” 

This week the Catholic News Agency ran a piece, “San Francisco Archdiocese Praises Teachers, Rejects ‘Inflammatory’ Reports.” In the article, the Archdiocese seeks to emphasize its efforts to listen to the concerns of the teachers and ensure them of their support, its openness to input on these issues, and its assurance that these efforts are not an effort to provide an excuse to fire teachers or pry into their personal lives, and that the archdiocese wants to “heal any rifts that may remain.” This attempt at healing within his flock shows the genuine, forgiving and pastoral heart of this good shepherd. 

Like any good shepherd, he needs to keep all the members of his flock, especially his teachers, safe, secure and flourishing. It is important that they know he loves them, cares for them and respects them so they can better heed his call. He knows what he is doing, loves all his sheep, is well-trained, and has access to specific grace from God to carry out this task. This love also requires speaking the truth to his flock, especially regarding the real dangers surrounding them. It is not hating or shaming the sheep to tell them, “beware there is a cliff over on the left side of the pasture and a pack of wolves on the other side of the fence to the right.”  

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