Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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NRLB Rulings Highlight Catholic Identity Concerns at Two More Colleges
5/24/2016
Earlier this month, Marywood University in Scranton, Pa., became the second Catholic college to win a favorable ruling against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) since its new standard of evaluating the religious function of faculty was implemented. But both Marywood and Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Wash., in a separate NLRB decision, ultimately saw their religious freedom arguments rejected due to the colleges’ own lack of emphasis on the role of faculty in their religious missions.

While the Catholic Church supports the concept of unions, The Cardinal Newman Society has consistently argued that the greater issue at stake in the ongoing labor disputes is the NLRB’s unconstitutional oversight in deciding the Catholicity of colleges. In December 2014, religious colleges won a significant concession from the NLRB when it abandoned its previous assessment test, evaluating whether a college has a “substantial religious character” by prying into matters of worship, curriculum, teaching, hiring policies and student recruitment.

The NLRB’s new approach seeks to determine whether specific faculty members serve a religious function. In many of these cases, the NLRB has actually exposed Catholic identity concerns at colleges in attempts to justify its jurisdiction. The cases highlight the need for Catholic colleges to strengthen their policies, handbooks and hiring documents by clearly defining the specific role of faculty in furthering their religious mission.


Gonzaga Alumni Seek Changes Out of Concern for Students
5/23/2016
While Gonzaga University, a Jesuit Catholic institution in Spokane, Wash., is known around the country for its basketball program, concerned alumni are working for policy changes in hopes that the University will one day be known for having a strong Catholic identity, which they say Gonzaga is currently lacking.

One of the major issues for alumni who are members of the group 1887 Trust is the lack of exemplary witnesses to the Catholic faith among the faculty and staff at Gonzaga, and the subsequent impact on students. Gonzaga parents and alumni formed 1887 Trust in 2013 following a significant uptick in Catholic identity concerns.

“When I attended Gonzaga, I saw some of its faculty stray from teaching the truths of the Church and was saddened that a majority of students would leave the University misguided,” Blair Kelly, who graduated from Gonzaga in 2013, told The Cardinal Newman Society.

Kelly said it was disheartening to see faculty in the classroom “reject the rich, 2,000-year-old intellectual tradition of the Church for academic fads and trends that embrace a largely secular view.”


Finding the Origins of Today’s Dissent in Catholic Colleges
5/13/2016
On April 18, students at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., and at the graduate campus in Alexandria, Va., welcomed a calm and unassuming young priest with closely shaven blond hair to talk about the origins of dissent at U.S. Catholic colleges. The history and the events described during the presentation help to understand the many Catholic identity problems seen on college campuses today.

Father Peter Mitchell, a pastor in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., and a historian trained at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, told the story of how faculty at Catholic colleges rebelled against the Magisterium in the late 1960s in the name of academic freedom. He argued that this explains the context of theological dissent in America today.


Why One Alumnus Removed His Son from the University of San Diego
5/12/2016
It is no surprise that parents are increasingly worried about their children “losing the faith” at many Catholic colleges in the midst of growing Catholic identity concerns and scandals on campus. Even alumni of Catholic colleges, such as Charles LiMandri, a University of San Diego (USD) alumnus and father of five, feel their alma maters are no longer true to their Catholic mission.

“I have had too many parents tell me that their kids went to USD and lost their faith,” LiMandri told The Cardinal Newman Society. A graduate of the class of 1977, LiMandri removed his son from USD out of concern for the University’s dwindling Catholic identity. He now heads Alumni for a Catholic USD, a group dedicated to restoring the University’s Catholic identity and mission. “People need to know what has happened at USD in the hope of eventually changing it, and in the meantime avoiding its potential destructive impact on the spiritual lives of their sons and daughters.”


Top 10 Signs of Renewal in Catholic Colleges
5/5/2016
The 2015-2016 academic year was a good one in many ways for Catholic higher education, The Cardinal Newman Society has concluded after reviewing hundreds of news reports about positive signs of strong Catholic identity. These examples show that faithful Catholic education is flourishing on many campuses, forming students morally, spiritually and intellectually, in sharp contrast to the scandals at many wayward Catholic universities.

Representatives from the colleges who spoke with the Newman Society during this school year cited their Catholic mission as the core of what makes their education unique and successful. Instead of a hindrance, fidelity to Church teaching is the key to their growth and success.

Our recap of articles published this year by The Cardinal Newman Society includes new initiatives aimed at stronger marriage preparation, efforts to combat the scourge of pornography, healthy visitation policies in student housing, the defense of religious freedom and more.


Diocese: Catholic School Teachers Have Duty to Be ‘Moral Exemplars’
5/5/2016
Fort Wayne – South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades’ pre-contract document to his diocesan school teachers deserves high praise for emphasizing adherence to Catholic moral teachings both inside and outside the classroom, said Dr. Denise Donohue, deputy director of The Cardinal Newman Society’s K-12 education programs. Donohue added that the well-cited and detailed document is important for the protection of Catholic identity in the diocese’s schools.

The document states that faculty and staff of Catholic schools are not to publicly reject the moral teachings and laws of the Church. And in no way are they to cooperate, take part in or condone practices contrary to those teachings, including same-sex marriage, abortion, assisted suicide, adultery, in vitro fertilization or gender ideology. Additionally, the mission of Catholic schools is not limited to teachers but includes all “administrators, educators, coaches and moderators,” according to the document.

“It’s important in a world where both adults and children are confused about even their male or femaleness for bishops to promulgate teaching documents, especially documents that focus on man’s proper relationships with others, and most especially with God,” said Donohue.


Wyoming Catholic College Picks New President: Dr. Glenn Arbery
4/26/2016
The Newman Guide-recommended Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo., announced on Monday that Dr. Glenn Arbery will succeed Dr. Kevin Roberts as the College’s next president.

Arbery served as academic dean and an associate professor of humanities before being named interim president. He has taught literature at three other Newman Guide-recommended institutions: the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and the University of Dallas. 

“Having devoted much of my professional life to the cause of liberal education, I’m excited to lead such a stellar institution, and I’m greatly honored, greatly humbled at the opportunity,” Arbery said in a video message accompanying the College’s announcement. He added: “This college will continue to pass on the great tradition of the West, and to provide the coherent, spiritually hopeful education founded on the Rock of the Church, so needed in this world today.”


Conference Supports Priests as Indispensable to Faithful Catholic Education
4/19/2016
Catholic schools used to rely heavily on the involvement of priests as educators and administrators, but their presence in the classroom has dwindled over the years. An annual conferenceput on by the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) seeks to reinforce the necessity of involving priests in Catholic education, and organizers are already seeing successful results.

“Catholic education ought to be seen as the primary engine of Pope John Paul II’s ‘new evangelization,’” remarked Father Peter Stravinskas, executive director of CEF, in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. “Being a Catholic school teacher is not a job but a vocation, an apostolate.”


USD ‘Drag Show,’ Criticized by Vatican, Continues Under New President
4/13/2016
For the past four years, the University of San Diego (USD) has hosted and promoted a “drag queen show” featuring students dressed up as members of the opposite sex. In 2014, the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education said these drag shows at USD have caused “scandal.” Faithful Catholics were hopeful that with the installation of a new University president last year, these scandalous events would come to an end. But USD is scheduled to host its fifth annual drag show on April 14.

Billed as “Celebration of Gender Expression: Supreme Drag Superstar,” the Facebook event description for the 2016 show notes that the University’s PRIDE organization is “ECSTATIC to be having this event again this year … Get your tickets ASAP because we have sold out every year!”

PRIDE is officially recognized at USD as “a campus community supporting and identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and pansexual individuals, and allies.”


Newman Society Interviews President of Wyoming Catholic on Decision to Step Down
4/6/2016
Dr. Kevin Roberts, president of Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo., announced this week that he will be leaving the College to take position in the public policy arena in Texas. The Cardinal Newman Society spoke with Roberts on Monday about his decision to leave the College, the state of Catholic education and what the future holds.

During the interview, Roberts looked back on some of the successes during his tenure at Wyoming Catholic, a faithful Catholic institution recommended in The Newman Guide for Choosing a Catholic College. And Roberts offered some candid advice to Catholic college administrators and faculty on defending Catholic education and identity on campus, such as instituting faithful policies and personally living out the Gospel.


Mich. Diocese Shifts to Classical Curriculum, Avoids Common Core
4/1/2016
Educators and parents are increasingly dissatisfied with secular standards that neglect to emphasize virtuous development in K-12 academics, but one diocese in Michigan has responded by making the bold decision to implement a classical, liberal arts curriculum for all diocesan schools. And the diocese’s superintendent of Catholic schools, Mark Salisbury, told The Cardinal Newman Society that the program has been widely well-received by teachers and students and is improving education for the entire diocese.

“We are enthusiastic about our early successes,” Salisbury shared. “Teachers are happy with the results as well. We have improved our ability to teach students how to write well, students are learning and memorizing more poetry” and the curriculum’s integration of Latin studies “has helped students with English grammar, vocabulary and critical thinking skills.” 


Gonzaga Must Hire Faithful Catholics to Preserve its Catholic Identity
3/31/2016
Recent articles by notable academics regarding Catholic higher education provide an opportunity for reflection on the direction of Gonzaga’s Catholic identity. Writing in America Magazine, Michael Naughton, Don Briel, and Kenneth E. Goodpaster call on Catholic university faculty and administrators to avoid the temptation to remake their organizations in the image of other academic institutions, but instead to work to maintain “a distinctive Catholic vision, and with that, ultimately, their universities’ true meaning, purpose and unique identity.” Meanwhile, at Catholic World Report, Loyola Marymount University Professor of Philosophy Christopher Kaczor reacts to a recent survey of LMU faculty that raises questions about the Catholic identity of Gonzaga’s sister Jesuit university, questions that should be of concern to the Gonzaga community as well. 


Embattled Marquette Professor Will Apologize ‘When Hell Freezes Over’
3/29/2016
Marquette University has delayed the termination of Associate Professor John McAdams, opting to suspend him without pay through the fall 2016 semester, but University President Dr. Michael Lovell is demanding an apology from McAdams as a condition of getting his job back over his November 2014 blog post criticizing a graduate student instructor who bullied a student for arguing against same-sex marriage.

McAdams said in a recent radio interview that he’ll apologize, “When hell freezes over.”

The blog post in question sparked national headlines and a heated debate about academic freedom following the University’s disciplinary actions against McAdams for exposing the philosophy instructor’s recorded comments. The instructor, Cheryl Abbate, told a student who was arguing against the acceptance of same-sex marriage that “you don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments,” calling the student’s position offensive and “not appropriate.”


HHS Mandate Seeks to Silence Catholic Institutions on Dignity of Human Life
3/21/2016
It is essential that Catholic colleges and schools defend the dignity of all human life when it is challenged, which makes it “particularly egregious that the federal government is trying to silence the few institutions who are,” Helen Alvaré, George Mason University School of Law professor, told The Cardinal Newman Society in comments on the challenges to Obamacare’s contraception mandate.

“If Catholics really believe that the relationship between a man and a woman provides a unique glimpse of the love of God, and if we reflect on the stunning fact that sexual relations make all human children, it seems clear that Catholics have a particular responsibility to educate on the matters challenging the dignity of human life,” she said. But the Obama administration’s contraception mandate threatens the ability of Catholic colleges and schools to fulfill that responsibility.


Thomas Aquinas College, ‘Antidote’ for the Educational Crises of the ‘60s and ‘70s
3/3/2016
When four friends came together in the late 1960s, they had a daring idea: to create a new liberal arts college from scratch that would respond to the growing problems and waning fidelity in Catholic colleges following the Second Vatican Council. The result was Thomas Aquinas College, an “antidote” for the crises of the 1960s and 1970s in Catholic higher education, current president Dr. Michael McLean told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“Thomas Aquinas College aims to be a beacon of truth, not only for our students, but for a world that is suffering from a lack of truth,” said McLean. And because of the vision of its four founders, it continues to produce well-educated and faithful students who “are providing a powerful remedy for the confusion that entered into Catholic education in the post-Vatican II era,” he said.


With Final Accreditation, Augustine Institute Continues Mission to Form Catholics for Evangelization
3/2/2016
The Augustine Institute in Greenwood Village, Colo., received final accreditation for its graduate school this week, a recognition that comes ten years after the beginning of its work to educate faithful lay men and women for the evangelizing task of the Church, Dr. Christopher Blum, academic dean and professor of history and philosophy at the Institute, told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“This is a major milestone for us, especially coming in our tenth year of work,” Dr. Tim Gray, president of the Augustine Institute and consultant to the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Catholic Education, said in the announcement on Monday. “As I look ahead to the next ten years, I am thrilled by the prospect of leading the Augustine Institute’s graduate school of theology to more distinguished achievements.”


Vatican Approves of Naming New Research Center in London in Honor of Pope Benedict XVI
3/1/2016
A new research center named in honor of Pope Benedict XVI and dedicated to the study of religion and the social sciences was recently given approval by the Vatican to be called the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society. The Centre was founded last fall at St Mary’s University,Twickenham in London on the five-year anniversary of the pope’s visit to England.

“If we’re sure of the Truth, as it is revealed to us through Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium, then it’s imperative upon us to bring these riches to the surrounding culture. I think this is the clear, personal witness of Pope Benedict XVI,” Dr. Stephen Bullivant, senior lecturer in theology and ethics and director of Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society, told The Cardinal Newman Society.


Mount St. Mary’s University President Resigns Amid Catholic Identity Concerns
3/1/2016
Mount St. Mary’s University President Simon Newman, who sparked national debate over the future and Catholic identity of the nation’s second-oldest Catholic university, announced last night that he will be stepping down as president of the University effective immediately. Dr. Karl Einolf, the dean of the Richard J. Bolte, Sr., School of Business, will serve as acting president at the University located in Emmitsburg, Md.

“Now is the perfect opportunity for the Mount’s trustees to unequivocally recommit the University to its Catholic identity and reassure families that it will select a president who can both heal and propel forward a most valuable institution,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly in reaction to the news. “Success depends not on shaking the foundations but confidently building upon them, as the Mount has done so well over the last decade.”


SLU Professor Approves of Students Volunteering at NARAL for Course Credit
2/25/2016
An adjunct professor in the Women’s Studies Program at Saint Louis University (SLU) reportedly approved of students in one of her classes at the Jesuit institution volunteering for course credit at the Missouri affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America, an organization that lobbies for legal abortion across the country.

SLU Adjunct Professor Candis Bond is teaching a course this semester called “Politics of the Street” that requires students to complete 12-15 hours of volunteer work relating to the material covered in class. The course focuses on “street harassment and street violence as oppressive and harmful spatial practices. We will debunk many myths about street harassment, including the notion that it is mere flirtation, that it is harmless, that it only happens to attractive young women, and that victims’ dress or other identity factors make it acceptable,” according to the course description


No Social Justice Arguments Should Ever Contradict Church Teaching, Says Catholic Professor
2/24/2016
Catholic colleges and universities have some of the best social justice initiatives fighting hunger, poverty and injustice, but this must always be done in the context of fidelity to the Church and should never act as a free pass to contradict Church teaching, Benedictine College theology professor Dr. Jamie Blosser told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“In the context of a Catholic institution, no argument should ever be used to contradict Church teaching, social justice or otherwise,” said Blosser, who is overseeing the Social Justice Week events being held this week at the Newman Guide-recommended Benedictine Collegein Atchison, Kan. “In any Catholic institution, the Catholic dogmatic and intellectual tradition should be the core set of values which illuminates and guides all learning and scholarship.”


Catholic Law School Professors: Abortion Needed for ‘Personal or Professional Success’
2/19/2016
Two professors representing the law schools of Marquette University and Georgetown University, along with a Georgetown Law student, joined 110 female attorneys in signing an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in which the women argued that they would not have been able to achieve “personal or professional successes” in life “were it not for their ability to obtain safe and legal abortions.”

Lisa A. Mazzie, professor of legal writing at Marquette University Law School, and Jill Morrison, executive director of the Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program and visiting professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, signed onto the brief submitted last month in support of abortionists in Texas in the case Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, which will be argued before the Supreme Court n March. Both of the professors listed their place of employment at the Catholic law schools when signing the brief.


Newman Society Raises Concerns About Fordham Professor Pushing Abortion Before SCOTUS
2/18/2016
Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly is calling attention to the many scandals caused at Catholic colleges that don’t hire adjunct faculty in support of their religious mission after the National Catholic Register discovered an adjunct law professor at the Jesuit-run Fordham University will be arguing in support of abortionists before the U.S. Supreme Court this March.

“Many Catholic colleges expect little of their professors in advancing a Catholic mission, but the expectations are even lower for adjuncts,” Reilly told the Register this week. “Usually, it’s simply a matter of having no clear understanding and appreciation for Catholic teaching and practice, but we’ve also seen serious scandals.”


Justice Scalia Embraced as ‘Son of Georgetown’ by University President, Called ‘Bigot’ by Professors
2/17/2016
The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was an outspoken critic of his alma mater Georgetown University’s failure to protect its Catholic identity, but the University seemed to ignore those criticisms and has continued to support campus efforts that disregard Church teaching. Now the University administration is touting Scalia’s legacy and embracing him as a “son of Georgetown,” while faculty are accusing him of “bigotry” and are expressing joy in Scalia’s passing.

“When I was at Georgetown, it was a very Catholic place. It’s not anymore — and that’s too bad,” Scalia famously said when speaking to college students in October 2013. He posed the question to the students, “What has happened to Catholic universities, that they would lose their reason for being?”


Catholic College Professor Encourages Student Participation in Cross-Dressing Event
2/16/2016
A professor at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) in San Antonio, Texas, is encouraging students to attend and work an off-campus “drag show” where students and faculty will dress up and perform as members of the opposite sex to raise money for a course at the University. The University has distanced itself from the event, but when asked by The Cardinal Newman Society if it was appropriate for a faculty member to encourage student involvement, a spokesperson refused to comment on the “private business” of faculty.

“Our Lady of the Lake University is not the sponsor of this event and it is not taking place on campus. It is not a fundraiser for our Psychology Department,” OLLU Director of Marketing and Communications Anne Gomez told the Newman Society when asked about the drag show.


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.


Catholic Schools Richly Benefit From Faithful Witness of Priests and Religious on Staff
2/11/2016
Priests and religious who work in Catholic schools play an integral role in Catholic education by witnessing to students the fullness of lives dedicated to Christ, and several religious educators told The Cardinal Newman Society that although fewer schools today are able to hire priests and religious, their vocational witness is crucial to the future of the Church.

“As spiritual mothers and fathers, priests and religious bring a unique dimension to the apostolate of Catholic education,” said Sister Maria Faustina Showalter, O.P., of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. “Just the witness of their lives, profoundly dedicated to the Lord, is a wonderful example to children and students.”


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.


School Begun by Parents Boasts Strong Catholic Identity with All-Lay Faculty
2/3/2016
Mount Royal Academy (MRA) in Sunapee, N.H., one of the Schools of Excellence on The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll, was founded in 1994 with a unique model of offering a faithful Catholic education: a laity-only staff. More than two decades later, the school is thriving and boasts a strong Catholic identity.

“Catholic schools face a great crisis, in that the presence of religious orders in schools has sharply declined,” Ronald Fussell Jr., associate superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Manchester, told the National Catholic Register in a recent article. “It is refreshing to see a school like MRA, which is run entirely by lay educators and leaders, embrace its Catholic identity.”

In 1994, parents in rural New Hampshire were faced with a problem: They wanted a faithful Catholic education for their children, but there were no diocesan schools nearby. So they decided to start one themselves.


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.”


Annual Catholic Classical Schools Conference Sees Continued Growth, Education Renewal
2/1/2016
An upcoming conference for Catholic classical schools, hosted by the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education and the Regina Academies, focuses on the increasing popularity of classical education and serves as a meeting point for like-minded educators eager to join a wave of educational renewal across the country, say conference organizers.

“It’s difficult to be a pioneer in classical education alone,” Dr. Andrew Seeley, executive director of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, told The Cardinal Newman Society, “but when you discover that there are 70 or 80 other institutions around the country doing the same thing, you realize just how widespread this movement has become.”

The conference, “Catholic Classical Schools Conference 2016: The Sacramental Imagination” will run from July 18-21 on the campus of Neumann University in Aston, Penn.


Georgetown Students Drive Pro-Life Efforts Without University Support
2/1/2016
Georgetown University students who attended last week’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., recently told The Cardinal Newman Society that student groups at the University are finding success in driving pro-life outreach and discussion on campus despite the University’s lack of support for their events and activities, or for Church teaching on life issues.

“I think that given a campus culture that's often hostile to pro-life views, it's extremely helpful that there exists organizations like Georgetown Right to Life,” Michael Khan, president of the student-run Right to Life group, told the Newman Society. “With contraceptives allowed in dorms and faculty members who hold views diametrically opposed to Church teaching, I can totally understand why many students on campus feel exiled for their pro-life views.”


Loyola Chicago Faculty Union Debates Escalate, Students Question University’s Social Justice Commitment
1/29/2016
During the same week that faculty elected to form a union under the unconstitutional oversight of the National Relations Labor Board (NLBR), Loyola University of Chicago sanctioned its student government for a demonstration in favor of higher wages for unionized workers, again calling into question how Catholic colleges should handle issues of unionization and social justice.

“One of the common refrains of the protesters and their supporters is that the administration’s actions are hypocritical. The four students say they are being punished for following the very social justice values the university taught them in the first place,” In These Timesreported.


First Catholic College Successful Against NLRB Oversight of Faculty
1/28/2016
Last week, Carroll College in Helena, Mont., became the first Catholic college to win a favorable ruling against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) since its new standard of evaluating the religious function of faculty was implemented, in part thanks to language found in the College handbook about discharging faculty for “disrespect or disregard” for the Catholic mission of the College.

“Carroll has always been and will continue to embrace and be guided by our mission,” Carroll President Dr. Tom Evans told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview, noting the College’s favorable ruling. “It has been a valuable process for the college to undertake. As an institution, we have benefited from the experience. Collectively, we now have a much clearer understanding of our policies, procedures and shared governance structure.”


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.


Loyola Marymount Professor Predicts University Will Lose its Catholic Identity 'Within a Generation'
1/18/2016
Loyola Marymount University’s (LMU) Catholic identity will disappear in a matter of years if administrators continue the current and dangerous trajectory towards secularization by not hiring faithful Catholic professors, according to Dr. Christopher Kaczor, a professor of philosophy at the University.

“It is magical thinking to believe LMU is immune from losing its identity. To do nothing, to continue the status quo of religious indifferentism in hiring, is to eventually join the list of formerly Catholic institutions. Higher education does not need one more flavor of vanilla,” Kaczor wrote in an article on Catholic World Report explaining LMU’s dilemma.

“My prediction is that the process of secularization will be completed within a generation,” he stated.


Gloria Steinem Awarded ‘Peace Prize’ for Book Dedicated to Abortionist, Praised by Catholic College Professor
1/14/2016
The pro-abortion Gloria Steinem has “inspired millions” and promotes “peace” with her version of radical feminism according to a philosophy professor at the University of Dayton, a Catholic and Marianist research university in Ohio, who praised Steinem's winning of a "literary peace prize" last month for her latest book, dedicated to the abortionist she obtained an abortion from in 1957.

“Gloria Steinem is a fearless feminist leader who has inspired millions of people to defend their own rights and the rights of others,” Dr. Rebecca Whisnant, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of Dayton, told the University’s student newspaper, Flyer News. “That she is being honored with this award underlines the fact that women’s rights are essential not only in and of themselves, but for peace, security and a livable human future.”


In Year of Mercy, ‘Hardly Anything More Merciful Than Teaching the Truth’
1/13/2016
Catholic schools and colleges follow in the footsteps of the Apostles in teaching the truth of the faith that “prepares us to live with Jesus forever,” and especially during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, “there is hardly anything more merciful than teaching the Truth to others,” Father Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., founding member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

“Our Catholic schools and colleges continue this great service of teaching the Truth that the Lord first taught us,” said Fr. Apostoli. “From the very beginning of Christianity, the faith and doctrine Jesus taught, primarily to His Apostles, had in turn to be taught to others.”

This tradition of educating the faithful has particular significance during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.


Cardinal Wuerl: Firing Employees Opposed to Church Teaching Protects Mission of Catholic Schools
1/11/2016
Catholic schools have “an obligation” to terminate employees who actively oppose Church teaching and whose conduct “undermines the Church’s ability to fulfill her mission,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., recently wrote in a blog post addressing the firing of a Church employee found to be in a same-sex marriage.

“The purpose of our parishes, schools, ministries and other Catholic entities — ‘and the task of those who work for them — is to lead people to Jesus,’” explained Cardinal Wuerl, citing his May 2015 pastoral letterBeing Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge. “That purpose and task is challenged by a secular culture that is in contradiction to traditional concepts of marriage, family, the common good and objective right and wrong.”

In his blog post, Cardinal Wuerl responded to a recent employment issue at a parish in Germantown, Md., where a music minister was terminated after his same-sex marriage was discovered by the pastor.


NLRB Rules Faculty at yet Another Catholic College Have No Role in Religious Mission
1/7/2016
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) argued in a ruling last week that Loyola University Chicago (LUC) does not hold out many of its faculty as being important to its religious mission and asserted authority over employee relations at the University, continuing a series of rulings questioning the Catholic identity of Catholic colleges and universities.

According to the ruling from NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr, LUC failed to meet any of the requirements that would exempt the University from its jurisdiction. “I find that the Board has jurisdiction in this matter because the evidence does not demonstrate that the University holds out the petitioned-for faculty members as performing a specific role in creating or maintaining the University’s religious educational environment,” he wrote.


Univ. of San Diego: Student Demands ‘Inconsistent With Our Catholic Identity’
1/7/2016
Responding to a list of “demands” by student groups focused on racial and LGBTQ issues, a University of San Diego (USD) official told The Cardinal Newman Society there are items on the list “that are inconsistent with our Catholic identity,” and that such proposals would be vetted through a process of working with students to initiate change “in a constructive and respectful fashion.”

“In this process,” said Peter Marlow, associate vice president of communications at USD, “any fringe ideas that may be contrary to our Catholic identity would be vetted by a broad audience and even broader perspectives and priorities.”

Marlow told the Newman Society that the newly installed University president, Dr. James Harris, who began his tenure this past August, recently met with four of the students involved with publishing the demands “to help steer them toward submitting their ideas via the strategic planning process” currently underway at the University. The process, scheduled for completion by early fall, is collecting “ideas for the future” from USD student groups, faculty, alumni, administrators, trustees, community members and other friends of USD.


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:


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.”


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 College President Warns Faculty Against Unconstitutional Government Intrusion
12/14/2015
Carroll College President Thomas Evans has warned his faculty regarding unconstitutional government oversight by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and how it would compromise the College’s Catholic identity following efforts by faculty members to unionize.

“I believe a union would alter the fundamental character and mission of Carroll College,” Evans wrote in an email to faculty in October. “Because Carroll College is a Catholic institution with a Catholic mission, carried out by its faculty, the Board and I believe we must contest the jurisdiction of the NLRB and any attempt to organize the faculty at Carroll College in a union.”

The College sent The Cardinal Newman Society a letter released today by Evans to the campus community in response to an all-campus email sent by one of the pro-union faculty members. In the letter, Evans reiterated that opposition to the NLRB’s actions were to protect the college’s Catholic identity.


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.


Pope Francis Calls Educators to Dual-Role as Teachers and Witnesses
12/3/2015
Speaking to catechists and teachers in Uganda last week, Pope Francis encouraged the educators to follow the example of Christ and the Ugandan martyrs, stressing that they must teach the faith fearlessly and be witnesses of its truth and power.

“The message you bring will take root all the more firmly in people’s hearts if you are not only a teacher but also a witness,” the Holy Father said, according to Vatican Radio’s translation. “You teach what Jesus taught, you instruct adults and help parents to raise their children in the faith.”

Pope Francis thanked those gathered for their sacrifices and devotion to the essential task of educating children and families, and stressed that teachers reflect Christ in their vocation and are called in their own way to be martyrs. He urged educators to echo the “fearless testimony” of the Ugandan martyrs, 21 companions who along with Saint Charles Lwanga were killed in the 1880s by King Mwanga for teaching the faith and later canonized by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1964.


Lawsuit Sparks Debate Over Moral Expectations of Non-Teaching Staff in Catholic Schools
12/3/2015
A lawsuit in Massachusetts is reigniting debate about the responsibilities of non-teaching staff at Catholic schools to uphold the moral principles and serve as models of the faith, raising concerns for the religious freedom of Catholic schools to fire employees whose public statements and actions contradict Church teaching.

On Tuesday, the Norfolk Superior Court heard arguments from both parties in an ongoing legal battle between Fontbonne Academy, an all-girls Catholic school based in Milton, Mass., and Matthew Barret, who was told he could not work at Fontbonne Academy as food services director in July 2013 after the school found out that Barret is in a same-sex marriage.


Notre Dame Curriculum Committee Insists Theology Critical to Catholic Identity
12/1/2015
Following much discussion last year over whether Notre Dame would reduce its theology requirement from two courses to one, the committee in charge of the ten-year core curriculum review has advised that its theology courses are too essential to the University’s Catholic identity to be reduced, according to the draft report released on Monday.

“In placing theology at the core of its Catholic liberal arts education, Notre Dame is not merely adding another discipline to the existing educational paradigm. Instead, it embraces a paradigm of the intellectual life that posits the complementarity of faith and reason,” stated the review committee’s initial draft report.

The current review process, which began in August 2014, is comprised of a 13-member committee charged with studying the core curriculum and recommending possible changes.


Catholic Education ‘Still Worth Fighting For,’ Says World Congress Presenter
11/24/2015
Catholic educators should be encouraged by the commitment and passion shown at the Vatican's recent World Congress for education, Michael Van Hecke, president of the Catholic Textbook Project, told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview conducted last week from Castel Gandalfo where the event was held.

The value and worth of Catholic education was edified by the central themes of the Congress, particularly the Christocentric approach to education, said Van Hecke, who was invited to speak at the “Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion” Congress and who also serves as headmaster of a Newman Society Honor Roll school, Saint Augustine Academy, in Ventura, Calif.

“Two things struck me particularly. One was the real commitment and passion by virtually every speaker about the importance of really making sure everybody keeps Christ in Catholic education, and [two] that Catholic education is still worth fighting for,” he told the Newman Society.


Universities Will Find Success in Faithful Teacher Formation, Curriculum, Says Congress Presenter
11/24/2015
Teacher formation and a strong, value-oriented curriculum are critical to the success of good Catholic universities, especially in a culture that can be exceedingly motivated by self-interest, Dr. Alfonso Sánchez-Tabernero, rector of the University of Navarra in Spain, told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview conducted during the recent World Congress, “Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion,” in Rome.

“In a Catholic university we are supposed to be also good Catholic professors, so why not emphasize the need to explain, to know and to live his or her faith,” Sánchez-Tabernero told the Newman Society.

As one of the presenters during the University sessions of the World Congress hosted by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education last week, Sánchez-Tabernero spoke on the need to train faculty and offer continued faith formation as professors rise through the ranks of a university.


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