Thursday, May 26, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily

Catholic Education Daily Articles

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Commentary
Newman Society President: Platforms and Honors for Abortion Advocates Negatively Impact Students
5/17/2016
Catholic colleges have a responsibility to transmit the truth about the right to life, and their actions — including providing speaker platforms and honors — can have a serious impact on the lives of students, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly said in an interview with Teresa Tomeo on Ave Maria Radio last week.

“Certainly at a Catholic institution, we know that abortion is wrong, we know that same-sex marriage is wrong and yet [colleges] are actively promoting it to the point where we almost don’t hear a Catholic voice anymore,” said Reilly. He added that many Catholic colleges need to regain that voice for the sake of their students, and to live up to their identity and mission.

The Cardinal Newman Society has led calls for reform concerning speaker platforms and commencement honors for years, raising awareness about their impact on Catholic identity, and the responsibilities of Catholic colleges. But it does not seem like colleges are taking the concerns of parents, students and pro-life leaders seriously, said Tomeo.


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.


Campus Speakers: Why They Matter
5/5/2016
Bill Clinton. Cecile Richards. Joe Biden. Wendy Davis.

What do they have in common?

For us, it’s this: Catholic colleges this spring have invited these public figures to enjoy prominent campus platforms and public honors, despite their public opposition to Catholic teaching on abortion and marriage.

Why does this matter? Because it’s a betrayal of the mission of Catholic education and a scandal. It concerns not only The Cardinal Newman Society but also, apparently, bishops and pro-life leaders who have spoken out against the colleges' choices.

Any college, if it is to fulfill its mission, must seek and teach truth. But an authentic Catholic college has far more to offer, because it teaches the truth revealed by God — truth that is excluded by the modern academy, because its only accepted means to truth are human experience and reasoning. A Catholic college, by definition, embraces divine revelation through Christ and His Church as truth that is foundational and consistent with discovered truth.


Top 10 Signs of Renewal in Catholic Schools
5/5/2016
There are exciting things happening in Catholic education, The Cardinal Newman Society has concluded after reviewing hundreds of articles about Catholic elementary and secondary schools published during the 2015-2016 academic year.

A number of schools on the Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll are expanding and have implemented new programs and curricula to further nourish students in the faith while providing an excellent academic education. These changes involve a number of schools rejecting Common Core, including an entire diocese in Michigan. And we were encouraged to see strong defenses of the faith and Catholic identity in diocesan schools from bishops in Nebraska, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Springfield, Ill., in the areas of morality and human sexuality.

The list below shows that while there are still areas of concern in K-12 education, many examples of faithfulness in Catholic education can be found across the country.


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.


Serving LGBT Students in Catholic Schools
4/28/2016
How do Catholic schools best serve students who struggle with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria (popularly called “transgendered”)? What should a school’s policies prescribe in order to prevent confusion, disputes and even litigation? 

Previously, these questions were often addressed behind closed doors, as administrators worked quietly on a case-by-case basis and often within traditional moral norms. However, since this past summer’s Supreme Court ruling supporting same-sex marriage and the social acceptance of superstar Bruce Jenner’s gender dysphoria, Catholic schools face an increasingly public challenge to their teaching and mission. 

This dynamic became painfully evident in the recent decision by a Rhode Island Catholic school, which ignited a national firestorm by refusing to admit transgendered students and then was pressured to reverse its policy within just a couple of days. The correct instinct that a Catholic school cannot accommodate willful gender confusion gave rise to a weak position statement, holding that transgendered students could not be admitted due to a lack of facilities to accommodate them. Activists seized upon the opportunity and offered to “crowd source” the necessary facilities, forcing the school to reverse its policy of strict exclusion. 


Fr. Schall: On 'Building the World You Want to Live In'
4/22/2016
The text of an address, no doubt, reads differently from the listening to it. A lecture proposes a position, a “where-I-stand” sort of thing. A lecture is not a debate or a disputation. It can be witty, solemn, pedantic, chatty, disorganized, moving or implausible. It can be informative, logical or illogical, persuasion or unpersuasive. What is said also tells us much about what is left unsaid. Silences and absences are also, as the phenomenologists tell us, quite revealing.

Cecile Richards’ lecture at Georgetown University read rather like a pep rally to garner enthusiasm for the big game — “young people leading the charge.” The“Hoyas for Choice” group was congratulated for distributing “10,000 condoms last semester! Because of yousomeone somewhere is having safer sex!” One hardly knows whether to laugh or cry, mostly laugh, I think. Chesterton said somewhere that sex by definition is, like life itself, unsafe. If we eliminate its risk, I suspect, we also eliminate romance, something not a few writers have been noticing to be the case on most campuses. Friends with everyone, friends with no one. Sex with everyone, sex with no one. “Safe” sex means: “Protect me from my partner.”


Encourage, Enact and Enforce: Witnessing to the Church’s Teachings on Chastity During the College Years
4/22/2016
The Church has always taught the beauty of human sexuality and that each person, made in the image and likeness of God, should live chastely, according to his vocation. Although not a recent phenomenon, our society has in many ways become blind to these beautiful teachings of the Church and has espoused a radically new, secular view of the human person. This new philosophy has affected all aspects of the moral life, not only those that involve human sexuality.

The sexual revolution, heralded as liberation in the 1960s, eventually took its toll even in our Catholic institutions of higher learning.


USF Basketball Coach Doesn’t Want Faithful Catholics on the Team?
4/19/2016
The head women’s basketball coach at the University of San Francisco (USF) recently announced her same-sex marriage to an assistant coach, and suggested that any student-athletes who have “an issue” with her sexuality and relationship are not welcome on the team.

On March 31, USF coach Jennifer Azzi publicly announced that she was in a same-sex marriage with her top assistant, Blair Hardiek, during an Anti-Defamation League awards ceremony. She was there introducing Golden State Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. Welts became the first senior sports executive to openly acknowledge his same-sex attraction in 2011 while president and chief executive of the Phoenix Suns basketball team.


Catholic Education is the Key to Pope Francis’ Plan for Renewing Families
4/14/2016
Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation released on Friday, Amoris Laetitia, “Love in the Family,” is the next step in a long plan for renewing Catholic families, Stephan Kampowski, professor of philosophical anthropology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome, told The Cardinal Newman Society. Kampowski said the document reiterated parents’ fundamental role in education and stressed faithful education as central to strengthening families.

“With Amoris Laetitia, Francis wants to renew the Church’s pastoral care of the family,” said Kampowski, who co-authored The Gospel of the Family, a book which engaged and challenged Cardinal Walter Kasper’s controversial comments leading up to the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family in 2014. “Indeed, education is the key to the renewal desired by the Holy Father,” Kampowski noted.

Amoris Laetitia is reportedly the longest such document in the history of the papacy. And while much of the media coverage focused on how the Holy Father would address the issue of communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, significant portions of the document sought to emphasize the need for faithful Catholic education and the fundamental role of parents in the education of their children.


Pope Francis Stresses Faithful Education in Light of Family Crisis, Says Theologian
4/12/2016
Pope Francis clearly stated the need for faithful Catholic education in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia released on Friday, and warned against any attempts by schools or teachers to impose ideologies contrary to the teachings of the Church, theologian and author Dr. Edward Sri told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“Pope Francis went out of his way to reiterate the Catholic teaching that parents are the primary educators of their children,” said Sri, who teaches at the Augustine Institute in Greenwood Village, Colo., noting that schools should never replace parents. “The Pope, however, points out a division between parents and schools in some cases.”

“I think about how many moral issues — topics such as abortion, pre-marital sex or the definition of marriage — are presented in educational settings today,” Sri continued. “In some cases, a certain ideology is being imposed upon the children in the classroom — a certain agenda that is directly at odds with what the parents want for their children.”


Forming a Faithful Laity
4/6/2016
Last December, speaking to Catholic school parents, Pope Francis stressed the importance of Catholic education at every level, from childhood through the university.

He emphasized the Church’s traditional understanding of the role of parents, noting, “It is your right to request an appropriate education for your children, an integral education open to the most authentic human and Christian values. As parents, you are the depositories of the duty and the primary and inalienable right to educate your children.”

He has more than once lamented how, due to rising costs and other factors, few children today experience the beauty of the Catholic faith as conveyed by Catholic schools.

One of the important functions of good Catholic schools in our times is, to quote from another talk by Pope Francis, to prevent “these ideological colonizations, that poison the soul and the family.” We can expect additional comments on the family and education this month, when the pope will issue an apostolic exhortation concerning last fall’s Synod on the Family.


An Open Letter to Catholic Educators
4/6/2016
I consider my family a modern day “Pilgrim” story. My husband and I are both Catholic, and raised our four children in a church-going, close-knit family. We did the modern day “soccer parent” stuff: attending all the ball games, all the activities, all the sacraments — all the things that would help our children grow in mind, body and soul.

What we didn’t count on was the culture.

We lived in a very “liberal” part of the country, and when our kids hit teen years and turned to their peers, their peers were following the modern day “culture.” It is a culture that comes across as “loving” and “caring” and “tolerant.” Yet it is a culture that kills.


Notre Dame, Joe Biden Betray The 'Common Good'
3/22/2016
In a video posted on the University of Notre Dame’s website, President Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., cited the University’s commitment to the “common good” as explanation for its controversial decision to award the Laetare Medal, “the oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics,” to Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner.

“One of our great challenges today is people who disagree often will vilify, attack, demean the opposition and then they can’t work with the opposition,” Fr. Jenkins said. “So we come to this impasse of acrimony of intransigence, and it doesn’t serve society.

“There’s a wonderful Catholic concept of the common good,”he said. “What is the common good? What would serve everybody? You and I may disagree, or Boehner and Biden may disagree, but we have to recognize that whatever we think, we have to act for the common good.”


How Many Deaths Can You Be Responsible for and Still Speak at Georgetown?
3/9/2016
In covering Georgetown University’s scandalous decision to host Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) President Cecile Richards on campus next month, The Cardinal Newman Society has pointed out again and again that Planned Parenthood has killed more than 2.8 million babies since 2006 when Richards took the helm at the abortion giant — deaths Richards is responsible for as the head of Planned Parenthood.

Over at The Daily Caller last week, I pointed out that the U.K. publication the Daily Mail put together a list a few years ago of the 36 most murderous dictators of the 20th century ordered by the number of deaths tied to their rule. Obviously these men didn’t personally go out and commit all these murders, but they were ultimately in charge of those who did, so they are credited with the death tolls of their regimes.

Using the same logic, we can say that Richards is responsible for the millions of abortions committed by Planned Parenthood employees, but she is never associated with that horrific statistic when she appears on television or is quoted in the press.


Cardinal Newman’s Life and Work Provides ‘Needed Vision’ for Catholic Schools and Colleges, Says Author
2/22/2016
Sunday marked the 215th birthday of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman, one of the first great teachers to tackle the modern and utilitarian problems facing Catholic education, and a man whose “words can steer us in the right direction” amid our current educational difficulties, author and educator Paul Shrimpton told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“Newman provides a much-needed educational vision today as an attractive alternative to the shapeless, relativistic and uninspiring alternatives of so many contemporary universities,” said Shrimpton, who teaches at Magdalen College School, Oxford, and specializes in the history of education. “His practice and example will appeal to those who value the idea of a liberal [arts] education, those interested in the education of the whole person and those with an interest in the idea of a faith-based college or university.”


Harvard Admissions Report Recommends Changes Already Found at Many Catholic Colleges
2/22/2016
It’s no secret that the college application process, especially at prestigious secular institutions, has become more of an arms race than an exercise in character building. It’s a fierce competition, and no matter how many personal achievements a student can list, there is likely someone who can list more. Educators recognize the stress this process places on students, and are now taking steps to change how college applications are evaluated.

On January 20, 2016, the Harvard Graduate School of Education along with a coalition of educators, parents, college administrators and guidance counselors came together at the New York Public Library to release a report called “Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions.” The report encourages colleges to focus on values and mission in their application process, and actually follows some of the recruiting and admission practices already in place at many Catholic colleges.


Faithful Catholic Education Offers Understanding of True Freedom, Says Archbishop Lucas
1/26/2016
Catholic education prepares students to live a life of faith, but also offers students a true understanding of God-given freedom in an environment in which they can grow in virtue, said Archbishop George Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb., in a video released last week.

“God has given us the gift of free will and it is God’s design for us that we be free, that we just not be all over the place, but that we really use our freedom to choose what’s right and good for ourselves and for others,” Archbishop Lucas said. “As I reflect back on my own education in Catholic schools, I really am grateful for that cultivation of an understanding of what it really means to be free.”


Catholic Education Before the Texas Bar
1/20/2016
In the fall of 2015, the Catholic Lawyers Guild and the Christian Legal Society of San Antonio, Texas, persuaded St. Mary’s University School of Law to conduct the first-ever Christian Legal Perspectives seminar for attorneys in the San Antonio area. Our goal was modest and seemingly noncontroversial: to reinforce the need to consider the moral and religious implications inherent in their legal practices in the 30 or so Texas attorneys who might attend (I also invited the 50 law students in my Catholic Legal Perspectives class).

For example, we thought it important to remind attorneys who are asked to handle divorce cases that our religious view of the sanctity of marriage might result in attorneys referring potential divorce clients to faith-based counseling that might preserve the marriage. We hoped to reach a modest audience on a one-time basis on a Friday afternoon in October. God, however, apparently had broader plans.


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:


Newman Society’s Top 15 Articles of 2015: Scandal, Same-Sex Marriage and Fighting for Faithfulness
12/30/2015
The close of each year brings any number of “top” or “best of” lists recognizing achievements of the past 12 months in a myriad of industries and categories. As we look forward to beginning a new year, it’s only natural to reflect on what transpired in the last.

Below, The Cardinal Newman Society presents its top 15 news and commentary articles from 2015 based on the number of unique page views. Each article in the list is followed by a short summary.

The Newman Society published hundreds of articles this year on many extremely important issues impacting the Catholic identity of schools and colleges, affecting Catholic students, families and educators across the country — as well as our country’s culture. We look forward to producing even more articles in 2016 to promote and defend faithful Catholic education.


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.”


Further Reflections on ‘No Child Left Behind’ Replacement
12/18/2015
Last Friday, The Cardinal Newman Society reported on a short, two-minute interview given to EWTN Nightly News the previous day with positive reactions to certain provisions of the federal government’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law by President Obama last Thursday. The law replaced the deeply problematic No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 which brought about lasting damage to American education by, among other things, increasing federal intrusion into public schools, emphasizing harmful high-stakes testing using unrealistic metrics and laying the ground for the flawed Common Core experiment with national standards.

As promoters of the value of a liberal arts education, we question the value and wisdom of excessive high-stakes testing. The number of mandated tests students have to take will shift from federal jurisdiction to state control under ESSA, with students still being required to take reading and math exams in grades three to eight, and one mandated test while in high school.


The Incredible Shrinking Case for Common Core
12/17/2015
Recent statements by Common Core co-author David Coleman about Catholic education have led to a lot of confusion. What’s this about a Common Core advocate urging Catholic educators to have the “moxie” to preserve their incredible heritage and not to worry about changes to standardized tests? 

I’ll try to explain. Despite Coleman’s support for the Common Core — which I firmly believe to be inadequate and even harmful to Catholic schools — what he said is good for Catholic families. 

Last month, my colleagues and I were dismayed to learn that Coleman, a chief author of the Common Core State Standards, will keynote the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) convention in March. The Cardinal Newman Society has raised serious concerns about the Common Core’s impact on Catholic identity and related changes that detract from Catholic schools’ time-proven curricula and methods. The choice of Coleman as keynote speaker suggests support for the Common Core, when what we most need is a frank conversation among Catholic educators and parents about the Common Core and its unsuitability to Catholic education. 


Editorial: Catholic Schools Should Proudly Keep ‘Catholic’ as Their Core
12/14/2015
Common Core co-developer David Coleman believes that Catholic schools should have the “moxie” to preserve and celebrate their Catholic identity and emphasis on the liberal arts — and The Cardinal Newman Society wholeheartedly agrees, despite our clear disagreement about whether the Common Core fits well within that Catholic education.

The Cardinal Newman Society continues to have serious concerns about the Common Core’s impact in Catholic schools. For that reason, Coleman may seem an unusual choice for a Newman Society interview. We certainly haven’t changed our position.


Reflections on Interview with David Coleman, College Board President and Common Core Architect
12/14/2015
Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in The Cardinal Newman Society’s exclusive interview with David Coleman, president of The College Board (a testing company which provides the SAT and AP exams) and one of the developers of the Common Core Standards. As a critic of certain aspects of the Common Core and its influence in Catholic schools, it was an opportunity to learn about Mr. Coleman’s educational philosophy, his support for Catholic liberal arts education and his clear and emphatic statement that, “A child excellently trained in the traditional liberal arts will do superbly on relevant sections of the SAT and other aspects of Advanced Placement work — rest assured.”

This was indeed a welcome statement. Since the introduction of the Common Core in public schools in 2010, many Catholic school leaders have been sounding the alarm that if Catholic schools did not immediately embrace the college- and career-based Common Core standards, our students would somehow be left at a disadvantage.


Conference Teaches Students to Defend ‘Conservative Ideas’ on Catholic Campuses
12/9/2015
One of the most important ways of protecting the Catholic identity of Catholic colleges and schools is to equip students with the knowledge and tactics to counter opposition to their beliefs during their time on campus, conservative leaders who spoke at a program on faith and freedom told The Cardinal Newman Society in recent interviews.

“Students have a vital role to play in helping to change their campuses towards a more authentic Catholic identity,” Nicholas Hahn, editor of RealClearReligion and one of the speakers at the event, “Stand Up for Faith & Freedom: How to advance conservative ideas at Catholic schools,” told the Newman Society.

The two-day seminar, organized by Young America's Foundation (YAF), a “principal outreach organization of the Conservative Movement,” was conceived as a counter to the “Leftists on campus” who believe “being a faithful Catholic means adopting the Left’s ideology,” according to the program description.


Did Pope Francis Say ‘Don’t Proselytize’?
11/25/2015
Catholic education, done rightly, is a special and important means of evangelization, the mission of the Church. It brings young people to Christ and provides for the integral formation of mind, body and soul. 

And so, judging from the reaction that I have been hearing from some parents and educators, there is a bit of consternation over Pope Francis’ strong words last week against “proselytism” in Catholic schools. My colleagues from The Cardinal Newman Society who were present for the Holy Father’s conversation with educators — part of the World Congress on Education, a Vatican conference to address the “educational emergency” that leaves young people ignorant of Christ — also noted the Holy Father’s words with some concern.


Newman Society’s Guernsey Reflects on World Congress with Educators, Pope Francis
11/25/2015
After a week in Rome with more than 2,000 educators from Catholic schools and universities around the world, it is time to remind ourselves of the continued need for faithful Catholic education, and that its efforts will only be successful if they are rooted in the truth and tradition of the Church, said Dr. Dan Guernsey, director of K-12 education programs for The Cardinal Newman Society.

While the recent Congress, “Educating for Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion,” hosted by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education was a rich, multi-cultural experience, it left certain issues untouched and in need of further clarification.

In his recent piece “Challenges and Ambiguities at the World Congress on Education” for Crisis Magazine, Guernsey reflected on his time at the Vatican and Castel Gandolfo, which he described as “an amazing and rich experience.”


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.


Newman Society Reports From Rome: Analysis of Education Congress Working Document
11/19/2015
The document, which remains to be discussed this week, is not without some potential problems. We’ll see how these develop over the next couple of days.

Among the challenges of the document are that there are no references to Scripture, and that it does not seem to have the same amount of footnoting or references to Christ as previous documents.

About 10,000 words, this document is the same size as the Vatican’s earlier document in 1977, The Catholic School. In that document there were 48 references and approximately 35 references to Christ or Jesus. In this current document as it is right now, we only have eight references and about five references specifically to Jesus.


At World Congress in Rome, Newman Society Raises Common Core Concerns
11/19/2015
When it comes to the “educational emergency” developing in the United States, it is essential that Catholic schools maintain a strong Catholic identity in “an era of nationalized curriculum” and relativism, Dr. Dan Guernsey, director of K-12 education programs for The Cardinal Newman Society, said in an interview from Rome where he is attending the Vatican’s World Congress on education.

“Education is not just about skill development and it's not just about the quantification of abilities to make a buck. It really is about creating fully alive and fully functioning people,” Guernsey told Rome Reports, noting the insufficiency of a nationalized curriculum and standards for Catholic schools.

“The Common Core is this new set of state standards that's gone in throughout the United States. And they're very secularized, very utilitarian, very much based on college and career,” he said.


Vatican Envoy to Jesuits and Bishops: Reform Education
11/19/2015
The Vatican ambassador’s message, delivered during Monday’s gathering of U.S. bishops in Baltimore, was crystal clear: place priority on the renewal of Catholic identity in Catholic education and restore the great legacy of Jesuit institutions.

It’s an appeal that should make every Catholic parent stand up and cheer! It certainly got our attention at The Cardinal Newman Society, where for 22 years we have urged greater support for faithful Catholic education and the end to scandal and dissent at many Catholic colleges.

When Pope Francis was elected, I openly wondered whether our Jesuit pope would acknowledge the elephant in the room: the open disregard for papal authority and doctrinal fidelity at many of America’s Jesuit colleges.


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

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

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


Fire Theologians, Not Columnists
11/4/2015
There is more than irony in the recent attempt by several theologians to discredit New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, because he dared to write about the tragic confusion surrounding the Synod on the Family without having a theologian’s “professional qualifications.”

There is great desperation in the move — and hypocrisy.

The hypocrisy lies in the demand for credentials, when the field of theology is itself seriously lacking in that regard.

About half of Douthat’s critics are professors of theology at Catholic colleges and universities. Under canon law, they must have the mandatum, a recognition from their local bishop that they pledge to teach in fidelity to Catholic doctrine. But do they? At least a few seem to be headed in the opposite direction.



Catholic Education’s Challenge, 50 Years after Vatican II
11/3/2015
Later this month, educational leaders from around the world, including representatives from The Cardinal Newman Society, will gather in Rome to mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis, and to reflect on the future of Catholic education. The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education has released an instrumentum laboris entitled Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion to help guide the presentations and discussions. Cardinal Newman Society participants will be reporting and reflecting upon the events from Rome.

At this moment it is good to reflect briefly on the seminal document Gravissimum Educationis, promulgated in 1965. The declaration covers a variety of topics including the importance of education generally for all men, the importance of schools, access to schools, the primary role of parents in education, moral education, types of Catholic schools, the importance of teachers and the need to coordinate educational efforts.


To the Critics of Douthat: Yes, We Want (Your) Credentials
10/30/2015
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat is a faithful Catholic who often writes about the Church. His latest column regarding the controversial Synod on the Family in Rome, “The Plot to Change Catholicism,” was strongly criticized in a letter to the editor by more than 50 signers, many of them theologians from Catholic colleges and universities.

But rather than answer or challenge Douthat’s observations, the signers pouted that “Mr. Douthat has no professional qualifications for writing on the subject.” In other words, only elite intellectuals in the ivory tower are allowed to comment on the Church.  In other words, only elite intellectuals in the ivory tower are allowed to comment on the Church. 

It is a rich irony that most theologians at Catholic colleges refuse to tell students and parents whether they have obtained the mandatum.


Cardinal Burke Urges Genuine Catholic Education to Renew Culture
10/29/2015
Cardinal Raymond Burke last week gave us yet another trove of wisdom to contemplate, just as the Synod on the Family came to a close. This time, it was about Catholic education, and it came with a stern warning. 

In prepared remarks last week given to representatives of Voice of the Family, Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, warned parents about the threats to their children from wayward Catholic schools while arguing that faithful Catholic education at home and in schools is needed to transform the culture.


Catholic Education Offers Key Solution to Secularism, Newman Society President Says
10/23/2015
Catholic education must be embraced as a key solution to, not just a victim of, threats to religious freedom and an increasingly secular culture, argued The Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly in a lecture and panel discussion at Franciscan University of Steubenville last Friday.

“At a time when the New Evangelization is focused on casting its nets wide but shallow, we should also consider the depth of the integral formation that Catholic education provides, ensuring a deep commitment to the Faith and the more complete preparation of our young people for sainthood in a difficult and often hostile culture,” Reilly told an audience of faculty, students and guests at the Steubenville, Ohio, campus.

A panel of Franciscan University leaders responded to Reilly’s address, identifying the many ways that the University embraces its Catholic mission. Educators discussed their commitment to exploring new ways of impacting the culture and ensuring a new generation of Catholic leaders to confront the challenges of secularism. The panel speakers included University President Father Sean Sheridan, TOR; Dr. Daniel Kempton, vice president for academic affairs; and David Schmiesing, vice president of student life.


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

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

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


Archbishop Miller: Strong Catholic Families Make Strong Catholic Schools
10/16/2015
Stronger families make for stronger Catholic education—this means that the Church’s continued emphasis on the family cannot be separated from faithful Catholic education, according to Vancouver Archbishop Michael Miller, C.S.B.

In an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society, Archbishop Miller, who served as secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education from 2003 to 2007, reflected on the relationship between family and education, as well as the Church’s emphasis on family leading to the World Meeting of Families and the current Synod on the Family.

“Stronger families make for better Catholic education. Weaker families weaken the fabric,” said Archbishop Miller. “It’s crazy for us to expect great Catholic education when our family system is weak. They work in direct proportionality, not inverse. So the stronger the family, the stronger the school, the weaker the family, almost inevitably the weaker the school.”


White House Shouldn’t Interfere with Catholic Education, Says Catholic Schools Expert
10/7/2015
Catholics must continue to push for the religious freedom needed to carry out the mission and purpose of Catholic education, despite White House attempts to interfere with Catholic schools, argued Dr. Jamie Arthur, senior fellow and manager of The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll, in a Breitbart op-ed yesterday.

“Catholics who value the mission of Catholic education will continue to demand religious freedom so that we can live out our faith—without intimidation or any type of persecution—for generations to come,” Arthur wrote.

Last month, the Newman Society reported that the White House assisted the Human Rights Campaign—which claims to be the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization—in obtaining tickets for fired Catholic school teacher Margie Winters and her same-sex partner Andrea Vettori to attend Pope Francis’ visit to the White House. 


Catholic Colleges Ideal Fit for ‘New Evangelization,’ Scholars Agree
9/24/2015
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
9/22/2015
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?
9/22/2015
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.”


Catholic Scholar Weigel Calls for Repairs to ‘Deficit’ in Catholic Higher Education
9/17/2015
The modern Catholic college exists to form and equip students to be missionary disciples and therefore can no longer ignore its responsibility to care for the moral and spiritual well-being of students, according to acclaimed author and theologian George Weigel.

Weigel, author of the Saint John Paul II biography Witness to Hope and distinguished senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., gave this year’s opening lecture at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., during which he addressed the responsibility that Catholic colleges have to faithfully fulfill their mission and purpose.

“The Catholic college and university of the 21st century and the third millennium exists to equip disciples for mission. It exists to deepen the human and intellectual formation of witnesses to Christ,” Weigel told The Cardinal Newman Society in a separate interview. Catholic higher education must be world-transforming, he said.


Spiritual Formation Needed at Catholic Colleges, Says World Meeting of Families Speaker
9/16/2015
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.


Dominican Sisters Credit Newman Guide Colleges in Preparing for Religious Vocations
9/11/2015
In Nashville, Tenn., you can hear more than country music—you can hear appreciation for faithful Catholic colleges emanating from the convent of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, who responded to an exclusive Cardinal Newman Society interview published yesterday at Aleteia.

Several of the sisters credited Newman Guide-recommended colleges for helping lead them to their religious vocations, according to the article by the Newman Society’s Kimberly Scharfenberger, titled “From Campus to Convent, Sisters Grateful for Catholic Education.”

The Sisters of St. Cecilia is a Dominican teaching order based in Nashville. The sisters shared how Catholic education played a vital role in leading them to religious life. In particular, they were impacted by the unique opportunities only a Catholic college could provide: a strong foundation in theology and philosophy, encouragement in the spiritual life and positive exposure to various religious orders.


Theology Sets Faithful Catholic Colleges Apart from Secular Education, Say Scholars
9/11/2015
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.


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