Wednesday, October 07, 2015

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Notre Dame

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

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

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

Catholic Colleges Praised for Supporting Pregnant Students
Catholic colleges dominate a new list of the “best colleges for pregnant and parenting students,” according to a report released today by Students for Life of America (SFLA). 

“Catholic universities are the majority on this list, because they are living out the teachings of the Church, making their campuses friendly to students who are pregnant and parenting and helping them to accept new life and move forward with their education,” said SFLA President Kristan Hawkins in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. “Children are blessings no matter the circumstances that they may have been conceived under,” she said, “and they deserve every chance at life as anyone else.”

Beth Rahal coordinates SFLA’s Pregnant on Campus Initiative, which works to make campuses more accessible and supportive to pregnant women and parents. “We are happy to see so many Catholic colleges and universities on this list,” she told the Newman Society. “They are shining examples of creative ways to change the culture on campuses to welcome and support women in unplanned pregnancies. This is what being pro-life looks like—helping women and their babies.”

Catholic Colleges Should Aspire to Faithfulness, Not Prestige, Says Newman Guide Editor
Catholic colleges need to be concerned with the Church’s standards of excellence rather than the standards of prestige set forth by their secular counterparts, argues The Cardinal Newman Society’s Adam Wilson, director of communications and managing editor of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

His comments echo the arguments of George Weigel, distinguished senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and biographer of Saint John Paul II, who recently argued at First Things that the University of Notre Dame and other Catholic colleges need to stop looking to prominent secular colleges in the Ivy League as models of higher education.

“Catholic colleges don’t need to reinvent the wheel or look to the Ivy Leagues as an example of excellence,” argues Wilson. “The Church has already provided fundamental standards to help them fulfill their Catholic mission. Being Catholic is not an obstacle to excellence or prestige; in fact, being faithfully Catholic is precisely why many colleges are exceptional.”

Atheist Clubs Don’t Belong at Catholic Colleges, Experts Say
As Christian affiliation and Church attendance among young peoplecontinue to decline, Catholic colleges have a unique opportunity to evangelize students on campus and ensure that the Catholic faith is fostered in every student. Yet several Catholic colleges have official student organizations dedicated to atheism or “freethinking,” despite the dangers that such groups might present to students’ faith.

Dr. Douglas Flippen, professor and chairman of philosophy at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., told The Cardinal Newman Society that such clubs conflict with a college’s Catholic identity.

“Any Catholic college or university which admits atheists among its members who have no interest in gaining a Catholic vision of reality, and then allows them to form communities of atheists within the larger community, has simply abandoned the common good peculiar to itself,” Flippen said.

Catholic Education ‘Going to Win’ HHS Mandate Suits, Predicts Becket Fund Attorney
All the evidence suggests that Catholic schools and colleges are going to win their challenges to the Obama administration’s “HHS mandate,” attorney Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty told The Cardinal Newman Society.

In a summary of lawsuits compiled by the Newman Society with information from the Becket Fund, at least 22 Catholic schools and 11 Catholic colleges have challenged the mandate in federal courts. Two of the schools— Pius X Catholic High School in Lincoln, Neb., and Rhodora J. Donahue Academy in Ave Maria, Fla.—are on the Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll of faithful Catholic high schools.

Eight of the colleges are recommended in the Newman Guide, including Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn.; Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Fla.; Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C.; The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio; Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Cal.; University of Dallas, Tex.; and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.

Winning permanent injunctions against enforcement of the HHS mandate is critical to the protection of Catholic schools and colleges and their ability to faithfully live out their Catholic identity and mission, attested Rienzi, who is also an assistant professor at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. Under the current form of the HHS mandate, most Catholic institutions would be forced to facilitate employee access to full insurance coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including some that cause abortion. If schools and colleges are not granted relief from the HHS mandate, they will be subjected to severe fines for not participating.

Status of Catholic Education Challenges to HHS Mandate
As of July 2015, at least 33 Catholic institutions have filed suits challenging the Obama administration’s “HHS mandate,” requiring employer coverage of sterilization and contraceptives (including some that cause abortion) in employee health plans.

In a summary of lawsuits compiled by the Newman Society with information from the Becket Fund, at least 22 Catholic schools and 11 Catholic colleges have challenged the mandate in federal courts. Two of the schools— Pius X Catholic High School in Lincoln, Neb., and Rhodora J. Donahue Academy in Ave Maria, Fla.—are on the Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll of faithful Catholic high schools.

Eight of the colleges are recommended in the Newman Guide, including Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn.; Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Fla.; Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C.; The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio; Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Cal.; University of Dallas, Tex.; and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notre Dame Loses Round in Court, Maybe Due to Compliance with HHS Mandate
It appears that one reason the University of Notre Dame lost its court appeal yesterday—denying the University relief from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate to force employers to include sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacient drugs in employee health plans—is the University’s compliance with the mandate since January.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled two-to-one to deny an immediate religious exemption to the University.

“This marked the first time that a federal appeals court had rejected a claim that the Supreme Court’s ruling last June in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores should shield a non-profit religious organization from any role whatsoever in carrying out the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate,” Lyle Denniston of the SCOTUS blog reported.

Why the difference with Notre Dame? Denniston suggested that the problem may be Notre Dame’s compliance with the HHS mandate, while simultaneously claiming that the mandate would violate its religious freedom.

Knights of Columbus Leader Laments Obama’s False Promise at Notre Dame
After accepting the Evangelium Vitae Medal from the University of Notre Dame last week, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus looked back six years to the University’s scandalous commencement honors for President Barack Obama and boldly criticized the President for failing to keep his promise to protect Americans’ conscience rights by forcing the HHS mandate on religious organizations.

In 2009, pro-life law professor Mary Ann Glendon protested the honors for President Obama by refusing to share the stage with him to accept the Laetare Medal. The Cardinal Newman Society led opposition to Notre Dame’s invitation, together with 83 bishops and more than 367,000 individuals who signed The Cardinal Newman Society’s petition.

During the 2009 address, President Obama acknowledged his support for abortion rights but promised to find common ground with pro-life Catholics, including protections for religious freedom:
Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women. Those are things we can do.
But his promise to protect the freedoms of religious objectors has fallen precipitously short, Anderson lamented last week. In light of the Obama administration’s threats to religious freedom, including the insufficient “accommodations” in the HHS mandate that requires health care coverage for sterilization, contraception and abortifacients, religious freedom is more in danger than ever before.

Notre Dame’s Father Jenkins Joins with Divisive Journalist for Conference on Polarization
The University of Notre Dame has invited divisive journalist Michael Sean Winters to serve on a panel with Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., speaking about—of all things—polarization among Catholics in America.

Winters is a columnist for the heterodox National Catholic Reporter, which its local bishop declared to have no legitimate claim to its “Catholic” label. By his caustic attacks on bishops and lay Catholics, Winters has encouraged divisions between his readers and those who are faithful to the Church.

Winters will join Fr. Jenkins, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, and two academics for a panel headlining the April 27 and 28 conference at Notre Dame, “Polarization in the U.S. Catholic Church: Naming the Wounds, Beginning to Heal.” The panelists will address the question, “How can we heal the division and reestablish the virtues of solidarity, love and humility at the heart of the Christian message?”

“Notre Dame has made a strikingly poor choice of Michael Sean Winters as a panelist alongside Father Jenkins,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Winters’ publication features prominent dissidents and works against Christian unity, and he has used his own columns to attack the Church’s most loyal sons and daughters.”

Prominent CEO Carolyn Woo Speaks Out for Faithful Catholic Education
“When salt loses its flavor, what does it become?”

That’s the question that Dr. Carolyn Woo asks of Catholic colleges, echoing Christ’s warning to believers who allow their faith to become stale. Woo isn’t one of them. Recently, she has had all the zeal of an apostle for faithful Catholic education.

The accomplished educator and nonprofit leader took to the pages of America magazine a few weeks ago to urge the University of Notre Dame to retain its theology requirements for undergraduates, which may be threatened by proposals under consideration as part of the University’s 10-year curriculum review.

“To form leaders of faith, to be the places where the Church does her thinking, to fight against the caricature of God proposed by our secular culture, Catholic universities must offer more than ‘Theology Lite,’” Woo wrote. “In all the efforts to define learning goals for a Catholic university, how about ‘to know God’ as a starter?”

Indiana Protects Religious Freedom, but Does Notre Dame Want the Protection?
A new law recently passed in Indiana could serve as legal protection for the University of Notre Dame if it chooses to reverse its policy of providing employee benefits to same-sex spouses, but it remains unclear whether such a reversal will occur.

Notre Dame’s Compromised Legacy on Life Issues Depends on Faculty, Alumni Say
The University of Notre Dame has had a more-than complicated history with right-to-life issues. The pro-Catholic identity alumni group Sycamore Trust recently observed that the University’s pro-life character depends on ensuring a majority of pro-life faculty on campus, but studies have shown minimal support for the issue among professors.

Notre Dame to Host Former Irish President as Visiting Scholar despite Dissent
As previously reported by The Cardinal Newman Society, while claiming to be Catholic McAleese has suggested that the Church is "in denial over homosexuality" and criticized the Church regarding its teaching on homosexuality and homosexual acts.

Notre Dame Professor Wants Church to Rewrite Teaching on Sexuality and Marriage
The Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality and marriage is “philosophically untenable and theologically unnecessary,” according to Gary Gutting. The Notre Dame philosophy professor is recommending that the Church abandon its teachings on marriage and human sexuality.

Notre Dame Professor Continues to Criticize Pope Francis, Undermine Church Teaching
Candida Moss, a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, recently criticized Pope Francis for calling attention to the destructive potential of “gender theory.” Moss alleged that the Holy Father “consistently sells women down the river.”

Supreme Court Tells Lower Court to Reconsider Notre Dame HHS Mandate Case
Momentum is on the side of religious organizations against the HHS mandate, Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is arguing, in light of the latest U.S. Supreme Court move directing a lower court to reconsider its ruling against the University of Notre Dame.

Notre Dame Hosts Politicians Opposed to Catholic Teaching at Fr. Hesburgh Tribute
The University of Notre Dame invited several politicians to a recent event commemorating the late Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh’s contributions to the University. Unfortunately, several of the politicians have taken public stances opposed to Catholic teaching.

Notre Dame Launches Online Theology Program for Hispanic Catholics
Esther Terry, the program director for Camino, stated in the release that the program’s ultimate goal is to use technology and social communications "to walk with others and lead to an encounter in Christ."

Professor Charles Rice, Who ‘Epitomized All That Is Best’ at Notre Dame, Passes Away
Dr. Charles Rice, emeritus law professor at the University of Notre Dame, passed away on February 25, The Cardinal Newman Society learned in correspondence with law school faculty. Rice impacted many lives and contributed greatly to Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.

Marriage Benefits for Same-Sex Couples Morally Indefensible, Argue Notre Dame Faculty
The recent expansion of employee marriage benefits to same-sex couples at the University of Notre Dame and other Catholic colleges is indefensible and severely compromises the responsibility to provide moral formation to students, argued three Notre Dame professors.

Notre Dame Scandals under Fr. Jenkins Are Rooted in Diminished Catholic Faculty, Alumni Say
Notre Dame alumni spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society to share their reflections on how the University has damaged its Catholic identity and how it can pave a way forward by facilitating an increase in faithful Catholic faculty.

Authentic Masculinity, Femininity in Focus at 10th Annual Edith Stein Conf. at Notre Dame
The project's mission is to address "various issues of gender, sexuality, and human dignity by exploring what it means to be authentic women and men," according to the website.

Notre Dame Trustees Elect Fr. Jenkins to Third Term as President despite Catholic Identity Concerns
The University of Notre Dame recently announced that Father John Jenkins, C.S.C. has been elected by the Board of Trustees to serve a third five-year term as president of the University, despite the many instances of Catholic identity abuse that have occurred during his tenure.

Notre Dame Grads Offer LGBTQ Scholarship, Ask Students about Activism Experience
The two recipients of the new scholarship will receive $2,500 from GALA, but must "identify within the LGBTQ community," according to the scholarship application which can be downloaded from the GALA website.

New Club Seeks to Unite Students in Faith at Three Indiana Catholic Colleges
A new club created by students from Saint Mary’s College in Indiana is seeking to foster a Catholic “tri-campus friendship” by linking students at Saint Mary’s, the University of Notre Dame, and Holy Cross College through Catholic faith support and fellowship.

Faculty Concerns Mount for Notre Dame’s Catholic Curriculum
Several faculty members expressed their concern to the National Catholic Register that theology courses at Notre Dame would not be given priority during the review.

Notre Dame Students Attend 2015 March for Life
Approximately 700 students, faculty, staff, and alumni from the University of Notre Dame are participating in the 42nd annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., today, according to a University news release.

Notre Dame Should Have Canceled ‘White Privilege’ Course, Says Prominent Alumnus
The University of Notre Dame’s spring semester course preparing students for a “white privilege conference”—which features speakers opposed to Church teaching—should have been called off, said William Dempsey, chairman of the Sycamore Trust.

Thanks to Notre Dame, Mario Cuomo’s Speech Became ‘Holy Writ’ for Pro-Choice Catholics
The University of Notre Dame helped to damage the pro-life cause and also provided a valuable resource to pro-abortion Catholics when it hosted late New York governor Mario Cuomo for his infamous speech more than thirty years ago, said William Dempsey, chairman of the Sycamore Trust.

Concerns Remain about Notre Dame ‘Crossroads’ Project, Impact on Catholic Mission
The $400 million project includes the construction of three additional buildings as expansions to the University's football stadium, which some argue is a materialistic detraction from the University's Catholic mission.

Thomas More College ‘Way of Beauty’ Program Alum Wins Architecture Award
An alumnus of the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts “Way of Beauty” program, who also graduated from the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, was recently honored for his architectural design, the Way of Beauty blog reported.

Despite Opposition, Pro-Traditional Marriage Group Marches on at Notre Dame
“Our goal is to develop a well-informed, action-oriented network of students committed to serving the youngest members of our society,” said an officer from a new student group that supports traditional marriage and values at the University of Notre Dame.

Notre Dame Offers Course Preparing Students for Anti-Christian Conference
The University of Notre Dame is offering a course for the upcoming spring semester that includes in-class preparation for a conference with indications of anti-Christian sentiments.

Professors Urge Notre Dame to Fix Broken Core Curriculum
At least a few Notre Dame faculty members have taken the occasion of a ten-year academics review to argue for the improvement of the University’s core curriculum requirement, which one professor said “has deteriorated,” The Irish Rover reported.

Notre Dame Professor Accuses Pope of ‘Crass Chauvinism,’ Alumnus Refutes
Notre Dame professor Candida Moss recently co-wrote an op-ed accusing Pope Francis of “crass chauvinism,” but alumnus Michael Bradley took to the pages of Ethika Politika to challenge her assertions.

Alumni Summarize Catholic Identity Concerns at Notre Dame from Last 18 Months
An organization dedicated to restoring the University of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity recently released a report noting that the past 18 months “have been marked by a battery of increasingly alarming actions” concerning the University's Catholic identity.

Notre Dame Hosts ‘Gender and Childhood’ Conference
A University of Notre Dame conference on “Gender and Childhood” currently taking place includes a broad range of topics in at least 20 panel discussions, but no mention of how the event will integrate Catholic teaching.

Catholic Universities Must Work to Form Catholic Scholars, Says Notre Dame Alumnus
A recent graduate from the University of Notre Dame wrote a piece for Ethika Politika in which he posited that “Catholic scholars must not simply be found, but formed” in order to maintain a university’s Catholic identity.

Notre Dame Prepares for Christmas with Cultural Nativity Scene Pilgrimage on Campus
The University of Notre Dame will be holding a Crèche Pilgrimage on Dec. 7, inviting participants to view and pray at various depictions of the birth of Christ from around the world.

Scott Hahn Recommends Graduate Programs in Theology
Dr. Scott Hahn recently spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society about his recommendations and advice for students considering an advanced degree in theology.

Liberal Arts ‘Crucial’ for Students, Says Duke President at Notre Dame Forum
The liberal arts are “crucial for each student’s education,” Duke University president Richard Brodhead recently stated in a talk given to the University of Notre Dame’s forum on curriculum change, according to The Observer.

Homosexual-Themed Productions Take the Stage at Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s Film, Television, and Theatre Department recently presented two homosexual-themed plays and a movie about same-sex relationships. The production of the plays was hailed as a “testament to progress” for the “LGBTQ community.”

Notre Dame’s ‘Gay in Christ’ Conference Aims for Fidelity, But Speakers Embrace ‘Gay Identity’
A conference today at the University of Notre Dame will address “a pastoral strategy for parishes to be able to receive the gifts of self-identified gay Catholics,” while keeping faithful to Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality—but some speakers’ perspectives on “gay identity” may fall short of true orthodoxy.

Cardinal Müller to Speak at Notre Dame Conference on Poverty
The conference, entitled “Your Light Will Rise in the Darkness: Responding to the Cry of the Poor,” will run from October 30 - November 1 and is reportedly inspired by Pope Francis’ encouragement to give “a voice to the cry of the poor.”

New Fund Helps Catholic Colleges Screen Investments Contrary to Church Teaching
The Cardinal Newman Society recently spoke with Notre Dame’s chief investment officer, Scott Malpass, who is involved in forming a new fund that will manage the endowments of Catholic colleges and foundations.

Knights of Columbus to Receive Notre Dame Award for Pro-Life Efforts
The medal, inspired by Pope St. John Paul II’s papal encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, recognizes pro-life advocacy and “those who have worked to help build a culture of life and respect for the sanctity of life.”

Some Catholic Colleges Have Provided Same-Sex Benefits for Several Years
While Notre Dame is making the headlines for its apparently quick decision to provide employee benefits to “same-sex spouses,” many Catholic colleges have been providing same-sex benefits to varying degrees for years, with some policies in force for almost a decade.

Alumnus Corrects Notre Dame Prof’s Article Claiming ‘Church Makes Life Impossible for Infertile Women’
University of Notre Dame alumnus Michael Bradley wrote a piece for Ethika Politika in response to Notre Dame professor Candida Moss’s recent controversial Slate article. 

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