Wednesday, May 04, 2016

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Strong Catholic Identity

Strong Catholic Identity
Newman Society on EWTN: 'The Catholic University as Witness'
4/29/2016
Patrick Reilly, founder and president of The Cardinal Newman Society, will appear on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) program "Franciscan University Presents" next week to discuss the special witness Catholic colleges and universities are called to give.

Reilly will join the show's host Michael Hernon, vice president of advancement at Franciscan University of Steubenville, and panelists Dr. Regis Martin and Dr. Scott Hahn from the Franciscan University Theology Department for a discussion on “The Catholic University as Witness.”

“A Catholic institution of higher education is a place of learning. But it’s also a place of witness,” the episode description states. ”It’s where young people learn how to know their faith and to live it. It’s also where the culture at large can encounter the wisdom of Christ.”


Special Report: Church Leaders Honored by Faithful Catholic Colleges
4/26/2016
Even while at least 10 Catholic colleges have made scandalous choices for commencement speakers and honorees this year (see our separate roundup), colleges recognized in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College by The Cardinal Newman Society will instead highlight their strong commitment to Catholic education by honoring top leaders in the Church and strong role models for their students.

“If Catholic families want to know which Catholic colleges stand with the Church and which do not, a college’s choice of commencement speaker and other honorees is often a public signal of its priorities and concern for its students’ formation,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “We’re proud of the faithful colleges that are such a necessary contradiction to our wayward institutions, and we’re grateful to our Church leaders for demonstrating their support of faithful Catholic education by their presence on commencement day.”


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.


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.


Sexuality Policy Guide Addresses Urgent Need of Catholic Schools
3/31/2016
To help Catholic schools protect their Catholic identity while compassionately addressing issues of human sexuality — including the sometimes thorny issues of same-sex attraction and gender identity — The Cardinal Newman Society has released a new resource with valuable guidance on forming policies in these areas. Fully consistent with Church teaching, the guide can help schools prevent confusion and even litigation while strengthening their important work of evangelization.

"Human Sexuality Policies for Catholic Schools" was developed by Dr. Denise Donohue and Dr. Dan Guernsey, deputy director and director (respectively) of K-12 programs for the Newman Society. Their work draws partly upon the counsel and policy recommendations of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian organization of top legal experts on religious freedom, and the teaching documents of several popes, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and key Vatican congregations.


On Third Anniversary, Some Highlights of Pope Francis’ Statements on Catholic Education
3/18/2016
Sunday, March 13, marked the three-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ election to the papacy. During his pontificate, the pope has made a number of statements regarding Catholic education, emphasizing parents’ proper role as primary educators of their children, the need for teachers to be authentic witnesses and the dangers of “gender ideology” in education.

Last November during the Vatican’s World Congress on Education, Pope Francis’ comments sparked some concern when he talked about “rigidity” and “proselytism” in Catholic schools. “To educate in a Christian way is not only to engage in catechesis: this is one part,” he said. “It is not only engaging in proselytism — never proselytize in schools! Never!”

That kind of phrasing may “raise some eyebrows” and confuse many American Catholics, wrote Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly soon after the Congress.


Catholic Colleges Must Protect Religious Identity When Bestowing Honors
3/15/2016
When it comes to awarding honorary degrees or choosing commencement speakers, honors bestowed by Catholic colleges and universities that threaten Catholic identity by giving rise to scandal can and should be avoided, representatives of faithful Catholic colleges told The Cardinal Newman Society.

Last week, the University of Notre Dame received heavy criticism when it announced that it would award its 2016 Laetare Medal to pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden, who while publicly affirming his Catholic faith has failed to allow it to influence his policies and stances on human life issues. The honor, which is meant for those “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity,” has resurrected debate surrounding the University’s previous invitation and honorary doctorate awarded to President Obama at the University’s commencement in 2009.


Newman Society’s Wilson Questions Whether Catholic Colleges Have Lost Understanding of Chastity
3/7/2016
Given the growing concern about the “hook-up” culture and sexual assault on college campuses, Catholic colleges and universities need to remember their duty in promoting visitation and dorm policies that encourage chastity and the well-being of all students, said Adam Wilson, The Cardinal Newman Society’s director of communications and managing editor of The Newman Guide, in a recent interview on the Son Rise Morning Show.

“Catholic universities in great part have lost a sense of their duty to help students live out chastity on campus,” he said, speaking on the Newman Society’s recent visitation report. “There are lots of studies out there that have established the hook-up culture as a major problem on American campuses. Some studies have even shown that Catholic colleges are not immune to this problem. In fact, some of them are just as bad as your mainstream secular campuses.”


Students Speak: Policies Prohibiting Opposite-Sex Dorm Visitation Help Students Grow in Virtue
3/3/2016
Several current students from institutions recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College that prohibit opposite-sex visitation in student residences shared with The Cardinal Newman Society that these policies have a lasting impact on the student culture, cultivating a college environment that supports healthy friendships and encourages students to grow in virtue.

The Newman Society’s recent report on visitation policies at residential Catholic colleges in the U.S. found that the vast majority allow opposite-sex visitation between students in dormitory buildings with few restrictions. Only nine institutions, eight of which are recommended in The Newman Guide, completely prohibit opposite-sex visitation, except for occasional open-house events under close supervision.


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.”


Three New Classical Schools to Open Using Chesterton Academy’s Catholic Curriculum
2/29/2016
The classical curriculum of Chesterton Academy — a 2014 School of Excellence on The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll— has captivated the attention of parents and educators, leading to an influx of new schools adopting the curriculum across the country. This fall, the Chesterton Academy model will be implemented at three new locations in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

“The classical model is appealing for the simple reason that truth, beauty and goodness are appealing, and these three things are missing from too many schools today,” Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society and co-founder of Chesterton Academy, told the Newman Society. “Our formula is an integrated classical curriculum infused with the Catholic faith and a very pro-family philosophy.”


Newman Institute in Nebraska Seeks to Satisfy Students Hungry for Truth
2/24/2016
Young people today are hungering for the truth and meaning that a strong Catholic liberal arts education can provide, and so the Diocese of Lincoln decided to help college students with a new apostolate that brings the education to them, Dr. John Freeh, newly-appointeddirector of the Newman Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture in Lincoln, Neb., told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“Young people everywhere are seeking answers to the problems and challenges of life,” said Freeh. “This is the hallmark of all genuine education, that seeking after truth which does not rest in anything less. This search for truth — the truth about God, about man, about society — is the foundation of the Newman Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture.”


Catholic Liberal Arts College in UK Continues Newman-Inspired Mission, Hosts Unique Summer Program
2/24/2016
Benedictus College in London — a Catholic liberal arts college inspired by the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman — is planning its third annual residential summer school program for students aged 17-25, giving them access to liberal arts formation that is otherwise hard to come by in the United Kingdom, the College’s director told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“This program is unique for liberal arts students as it gives equal weight to material and to intellectual culture, looking at the classical and Catholic tradition across the visual arts and architecture as well as through its philosophical, theological and literary texts,” said Dr. Clare Hornsby, director of Benedictus College. “Students will gain a richness of insight into the culture and contexts out of which these cultures grew, all taking place in London.”


Cardinal Burke Speaks at Newman Guide Colleges on Catholic Education’s Impact on the Culture and Family
2/24/2016
Cardinal Raymond Burke has been very outspoken in recent months about the importance of Catholic education in building a strong family culture, and he’s scheduled to give another address on Catholic education and the family this April at The Newman Guide-recommended Northeast Catholic College in New Hampshire.

From the event description: “Northeast Catholic College is pleased to announce that His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke will visit the college on April 4, 2016. His Eminence currently serves as the Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and previously served as the Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.” Following a Mass celebrating the Solemnity of the Annunciation and other events during the day, Cardinal Burke will give an evening address at the College on the theme “Renewing the Family and Catholic Education.”


Single-Sex Dorms, Culture of Chastity Needed to Discern Marriage in College, Say Notre Dame Students
2/23/2016
Part of the joy of attending a Catholic college is the opportunity to discern a possible call to marriage and family life, but students at the University of Notre Dame told The Cardinal Newman Society that colleges must make sure their dorm and visitation policies facilitate a vibrant and chaste Catholic environment to make discerning that call possible.

The Newman Society released a report this week entitled “Visitation Policies at U.S. Catholic Colleges and Universities” that reviewed the policies regulating student visitation at the 191 residential Catholic colleges in the United States. In an effort to gather feedback on the positives and negatives of these policies and where students think they can be improved, the Newman Society spoke with several students who attended last month’s Edith Stein Project Conference at Notre Dame.


Prohibiting Opposite-Sex Dorm Visitation Promotes Chastity, Authentically Catholic Campus Culture
2/23/2016
A new Cardinal Newman Society report released this week on visitation policies at residential Catholic colleges in the U.S. found that only nine out of 192 colleges prohibit opposite-sex visitation between students in dorm buildings on the weekends, and only 11 colleges have such a policy for weekday nights. These visitation policies are considered a crucial component of the institutions’ Catholic identities, according to representatives from three of the colleges, by strengthening the college community and fostering mutual respect among students.

“These colleges demonstrate that a culture that promotes chastity can be achieved with appropriate dorm policies as well as educational efforts,” wrote Adam Wilson, author of the report and managing editor of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, in Crisis Magazine on Tuesday.


Student-Led Conference at Franciscan to Address the ‘Vocation of Woman’
2/17/2016
An upcoming conference at Newman Guide-recommended Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio will shed light on the unique vocation of women in the 21st century, and the conference’s student organizer told The Cardinal Newman Society that this conversation is increasingly necessary in a culture misled by relativism and radical feminism.

The conference, “Woman: Gift in Culture and Church,” is sponsored by Franciscan and is student-facilitated. The event aims to “cultivate an increased awareness of the vocation of woman in the areas of family, society and culture.” Participants will explore Church teaching and how to respond to “the question of how a Catholic woman of the twenty-first century is called to participate in the temporal order,” according to the conference’s vision statement.


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

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

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


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

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


Notre Dame Students Seek to Reclaim Marriage Debate in Face of Cultural Challenges
2/9/2016
University of Notre Dame students who attended and spoke at last week’s Edith Stein Project conference told The Cardinal Newman Society that they are equipping themselves to defend the Church’s teaching on marriage and human sexuality, an area particularly critical in a culture that has forgotten the true blessings of marriage in favor of a casual “hook-up” mentality.

“The annual Edith Stein Project conference examines the issues of sexuality, identity and human dignity through the lens of Church teaching in a way that is applicable to the average college student,” Alexandra DeSanctis, one of the student organizers of the conference, told the Newman Society.

The conference “is intended to bring insight on specific challenges we young people face and equip Catholic students to bring the truth to those around us,” she said. “Having a solid foundation in the truth is absolutely necessary if we are to spread the joy of our faith to others.”


Education Programs at Newman Guide Colleges Place Premium on Moral Teacher Formation
2/4/2016
The Catholic Church has repeatedly stressed the critical evangelizing responsibility that educators have in teaching and witnessing the faith to their students, and institutions recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College have made this responsibility a priority in their education programs.

At Ave Maria University (AMU) in Ave Maria, Fla., students majoring in education are given all the tools they need to “engage in the integral formation of the human person by developing each student’s physical, moral, spiritual and intellectual gifts in harmony,” said Dr. Dan Guernsey, chair of the University’s education department and director of The Cardinal Newman Society’s K-12 programs.


Catholic Colleges and Schools Take Active Role in Struggle Against Pornography
2/4/2016
Recognizing the “widespread problem of pornography in our culture today,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recentlypublished their formal statement “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” which calls on teachers, religious educators and others who work with young people to “create an environment suitable for learning chastity” and to be “vigilant over technological access” to pornography. The Cardinal Newman Society spoke with several faithful Catholic colleges and schools about how they are responding to the bishops’ call.

The U.S. bishops make it clear in their statement that pornography is “a grave sin against human dignity” that “dehumanizes the persons depicted” as sexual objects. Pornography use “also has direct connections with sins such as adultery, domestic violence, the abuse of children in child pornography, and sex trafficking,” according to the bishops. “It also can be implicated in contraception use and abortion, given that it promotes and even celebrates promiscuity and a view of sexuality devoid of love or openness to new life.”


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.


Faithful Catholic Educators Echo Pope’s Words, Build Schools Around the Eucharist
2/3/2016
While many Catholic schools can boast about their academics, a truly faithful Catholic education is one that sees the school as centered on the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, and knows that its purpose is to lead its students to heaven, educators from Schools of Excellence on The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll shared in interviews.

“The most important purpose of a Catholic school is to bring the students closer to Jesus Christ so that they can live out their Catholic faith in the world and attain eternal life,” Dr. Anne Carroll, principal of Seton School in Manassas, Va., told the Newman Society. “The closest a person can get to Jesus Christ in this life is in the Eucharist. For a school to be truly Catholic, it is therefore very important that the school offer the students frequent opportunities to attend Mass, receive the Eucharist and make visits to the Blessed Sacrament.”


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.”


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.


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

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

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


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

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

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


New University Seeks to Bring ‘Divine Mercy’ and Healing to the Culture
1/15/2016
In a new effort to bring healing and mercy to those suffering and in need, the Institute of Psychological Sciences (IPS) in Arlington, Va., recently launched a new online graduate degree program in counseling and has expanded to become Divine Mercy University, Director of Communications Jessie Tappel told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“In choosing the name Divine Mercy University, and providentially launching during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we were looking for a name that fits with our mission,” Tappel said. “We wanted a way to describe the response necessary in a wounded world. It is important with our Catholic identity that we communicate our mission in the name of our university.”


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

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


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.”


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


‘No Child Left Behind’ Replacement ‘Great News’ for Catholic Schools
12/11/2015
President Barack Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on Thursday, overhauling the No Child Left Behind legislation of 2002 that expanded the federal government’s influence in local education — a move that is “great news” for Catholic schools said The Cardinal Newman Society’s Dr. Dan Guernsey.

“Any time we can get the federal government to back off, even a little bit, from education, that is a good thing. Education belongs, under the principle of subsidiarity, as close to the parents and community as possible,” Guernsey, director of the Newman Society’s K-12 programs, said in an interview with EWTN News Nightly on Thursday night. “Especially that they are backing off of testing is great news for us.”


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


Regina Academies Announces New Education Track Amid Increasing Demand for Classical Education
12/3/2015
A new classical education track called the Regina Chesterton Academy at Cardinal O’Hara High School was recently announced as the fifth venture of the Regina Academies, a group of Catholic classical schools that have seen great success in Pennsylvania and indicate a growing demand for classical models in K-12 education.

“The classical model of education is once again rising and flourishing across the country as a vibrant trend in Catholic education,” said James Growdon, executive director of the Regina Academies, in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. “It is being remembered and pressed into action as a preferred antidote to the failed educational experiments of the last seventy-five years.”


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.


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

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


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

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

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


New Chicago Superintendent of Catholic Schools Puts Faithful Identity at Forefront of Mission
11/12/2015
For the new superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago, a faithful Catholic identity is the most important element of any Catholic school and should be given top priority.

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago announced Dr. Jim Rigg as the appointed superintendent of Catholic Schools for Chicago in August. Rigg, who began his new position in October, spoke to The Cardinal Newman Society about his plans for helping the archdiocese foster and nourish its schools and students.

“Our children are growing up in a world that is increasingly filled with confusing and conflicting messages,” he said.


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

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

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


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

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

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


Educators: Common Core Standards Incompatible with Catholic Education
11/5/2015
Administrators from Schools of Excellence on The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll recently told the Newman Society that Common Core State Standards pose a significant conflict to Catholic curricula, and found the standards severely wanting in crucial areas of faithful Catholic education such as intellectual and moral formation.

“Regardless of the standards employed, Catholic identity must be at the core of instruction and pedagogy, implemented by faithful administrators and teachers who understand the importance of their role in the formation of students,” Jamie Arthur, senior fellow and manager of the Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll, pointed out.

The Newman Society has documented numerous concerns about the controversial Common Core State Standards through its Catholic is Our Core program.


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

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


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