Thursday, November 26, 2015

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Catholic Education Daily

Catholic Education Daily Articles

Strong Catholic Identity

Strong Catholic Identity
Universities Will Find Success in Faithful Teacher Formation, Curriculum, Says Congress Presenter
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”

Faithful Catholic Colleges Lead K-12 Programs to Renewal, Says Scholar
Faithful Catholic colleges are producing a wave of strong Catholic schools across the country, signs of a growing renewal in Catholic education, Dr. Christopher Blum, professor and academic dean of the Augustine Institute, a Catholic graduate school and educational non-profit, told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

“For every one renewed Catholic or Christian college, there are dozens of schools and home-schooled cooperatives staffed by its graduates, men and women who have dedicated themselves to the high task of ordering their work by wisdom,” said Blum in his new book, Rejoicing in the Truth: Wisdom and the Educator’s Craft.

“It is an indisputable fact that where colleges and universities go, high schools and middle schools soon follow,” he said.

New ‘Virtuous Leadership’ MBA Program Counters Crisis in Business Leadership
Catholic colleges have been concerned with the importance of virtue and character since the beginning of the university system, and this is what makes them best equipped to still form strong leaders today, University of Mary president Monsignor James Shea told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview about the launch of the University’s new Virtuous Leadership MBA program this week.

“We know that virtue is indeed something that is missing in American public life and business life. Our culture has become in some senses a breeder of ‘small-souled’ people,” said Msgr. Shea. The virtuous leader however “looks very different from many of those who aspire to or who are in positions of leadership today” because they place their character and greatness at the service of others, he said.

“Hold up any person who aspires to a position of leadership. Hold up a Donald Trump, hold up a Hilary Clinton, and then ask questions about greatness and humility. I think that’s almost an extraordinary litmus test,” Msgr. Shea pointed out.

Dominican Friars Supported in Vocations, Spiritual Formation at Newman Guide Colleges
Friars from the Dominican Province of St. Joseph in Washington, D.C., recently shared their vocation stories with The Cardinal Newman Society and credited much of their spiritual growth and vocational assistance to institutions recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

In recent months, The Cardinal Newman Society has reported on several religious orders with members who graduated from Newman Guide colleges, including the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, the Sisters of Life and the Benedictine Monks of Norcia. Their testimonies indicate that the importance of faithful Catholic education cannot be overstated in producing vocations and moral formation among young people from all walks of life.

Cardinal Burke Urges Genuine Catholic Education to Renew Culture
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.

CUA President: Only Catholic Schools ‘Permeated by Faith’ Are Worth Supporting
Reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis, John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., stated that while Catholic schools “remain an essential tool for Christian education,” they are only worthy of support by the faithful if they are “permeated by faith.”

“Do parents — as the declaration teaches — still have a ‘duty of entrusting their children to Catholic schools wherever and whenever it is possible and of supporting these schools to the best of their ability and of cooperating with them for the education of their children?’” Garvey asked, writing in the National Catholic Register. “I say Yes — with a caveat.”

“When Catholic schools provide a community and a curriculum permeated by faith, they will remain an essential tool for Christian education and are worthy of the support of the faithful,” Garvey wrote.

Benedictine College Takes Marriage and Family Prep to New Heights
For Catholic colleges to truly change the culture, they must become leaders in equipping their students for faithful and strong marriages and families, David Trotter, director of Ministry and Mission at The Newman Guide-recommended Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“A faithful Catholic education communicates the truth and beauty of the reality of love. But many young people today have experienced the dissatisfaction and emptiness from a ‘pleasure-seeking’ love,” said Trotter. “A snap shot of statistics on college aged men and women regarding drug abuse, suicide, binge drinking and sexual assault confirms the importance and urgency for Catholics, especially those involved with higher education, to promote a Culture of Life — one that is rooted in a Love that is self-giving.”

At Benedictine, promoting a Culture of Life begins on campus with student formation and building strong marriages and families.

In Culture Hostile to Marriage, Christendom College Fosters Faithful Unions
Given the current state of marriage in the United States, it is more important now than ever that Catholic colleges continue to communicate the truth and beauty of the Church’s teaching on marriage and family, said Christendom College alumni Jacob and Jessica Meza in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

“The family is meant to be a reflection of God’s love for man,” they said. “It is imperative then that Catholic colleges continue to communicate the beauty of sacrificial, life-giving love in marriage, otherwise our culture will continue to fall further away from understanding God’s love for mankind.”

As the Synod on the Family wraps up its final week in Rome, the Newman Society reached out to several alumni who met their spouses while attending one of the faithful Catholic colleges recommended in The Newman Guide. Across the board, couples noted the incalculable foundation that a strong Catholic education offered them both in their marriage and in starting a family.

Virtue Program Brings Guidance, Moral Formation to Catholic Schools
A unique moral formation program is helping students and teachers to understand virtues in a practical way at hundreds of schools and parishes across the U.S., reinforcing the schools’ Catholic identity.

Sister John Dominic, O.P., a member of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview that she developed the program, “Disciple of Christ: Education in Virtue,” to aid teachers in instructing students on the important role that virtue plays in morality.

“On a scholarly level, there’s been a resurgence of the importance of virtue in living a moral life,” said Sr. John Dominic, who is also the principal of Spiritus Sanctus Academy in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Catholic Education: Antidote to ‘Ideological Colonization’ in America
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
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.”

Christendom College Builds Strong Marriage and Family Life
When it comes to building strong marriages and families, nothing is more important than faithful Catholic education, said Tom McFadden, vice president for enrollment at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va.

Following the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia and with the Synod on the Family currently underway in Rome, the Newman Society spoke with several of the faithful Catholic colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to learn more about their best practices for encouraging faithful families and marriages.

“Many people find their spouse in college. This is a fact. Even if they don’t, the people they meet might influence the type of person they want to meet as a spouse someday,” said McFadden. “Being in the right place, with the right type of people, is important if marriage is something that could be in your future. It is no small thing to get married or choose the religious life, and both are very daunting tasks in themselves.”

Nurturing Faith-Filled Marriages at Mount St. Mary’s University
Marriage is in crisis and on many college campuses young people often lack the foundation they need to appreciate the sacred beauty and responsibility of the vocation of marriage. But Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.—like many of the other colleges recommended in The Newman Guide for strong Catholic identity—actively supports the Church’s vision of marriage through campus ministry initiatives.

Many young people today only “hear of love from a secular perspective,” which fails to “take into consideration the sacrifice and struggle of day-to-day love,” Brendan Johnson, a campus ministry associate at the Mount, told The Cardinal Newman Society. “Most young people simply aren’t aware of the graces offered in the sacrament of matrimony, or even that they can become great saints within this vocation.”

Faithful Campus Life Leads Students to Better Marriages at Franciscan University
Over the years, the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio has watched many relationships which started on campus turn into strong Catholic marriages. The secret to this success is due in large part to the University’s student life efforts to encourage faithful marriages and families, said David Schmiesing, vice president of student life at Franciscan University, in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

Following the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia and with the Synod on the Family currently underway in Rome, the Newman Society spoke with several of the faithful Catholic colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to glean how they are inspiring faithful families and marriages. For Franciscan, strong residence life policies, an emphasis on virtue and the beauty of the Church’s teaching on marriage and family have proved a winning combination.

“Yes, it seems like many of our students do meet here and get married,” said Schmiesing, who oversees the student life department, its 1,600 students in residence halls, athletic programs, presentations and talks given on campus, more than 30 student clubs and other student activities. 

Independent Catholic Schools Association Celebrates 20 Years
The National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS), which promotes faithful Catholic education among its members, celebrated its 20th anniversary this past year. The organization has thrived over the past two decades through its commitment to connecting independent schools across the world and offering support. 

“Our schools share a common vision and mission, which is the salvation of souls and academic excellence,” said Eileen Cubanski, executive director of NAPCIS, in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. “Every decision our schools make is focused on those two goals.”

“Twenty years ago, we saw the number of Catholic homeschooling families and Catholic independent schools growing exponentially,” Cubanski explained. These schools had unique visions for inculcating the Catholic faith to respond to the growing interest.

Sisters of Life Praise Faithful, Pro-Life Catholic Colleges for Nourishing Vocations
A faithful Catholic college’s influence on its students can yield extraordinary fruits, in particular, the knowledge and passion to pursue one’s vocation to religious life—and in the case of a student called to the Sisters of Life, a strong pro-life focus is especially important. That’s what two of the Sisters of Life who graduated from colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College recently told The Cardinal Newman Society.

Sister Agnus Dei, a 2006 alumna of The Catholic University of America (CUA), and Sister Mary Louise Concepta, a 1999 alumna of Franciscan University of Steubenville, shared how their college educations helped form their spiritual lives and nourish their religious vocations.

Philadelphia, Springfield Dioceses Protect Catholic Identity with Parent Agreements
In recent months, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois have released versions of a “family-school agreement,” which they hope will aid in strengthening both Catholic families and the Catholic identity of diocesan schools.

“These types of documents can act as both barriers and gates for entry into the school,” said Dr. Denise Donohue, deputy director of The Cardinal Newman Society’s K-12 education programs. “These types of agreements, which primarily address issues of morality and human sexuality, are quick attempts to address the issue of poorly catechized adult Catholics. They are also proactive attempts to address those who might have underlying agendas.”

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

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

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

Students from Faithful Catholic Colleges Attend, Serve at Papal Events
Several colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College have sent students and staff to Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia to attend events surrounding the visit of Pope Francis to the United States.

Today Pope Francis-watchers gather at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., which has eagerly anticipated the Holy Father’s visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, adjacent to the University. More than 500 students participated in community service activities as part of the University’s “Serve with Francis Day” on September 13. Many academic lectures and discussions have also revolved around Pope Francis’ call to service.

CUA’s School of Architecture and Planning elected two students todesign the altar for today’s papal Mass in the Basilica. And “[t]he liturgical committee is in high gear at the Basilica, preparing the altar, hanging the crucifix, and preparing tens of thousands of communion wafers,” the University reported yesterday.

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

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

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

Why Do Colleges Require the Oath of Fidelity?
At the beginning of a new school year, professors at some of America’s most faithfully Catholic colleges take the Vatican’s Oath of Fidelity to protect against scandal and fortify the colleges’ Catholic identity. It stands in stark contrast to the infidelity and confusion emanating from some other Catholic campuses.

Some colleges—like Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.—ask all faculty members to take the Oath. At least another 14 Catholic colleges require the Oath from their theology professors, and The Catholic University of America (CUA) requires theology professors to have the “canonical mission,” which is necessary for granting pontifical degrees.

But still, among nearly 200 Catholic colleges in the United States, 17 is a minority.  What inspires these uncommon colleges to require the Oath, and are there any real benefits?

“Theology faculty are asked to the take the Oath of Fidelity, so that they become mindful of the fact that they are witnessing, studying, teaching and handing down truth of which they are not the author,” said Dr. Mark Zia, associate professor of theology at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. “Jesus Christ forever remains the Teacher, and both professor and students are his pupils as they respectfully probe the mysteries of salvation.”

Newman Guide Colleges Rated ‘Best Buys’ in 2015 Rankings
Colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College for their strong Catholic identities and academics also rank well in leading secular guides, including the 2015 editions from USA Today and U.S. News and World Report. The publications look at factors such as affordability, freshman retention rates, student loan default rates and student-to-teacher ratios.

“These rankings prove that students can opt for strong, faithful Catholic colleges without sacrificing secular prestige,” said The Cardinal Newman Society’s Adam Wilson, managing editor of The Newman Guide.

“But we caution against placing too much importance on rankings that ignore the most important elements of a truly good education—elements that are the primary criteria forThe Newman Guide,” Wilson added. “All things considered, we believe The Newman Guide colleges are superior to all other options, because of their holistic approach to academics and the integration of faith in their studies and campus life.”

Catholic Scholar Weigel Calls for Repairs to ‘Deficit’ in Catholic Higher Education
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.

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

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

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

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.”

Theology Sets Faithful Catholic Colleges Apart from Secular Education, Say Scholars
Even as students and alumni anxiously await the outcome of the University of Notre Dame’s ten-year curriculum review, amid fears that required theology courses might be reduced, representatives of faithful Catholic colleges in The Newman Guide say that it is theology that sets a Catholic college apart from its secular counterparts.

 “Since theology is the discipline that has been tasked with leading us into greater knowledge and love of God, it would be absurd to omit this most important study in a four-year curriculum at a Catholic institution,” Dr. Mark Zia, associate professor of theology at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., told The Cardinal Newman Society. “A ‘religious studies’ department is not enough; only a theology department will suffice.”

The Church’s constitution on Catholic higher education, Ex corde Ecclesiae, issued by Saint John Paul II in 1990, states that the study of theology “plays a particularly important role” at Catholic colleges and “serves all other disciplines in their search for meaning.” Ex corde Ecclesiae encourages a strong theological curriculum and even requires every Catholic college to “have a faculty, or at least a chair, of theology” in order to help ensure fidelity to Catholic teaching at the college.

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

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

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

New Education Major at Belmont Abbey College Focuses on Moral Formation
A new major at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., will prepare aspiring Catholic school teachers to guide students in moral formation, first and foremost. The Catholic Educational Studies major is distinct from the College’s Elementary Education major, as it focuses specifically on students who want to teach in a Catholic setting, explained the program’s director, Dr. Laura Campbell, in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

Campbell said that the major’s focus on Catholic spiritual formation is necessary in today’s educational world. “Students who desire to teach in a Catholic middle or secondary school or in a Catholic parish need to learn about the mission and vision of Catholic education,” she said. “It is not enough to have attended Catholic schools.”

Facing Supreme Court Decision, Thomas Aquinas College Refuses to Compromise Catholic Beliefs
Last week, Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in Santa Paula, Calif., appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for relief from the “HHS Mandate” with The Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. But should the Court fail to protect their religious freedom, TAC President Dr. Michael F. McLean told The Cardinal Newman Society that his faithful college is prepared to pay significant fines rather than violate its beliefs.

In an interview with the Newman Society, McLean discussed the pressing need for religious freedom from the sterilization and contraceptive mandate, especially for Catholic colleges that wish to maintain their sincerely held religious beliefs.

On August 25, attorneys for TAC submitted a brief to the Supreme Court, urging the Court to take up the College’s case and refuting the government’s latest arguments against exempting the College from the federal mandate. The College explained why it should be exempted from the HHS mandate and any government requirements that would compel it to go against its Catholic identity and mission by facilitating free contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilization coverage for its employees.

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

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

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

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.”

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

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

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

CUA Promotes Marriage, Family Life in Advance of Pope’s Visit
When Pope Francis visits The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., next month on his way to the World Meeting of Families, he will find a university striving like other faithful colleges to teach Catholic wisdom about marriage and sexuality in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges and confronted by a highly secular society that rejects Catholic values.

Father Jude DeAngelo, OFM, chaplain and director of campus ministry at CUA, spoke to The Cardinal Newman Society and discussed the importance of the University’s outreach to students who may be confused in today’s society.

Fr. DeAngelo said that the social issues raised by the Supreme Court decision “are best addressed by the life-giving message of the Gospel through our preaching” and personal ministry to students. “Our chaplains and campus ministers seek out students who have rejected the Church’s teaching and practice for any reason and try to establish supportive relationships,” said Fr. DeAngelo.

Fostering Appreciation for Life Is ‘Essence’ of Faithful Bioethics Degree Programs
In recent years, rapid technological progress has resulted in biomedical breakthroughs that have made it imperative for society to consider human life issues. Several leaders of bioethics programs at Catholic colleges recently told The Cardinal Newman Society that Catholic higher education has a duty to ensure all levels of medical research maintain respect for life as the highest priority.

“A Catholic university and its students are uniquely placed to articulate the reasonableness of the Christian position—which also can be known through reason or natural law—that every human being has an equal and inherent fundamental right to life,” Dr. Patrick Lee, director of the Center for Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville, told the Newman Society.

“The struggle between a culture of death and a culture of life has intensified in the last few decades,” reads the description of the University’s Center for Bioethics. “Bio-medical technological breakthroughs have made possible what was previously only theoretical, forcing humanity to confront questions about human life and dignity.”

Catholic Colleges Must Take Steps to Instill Pro-Life Values on Campus
Tacit acceptance of abortion is being fostered even at some Catholic colleges, as evidenced by The Cardinal Newman Society’s recent report exposing connections between Planned Parenthood and many Catholic colleges. Given the influence Catholic colleges have over students, these institutions need to take the opportunity to instill pro-life values in students, leaders from pro-life campus organizations told the Society.

“It should come naturally to Catholic colleges to support pro-life groups, enabling them to witness to the Church’s teaching on the grave immorality of abortion as well as being a resource for pregnant and parenting students on campus,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America (SFLA), said.

It is imperative for Catholic colleges to spread the pro-life message, as 46% of abortions are performed on college-aged women and “more than 70% of women getting abortions report some kind of religious faith,” Hawkins reported. Additionally, SFLA has found that “79% of Planned Parenthoods are located within 5 miles of a college campus.”

Catholic University of America to Welcome Pope to Campus for Third Time
Next month, the Holy Father will come to the nation’s capital to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception adjacent to The Catholic University of America (CUA). This is the third time that the University has had the privilege of welcoming a pope.

“We are overjoyed that Pope Francis will not only be coming to Washington but will be on the campus of our pontifical University,” President Garvey said on CUA’s website. “I know that it will be a great thrill for our students, faculty, and staff to see the Holy Father and to know that as he looks out over the congregation during the Mass, he will also be seeing the pathways and buildings that members of our community frequent every day on their way to and from class.”

Pope Francis’ impending visit marks an ideal opportunity to reflect on the last papal visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. In 2008, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI visited CUA and presented an address to administrators and educators on the importance of Catholic education.

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

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

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

Academia Desperately Needs Faithful Catholic Teaching, Argues Acclaimed Sociologist
The academic world needs faithful Catholic teaching now more than ever, especially as colleges become firmly entrenched in mainstream secularization, Father Paul Sullins recently told The Cardinal Newman Society. This October, Fr. Sullins will receive an award for his contributions to social science at the Society of Catholic Social Scientists’ (SCSS) annual conference, which shares and produces faithful Catholic scholarship to evangelize the culture. 

“The Catholic academy today is largely secular, with only a nominal connection to the Catholic faith, with the result that serious, faithful Catholic professors often feel isolated and face significant professional and institutional headwinds in their careers,” Fr. Sullins, who is an emeritus professor of sociology at The Catholic University of America, explained. 

This year, the conference will be held at Newman Guide-recommended Franciscan University of Steubenville, which is also the home turf of the SCSS. “Our purpose is to bring Catholic scholarship and social science to the cause of evangelization,” Dr. Stephen Krason, president of the SCSS and political science and legal studies professor at Franciscan University, told the Newman Society.

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

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

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

Faithful Identity Leads to Success for Catholic Schools, Says Newman Society’s Arthur
The best Catholic schools are those that remain true to their purpose and mission, says The Cardinal Newman Society’s Dr. Jamie Arthur, senior fellow and manager of the Catholic Education Honor Roll. That schools remain steadfast in the faith is increasingly important for parents who desire a genuine Catholic education for their children yet find themselves in a society where religious freedom, traditional marriage and the ability for schools to hire according to their mission are all under attack.

One of the latest developments on this front concerns Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s efforts to shore up the Catholic identity of his schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The archbishop has received criticism for adding language in contacts and handbooks which would ensure that teachers cannot publicly oppose Church teaching, but rather assent to authentically hand on the Catholic faith.

‘Be Clear about What You Believe,’ Legal Experts Tell Catholic Colleges, Schools
The first step to protecting the religious freedom of Catholic schools and colleges is to clearly define and enforce their mission and purpose, according to experts recently gathered by the Family Research Council (FRC).

Legal and educational experts took part this week in the FRC’s webinar, “The Court and the Classroom: How the Supreme Court's Redefinition of Marriage Affects Religious Schools.” The event was offered in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which effectively legalized same-sex marriage, and to equip educators with the practical steps needed to defend their religious missions.

Greg Baylor, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), kicked off the event by emphasizing the need for schools to clearly define their missions and their purpose.“ Be consistent and clear about what you believe,” Baylor stated. Many schools might believe that flying under the radar is the way to go in the wake of the Supreme Court decision and ensuing discrimination lawsuits. Catholic schools and colleges should in fact be doing quite the opposite, he said. “Root [your policies] in your theological convictions and then apply them consistently.”

New Catholic College in London Giving Students ‘Closer Relationship’ with Catholic Faith
Benedictus College, a new Catholic college in London inspired by the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman, is continuing to offer a unique liberal arts experience that is unavailable elsewhere in the U.K., The Cardinal Newman Society learned in a recent interview with the director of the college.

The curriculum at Benedictus is unique because it “proposes a deep immersion in the European cultural tradition with exposure at first hand to medieval and early modern art and architecture” as well as great literature in a “fully integrated course,” said Dr. Clare Hornsby, the director of Benedictus. Works of art are taught alongside texts as guides for understanding the culture and forming “a closer relationship with the Catholic faith,” she told The Cardinal Newman Society.

Catholic Colleges Must Listen to Pope Benedict’s Strong Case for Sacred Music, Says Prof.
The availability of well-celebrated liturgy and sacred music should be the norm at all Catholic colleges, not the exception, said Dr. Kurt Poterack, choir director and adjunct professor of music at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va. Poterack spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society regarding Pope Emeritus Benedict’s recent comments on sacred music and what it means for Catholic colleges.

The Pope Emeritus recently received honorary doctorates from the John Paul II Pontifical University of Krakow and from the Academy of Music of Krakow in Poland. The former pontiff took the opportunity to thank the now-saint Pope John Paul II for the profound impact he had in his own spiritual life and also share his own reflections on the benefits of sacred music.

The emphasis on sacred music is certainly something that Catholic colleges should be paying attention to, as it helps students to encounter the living God in liturgy, Poterack stated.

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