Thursday, September 03, 2015

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Catholic Education Daily

Catholic Education Daily Articles

Strong Catholic Identity

Strong Catholic Identity
New Education Major at Belmont Abbey College Focuses on Moral Formation
9/2/2015
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
9/1/2015
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
8/27/2015
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
8/27/2015
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
8/26/2015
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
8/25/2015
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
8/21/2015
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
8/21/2015
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
8/19/2015
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
8/13/2015
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
8/6/2015
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
7/30/2015
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
7/30/2015
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
7/24/2015
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
7/23/2015
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.
7/21/2015
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.


Fidelity’s Triumph over Dissent: Remembering the ‘Coup at Catholic University’
7/17/2015
Students should graduate from Catholic colleges more in love with the Church and the faith than when they first arrived, encouraged Catholic University of America (CUA) President John Garvey. In interviews with The Cardinal Newman Society, Garvey and author Father Peter Mitchell discussed how Catholic colleges lost sight of this fact in the late 1960s, and how Catholic identity is being regained.

Fr. Peter Mitchell’s book, The Coup at Catholic University: The 1968 Revolution in American Catholic Institutions, details the dramatic events that took place at CUA, the nation’s flagship Catholic university, and the unfortunate precedent it set for other Catholic colleges in America during that time. However, in recent years, CUA has returned to its roots and re-strengthened its Catholic identity in many meaningful ways.

“I grew up realizing that there was a lot of dissent in the way the Church’s teaching was taught at a lot of Catholic colleges,” Fr. Mitchell told the Newman Society. The book, he said, was an attempt to uncover that trail and discover what led to the overwhelming dissent still prevalent in so many of today’s Catholic colleges.


Ave Maria Law Professors Fight ‘Ominous’ Trends, See Growing Need for Faithful Lawyers
7/9/2015
Faithful Catholic attorneys and lawmakers are needed now more than ever to defend natural law and Church teaching, said several professors at Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Fla., who are doing just that.“ 

In contemporary American society, the law and the legal profession have become important and sometimes dominant forces in nearly every facet of life and culture,” Eugene Milhizer, dean emeritus at Ave Maria Law, told The Cardinal Newman Society. “As recent Supreme Court decisions demonstrate, the law’s reach includes life issues, marriage and the family.”

This is precisely why faithful legal experts are increasingly needed to address legal matters “from the perspective of the natural law and the Catholic intellectual tradition,” said Milhizer, noting that “this approach has become both counter-cultural and desperately needed.”


Priests Needed in Catholic Schools for Increased Faithfulness
7/7/2015
The priest’s presence in Catholic schools is a crucial component of faithful Catholic education and must be reintegrated for the benefit of young people, especially considering the secular impact on today’s academic environment, argues the organizer of an upcoming seminar on “The Role of the Priest in Today’s Catholic School.”

“The essential role of the priest in Catholic schools used to be considered self-evident,” Father Peter Stravinskas, director of the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF), told The Cardinal Newman Society. “When I was young, every priest in the parish taught a religious course in the local Catholic schools.”

But things have changed, and as Catholic schools began pursuing more secular goals—such as academic excellence, athletic distinction, or conventional college preparation—the priest’s presence has become an afterthought, Fr. Stravinskas lamented.


Professors Say Catholic Colleges Key to Promoting Church Teaching on Marriage, Family
7/2/2015
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage ruling last week, several professors at faithful Catholic colleges told The Cardinal Newman Society that their institutions must serve as bulwarks in defense of marriage and family against an increasingly secularized culture.

Colleges and universities have significant influence over young people, the professors agreed, and are uniquely primed to propagate Church teaching among the nation’s youth. But the situation now faced by proponents of traditional marriage is unprecedented and presents significant challenges.


Newman Society Issues Marriage Statement on Steps of U.S. Supreme Court
7/1/2015
Vice President Bob Laird today issued a Cardinal Newman Society statement on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to press for religious freedom as well as sustained fidelity in Catholic schools and colleges to the truth about marriage. 

LifeSiteNews organized the press conference in response to the Court’s ruling last week in Obergefell v. Hodges, even as the nation prepares to celebrate American independence and the religious freedom upon which America was founded. Laird, the Newman Society’s vice president for program development, issued the following statement.


New CUA Provost Stresses Faithful Catholic Hiring for Universities
6/29/2015
It is imperative for Catholic universities to hire a majority of faithful faculty in order to properly transmit the faith to students, said The Catholic University of America’s (CUA) new provost, Dr. Andrew Abela, to The Cardinal Newman Society in an exclusive interview.

Dr. Abela spoke to the Newman Society about his new position and his perspective on faithful hiring at Catholic institutions. “We do expect our faculty to support the mission of the University to discover and impart the truth through excellence in teaching and research, faithful to the teachings of Christ and the Church,” said Abela.

“It’s important to hire faithful Catholic faculty because we have, as a Catholic university, a certain view of reality laid out in the Apostles’ and Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creeds,” he explained. “We promote this view of the world by hiring professors who share it.”


Sophia Institute Catechizes, Strengthens Catholic School Teachers
6/29/2015
Amid the growing emphasis on Catholic school teacher standards and formation, the Sophia Institute for Teachers is making strides in catechizing and supporting Catholic educators across the country, helping them embrace their vocation as witnesses to Christ.

“Each teacher has a special and irreplaceable role to assist parents in the education of children in their subject area, but most importantly to lead them to joyfully encounter Christ,” Veronica Cruz Burchard, vice president for education programs at the Sophia Institute for Teachers, told the Newman Society.

The Institute has spent the past year running catechetical programs for teachers, hosted in six dioceses across the country. More than 2,500 teachers attended the programs, which are “giving teachers the tools and training they need to develop their students into active and practicing Catholics” as well as “jump-starting their spiritual journey so they will serve as authentic witnesses to Christ.”


Faithful Catholic Education Needed to Reclaim Millennial Generation
6/16/2015
Christian affiliation and church attendance among young people is steadily declining, which makes faithful Catholic education even more essential in reclaiming the “millennial” generation. This connection was recently emphasized by Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Conn., who stated that faithful Catholic communities—such as college campuses—can serve as supportive faith environments which are critical to spiritual formation. 

 In his address during the opening remarks of Sacra Liturgia USA 2015, Bishop Caggiano highlighted the modern disconnect between “spirituality” and “religion.” Society “is changing before our very eyes and is giving a daunting challenge to those who wish to be faithful to the Catholic Church,” he stated.

“It seems to me that however we categorize those challenges, they all have a common root,” summed up through the phrase: “I am spiritual, but I am not religious.” Bishop Caggiano noted that this phrase “haunts” him, as it represents a challenge to “the need for that spiritual search to involve you, or me, or any community of faith.” The “community of believers”—manifested through the Church—is being summarily dismissed by a majority of young people.


Catholic Education Must Reach Beyond Intellect to ‘Majesty of God,’ Says Baylor Univ. Professor
6/11/2015
In Catholic education, students should encounter God not just intellectually but in the liturgical and sacramental life on campus, the wisdom of the saints and the Catholic identity of the college itself, said Dr. Michael Foley, associate professor of patristics at Baylor University and a recent panelist during a Cardinal Newman Society panel discussion on Catholic colleges and the sacred liturgy.

During last Tuesday’s session at Sacra Liturgia USA 2015 in New York City, Dr. Foley, alongside featured panelist Cardinal Raymond Burke, discussed why liturgy is essential for today’s college Catholics. The Newman Society caught up with him afterward for an interview.

“The Faith cannot be reduced to an intellectual exercise, nor can it be equated with social activism or philanthropy,” Dr. Foley told the Newman Society. “It is not enough to make certain that our Catholic youth are well catechized, that they know their Catholic dogma on faith and morals, although that is certainly very important. They need an encounter with the Faith that awakens both their mind and heart to the majesty of God and to the truth of things.”


Chart-Topping Monks Found Vocations, Sacred Music at Newman Guide Colleges
6/11/2015
Far away in Norcia, Italy, a small community of 18 Benedictine monks is topping the music charts with its new album of sacred music—and two of them tell The Cardinal Newman Society that it was at American Newman Guide-recommended colleges where they found the inspiration to pursue religious life and to foster a love of music.

With the conviction that beautiful, sacred music is a powerful tool for evangelization and possesses unique capabilities of attracting the soul to the divine, De Montfort Music recently released the monks’ album honoring the Virgin Mary.

“Music has the ability to reach into all kinds of nooks and crannies in the heart and soul that words may not,” said Monica Fitzgibbons, who manages De Montfort Music with her husband Kevin. “It is an experience of the senses,and it is no surprise that the Psalms, for example, have been an attracting force among many different faiths.”


Bishop Conley Attributes Ordinations to Faithful Catholic Education
6/10/2015
Faithful Catholic families and education are responsible for the growing number of vocations in the United States, according to Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Neb., who recently ordained eight men to the priesthood for his Diocese.

“Today’s ordination is a testament to the Providence of God,” said Bishop Conley in his homily. “It is a testament to families who formed these young men in the faith. It is a testament to our Catholic schools. This is indeed a joyous occasion.”

Bishop Conley is not alone in his admiration for Catholic schools, joining a growing list of bishops who have applauded faithful Catholic education in recent weeks. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul-Minneapolis, Minn.; Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton, N.J.; Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland, Ohio; andBishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Fla., have all shown their support for Catholic education—an issue of increasing importance, given recent attacks against Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s defense of Catholic school identity in San Francisco.


Q&A: Peter Kwasniewski on Sacraments, Curriculum and Moral Formation at Catholic Colleges
6/9/2015
Faithful Catholic colleges have the responsibility and obligation to care for the spiritual and moral well-being of their students, not just their academic well-being, says Dr. Peter Kwasniewksi, professor of theology and philosophy at Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo., and one of the recent panelists during a Cardinal Newman Society panel discussion at Sacra Liturgia USA 2015 in New York City.

During last Tuesday’s session, Dr. Kwasniewski was one of the featured panelists, together with Cardinal Raymond Burke, who discussed why liturgy is essential for today’s college Catholics.

The Newman Society caught up with Dr. Kwasniewski following the conference to ask several follow-up questions on the importance of liturgy, sacraments, curriculum and student life issues at Catholic colleges.


Thousands of Newman Society Supporters Rally Behind Archbishop Cordileone
6/9/2015
Last Wednesday, the embattled Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco was presented more than 7,300 letters of encouragement from Cardinal Newman Society supporters across the country and around the globe. 

Newman Society President Patrick Reilly presented the letters to the Archbishop prior to a luncheon panel on Catholic education at Sacra Liturgia USA 2015 in New York City. The letters filled four three-ring binders to capacity. 

Archbishop Cordileone has made intensive efforts to strengthen the Catholic identity of Catholic schools in San Francisco by asking teachers to uphold moral standards and serves as witnesses to the Catholic faith. For these efforts, he has faced extreme criticism from dissenting groups such as Call to Action. 

But the Archbishop has also earned strong support from faithful Catholics. In April, The Cardinal Newman Society launched a movement tosupport the Archbishop’s efforts to fortify Catholic education by collecting letters and notes of encouragement from members and other Catholics.


Newman Society Panelists Agree, Liturgy Essential to Today’s College Catholics
6/5/2015
Catholic colleges must provide opportunities for students to experience the beautiful and well-celebrated liturgy that they are drawn to, according to a panel of academics at this week’s Sacra Liturgia conference in New York City.

Tuesday’s panel on liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education was hosted by The Cardinal Newman Society and headlined by Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Order of Malta and ecclesiastical advisor to the Newman Society. He was joined by four guest panelists who echoed the Cardinal’s urging for Catholic colleges to expose students to the beauty of properly celebrated liturgy.

The conference brought together over 300 bishops, priests, religious, seminarians, educators, college professors and other lay leaders, and the overarching sentiment was the same: young people desire beauty and truth, and the Church—including Catholic colleges—must not fail provide them with that encounter this time around. The conference was notably populated with many young faces, youth who were brought up through the ranks of faithful Catholic education.


Philly Catholics Celebrate Classical Education as Hope for Families, Religious Freedom
6/4/2015

At the annual “Stand Up for Children” gala hosted by Regina Coeli Academy of Abingdon, Penn., last month, prominent Philadelphia-area Catholics celebrated the impact of Catholic education in defense of religious freedom and the family.

The topic of the family was especially on their minds, as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia anticipates the World Meeting of Families and the arrival of Pope Francis in September.

Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, delivered the keynote address and praised the benefits of classical Catholic education at Regina Coeli Academy.

“My talk today is about hope—and I believe that our reasons for celebrating Regina Coeli Academy today are as much about hope for the future as they are about the lives that were touched even just today, as I watched your teachers witness the love that Christ has for your students,” Reilly said.



Catholic Educators, Pro-Marriage Groups Urge Congress to Protect Tax Exemption
6/3/2015

Today The Cardinal Newman Society and 34 leaders of Catholic schools and colleges joined with a coalition of religious groups led by the Family Research Council (FRC), in a letter urging Congress to protect the tax-exempt status of educational institutions that uphold traditional marriage.

During oral arguments in the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Obama administration seeks the redefinition of marriage, the U.S. Solicitor General suggested that religious colleges and schools could lose their tax-exempt status “if [they] opposed same-sex marriage.”

Rob Schwarzwalder, vice president of policy for the Family Research Council, which organized today’s letter, explained the threat to Christian schools and colleges. If they were to lose their tax-exempt status, the aftermath would be “almost unimaginable,” he told The Cardinal Newman Society, which recruited many Catholic institutions to join the letter. “It would devastate the ability of the Church to function.”



Cardinal Burke: Reverent Liturgy Essential to Catholic College Education
6/2/2015
Properly and beautifully celebrated liturgy is essential to a Catholic college education, said Cardinal Raymond Burke, who headlined today’s Cardinal Newman Society event at Sacra Liturgia USA 2015 in New York City.

“If in Catholic education the ultimate goal is to know Christ as deeply and as profoundly as possible, then it can’t be otherwise,” he said, recalling the wonderful liturgies on Catholic campuses until recent decades. On many Catholic campuses, traditional and reverent liturgy has given way to misguided innovations and musical variations that are thought to appeal to younger audiences.

Cardinal Burke, patron of the Order of Malta and ecclesiastical advisor to the Newman Society, led off a panel discussion on the need for liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education and ways that Catholic colleges can contribute to renewal of the liturgy in parishes and schools. The event was held at St. Catherine of Siena Church in uptown Manhattan as a special part of the Sacra Liturgia conference, which brought hundreds of priests, seminarians and lay people together to celebrate and promote sacred liturgy.

Cardinal Burke encouraged Catholic colleges to expose students to reverent liturgy including the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. “If this is a form of the Roman Rite it should be accessible to the faithful,” he said. 

He recalled his experience when Archbishop of Saint Louis, Mo., where he instructed the seminary to implement courses on the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and begin celebrating it. “And I believe too, at the universities, that there will be a response [to the Extraordinary Form],” he said.


Archbishop Nienstedt Commends Catholic Identity Efforts in San Francisco
6/2/2015
The efforts of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco to fortify Catholic identity were praised by Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul-Minneapolis, Minn., who told The Cardinal Newman Society that proper teacher formation is crucial to Catholic education. 

“Catholic schools must be distinctive in our current culture, and the authentic witness that teachers and administrators can provide is crucial to forming disciples of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Nienstedt said in an interview with the Newman Society last week. “I would commend Archbishop Cordileone for his efforts.” 

Today’s culture has made it increasingly important for teachers to provide “witness” to students and families. Archbishop Nienstedt remarked that “this is not always easy, as teachers are just as susceptible as others to the realities of temptation and sin.” Nevertheless, he stressed that “intentionally striving to live as a witness in word and deed, practicing the natural and supernatural virtues and praying on a regular basis will offer a powerful witness.”


Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Cordileone Headline Newman Society Events at ‘Sacra Liturgia USA’
6/1/2015

Today Sacra Liturgia USA 2015, a sequel to a successful Rome conference on the renewal of sacred liturgy, comes to New York City. The conference includes special sessions with Cardinal Raymond Burke of the Knights of Malta and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who will discuss the importance of sacred liturgy to Catholic education and its influence on the renewal of liturgy throughout the Church.

The luncheons on Tuesday with Cardinal Burke and Wednesday with Archbishop Cordileone are sponsored by The Cardinal Newman Society, which is also a co-sponsor of the conference.

“There is an exciting and much-needed renewal of sacred liturgy in the Church today, and a growing number of faithful Catholic schools and colleges have a key role in it,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Not only can Catholic education teach students appreciation for reverence and the grace received from the Sacraments, but it can prepare graduates to lead the renewal of liturgy in their parishes and dioceses.”



Five Years Since Launch of Common Core, Concerns Remain for Catholic Schools
5/28/2015
Five years after the official release of the Common Core State Standards on June 2, 2010, The Cardinal Newman Society has released two new reports on the experimental reform and remains convinced that the English language arts (ELA) and mathematics standards by themselves are insufficient and even potentially harmful for Catholic schools, which must keep Christ and the Catholic faith as the true core of education.

Even more disconcerting are the many curricula and textbooks that have been labeled “Common Core” but depart from the successful practices and principles of Catholic education, as well as standardized tests adjusted to Common Core standards that have been widely criticized.

“It may at some point be possible to use parts of the Common Core in isolation in Catholic schools,” allows Dr. Dan Guernsey, the Newman Society’s director of K-12 education programs, “but it will be years before we know if it is effective in what it claims to deliver. The first testing on the Common Core just occurred this spring, and we are awaiting first results.”

The Cardinal Newman Society, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and individual bishops have urged Catholic educators to exercise caution with regard to the Common Core, withholding support before it has been thoroughly tested. The Newman Society maintains a website, Catholic Is Our Core, to educate Catholics about the Standards, including the special report, “10 Facts Every Catholic Should Know About the Common Core.”


‘Natural Family Planning’ Course Links Catholic Morals, Medical Expertise at Georgetown
5/28/2015
A course in fertility awareness based methods (FABMs) of natural family planning (NFP) at Georgetown University Medical Center and a resulting organization to inform physicians about NFP/FABMs are two exciting examples of how professors at Catholic institutions can effectively bring Catholic teaching to the medical and scientific world.

The course—one not normally offered to medical students—is leading to increased research and consciousness on the healthful benefits of women and couples utilizing Natural Family Planning as opposed to chemical birth control methods, according to course coordinator Dr. Marguerite Duane. She told The Cardinal Newman Society that the course is making strides in sharing the latest medical research and exposing a growing number of students to the importance of understanding NFP/FABMs.

Titled “Fertility Appreciation Methods in the Learning Years: The FAMILY Planning Selective,” the class was first offered in 2010 and filled to capacity. Since then, it has continued to impact students at the Georgetown Medical Center. 


Teachers ‘Instrumental’ in Developing Students’ Catholic Faith, Says Cleveland’s Bishop Lennon
5/28/2015
Catholic school teachers must be role models of faith and morality for their students to emulate, Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland, Ohio, has told teachers in his Diocese.

In a letter sent to diocesan teachers and administrators and provided to The Cardinal Newman Society by diocesan spokesman Robert Tayek, Bishop Lennon highlighted teachers’ irreplaceable role in inspiring their students to deepen their Catholic faith.

“As a teacher or administrator in a Catholic school, you are engaging a beautiful and uniquely important vocation and ministry of Christ’s Church,” his letter states. “You are instrumental in the development of each and every student as a whole and authentically Catholic person… As such, it is a great honor and privilege to play such a special and important role in the life of the Church through your ministry.”


Bishop Dewane: Families Have ‘Right to Know’ Which Theology Professors Have Mandatum
5/28/2015
If a Catholic college cannot assure that its theology professors are imparting the truths of the faith, then families should look to more faithful Catholic institutions, suggested Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Fla., in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

Sound theology is the heart of Catholic higher education; it helps students direct their learning, explore the beauty of the faith and better understand their relationship with God and the Church. Therefore the Church provides the academic mandatum, an acknowledgment by the local bishop of a “professor’s commitment and responsibility to teach authentic Catholic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to the Church’s magisterium,” according to the U.S. bishops’ guidelines.

Referencing Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Vatican’s constitution on Catholic universities, Bishop Dewane noted that professors who have obtained the mandatum help Catholic colleges fulfill their mission. “It says that Catholicism is present and operative at such institutions. More profoundly, the individual professor evidences that desire to teach in communion, to express what the teachings of the Church are,” he said.


Pope Francis Weighs In On Role of Teachers, Coaches as Witnesses
5/21/2015
Pope Francis last week said that the influence of a Catholic educator “depends more on what he is as a person and the way he lives than what he says,” and even athletics coaches—whom he included as educators—must be “formators” and therefore need their own “solid formation” to prepare forgiving witness to the faith. 

The Pope’s words are especially timely in the United States, as many bishops have been working to better define the Church’s expectations for Catholic school employees, even while some teachers in San Francisco are demanding a right to dissent. 

“[H]ow important it is that a coach be an example of integrity, of coherence, of good judgment, of impartiality, but also of joy of living, of patience, of capacity to esteem and of benevolence to all, especially the most disadvantaged!” Pope Francis stated, according to ZENIT’stranslation. “And how important it is that he be an example of faith!”


Franciscan University Students Defend Life at United Nations
5/19/2015
This past semester, nine students from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio attended a United Nations conference in New York—the Commission on the Status of Women— to defend the sanctity of life and lobby for pro-life causes. Andrew Koehler, a student attendee, spoke to The Cardinal Newman Society about his experience and encouraged other students to actively defend life on their campuses.

Students and at least five adult advisors—two of which are faculty at Franciscan University— attended the conference in order “to persuade UN delegates to address the real needs and concerns of women from the developing world which strongly embrace the principles of Catholic social teaching on marriage and family,” according to a statement from the University, which is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.

“Our presence as youth is so significant,” said Koehler to the Newman Society. “Often, the youth are associated with radical liberal opinions, [while] opponents of pro-life and pro-family positions are often backed by hundreds of employees and millions of dollars.”

“Our stance against them is very much needed,” he stressed.


Catholic Students Prepare for Business Careers, Vocations at Unique Workshop
5/15/2015
With the conviction that a business career can be an important and valuable vocation rooted in Catholic social teaching, the Catholic University of America’s School of Business and Economics and The Cardinal Newman Society co-hosted a “Catholic Business Career Discernment Day” for Catholic college students on May 11.

Students interested in pursuing careers in business were given a chance to hone their networking skills, speak to successful businesspeople, and learn how a business career can be pursued in a faithful Catholic manner. The workshop was attended by students from Ave Maria University, Belmont Abbey College, Catholic University of America (CUA), the College of the Holy Cross, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Thomas Aquinas College, and the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

Newman Society President Patrick Reilly told participants that CUA’s business school was a perfect host and organizer of the event, because of its unique synthesis of faith and business skills, especially in its Master of Science in Business Analysis (MSBA) program for students who did not major in business as undergraduates


Bishop O’Connell: Catholic School Teachers Must Be ‘Recognizably Different,’ Share Catholic Mission
5/13/2015
Catholic schools have a responsibility to bear authentic witness to the faith and be noticeably different from secular schools, said Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton, N.J., in an exclusive interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

“The Catholic school environment, to be authentic and real, demands” that teachers be witnesses to the Catholic faith, said Bishop O’Connell, who as president of The Catholic University of America from 1998 to 2010 did much to strengthen its Catholic identity. “Teachers in Catholic schools should be recognizably different from their secular counterparts.”

The Cardinal Newman Society has been interviewing bishops about Catholic education and the role of teachers, in light of the courageous efforts of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco to ensure that his Catholic school teachers are witnesses to the Catholic faith. Last week Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Newman Society that the purpose of Catholic schools is “to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to all the nations.”

Bishop O’Connell stressed the important role that Catholic teachers play as witnesses to the faith. “Catholic teachers in a Catholic school should be faithful Catholics. Non-Catholics should respect the Church’s teachings and the Catholic environment. No one should publicly advocate contrary to those teachings or the Catholic identity/environment of the Catholic school,” he affirmed.


Vatican to Address ‘Educational Emergency’ at World Congress Marking Key Anniversaries
5/11/2015
Marking the anniversaries of two critical Vatican documents on education, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education is preparing for a World Congress this year to address the growing “educational emergency” in Catholic education.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissium Educationis, issued by Pope Paul VI in 1965, and the 25th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, Ex corde Ecclesiae, issued by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1990.

But while the anniversaries call for celebration of the important mission of Catholic education, the Congregation for Catholic Education plans to discuss some of the more critical concerns in education when its World Congress meets in Rome on November 18-21.

“As part of these celebrations, the Congregation aims to re-energize the Church’s commitment to education, by means of this World Congress,” the Congregation states on its website. “In the years following the Second Vatican Council, the Magisterium has repeatedly spoken of the importance of education, and has also invited the Christian community to play its part in education – particularly in the face of today’s obvious, and often critical, ‘educational emergency.’”


Opinion: Archbishop Cordileone, A Good Shepherd to His Teachers
5/8/2015
Since February, the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Catholic schools have been in the spotlight as Archbishop Cordileone has sought to support and strengthen Catholic schools under his guidance. A part of his effort has been to clarify the expectations of Catholic teachers in his diocese. Toward this end he wanted to ensure that the teachers understood their ministerial role as evangelizers of the Catholic faith and that they were specifically aware of “hot button issues” (most around issues of human sexuality and reproduction) that they should not publicly contradict. These efforts were met with a firestorm of complaint, both from over 75 percent of the high school teachers in his schools, plus the efforts of paid publicists and a full-page open letter to Pope Francis demanding his removal for being “intolerant.” 

This week the Catholic News Agency ran a piece, “San Francisco Archdiocese Praises Teachers, Rejects ‘Inflammatory’ Reports.” In the article, the Archdiocese seeks to emphasize its efforts to listen to the concerns of the teachers and ensure them of their support, its openness to input on these issues, and its assurance that these efforts are not an effort to provide an excuse to fire teachers or pry into their personal lives, and that the archdiocese wants to “heal any rifts that may remain.” This attempt at healing within his flock shows the genuine, forgiving and pastoral heart of this good shepherd. 

Like any good shepherd, he needs to keep all the members of his flock, especially his teachers, safe, secure and flourishing. It is important that they know he loves them, cares for them and respects them so they can better heed his call. He knows what he is doing, loves all his sheep, is well-trained, and has access to specific grace from God to carry out this task. This love also requires speaking the truth to his flock, especially regarding the real dangers surrounding them. It is not hating or shaming the sheep to tell them, “beware there is a cliff over on the left side of the pasture and a pack of wolves on the other side of the fence to the right.”  


Dissident Groups Scheme against Archbishop Cordileone, Catholic Education
5/8/2015
Who are the players opposing Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone?

Catholic dissidents have been opposing the efforts of the San Francisco archbishop to reinforce the Catholic identity of his schools by asking teachers to witness to the Catholic faith, both inside and outside the classroom. But the intentions of Archbishop Cordileone’s critics seem far removed from the best interests of faithful Catholic education.

At the end of April, representatives from Call to Action, DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Catholics for Choice and Human Rights Campaign met in Chicago to strategize how to best oppose Cordileone and other bishops taking similar measures in their dioceses. According to Crux,about 30 participants attended the meeting.

“While trying to portray Archbishop Cordileone as out of touch with San Francisco Catholics, a small band of radical but well-funded organizations from outside the Bay Area is trying to stir up dissent and opposition to a good bishop,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Both their positions and their actions are reprehensible—and ultimately will be unsuccessful in steering the Church away from her own beliefs.”

Call to Action (CTA) claimed that the weekend was an opportunity to meet other groups and discuss “ways to hold our Church accountable to its own teachings” by discussing “working conditions, legal rights and plans for action” for LGBT employees of Catholic schools.No mention was made by CTA, however, about ensuring that Catholic teaching is defended in the classroom and not publicly denounced by its teachers. Instead, the organization is “committed to pushing back against morality clauses and religious exemptions” that protect the identity of Catholic schools.


Commencement Speakers Can Exemplify Colleges’ Catholic Identity
5/6/2015
Every year, Catholic colleges are given a distinctive opportunity in commencement ceremonies to highlight their Catholic identities and missions by selecting commencement speakers who exemplify Christian ideals.

“Honoring faithful Catholic leaders at commencement is an excellent way to signal to graduates what matters most, namely, the importance of carrying the Catholic faith into lives of service to the Church, family and society at large,” said Adam Wilson, managing editor of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, which recognizes colleges for their strong Catholic values.

Commencement speakers and honorees who especially highlight a college’s Catholic identity include Church leaders and lay people who are successful in various careers while standing publicly in support of the Catholic faith. They stand in stark contrast to the scandalous commencement choices at eight Catholic colleges previously identified by The Cardinal Newman Society.


U.S. Bishops’ Leader Says Catholic Schools ‘Exist to Proclaim Good News of Jesus Christ’
5/5/2015
The very purpose of Catholic schools is to witness to Christ, said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, this week in an exclusive statement to The Cardinal Newman Society. 

“Catholic schools exist to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to all the nations,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “Through Catholic school education, students are daily invited to know Jesus personally, to love Him intimately, and to serve Him wholeheartedly. As Pope Francis reminds us in Evangelii Gaudium, ‘the joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.’” 

The question of evangelization—and to what extent Catholic school teachers are expected to uphold the faith both inside and outside the classroom—has been controversial in San Francisco, where dissenting organizations like Call to Action have been provoking opposition to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s changes to a faculty handbook. But other dioceses nationwide also have been working to improve Catholic schools by focusing greater attention on Catholic identity.


Letters to Archbishop Cordileone Show Waves of Global Support
5/1/2015
In just over a week, more than 7,300 notes of encouragement from Catholics in more than 27 countries have flooded in to The Cardinal Newman Society in support of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. The notes praise the San Francisco archbishop for his unyielding efforts to strengthen Catholic identity in his Catholic schools.

The Cardinal Newman Society is gathering all the notes and delivering them to Archbishop Cordileone so that he can know of the continued support for his efforts.

“Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has been working vigorously to strengthen the Catholic identity of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. His sensible and praiseworthy efforts — such as outlining the expected moral conduct for diocesan teachers — have been met with unfair criticism,” the Newman Society states on the support page.

A recent poll by the San Francisco Chronicle showed that 90 percent of people were in favor of the expectations laid out by Archbishop Cordileone. In their messages submitted to the Newman Society, many supporters affirmed that he is simply defending the beliefs of the Catholic Church, assuring that students are well-formed in the faith and reminding teachers of their unique role in handing on the faith to their students.

In addition to notes from lay and religious within the United States, the support has been surprisingly global. Notes have come in from Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Argentina, Columbia, Brazil, Uruguay, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Germany, Italy, Spain, Kenya, the UAE, India, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Guam, the Philippines, China and Australia.


Brave Nuns Stand Up for Catholic Teaching, Says Newman Society’s Guernsey
4/24/2015
It was a brave decision by faithful nuns at Marin Catholic High School in San Francisco to stand up for Catholic teaching, according to Dr. Dan Guernsey, director of K-12 education programs at The Cardinal Newman Society, in his recent op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle.

This type of witness is the action that teachers in the Archdiocese of San Francisco should be lauding, especially as Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone attempts to fortify the Catholic identity of his schools.

“This took courage,” Guernsey said. “The faithful nuns that teach at Marin Catholic High School in the San Francisco archdiocese seek to be full and credible witnesses to Christ and his church, teaching Catholic beliefs and making saints in a culture which too often misunderstands and even opposes these efforts.”

On April 17, students at Marin Catholic, without the approval of the administration, arranged for the school to participate in a “Day of Silence” supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. The sisters noticed students wearing stickers, pledging to remain silent and handing out flyers. Not wanting to violate the school’s mission by appearing to support the agenda, the sisters returned to their convent until the situation was sorted out. Some students and fellow teachers, who failed to recognize the motivation behind the nuns’ exit, were reportedly frustrated with their decision.

“It was not the message about protecting gay and lesbian students from abuse or bullying that concerned them,” Guernsey wrote. “[I]t was the event’s sponsorship by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which works to ‘champion LGBT issues in K-12 education,’ including redefining marriage and opposing religious-freedom protections.”


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