Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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

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

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


Diocese: Catholic School Teachers Have Duty to Be ‘Moral Exemplars’
5/5/2016
Fort Wayne – South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades’ pre-contract document to his diocesan school teachers deserves high praise for emphasizing adherence to Catholic moral teachings both inside and outside the classroom, said Dr. Denise Donohue, deputy director of The Cardinal Newman Society’s K-12 education programs. Donohue added that the well-cited and detailed document is important for the protection of Catholic identity in the diocese’s schools.

The document states that faculty and staff of Catholic schools are not to publicly reject the moral teachings and laws of the Church. And in no way are they to cooperate, take part in or condone practices contrary to those teachings, including same-sex marriage, abortion, assisted suicide, adultery, in vitro fertilization or gender ideology. Additionally, the mission of Catholic schools is not limited to teachers but includes all “administrators, educators, coaches and moderators,” according to the document.

“It’s important in a world where both adults and children are confused about even their male or femaleness for bishops to promulgate teaching documents, especially documents that focus on man’s proper relationships with others, and most especially with God,” said Donohue.


College Students Learn to Battle Catholic Identity Abuses on Campus
4/29/2016
Catholic college students who attended this month’s “Standing Up for Faith & Freedom” seminar in Virginia told The Cardinal Newman Society that not only do they want to see an end to Catholic identity abuses on campuses, but they want to be part of the solution in rebuilding faithful Catholic education across the country.

“Yes, [college students] are fighting an uphill battle,” said Joseph Shaneyfelt, a senior at the Newman Guide-recommended Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. “In a time when political correctness and fear of ‘offending’ people is running rampant on college campuses across the United States, we need to be first and foremost adamant in saying we are Catholic.”


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

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

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


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

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

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


Pope Francis: Sex Education Must Accept ‘Body as It Was Created’
4/8/2016
In his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia released today, Pope Francis addresses sex education for children and adolescents, highlighting the importance of teaching “God’s plan” for human sexuality and marriage. The Holy Father repeats his rejection of a modern “ideology of gender” and says children should be taught to “accept their own body as it was created,” denying “transgender” claims that separate biological sex and gender.

The teachings reaffirm the emphasis of The Cardinal Newman Society’s Human Sexuality Policies for Catholic Schools, released last month to help Catholic educators ensure school policies that promote loving pastoral care and consistent fidelity to Catholic doctrine.


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

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

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


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

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


Catholic High School Cuts Ties With Land’s End for Honoring Pro-Abortion Gloria Steinem
2/26/2016
A Catholic high school dropped apparel company Land’s End as the supplier of its student uniforms this week after the company publicly supported abortion advocate Gloria Steinem, an action which the school could not support given its Catholic identity and its primary duty to “teach and uphold” the Catholic faith in all areas.

“It was an easy decision,” Kristie Wolfe, president and principal of Fr. Tolton Catholic High School in Columbia, Mo., told The Cardinal Newman Society. “We are charged with teaching and upholding the faith. If that’s my job, then I had to act decisively and quickly in the face of such a promotion. I couldn’t, in good conscience, send our families to a company who endorsed and promoted someone whose life work is so contrary to our values.”


Rep. Lipinski: Get Rid of Anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments
2/8/2016
Catholic schools advocate and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) recently introduced a House resolution honoring the outstanding work of Catholic schools across the country, and told The Cardinal Newman Society that he supports getting rid of the discriminatory Blaine Amendments found in many state constitutions that keep families from using public funds to choose a Catholic education.

“I certainly think the Blaine Amendments historically were anti-Catholic amendments. Certainly the namesake, Blaine, was back in the late 19th century playing on nativist sentiments and anti-Catholic sentiments in the country, and I think it would be good to get rid of these amendments on the state level,” Lipinksi told the Newman Society.

“We should not be discriminating against any kind of institution based on their faith, on their religion and on their religious practices,” and getting rid of the Blaine Amendments would certainly help to ensure that, he said. “I love Catholic schools. I loved my experience, and I will do anything I can to help them out,” he later added.


School Begun by Parents Boasts Strong Catholic Identity with All-Lay Faculty
2/3/2016
Mount Royal Academy (MRA) in Sunapee, N.H., one of the Schools of Excellence on The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll, was founded in 1994 with a unique model of offering a faithful Catholic education: a laity-only staff. More than two decades later, the school is thriving and boasts a strong Catholic identity.

“Catholic schools face a great crisis, in that the presence of religious orders in schools has sharply declined,” Ronald Fussell Jr., associate superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Manchester, told the National Catholic Register in a recent article. “It is refreshing to see a school like MRA, which is run entirely by lay educators and leaders, embrace its Catholic identity.”

In 1994, parents in rural New Hampshire were faced with a problem: They wanted a faithful Catholic education for their children, but there were no diocesan schools nearby. So they decided to start one themselves.


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

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


Annual Catholic Classical Schools Conference Sees Continued Growth, Education Renewal
2/1/2016
An upcoming conference for Catholic classical schools, hosted by the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education and the Regina Academies, focuses on the increasing popularity of classical education and serves as a meeting point for like-minded educators eager to join a wave of educational renewal across the country, say conference organizers.

“It’s difficult to be a pioneer in classical education alone,” Dr. Andrew Seeley, executive director of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, told The Cardinal Newman Society, “but when you discover that there are 70 or 80 other institutions around the country doing the same thing, you realize just how widespread this movement has become.”

The conference, “Catholic Classical Schools Conference 2016: The Sacramental Imagination” will run from July 18-21 on the campus of Neumann University in Aston, Penn.


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

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


Honor Roll Schools Bringing Major Student Presence to 2016 March for Life
1/21/2016
Students from faithful Catholic high schools across the country recognized as Schools of Excellence and Honorary Mentions on The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll will travel thousands of miles to the nation’s capital to defend the right to life at the 2016 March for Life, according to testimonies given to the Newman Society.

Beckman Catholic High School in Dyersville, Iowa, will have a presence at the 2016 March for Life for the thirteenth year, sending 46 students, 22 adult chaperones and two faculty members. “There have been abortion issues addressed during this government administration that call us more than ever to be a voice for the unborn,” said Pat Meade, principal of Beckman Catholic.


Gender Identity Policy Adopted for Nebraska School Sports Despite Bishops’ Objections
1/15/2016
Overriding the objections of Nebraska’s Catholic bishops and disregarding the votes of district representatives, the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) Board of Directors adopted a policy on Thursday — that went into effect immediately — allowing high school students to participate in sports based on their preferred gender identity.

“[T]he NSAA Board of Directors, who represent the member schools from the respective districts, voted at their meeting on January 14 by a margin of 6 – 2 to adopt the Gender Participation Policy (GPP),” the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) stated on their website. “The GPP, which is effective immediately, will allow students who can demonstrate a ‘consistent’ gender identity opposite from the sex on their original birth certificate to participate in NSAA sports according to their gender preference.”

Nebraska’s bishops, Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln and Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt of Grand Island, issued a joint statement on Thursday saying they were “dismayed” by the Board’s decision, and called for “every effort” to reverse the new policy.


SCOTUS Brief Against HHS Mandate Defends Catholic Education
1/8/2016
A brief filed today by the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in coordination with The Cardinal Newman Society and six other national religious organizations strongly urged the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the sincerely-held religious beliefs of Catholic universities, colleges and schools by invalidating any directive to provide coverage of sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients in employee health plans as part of Obamacare’s HHS contraception mandate.

The Obama administration’s “HHS Mandate” is the “elephant in the room” threatening faithful Catholic education, said Bob Laird, vice president for program development at the Newman Society. “If our schools can teach the faith and the public good in the classroom but not practice it in the conduct of their own business, then education is merely an ideological shell with no substance.”


Keep ‘Harmful’ Gender Ideology Out of High School Sports, Say Nebraska Bishops
1/6/2016
The bishops of Nebraska issued a warning this week about “harmful” and “deceptive” gender ideology, saying they are strongly opposed to any proposals up for consideration this month by the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) allowing biological male students to participate as females in a girls’ sport and biological female students to participate as males in a boys’ sport.

“Parents have always appreciated school activities as playing a vital role in the mature development of their school age children. It would be unjust to allow a harmful and deceptive gender ideology to shape either what is taught or how activities are conducted in our schools,” wrote Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln and Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt of Grand Island in a joint statement released January 4. “This would certainly have a negative impact on students’ and society’s attitudes towards the fundamental nature of the human person and the family.”


Catholic Education in 150-Year Battle for Religious Freedom
1/5/2016
The anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments and HHS contraception mandate have bookended a 150-year attack on Catholic education and religious freedom and should be overturned immediately so that Catholic universities, colleges and schools can operate according to their mission and the freedoms insured by the U.S. Constitution, said Ave Maria University President Jim Towey in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

“This is a struggle that’s gone on for thousands of years, but for our democracy it’s particularly acute in that we’ve had this history with the Blaine Amendments, with anti-Catholic discrimination, that goes on to this day with the example of the ‘HHS Mandate,’” Towey said.

“One of the reasons Ave Maria University raced to court,” Towey continued, “was because we knew that the Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate was an attack on our religious freedom, and without that you can’t be a Catholic university.”


Opinion: Major Issues We’re Following in Catholic Education in 2016
1/4/2016
The Cardinal Newman Society’s reporting in 2015 highlighted numerous issues — positive and negative — impacting faithful Catholic education in the U.S., and we expect many of these issues to continue trending into 2016.

In the past year, Newman Society reporters covered cultural and institutional threats to faithful Catholic education, including the U.S. Supreme Court marriage ruling, problems with Common Core, Planned Parenthood’s close ties to Catholic colleges, ongoing HHS mandate lawsuits threatening religious freedom and scandalous commencement speakers at Catholic colleges. Yet, many faithful Catholic colleges and schools have responded with vigor to the current challenges and demands of our modern society.

Below, in no particular order, are 10 important issues that we will be following in our news coverage throughout 2016:


Catholic Education ‘Extends God’s Love’ as a Spiritual Work of Mercy
1/4/2016
Catholic professors and teachers have a distinctive calling during this Jubilee Year of Mercy to educate — or “instruct the ignorant” — as a Spiritual Work of Mercy, carried out by offering students the knowledge of God’s created world and fostering the gift of faith, Sister Anne Catherine, O.P., of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“Education is a work of mercy because it extends God’s love in the world,” Sr. Anne Catherine noted. “It is a mercy for teachers to offer their students solid content knowledge and to teach them skills that will help them go forward and take their place in the world.”

But it is especially important “that teachers help students experience wonder in learning about God’s created world and in discovering how deeply they are loved,” she said.


School Choice Threatened by Anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments
12/30/2015
In an interview last night on EWTN News Nightly, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly called attention to the anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments found in many state constitutions that threaten religious freedom and school choice by blocking funds to families who want to send their children to religious schools.

Reilly said it’s “extremely important” for supporters of faithful Catholic education to focus on repealing the Blaine Amendments right now “especially with the push for school choice, and certainly with the secularization in the country.” He noted that in some states “these Blaine Amendments have been used to block any sort of public support that might eventually go to Catholic schools,” such as vouchers and tax credits.


Ruling Against Fontbonne Academy Restricts School’s Freedom to Hire for Mission
12/18/2015
A Catholic school’s freedom to hire according to its mission and ask its teachers and staff to serve as models of the faith has been dealt a significant blow following a court ruling on Wednesday which asserts that the Catholic mission of Fontbonne Academy cannot be extended to include non-teaching positions.

“As an educational institution, Fontbonne retains control over its mission and message. It is not forced to allow Barrett to dilute that message, where he will not be a teacher, minister or spokesman for Fontbonne and has not engaged in public advocacy of same-sex marriage,” Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins wrote in the ruling according to an Associated Press report.

The Cardinal Newman Society previously reported on the Catholic identity concerns such a precedent would pose for hiring policies at other Catholic schools.


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

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

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


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

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


Lawsuit Sparks Debate Over Moral Expectations of Non-Teaching Staff in Catholic Schools
12/3/2015
A lawsuit in Massachusetts is reigniting debate about the responsibilities of non-teaching staff at Catholic schools to uphold the moral principles and serve as models of the faith, raising concerns for the religious freedom of Catholic schools to fire employees whose public statements and actions contradict Church teaching.

On Tuesday, the Norfolk Superior Court heard arguments from both parties in an ongoing legal battle between Fontbonne Academy, an all-girls Catholic school based in Milton, Mass., and Matthew Barret, who was told he could not work at Fontbonne Academy as food services director in July 2013 after the school found out that Barret is in a same-sex marriage.


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

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

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


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

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

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


U.S. Bishops Elect Bishop Murry as New Education Committee Chair
11/18/2015
Bishop George Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio, has been named the new chair for the Committee on Catholic Education by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at its general assembly in Baltimore this week, succeeding Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Neb.

The Committee on Catholic Education guides the educational mission of the Church in the United States at all levels, including elementary, secondary, college and college campus ministry. The Committee also advocates for public policy which supports the teaching of the Church and the educational rights and responsibilities of parents.

Bishop Murry was elected over St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson, who is a canon lawyer and has been chair of the bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, in a final count of 132-106. Bishop Murry will serve as chairman-elect for one year before beginning a three-year term as chairman.


New HHS ‘Gender Identity’ Rule Could Impact Bathroom Use at Catholic Schools
11/16/2015
A proposed federal anti-discrimination rule threatening the religious freedom of health care providers could soon weave its way into Catholic schools and colleges, forcing them to allow students who claim a “gender identity” different than their biological sex to enter restrooms and changing rooms of the opposite sex, and mandating health coverage for abortion and “gender transition” surgeries and therapy, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Jonathan Scruggs told The Cardinal Newman Society.

ADF filed an official comment on Thursday with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding its rule proposed in September that reinterprets and expands a federal ban on sex discrimination in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to include a broader ban on “gender identity” discrimination in health programs.

“The bigger concern for schools is that the Department of Education will begin to promulgate its own rules and attempt to rely on the proposed HHS rule as a means to justify the DOE’s misinterpretation of Title IX,” Scruggs told the Newman Society. “And if that happens, then every school would be forced to allow persons who claim one gender identity into the restrooms and changing rooms designated for the opposite sex.”


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

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

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


World Congress on Education Participant Discusses Hopes, Expectations
11/6/2015
A participant of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education’s upcoming “Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion” World Congress recently told The Cardinal Newman Society that the Congress will likely form solutions to real educational issues, and is a sign of the Church’s interest in renewing Catholic education across the globe.

Richard Greco is one of the educational leaders selected to participate in the World Congress and is also president of The Montfort Academy in Mount Vernon, N.Y., which is recognized as a School of Excellence on the Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll.

“The goal of Catholic education is to, first and foremost, help form souls and to help souls get to Heaven,” Greco told the Newman Society.


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

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

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


Faithful Catholic Colleges Lead K-12 Programs to Renewal, Says Scholar
11/3/2015
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.


CUA President: Only Catholic Schools ‘Permeated by Faith’ Are Worth Supporting
10/27/2015
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.


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

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

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


Virtue Program Brings Guidance, Moral Formation to Catholic Schools
10/22/2015
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
10/22/2015
In a recent essay for First Things, we encouraged the Synod of Bishops to promote Catholic education as both an evangelistic opportunity and a cultural antidote to ideological colonization.

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

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


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

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

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


Philadelphia, Springfield Dioceses Protect Catholic Identity with Parent Agreements
9/28/2015
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.”


Newman Society Laments White House Invitation for Fired Catholic School Teacher
9/23/2015
The special invitation of a fired Catholic school teacher and her same-sex partner to today’s meeting between Pope Francis and President Barack Obama encourages discrimination against Catholic schools and further undermines their religious freedom, said two leaders of The Cardinal Newman Society.

“Today the Holy Father had to plead for religious freedom in a nation that was founded on that very principle,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “Catholic schools and colleges are under assault for refusing to reject Catholic teaching, and for insisting that educators teach and model the Catholic faith. Forcing them to do otherwise would destroy Catholic schools.”

“More than one-fifth of America is Catholic,” Reilly said. “At a time when our human and constitutional right to choose an authentic Catholic education is threatened, it’s offensive that a fired school teacher would be held up as a hero.”


New Book Goes Back to the Basics of Authentic Catholic Education
9/17/2015
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 Education Begins with Family, Says World Meeting of Families Speaker
9/10/2015
Catholic families are the first and best educators of their children when it comes to issues of marriage and family, and they have the opportunity to lay a strong Catholic foundation upon which Catholic schools and colleges can build, said Christendom College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society in advance of his address to the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

O’Donnell, who was appointed by Saint John Paul II as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Family, will speak at the World Meeting on the topic, “Rebuild My Church… and Start from the Foundation: Living as ‘Domestic Church.’” He will focus on the challenges of Christian marriage and family and the central role that the family plays in the evangelization of the modern world.

“Catholic education has to start very early,” said O’Donnell. “It shouldn’t just be at college. It should start in the home through mom and dad.”


Pope Francis Will Find U.S. Catholic Education Struggling, But Many Signs of Hope
9/3/2015
When Pope Francis arrives in the United States on September 22, he will find Catholic education not only in a crisis of truth and faith but also fighting for survival, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly writes in a special issue from Inside The Vatican commemorating the Holy Father’s upcoming visit.

However, the renewal begun by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, is already taking hold in America and offers a new sense of hope for those who desire authentic and faithful Catholic education, Reilly explains.

In his article, “The ‘Crisis of Truth’ (and the Renewal) in American Catholic Education,” Reilly details the struggles in Catholic schools and colleges and the response needed to restore faithful education.


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.


World Meeting of Families Speaker Urges Faithful Catholic Education
8/25/2015
Faithful Catholic education is essential to reclaiming a true understanding of marriage and human sexuality and renewing family life in the United States, according to Dr. John Grabowski, associate professor of moral theology and ethics at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C.

Grabowski will speak on virtue at the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, when the Holy Father visits in September. He has taught moral theology at CUA since 1991, was appointed with his wife to the Pontifical Council for the Family by Pope Benedict XVI, and was recently chosen by Pope Francis to be part of the Synod on the Family in October.

“Education in a Catholic sense always has to be about more than passing on information, it has to be about formation of the person in the life of faith in the life of the Christian community,” said Grabowski. “That means we have to be concerned about how are we forming people in virtue and not simply giving them information and preparing them for careers.”


Gates Foundation Gave $1.2 Million to Loyola Marymount for Common Core Events
8/14/2015
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded a day of Common Core pep rallies across California last month, including a $1.2 million grant to Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles. Both LMU and St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, hosted events to get educators excited about the controversial school standards embraced by many public and Catholic schools.

The Loyola Marymount and St. Mary’s College rallies on July 31, titled “Better Together: California Teachers Summit,” were among 33 coordinated events across the state involving more than 15,000 teachers. They gathered to share best practices and learn how to implement Common Core standards in their schools, amid a lot of glitz and glamor—including video presentations from Harrison Ford, John Hamm and Meryl Streep.

The Summit was not only for public school teachers, and at least some Catholic school teachers were present, according to EdSource.


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.”


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