Tuesday, December 01, 2015

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Catholic Education Daily

Catholic Education Daily Articles


Notre Dame Curriculum Committee Insists Theology Critical to Catholic Identity
Following much discussion last year over whether Notre Dame would reduce its theology requirement from two courses to one, the committee in charge of the ten-year core curriculum review has advised that its theology courses are too essential to the University’s Catholic identity to be reduced, according to the draft report released on Monday.

“In placing theology at the core of its Catholic liberal arts education, Notre Dame is not merely adding another discipline to the existing educational paradigm. Instead, it embraces a paradigm of the intellectual life that posits the complementarity of faith and reason,” stated the review committee’s initial draft report.

The current review process, which began in August 2014, is comprised of a 13-member committee charged with studying the core curriculum and recommending possible changes.

Newman Society’s Guernsey Reflects on World Congress with Educators, Pope Francis
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.”

Catholic Education ‘Still Worth Fighting For,’ Says World Congress Presenter
Catholic educators should be encouraged by the commitment and passion shown at the Vatican's recent World Congress for education, Michael Van Hecke, president of the Catholic Textbook Project, told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview conducted last week from Castel Gandalfo where the event was held.

The value and worth of Catholic education was edified by the central themes of the Congress, particularly the Christocentric approach to education, said Van Hecke, who was invited to speak at the “Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion” Congress and who also serves as headmaster of a Newman Society Honor Roll school, Saint Augustine Academy, in Ventura, Calif.

“Two things struck me particularly. One was the real commitment and passion by virtually every speaker about the importance of really making sure everybody keeps Christ in Catholic education, and [two] that Catholic education is still worth fighting for,” he told the Newman Society.

Universities Will Find Success in Faithful Teacher Formation, Curriculum, Says Congress Presenter
Teacher formation and a strong, value-oriented curriculum are critical to the success of good Catholic universities, especially in a culture that can be exceedingly motivated by self-interest, Dr. Alfonso Sánchez-Tabernero, rector of the University of Navarra in Spain, told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview conducted during the recent World Congress, “Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion,” in Rome.

“In a Catholic university we are supposed to be also good Catholic professors, so why not emphasize the need to explain, to know and to live his or her faith,” Sánchez-Tabernero told the Newman Society.

As one of the presenters during the University sessions of the World Congress hosted by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education last week, Sánchez-Tabernero spoke on the need to train faculty and offer continued faith formation as professors rise through the ranks of a university.

Notre Dame Professor Forced to Leave Project Aimed at Faithful Catholic Education
In an unexpected turn of events, University of Notre Dame professor Father Bill Miscamble, C.S.C., has been forced to disassociate himself with a new project recommending Notre Dame professors supportive of the University’s Catholic identity and mission, an unfortunate development which reflects poorly on the University, William Dempsey, chairman of the Notre Dame alumni group Sycamore Trust, told The Cardinal Newman Society.

Earlier this month, Fr. Miscamble helped unveil NDCatholic.com, a website which gives detailed recommendations to students who are seeking an authentic Catholic education during their time at Notre Dame. The website currently features profiles of approximately 100 faculty in the College of Arts and Letters, but as of last week will no longer feature contributions from Fr. Miscamble, a respected and tenured professor of history at Notre Dame.

Newman Society Reports From Rome: Analysis of Education World Congress Day 3
Dr. Guernsey, Mr. Laird and other representatives of The Cardinal Newman Society were in Rome for the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education’s “Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion” World Congress. Here they reflect on the third day of the Congress, reporting from Castel Gandolfo overlooking Lake Albano in Italy.

“When we reflect back on Gravissimum [Educationis], very clearly it states that the teachers are almost entirely responsible for the fulfillment of the mission of a Catholic school. They are ground zero. They are where the action happens, and so we need to make sure our teachers have special qualities of mind and heart. And Gravissimum goes on to encourage the teachers to let them know how important it is, and how important that they model, both with their lives and their actions, the Gospel.”

Newman Society Reports from Rome: Analysis of Education World Congress Day 2
International presenters at the second day of the World Congress on Catholic Education stressed that “integral formation” of students must be first and foremost in Catholic education, according to The Cardinal Newman Society’s on-site attendees Dan Guernsey and Bob Laird.

“Presentations have almost unanimously recorded the importance of integral formation; forming the entire student — mind, body, soul, spirit — in a rich, Catholic community,” said Guernsey, who is the Newman Society’s director of K-12 education programs.

“This is very important for Catholic schools around the world, but particularly in the United States, where we’re dealing [with] issues with state-sponsored curriculum,” he noted.

Papal Nuncio Calls Jesuit Educators to Re-Affirm Their Catholic Identity
In an address to U.S. bishops gathered in Baltimore this week, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò called on all Jesuits and their respective schools to show “respect to their great tradition” and take the lead in “re-affirming the Catholic identity of their educational institutions.”

“The Society of Jesus has had a long and proud tradition of imparting a rich Catholic faith and a deep love for Christ, which in great part is carried on through their mission of education,” Archbishop Viganò said in his opening address to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) general assembly. “It is my hope that, with respect to their great tradition, after the example of our Holy Father, they [the Jesuits] would take again the lead in re-affirming the Catholic identity of their educational institutions.”

Archbishop Viganò said these educational leaders need to “regain firm command of the helm of their institutions through the storms of the present times,” noting that their actions “must always be set by Christ, never allowing influence and wealth to dictate what might be an improper orientation for a Catholic school or university.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Website Helps Students Find Authentic Catholic Education at Univ. of Notre Dame
In response to numerous concerns from students and parents over the years about the quality of Catholic education at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame history professor Father Bill Miscamble, C.S.C., launched a new project this week, NDCatholic.com, that he told The Cardinal Newman Society will help students find professors supportive of the University’s Catholic mission and an authentic Catholic education.

“I want to encourage serious Catholic students to attend Notre Dame. But they should come here with a clear-headed recognition that they must be very intentional in choosing their teachers and courses,” Fr. Miscamble said. “If they do so, they will find an education that allows them to face deep questions of meaning and serves to deepen and enrich their Catholic faith.”

The website, which is in its beginning stages, features profiles of approximately 100 faculty in the College of Arts and Letters personally recommended by Fr. Miscamble for their supportof the University’s Catholic mission. Fr. Miscamble hopes to expand the website soon to include the faculty from the other colleges including business, science, engineering and architecture.

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

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

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

Fire Theologians, Not Columnists
There is more than irony in the recent attempt by several theologians to discredit New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, because he dared to write about the tragic confusion surrounding the Synod on the Family without having a theologian’s “professional qualifications.”

There is great desperation in the move — and hypocrisy.

The hypocrisy lies in the demand for credentials, when the field of theology is itself seriously lacking in that regard.

About half of Douthat’s critics are professors of theology at Catholic colleges and universities. Under canon law, they must have the mandatum, a recognition from their local bishop that they pledge to teach in fidelity to Catholic doctrine. But do they? At least a few seem to be headed in the opposite direction.

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

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

Newman Guide Colleges Receive High Marks on Core Curriculum
A number of Catholic colleges and universities recommended in The Cardinal Newman Society’s The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College received high rankings from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) last month in their “What Will They Learn? 2015-16” report that rates colleges on having a “solid core curriculum” for general education.

“What Will They Learn?™ rates each college on how many of seven core subjects the institution (or, in many cases, the Arts & Sciences or Liberal Arts divisions) requires,” according to the report’s ratings criteria. “The subjects are: Composition, Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. Government or History, Economics, Mathematics, and Natural or Physical Science. The grade is based on a detailed examination of the latest publicly-available online course catalogs at the time of review.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catholic Nursing Programs on Frontline of Pro-Life Battle
With many nurses now facing the ethical dilemmas of participating in abortions and assisted suicides or losing their jobs, the nursing profession needs the concerted efforts of Catholic colleges to reinforce the dignity of every human life, Dr. Suzanne Carpenter, a former nursing professor at Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, La., told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

“It is scary to come to the realization that there are nurses in our country who have been told to participate in abortions or lose their jobs,” said Carpenter. “Make no doubt, that unless Catholic colleges with nursing programs on their campuses make the sharing of Catholic teachings a priority, these programs can fall into the confusion of the world.”

Due to the increasing confusion in health care today, it is no wonder nursing students find themselves in these ethical dilemmas, Carpenter pointed out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catholic Education Offers Key Solution to Secularism, Newman Society President Says
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
A unique moral formation program is helping students and teachers to understand virtues in a practical way at hundreds of schools and parishes across the U.S., reinforcing the schools’ Catholic identity.

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

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

Catholic Education: Antidote to ‘Ideological Colonization’ in America
In a recent essay for First Things, we encouraged the Synod of Bishops to promote Catholic education as both an evangelistic opportunity and a cultural antidote to ideological colonization.

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

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

Synod Confronts ‘Gender Ideology,’ Threat to Education
An adiutor, or expert, at the Synod on the Family in Rome says that the growing threat to families from the spread of gender ideology, particularly the danger it poses to all levels of education, has been discussed at length during the Synod.

“[Gender ideology] has enormous implications for Catholic education at every level – including college,” said Dr. John Grabowski in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. Grabowski is a professor of moral theology and ethics at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and an adiutor assisting the Special Secretary and the Relator at the Synod. “The concern about ‘gender ideology’ has been discussed in the Synod, both in the general assembly and in small groups.”

“College students are growing up in a culture that tells them that they are self-creating subjects whose personal reality is constituted by their own perception of their bodies and attractions,” Grabowski noted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Report: Engineering Programs Flourish at Faithful Catholic Colleges
The expansion of faithful Catholic higher education and the growing options for Catholic families are evidenced in the successful and emerging engineering programs at several colleges recommended in The Cardinal Newman Society’s Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

So we decided to take a closer look at these high-demand engineering programs and how they fit with a solid liberal arts formation. We also spoke with several educators at the colleges to learn more about their respective programs and the benefits of pursuing a degree in engineering at a faithful college.

There can be many tough decisions when selecting a college, but having to choose between faithful Catholic education and a degree in engineering should not be one of them, the educators agreed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catholic Scholar Weigel Calls for Repairs to ‘Deficit’ in Catholic Higher Education
The modern Catholic college exists to form and equip students to be missionary disciples and therefore can no longer ignore its responsibility to care for the moral and spiritual well-being of students, according to acclaimed author and theologian George Weigel.

Weigel, author of the Saint John Paul II biography Witness to Hope and distinguished senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., gave this year’s opening lecture at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., during which he addressed the responsibility that Catholic colleges have to faithfully fulfill their mission and purpose.

“The Catholic college and university of the 21st century and the third millennium exists to equip disciples for mission. It exists to deepen the human and intellectual formation of witnesses to Christ,” Weigel told The Cardinal Newman Society in a separate interview. Catholic higher education must be world-transforming, he said.

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

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

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

Spiritual Formation Needed at Catholic Colleges, Says World Meeting of Families Speaker
Catholic colleges need to reconnect with the spiritual and moral roots that once made their education so unique, said Father Dempsey Rosales Acosta in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society leading up to his presentation at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Fr. Dempsey, who is an assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, will present on the topic “Lectio Divina: Praying with Scripture to Connect with the Living God.” His talk will focus on the essential need for prayer within family life—but prayer and a vibrant spiritual life are also needed in higher education, and the World Meeting will be a prime opportunity to remind both families and colleges of this great need, he said.

“To conceive of prayer as an element disconnected or outside of Catholic education at any level would be a grievous mistake. The living connection with God through prayer is what actually gives us the proper reason for everything that we learn and do,” said Fr. Dempsey.

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

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

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

Dominican Sisters Credit Newman Guide Colleges in Preparing for Religious Vocations
In Nashville, Tenn., you can hear more than country music—you can hear appreciation for faithful Catholic colleges emanating from the convent of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, who responded to an exclusive Cardinal Newman Society interview published yesterday at Aleteia.

Several of the sisters credited Newman Guide-recommended colleges for helping lead them to their religious vocations, according to the article by the Newman Society’s Kimberly Scharfenberger, titled “From Campus to Convent, Sisters Grateful for Catholic Education.”

The Sisters of St. Cecilia is a Dominican teaching order based in Nashville. The sisters shared how Catholic education played a vital role in leading them to religious life. In particular, they were impacted by the unique opportunities only a Catholic college could provide: a strong foundation in theology and philosophy, encouragement in the spiritual life and positive exposure to various religious orders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catholic Education ‘Antidote to Hook-up Culture,’ Says World Meeting of Families Speaker
Catholic colleges have the opportunity and crucial responsibility to help students embrace a life of virtue, by providing a faithful liberal arts curriculum that is the perfect counter to the “hook-up culture” and environment of “casual sex” that has become stereotypical of modern college campuses, according to World Meeting of Families speaker Erika Bachiochi.

The Cardinal Newman Society interviewed Bachiochi, a legal scholar specializing in Catholic sexual ethics and Catholic social teaching who will give a presentation titled “No Strings Attached? Responding to the ‘Hook-up’ Culture” at the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. The author of Women, Sex and the Church: A Case for Catholic Teaching and a regular contributor to the Mirror of Justice blog has been described by papal biographer George Weigel as “one of the intellectual leaders of the new Catholic feminism in the United States.”

“The best education a Catholic college can offer is one that is robustly dedicated to the liberal arts tradition,” she said. “This sort of classical training in faith, intellect, will and desire provides both the structure and content for the development of the virtues needed for living a life of sexual integrity.”

Pope Francis Will Find U.S. Catholic Education Struggling, But Many Signs of Hope
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.

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

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

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

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

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

World Meeting of Families Speaker Urges Faithful Catholic Education
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.”

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

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

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

Jesuit University’s Faculty Not Held to Religious Standards, Government Finds
The chain of events stemming from the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) unconstitutional oversight of Catholic colleges has taken a predictable turn, with the latest ruling stating that professors at Seattle University do not perform a religious function within the Jesuit university.

As has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the regional Board’s recent unconstitutional interference into the affairs of Seattle University has exposed Catholic identity concerns. This week, the NLRB upheld its decision that the University is not exempt from federal oversight.

“Traditional assumptions about religious freedom in our country are quickly eroding,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “Strong Catholic identity is now the surest safeguard of this fundamental liberty for Catholic colleges and schools. Those institutions that have sold their religious mission down the river for decades now find themselves in a tight spot, but faithful Catholic colleges and schools have the surest footing to protect their freedom.”

Newman Society Report Reveals Planned Parenthood Ties to Catholic Colleges
The Cardinal Newman Society has published a new report exposing engagement between Catholic colleges and Planned Parenthood, calling on Catholic educators to dissolve any associations with the nation’s largest abortion business and to teach students about the dignity of every human life. 

Prompted by the recent videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s abhorrent practices, including the harvesting and selling of aborted baby body parts, reporters Justin Petrisek and Kimberly Scharfenberger searched Catholic college websites for connections to the abortion giant. The results prove that Planned Parenthood is still a corruptive and powerful force, even on Catholic campuses that claim to uphold Catholic values. 

The report, A More Scandalous Relationship: Catholic Colleges and Planned Parenthood, was summarized in a Crisis Magazine article this week by Petrisek and Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. Several media outlets and Catholic websites have picked up the story, including New Oxford Review, LifeNews.com, Fr. Z’s Blog, Townhall, New Advent, Church Militant and Spirit Daily.

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

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

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

Gates Foundation Gave $1.2 Million to Loyola Marymount for Common Core Events
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.

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