Friday, February 12, 2016

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Georgetown Professors Push Abortion and Contraception as Response to Zika
2/5/2016
Two Georgetown University law professors posted an article on a University website this week calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend birth control and abortion as means of responding to the Zika virus outbreak in South America in order to “truly respect the dignity and health of women of childbearing age.”

On Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law blog website, Lawrence O. Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute and university professor at Georgetown, and Alexandra Phelan, an adjunct professor in global health law and doctoral researcher with the O’Neill Institute, published an article Monday titled “The WHO Must Include Access to Birth Control and Abortion in its Temporary Recommendations for Zika-Associated Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”


State Catholic Conferences Push Legislators to Prioritize School Choice Programs
2/4/2016
Representatives of several state Catholic conferences, which communicate the public policy interests of the bishops, recently told The Cardinal Newman Society that Catholic schools rely heavily on supportive school choice programs that enable families to choose a Catholic education for their children, but this support is lacking in many states where school choice is not prioritized or is outright battled due to anti-Catholic legislation.

In states where school choice programs are readily available, enrollment in Catholic schools is thriving, based on comments from state Catholic conference representatives. In other states — crippled by legislatures that prohibit government aid to private schools — Catholic school closures are at an all-time high, parents face the financial difficulty of paying public school taxes and private school tuition, and families are overall less able to choose schools that will academically and morally form their children.


School Choice Crucial in Making Catholic Education Possible for All Families
1/29/2016
This week, as millions of Americans celebrate National School Choice Week, The Cardinal Newman Society interviewed proponents of school choice solutions that support Catholic schools to discuss financial challenges facing Catholic families, and programs that could aid future generations in accessing Catholic education.

In many dioceses, school choice is an increasingly important issue because it allows Catholic schools to maintain affordability and families to choose Catholic education for their children. Without school choice programs, parents are burdened with paying public school taxes and additional tuition if they want their children to attend private schools. This week alone, 16,140 school choice events are taking place across the country, according to the website for National School Choice Week, which includes participation from 13,224 schools and 808 homeschool groups.


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.”


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.


Gloria Steinem Awarded ‘Peace Prize’ for Book Dedicated to Abortionist, Praised by Catholic College Professor
1/14/2016
The pro-abortion Gloria Steinem has “inspired millions” and promotes “peace” with her version of radical feminism according to a philosophy professor at the University of Dayton, a Catholic and Marianist research university in Ohio, who praised Steinem's winning of a "literary peace prize" last month for her latest book, dedicated to the abortionist she obtained an abortion from in 1957.

“Gloria Steinem is a fearless feminist leader who has inspired millions of people to defend their own rights and the rights of others,” Dr. Rebecca Whisnant, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of Dayton, told the University’s student newspaper, Flyer News. “That she is being honored with this award underlines the fact that women’s rights are essential not only in and of themselves, but for peace, security and a livable human future.”


SCOTUS Brief: Catholic Colleges Know What They Believe, Not the Courts
1/13/2016
Catholic colleges and schools, not the government or the courts, should determine whether or not their beliefs have been violated, argued Ave Maria University in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court stating the government’s implementation of the HHS contraception mandate is in clear violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

“Under RFRA, the religious adherent gets to define the nature of his own sincerely held beliefs as well as what constitutes a violation of those beliefs. Hence, the proper question under RFRA is ‘whether the HHS mandate imposes a substantial burden on the ability of the objecting parties to conduct business in accordance with their religious beliefs,’” Ave Maria’s brief stated, citing the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.


Cardinal Wuerl: Firing Employees Opposed to Church Teaching Protects Mission of Catholic Schools
1/11/2016
Catholic schools have “an obligation” to terminate employees who actively oppose Church teaching and whose conduct “undermines the Church’s ability to fulfill her mission,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., recently wrote in a blog post addressing the firing of a Church employee found to be in a same-sex marriage.

“The purpose of our parishes, schools, ministries and other Catholic entities — ‘and the task of those who work for them — is to lead people to Jesus,’” explained Cardinal Wuerl, citing his May 2015 pastoral letterBeing Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge. “That purpose and task is challenged by a secular culture that is in contradiction to traditional concepts of marriage, family, the common good and objective right and wrong.”

In his blog post, Cardinal Wuerl responded to a recent employment issue at a parish in Germantown, Md., where a music minister was terminated after his same-sex marriage was discovered by the pastor.


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.”


Vietnam Bishops: First Catholic University Marks New Era of Educational Freedom
1/1/2016
A new era of educational freedom in Vietnam is coinciding with the Jubilee Year of Mercy, as the country’s first Catholic university will officially open in 2016 after several years of negotiation between the Catholic Church and the Vietnamese government.

“It is a work of mercy that we will carry out in the Holy Year with renewed gratitude towards God and with compassion,” Bishop Dinh Duc Dao, president of the Episcopal Commission for Education, told Vatican Insider.

The University will be inaugurated in January and courses will begin in April.


New Catholic University in Iraq ‘A Way of Fighting Back’ Against ISIS
12/14/2015
Christians in Iraq have suffered great persecution from radical Islamist terror group the Islamic State (ISIS), but a new Catholic university in Erbil — the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan — recently opened its doors to students, and the Archbishop of Erbil said he hopes that its presence will motivate Iraqi Christians to stay in the region and work towards a better future.

“Our beloved Christian community has so many reasons to leave Iraq today,” said Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil to AsiaNews. “This is why this university is a strong motive to stay. We all have a great responsibility to give them reasons to stay.”

In July, Archbishop Warda told the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference that the university was “a way of fighting back against Daesh [Islamic State] and saying we (Christians) are not going to go away,” according to The Catholic Leader. “We’re not leaving, as they wished we would.”


Pope Francis Calls Educators to Dual-Role as Teachers and Witnesses
12/3/2015
Speaking to catechists and teachers in Uganda last week, Pope Francis encouraged the educators to follow the example of Christ and the Ugandan martyrs, stressing that they must teach the faith fearlessly and be witnesses of its truth and power.

“The message you bring will take root all the more firmly in people’s hearts if you are not only a teacher but also a witness,” the Holy Father said, according to Vatican Radio’s translation. “You teach what Jesus taught, you instruct adults and help parents to raise their children in the faith.”

Pope Francis thanked those gathered for their sacrifices and devotion to the essential task of educating children and families, and stressed that teachers reflect Christ in their vocation and are called in their own way to be martyrs. He urged educators to echo the “fearless testimony” of the Ugandan martyrs, 21 companions who along with Saint Charles Lwanga were killed in the 1880s by King Mwanga for teaching the faith and later canonized by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1964.


Did Pope Francis Say ‘Don’t Proselytize’?
11/25/2015
Catholic education, done rightly, is a special and important means of evangelization, the mission of the Church. It brings young people to Christ and provides for the integral formation of mind, body and soul. 

And so, judging from the reaction that I have been hearing from some parents and educators, there is a bit of consternation over Pope Francis’ strong words last week against “proselytism” in Catholic schools. My colleagues from The Cardinal Newman Society who were present for the Holy Father’s conversation with educators — part of the World Congress on Education, a Vatican conference to address the “educational emergency” that leaves young people ignorant of Christ — also noted the Holy Father’s words with some concern.


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.”


Newman Society Reports from Rome: Analysis of Education World Congress Day 2
11/24/2015
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.


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.


Papal Nuncio Calls Jesuit Educators to Re-Affirm Their Catholic Identity
11/17/2015
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 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.”


Bishop Rhoades Challenges Insufficient Planned Parenthood Response from Saint Mary’s College
11/12/2015
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend in Indiana published a strong message this week criticizing the recent support for Planned Parenthood at Saint Mary’s College and the unsatisfactory response by the administration, insisting there’s no excuse for a positive portrayal of Planned Parenthood, “Just as we would be rightly scandalized to see a public display portraying a racist organization like the Ku Klux Klan in a positive light.”

“The actions taken by the students and faculty in support of Planned Parenthood illustrate that even at a Catholic college, there are those who cling to the conviction that Planned Parenthood is an organization dedicated to the well-being of women,” said Bishop Rhoades in hisofficial statement on the diocesan website. “While I do not doubt the sincerity of those who hold this view, I do challenge them to seriously re-examine for what this organization stands in light of our common humanity and our Catholic faith.”


Bishop, Students Fight for Pro-Life Message Following Planned Parenthood Display
11/4/2015
Pro-life students and faculty at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana should be applauded for standing up for their pro-life views in the aftermath of a controversial Planned Parenthood display on campus, Fort Wayne – South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“I am grateful to the pro-life students and faculty at Saint Mary’s College who are standing up for the sacredness of human life and the true dignity of women,” said Bishop Rhoades. “All Catholic colleges are called to live faithfully their Catholic identity and mission, which includes a commitment to the sanctity of life and the true dignity of women. This necessarily includes opposition to Planned Parenthood and its callousness toward women and their unborn children.”


Cardinal Burke: Only Sound Catholic Education Can Transform Our Culture
10/27/2015
In prepared remarks delivered last week in Rome, Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and ecclesiastical advisor to The Cardinal Newman Society, warned parents about the threats to children and to the culture from Catholic schools that “have become the tools of a secular agenda,” stating only a sound Christian education at home and in school can transform the culture. 

“Today, parents must be especially vigilant, for sadly, in some places, schools have become the tools of a secular agenda inimical to the Christian life,” he said. 

These corrupt educational institutions indoctrinate students and cause confusion about the fundamental truths of the Faith, leading children“to their slavery to sin … profound unhappiness, and to the destruction of culture,” said Cardinal Burke. 

He stressed that it is only with the help of a sound Catholic education, both at home and in school, that “children know happiness both during the days of their earthly pilgrimage and eternally at the goal of their pilgrimage which is Heaven.” 

“It is only such an education which can transform our culture,” he said.


Synod Confronts ‘Gender Ideology,’ Threat to Education
10/21/2015
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
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.”


Catholic Colleges Ideal Fit for ‘New Evangelization,’ Scholars Agree
9/24/2015
There is no better place for the mission of the Catholic Church to flourish than in faithful Catholic colleges, according to scholars presenting at The Fidelity and Freedom Symposium at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

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

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


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 Thanks Newman Society, Supporters for Letters
8/27/2015
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone recently sent a letter of thanks to The Cardinal Newman Society and all of the supporters who wrote him in April and May, encouraging his efforts to improve the Catholic identity of schools under the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

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

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


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.


Catholic University of America to Welcome Pope to Campus for Third Time
8/19/2015
Next month, the Holy Father will come to the nation’s capital to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception adjacent to The Catholic University of America (CUA). This is the third time that the University has had the privilege of welcoming a pope.

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

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


Ex Corde Ecclesiae a Roadmap for Catholic College Renewal, Says Franciscan Univ. President
8/13/2015
If Catholic universities truly wish to change the culture, they must embrace the roadmap laid out for them by Saint John Paul II in Ex corde Ecclesiae, said Franciscan University of Steubenville president Father Sean Sheridan, T.O.R., in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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

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


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.


Late Cardinal Played Key Role in Catholic Ed. in Lead-up to Ex corde Ecclesiae
7/29/2015
Cardinal William Baum, one of the principal players in Pope St. John Paul II’s constitution on Catholic higher education, Ex corde Ecclesiae, has passed away at the age of 88 after a long illness, according to Catholic News Service. He died on July 23 in Washington, D.C., at a residence run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

“Cardinal Baum served as the head of the Congregation for Catholic Education during some of the most pivotal years,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “Ex corde Ecclesiae provided Catholic colleges, for the first time, with clear guidelines for maintaining Catholic identity. Even though it continues to challenge the practices at many Catholic institutions, a cadre of faithful Catholic institutions is setting a new standard for Catholic higher education by putting Ex corde into practice.”

Cardinal Baum, who served as the archbishop of Washington, D.C., from 1973 to 1980, died just weeks short of Ex corde’s 25th anniversary. A cardinal for more than 39 years—the longest tenure of any cardinal in U.S. history—he also served as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education from 1980 to 1990, the year Ex corde was promulgated, and then head of the Apostolic Penitentiary until he retired in 2001.


Firing of Teacher in Same-Sex Union Shows ‘Honesty,’ ‘Common Sense,’ Says Archbishop Chaput
7/14/2015
Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M., of Philadelphia yesterday publicly praised a Catholic school which fired a teacher in an eight-year same-sex relationship, saying the school demonstrated “character and common sense at a moment when both seem to be uncommon.”

Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion, Pa., fired its director of education on June 22, after parents noted that she had been legally married in Massachusetts to another woman in 2007. Archbishop Chaput addressed the situation on Monday amid protests against the school’s action by some parents and students, but it was welcomed by Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.

“In usual fashion for Archbishop Chaput, he has stood strong and clearly in defense of the faith and in support of the faithful,” Reilly said. “The Archbishop’s statement is very helpful and will be applauded by Catholic families.”


Catholic Dioceses Nationwide Hold Teachers to Faith and Moral Standards
6/25/2015
In two eye-opening reports, education reform experts at The Cardinal Newman Society have compiled and analyzed employment documents from more than 125 Catholic dioceses in the United States, showing evidence in the Church of a broad and substantial movement toward high standards for Catholic school teachers with regard to faith and morals. 

The two new reports—authored by Dr. Denise Donohue and Dr. Dan Guernsey, deputy director and director respectively of the Society’s K-12 education programs—clearly demonstrate that the several bishops whose updated teacher standards have been reported by news media are not alone in their efforts. Instead, there appears to be a national consensus among Catholic bishops that faith and morals clauses are needed in teacher agreements. 

“The work of these researchers provides valuable support to Archbishop Cordileone and the whole Church,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Not only do these reports dispel false claims that the bishops who are implementing strong teacher standards are out of touch with the rest of the Church, but these reports also will help bishops and school leaders engage in a national conversation about the essential role of faithful Catholic teachers and collaborate in strengthening the Catholic identity of America’s Catholic schools.”


Pope Francis Says Families Should Beware of ‘Strange Ideas,’ ‘Ideological’ Teaching in Schools
6/17/2015
The forecast in Rome on Sunday called for rain, but the only things descending on the Vatican were crowds of families for the opening of the Ecclesial Congress of the Diocese of Rome, where Pope Francis encouraged parents to remember their essential role as the primary educators of their children, making sure to educate them against the cultural ideas destroying the family.

“Yes, it’s true, there is a rain of families in Saint Peter’s Square,” said Pope Francis as he joyfully greeted the crowds. The Holy Father thanked parents for joining him and for their willingness to be examples of the moral and spiritual life for their children. He stated that the educational task of parents is becoming especially difficult in an increasingly relativistic and secular world.


Bishop Ricken: Teaching in Catholic Schools is Vocation Primarily for Catholics
6/11/2015
Teachers at Catholic schools are daily witnesses to Christ and are tasked with integrating the faith into every lesson, said Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wis., in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. Because of the unique responsibilities inherent in teaching, it should be understood as a “vocation” and not a “career” that is primarily for Catholics, he explained.

The interview with Bishop Ricken, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, is the latest in a series of Newman Society conversations with bishops about Catholic education and teachers. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop John Nienstedt, Bishop David O’Connell and Bishop Richard Lennon have each offered their input on this important subject, especially in light of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s courageous efforts in San Francisco to ensure that Catholic teachers understand their pivotal responsibility to witness to the faith.

A teacher’s most important quality is the ability “to integrate the Catholic faith in every discipline and be a life-long learner in the faith and disciplines which he or she is teaching,” Bishop Ricken stated. The teacher should also ideally “be a practicing Catholic, holding at least a Bachelor’s degree and teacher certification, and be capable of using a variety of teaching methods and differentiated instruction.”


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Vatican Secretary of State Warns of ‘Global Emergency for Education’
6/5/2015
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state for the Holy See, continued the Vatican’s warning about a “global emergency for education” at a United Nations event on Wednesday to celebrate the anniversaries of two key documents on Catholic education.  

The conference held at the Paris offices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis, and the 25th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, Ex corde Ecclesiae. In November, the Vatican will again celebrate the documents with a World Congress in Rome.


Archbishop Cordileone: Catholic Schools Must ‘Re-Sharpen’ Focus on Christ, Sacred Liturgy
6/3/2015
Catholic education’s focus on Christ “needs to be re-sharpened” with reverent liturgy, teacher formation and strengthened catechesis, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a public dialogue hosted by The Cardinal Newman Society for Sacra Liturgia USA 2015. 

“Keeping the focus on Christ keeps the focus on what the heart and mission of a Catholic school is,” explained Archbishop Cordileone, who has endured criticism from dissenting groups like Call to Action—and strong support from The Cardinal Newman Society and other faithful Catholics—for his efforts to fortify the Catholic identity of schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. “The heart and the mission of Catholic education is evangelization—to help our young people know and love Christ.” 

Archbishop Cordileone, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage and a member of the Catholic University of America’s board of trustees as well as the International Theological Institute’s governing board, responded to questions from Newman Society President Patrick Reilly on the importance of sacred liturgy to Catholic education. Afterwards, he responded to several questions from participants.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Pope Francis: Parents Should Assert Proper Role as Educators, Not Yield to ‘Experts’
5/21/2015
Pope Francis yesterday made a forceful plea for parents to reassert their role as primary educators of their children, an argument that has great significance for Catholic schools and homeschooling families and puts education in the spotlight as the Church prepares for the World Meeting of Families in September in Philadelphia and the Synod on the Family in October in Rome.

Pope Francis began by expressing his joy at seeing so many families gathered with their children, according to Zenit’s translation of the address. He noted that the “essential characteristic of the family” is its “natural vocation to educate the children so that they grow in responsibility for themselves and for others.” Speaking directly to parents, he encouraged them not to shrink away from this unique and God-given role in education.

“Jesus himself went through family education,” Pope Francis explained. “In this case also, the grace of the life of Christ leads to fulfillment what is inscribed in human nature. How many wonderful examples we have of Christian parents full of human wisdom! They show that a good family education is the spinal cord of humanism.”

Dr. Dan Guernsey, director of K-12 education programs for The Cardinal Newman Society, said that the Holy Father’s recognition of the parents’ special role is important to the Church. “You have to know and love the sheep you shepherd,” Guernsey said. “You have to be with them where they are and lead them to truth in the light of faith. No one knows (or should know) the young sheep better than its mother and father.”


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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