Tuesday, May 03, 2016

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Special Report: Church Leaders Honored by Faithful Catholic Colleges
4/26/2016
Even while at least 10 Catholic colleges have made scandalous choices for commencement speakers and honorees this year (see our separate roundup), colleges recognized in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College by The Cardinal Newman Society will instead highlight their strong commitment to Catholic education by honoring top leaders in the Church and strong role models for their students.

“If Catholic families want to know which Catholic colleges stand with the Church and which do not, a college’s choice of commencement speaker and other honorees is often a public signal of its priorities and concern for its students’ formation,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “We’re proud of the faithful colleges that are such a necessary contradiction to our wayward institutions, and we’re grateful to our Church leaders for demonstrating their support of faithful Catholic education by their presence on commencement day.”


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

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

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


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

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

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


Catholic Colleges Must ‘Have the Courage’ to Defend Marriage, Says Bishop
4/11/2016
Catholic colleges and universities must gather their courage and defend their Catholic identity and mission from cultural and legal challenges to the Church’s teachings on the nature and truth about marriage, and on sexuality and gender as well, according to Diocese of Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted.

“I think it is very important that we learn how to present the teaching about femininity, masculinity and marriage in as persuasive a way as possible,” he said in an interview with the Newman Guide-recommended Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif. “I think we need always to make an effort to do that because the truth has power within itself. It does not depend on our energy or on anything else; we must simply have the courage to say the truth. It has its own inner power.”

“In the coming years, our institutions — and we personally — will be challenged on these things,” Bishop Olmsted added, noting the tough road ahead for Catholic education when it comes to defending its beliefs on marriage, gender and sexuality.


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

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


Notre Dame, Joe Biden Betray The 'Common Good'
3/22/2016
In a video posted on the University of Notre Dame’s website, President Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., cited the University’s commitment to the “common good” as explanation for its controversial decision to award the Laetare Medal, “the oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics,” to Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner.

“One of our great challenges today is people who disagree often will vilify, attack, demean the opposition and then they can’t work with the opposition,” Fr. Jenkins said. “So we come to this impasse of acrimony of intransigence, and it doesn’t serve society.

“There’s a wonderful Catholic concept of the common good,”he said. “What is the common good? What would serve everybody? You and I may disagree, or Boehner and Biden may disagree, but we have to recognize that whatever we think, we have to act for the common good.”


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

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

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


Bishop Rhoades Slams Notre Dame Honor of Pro-Abortion Biden: ‘Can Provoke Scandal’
3/14/2016
Fort Wayne – South Bend, Ind., Bishop Kevin Rhoades severely criticized the University of Notre Dame’s decision to award pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden with the 2016 Laetare Medal, saying the controversial choice could “provoke scandal” by giving the impression “that one can be ‘a good Catholic’ while also supporting or advocating for positions that contradict our fundamental moral and social principles and teachings”

“While I understand Notre Dame’s intentions in conferring the Laetare Medal upon Vice President Biden and Speaker Boehner, I disagree with the decision,” Bishop Rhoades said in his official statement released today to The Cardinal Newman Society. “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any ‘pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he has other positive accomplishments in public service, since direct abortion is gravely contrary to the natural law and violates a very fundamental principle of Catholic moral and social teaching: the inalienable right to life of every innocent human being from the moment of conception.”


Newman Society’s Exposure of Cecile Richards Speech at Georgetown Grabs National Attention
3/11/2016
The Cardinal Newman Society has grabbed national headlines by exposing the latest Catholic identity concern at Georgetown University, a horrendous scandal for the nation’s oldest Catholic university, Newman Society President Patrick Reilly told EWTN News Nightly on Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, the Newman Society broke the news that the student-run Lecture Fund invited Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) President Cecile Richards to speak on campus this April. The Newman Society’s exposure of the event has been highlighted by The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, National Catholic Register, FOX 5 DC,  Breitbart, The Daily Caller, Live Action News, The Hoya, Catholic News Agency, LifeSiteNews and Life News, among others.


Georgetown’s Planned Parenthood Event Poses Danger to Students, Ignores USCCB’s Warnings
3/10/2016
Not only is Georgetown University merely glossing over the immense damage Planned Parenthood has inflicted upon young women in the name of “women’s health care,” but its unwillingness to disinvite the president of the nation’s largest abortion provider flies in the face of repeated warnings from the U.S. bishops, who have denounced the organization’s abortion operation, Jim Sedlak, vice president ofAmerican Life League, told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“The Georgetown administration doesn’t seem to care about their students’ souls,”said Sedlak, who is also the founder of Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP) International. “In their never-ending search for the ‘free exchange of ideas,’ they are abandoning their Catholic responsibilities and exposing their students to sinful lifestyles. In doing so, they are betraying the very identity they claim to cherish.”


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.


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