Friday, July 03, 2015

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Catholic Education Daily

Catholic Education Daily Articles

The Cardinal Newman Society's Catholic Education News Wire

The Cardinal Newman Societys Catholic Education Daily
Concern Mounts for Religious Freedom at Universities in Light of SCOTUS Marriage Ruling
7/2/2015
Concern Mounts for Religious Freedom at Universities in Light of SCOTUS Marriage Ruling (First Things)


Univ. of San Francisco Celebrates SCOTUS Marriage Ruling, Despite Catholic Mission
7/2/2015
While the U.S. bishops responded to last week’s marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court by upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church, one Jesuit university chose to publicly celebrate the decision in direct conflict with its Catholic identity and mission.

Over the weekend, the University of San Francisco (USF), a Jesuit Catholic university, used its Twitter and Facebook accounts to celebrate the San Francisco Pride Parade and the recent 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in the United States.

“I proudly attend a university that supports the LGBTQ community #Pride #USFCA #SF @usfca,” read a tweet from the University. Another retweet featured the USF mascot at the San Francisco Pride Parade, surrounded by several University students.


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

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


Catholic School Teacher Fired for Same-Sex Marriage Files Federal Lawsuit
7/2/2015
A Catholic school in Macon, Ga., is facing a federal discrimination lawsuit from a former teacher whose employment was terminated in 2014 after the school found that he would be legally marrying his same-sex partner.

The teacher, Flint Dollar, taught music at Mount de Sales Academy for three years before his termination on May 21, 2014. The Telegraph reported that Dollar informed the school of his upcoming same-sex marriage when he signed the contract for the 2014-2015 term on May 1, 2014.

“The argument being made in this suit—that a Catholic school’s commitment to upholding Catholic teaching on marriage is discriminatory toward homosexual employees—is a grave threat to Catholic education,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Newman Society Statement on Supreme Court's Marriage Ruling
6/26/2015
Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly issued the following statement today, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to extend the legal recognition of marriage beyond one man and one woman: 

We want our members to rest assured: The Cardinal Newman Society is committed to Truth and to faithful Catholic education, and therefore we accept one true definition of marriage.  No Supreme Court decision can change that. 

Furthermore, we call on Catholic educators to stand firm in the truth, with the conviction of faith.  No matter how difficult it gets to maintain Catholic schools and colleges in a hostile culture, Catholic education can never waver on the definition of marriage.  Our young people need to hear the truth from their teachers, now more than ever.  We will continue to promote and defend those faithful institutions that teach the truth, and we will expose any Catholic institution that denies it.


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.”


Vatican Supports ‘Morality Clauses’ for Catholic School Teachers, Study Finds
6/24/2015
“Morality clauses” and high standards for Catholic school teachers are not radical new policies as portrayed by secular news media, but simply implement what the Vatican has been demanding for several decades, reveals a timely new report from The Cardinal Newman Society. 

“The Vatican has consistently recognized that teachers—lay, clerical or religious—have an essential role in Catholic education and must serve as witnesses to the faith, in both word and deed,” writes Dr. Jamie Arthur, director of the Newman Society's Catholic Education Honor Roll, in her study titled, The Call to Teach: Expectations for the Catholic Educator in Magisterial Teaching.


House Targets D.C. Funding to Prevent Violation of Religious Freedom
6/18/2015
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to block a District of Columbia law which violates religious freedom, an action that is both necessary and commendable, according to Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly.

The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA), signed into law by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on January 23, may force religious schools, colleges and other organizations to employ people who favor abortion and to provide coverage for elective abortions in their employee health plans, regardless of their religious objections. Despite attempts in the House to block RHNDA in April, Senate leaders failed to act and the provision officially became law on May 2.

New attempts are now being made in the House to fight the law in the appropriations process, which would prevent local or federal funds from being used to enforce the law, but would not in fact repeal it. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia said she will oppose the appropriations amendment on the House floor, and it must get Senate approval.

“I applaud those who have stood tall to try and block RHNDA, which violates our constitutional right to religious freedom, not just for those in Catholic education but for all who have deeply held religious beliefs,” said Reilly. “Everyone must do their part to defend religious freedom or risk losing our ability to faithfully hand on the Catholic faith without compromise.”


Notre Dame Seminar to Equip Catholic Teachers with Truth of Science and Religion
6/18/2015
Are science and religion really opposed to one another? A seminar currently taking place at the University of Notre Dame is helping equip Catholic high school teachers to debunk that common myth and offer their students a faithful, integrated approach to faith and science.

The summer seminar, “Science and Religion: Strangers, Rivals, or Partners in the Search for Truth?” is hosted by the University’s Institute for Church Life (ICL) and runs from June 14-19. According to the University news release, “some 90 Catholic high school teachers of biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and religion from 23 dioceses from across the country” are attending. The seminar is funded by the John Templeton Foundation, with supplemental funding from the Catholic Extension Society.

“High school teachers have enormous influence over young people and rightly so, and we want to help them maximize that influence by helping them to create an integrated pedagogy at their own school that can renew and perpetuate itself over time,” said John Cavadini, ICL director and professor of theology at Notre Dame.

As such, the primary focus of the seminar is on equipping the teachers. “I admire these teachers very much, they are so dedicated to Catholic education,” Cavadini told the Newman Society. “This seminar is intended to help them.”


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.


Catholic Professors Claim Hostile Environment at Loyola Marymount Univ.
6/17/2015
A faculty survey at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, Calif., found that fewer than a third of professors are Catholic—in violation of the Vatican’s minimum requirement of 50 percent—and faculty are under significant duress as a result. 

The “faculty climate survey” commissioned by LMU in July 2014 and obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society reveals “contention” among “conservative” and “progressive” Catholics on staff. The survey report reads, “Conservative Catholics feel they are in an environment that is hostile to what they feel are true Catholic values.” Moreover, recorded faculty comments indicate that the University’s “interreligious point of view is watered down Catholicism and a departure from the Catholic Church.”

A minority of LMU’s faculty reportedly identifies as Catholic. “Of the 299 who chose to disclose their religious preference, 94 (31%) identified as Roman Catholic,” the survey evidenced. This ratio fails to meet the recommendations in Pope Saint John Paul II’s apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae, which indicates that Catholic universities should maintain a majority of Catholic staff to ensure that the Catholic identity of the institution is not compromised.


Notre Dame Policy ‘Opens the Door’ to Campus Group’s LGBTQ Agenda
6/17/2015
The University of Notre Dame’s mistakes may be coming back to haunt it. While faithful Catholics connected to the University implore the administration to stop providing employee marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the founder of a dissident LGBTQ advocacy organization at Notre Dame says the benefits policy “absolutely opens the door” to pressing for more of the group’s objectives.

And although the group is not sponsored by the University, it freely opposes Catholic teaching on campus without apparent restriction or response from Notre Dame, thereby diminishing the University’s Catholic identity.

The Cardinal Newman Society interviewed Jake Bebar, a Notre Dame alumnus and founder of “Out at ND,” the new LGBTQ advocacy organization at Notre Dame, to discuss recent developments and the organization’s goals. Out at ND, launched earlier this year, states that its values include “marriage rights and spousal privileges, relationship equality, sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive non-discrimination clauses and health insurance coverage of transition-related expenses, such as mental health care, hormones and gender affirming surgeries, for students, faculty and staff.”

The unofficial group hopes to increase visibility on campus, LGBTQ advocacy and activist practices within the Notre Dame community. Bebar said that the University’s extension of same-sex employee benefits now puts LGBTQ issues such as housing, non-discrimination clauses, equal access policies and other benefits very much on the table.


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

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

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


Scholar Urges ‘Continuous Exposure to Beauty’ in Catholic Education
6/11/2015
It is critical for Catholic schools to expose students to beauty in the classroom, in liturgy and throughout the campus, as beauty has the unique ability to open students to God’s divine love, said Dr. Margaret Hughes, assistant professor of philosophy at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, N.Y., in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

Dr. Hughes, one of the presenters at the Sacra Liturgia USA 2015conference last week in New York City, discussed the role of beauty and liturgy in a talk titled, “The Ease of Beauty: Liturgy, Evangelization, and Catechesis.” The topic of beauty was a consistent theme in this year’s Sacra Liturgia, as its connection to reverent liturgy as well as education is immutable.

“A continuous exposure to beauty throughout an education allows a person to continue to develop throughout his life the habits of attentiveness to and receptivity of the good of existence, so that he is able to delight in that good,” Hughes told the Newman Society after the conference. This receptivity and delight in beauty is “the goal of any appropriate human formation, since humans are ultimately fulfilled in the joy of the Beatific Vision.”


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

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

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


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

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

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


Bishop 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.”


NLRB Continues Dangerous Path with Ruling against Duquesne University
6/11/2015
A domino effect has been created by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which continues its unconstitutional oversight of Catholic colleges with a ruling last Friday against Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa., which the University intends to appeal.

But as has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the Board’s interference in religious education has exposed Catholic identity concerns at Duquesne. Despite the Board’s policy of exempting individual faculty members from NLRB-approved labor unions, as long as the college itself identifies the professors as having a religious function, an NLRB regional director found that Duquesne does not in fact have substantial expectations that adjunct faculty members teach and witness to the Catholic faith.

“The adjuncts’ one semester contracts do not reference religious duties or the Employer’s Mission, or any role that the adjunct would be expected to play in furthering the Mission or the Employer’s religious educational environment,” ruled the NLRB director.


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

“Young people today, if they are serious about their faith, actually have a hunger for some kind of greatness that our culture denies them,” said Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, professor of theology and philosophy at Wyoming Catholic College and one of the panelists. “Liturgical beauty is part of that greatness that [Catholic colleges] need to offer them. They need to see the grandeur of God through the music, the ceremony and everything.”

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.

“Our work begins with a sense that there is a crisis of Catholic identity within Catholic education, and one of those concerns is with liturgy,” noted Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “There have been a few decades of so called innovation with the liturgy on many campuses, largely because many have been convinced that the beauty of the liturgy is not attractive to young people.”


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.


NLRB Finds Saint Xavier University Professors Not Held to Religious Standards
6/4/2015
In a ruling Monday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continued its decades-long harassment of Catholic colleges by asserting its authority over employee relations at Saint Xavier University in Chicago and proceeding with its oversight of a vote by adjunct faculty members on whether to form a union.

But as has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the Board’s unconstitutional interference in religious education has also exposed Catholic identity concerns. The NLRB determined that even Saint Xavier University’s theology professors are not exempt from federal oversight, because the University itself fails to identify them as having a religious function.

Last December, religious colleges won a significant concession from the NLRB, when it abandoned its intrusive test into whether a college has a “substantial religious character.” The test violated the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1979 ruling in NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, which forbids the Board to assert jurisdiction over employee relations in religious education and to attempt to decide whether institutions are sufficiently religious for exemption.


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

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

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

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

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



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.


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


Common Core Turns Five
5/28/2015
G.K. Chesterton once wisely suggested that a child should not be subjected to an educational philosophy younger than he is. Such wisdom would relegate the Common Core to preschool—and a public preschool at that, but certainly not America’s Catholic schools.

In a saner world the Common Core State Standards, which were first unveiled in June 2010, would just be coming out of beta testing in a small-scale study to determine their efficacy. If data proved they were significantly successful, then various states would begin to consider adapting the proven elements into their own standards.

Of course, this is not what actually happened. When the Common Core was first unveiled during the height of the “great recession,” states in pursuit of federal funding quickly signed onto the untested Common Core—for some of them, sight unseen. Forty-six states signed on to the Common Core, with only Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia refusing to jump on the band wagon. Many Catholic dioceses in the Common Core states followed suit, wanting to ensure consistency with state standards and national tests.


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Notre Dame Loses Round in Court, Maybe Due to Compliance with HHS Mandate
5/21/2015
It appears that one reason the University of Notre Dame lost its court appeal yesterday—denying the University relief from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate to force employers to include sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacient drugs in employee health plans—is the University’s compliance with the mandate since January.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled two-to-one to deny an immediate religious exemption to the University.

“This marked the first time that a federal appeals court had rejected a claim that the Supreme Court’s ruling last June in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores should shield a non-profit religious organization from any role whatsoever in carrying out the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate,” Lyle Denniston of the SCOTUS blog reported.

Why the difference with Notre Dame? Denniston suggested that the problem may be Notre Dame’s compliance with the HHS mandate, while simultaneously claiming that the mandate would violate its religious freedom.


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.”


Archdiocese Explains Removal of Seton Hall Campus Minister, Seeks ‘Accountability’
5/20/2015
A Catholic priest’s support for a campaign that advocates the redefinition of marriage was not the direct reason for his removal as campus minister at Seton Hall University, despite his claim to the contrary and subsequent media reports, the Archdiocese of Newark told The Cardinal Newman Society in a statement yesterday.

The incident did, however, cause the Archdiocese to reconsider the position description for Seton Hall’s campus ministry director and to clarify the director’s “accountability to the University and to the Archbishop,” the Archdiocese said. It described plans to assign a new director of campus ministry as an “important opportunity to undertake that clarification.”

Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly celebrated the Archdiocese’s statement.

“Whether or not there was any intent by campus ministry to oppose Catholic teaching on marriage, it is reassuring to Catholic families that the Archdiocese is taking steps to protect the integrity and Catholic identity of Seton Hall University, which is under the authority and responsibility of the Archbishop of Newark,” Reilly said.

The trouble began earlier in the year, when Father Warren Hall, director of campus ministry and a former adjunct professor at the University, was criticized by members of the Seton Hall community for a Facebook post in support of the “No H8” campaign, according to the Archdiocese. The No H8 campaign began as a protest against Proposition 8, a 2008 amendment to the California state constitution that affirmed marriage between one man and one woman. Although the campaign is still tied to support for redefining marriage, it also protests discrimination and bullying.


Catholic Conference on Homosexuality to Help Educators, Students
5/20/2015
Leading up to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September and the Vatican Synod on the Family to be held in October, the Catholic apostolate Courage International has organized a special conference on ministering to people with same-sex attraction and communicating Catholic teaching on homosexuality to schools, students and parishes.

Courage already hosts an annual conference, but this special conference in Plymouth, Mich., on August 10-12—titled “Welcoming and Accompanying Our Brothers and Sisters with Same-Sex Attraction”—is unique in its focus on the questions outlined in the Lineamenta for the Synod on the Family.

The beauty of Courage’s apostolate is that its presence “makes plain to the world that the Church does understand this question and does have a very practical and thoughtful response,” Father Paul Check, executive director of Courage, told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.


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

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

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

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


Catholic College to Honor Leader of Pro-Abortion Groups Amid Protest of Cardinal Dolan
5/15/2015
The Cardinal Newman Society has discovered that the Jesuit Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., will honor at Sunday’s commencement ceremony—alongside Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York—human rights activist Lois Whitman, who works for a pro-abortion group and serves on the boards of two pro-abortion organizations.

But several hundred students and faculty are protesting the Cardinal, not Whitman—and the College president has praised the protest, which labels Cardinal Dolan “homophobic,” as a reason for “celebration.”

A petition at Change.org asks Le Moyne College to rescind its invitation to Cardinal Dolan to deliver Sunday’s commencement address and receive an honorary degree. The petition has reached 709 signatures and was organized by students, alumni and “some members of the faculty,” Le Moyne President Linda Le Mura told FOX News on Thursday.

The petition states that “the graduating class of 2015 and the graduates, along with staff and other students, do not approve of this choice.” It goes on to claim, without evidence, that Cardinal Dolan has made “homophobic comments and does not represent the ideals we have come to know Le Moyne to represent.”


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

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

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


Lavender Graduations, Ceremonies on Eight Catholic Campuses
5/15/2015

“Lavender graduations” and celebrations—commencement-related events intended exclusively for homosexual students and their “allies”—continued this year on Catholic campuses, despite confusing students about Catholic teaching and acceptance of homosexual behavior.

In April, Pope Francis addressed the problems with “gender theory” and urged acceptance of sexuality as male and female:As we all know, sexual difference is present in so many forms of life, in the long scale of the living. However, only in man and in woman does it bear in itself the image and likeness of God…Man and woman are [the] image and likeness of God!

This year, the Society found that at least eight Catholic colleges are hosting or have hosted lavender graduations and celebrations.


Georgetown, Obama Use Poverty Summit to Distract from Religious Freedom, Abortion
5/15/2015
Religious freedom is at the core of the critical debates—education, marriage, family—in our society today. However, this is exactly what Georgetown University and President Barack Obama appeared to be undercutting during the President’s visit on Tuesday to a “Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty” on Georgetown’s Jesuit campus in Washington, D.C.

“The Catholic Church, through her teaching and the statements of Pope Francis, has very important things to say about poverty,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “But instead of focusing on how Catholic and Evangelical Christian insights can inform American policy—the stated purpose of last week’s conference—the Georgetown organizers used the event as a platform for President Obama to distract religious voters from his violations of religious freedom and push a political agenda.”

Although key religious leaders were invited to speak at the summit, including Bishop Jaime Soto of the controversial Catholic Campaign for Human Development, media coverage and Georgetown’s own public promotion of the event focused on President Obama’s argument that poverty issues should constitute a more vital role for Christians in America—apparently more vital than issues of religious freedom and human life.

Catholic and other Christian groups including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, Bread for the World, World Vision, the Salvation Army, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Sojourners were invited to be “partners” in the conference, but it was President Obama whose views were promoted by Georgetown.

“This may sound self-interested,” Obama acknowledged to the Catholicand Evangelical participants. “[T]here are issues where we have had disagreements around reproductive issues, or same-sex marriage, or what have you. And so maybe it appears advantageous for me to want to focus on these issues of poverty, and not as much on these other issues.”


Jesuit Editors Oppose High Tuition, Ignore Expense of Jesuit Colleges
5/14/2015
Catholic schools have a particular duty to provide affordable education to all students, according to a recent editorial in the Jesuit magazine America, yet statistics show that Jesuit colleges are among the most expensive in the United States.

Exorbitant tuition costs and subsequent student loan debts cause crippling setbacks for young people just out of school, the Americaeditors argue. “Many students opt out of attending a college because they cannot afford tuition costs and fees; others do not see a four-year degree as a significant reason to overburden themselves with student loans,” the editors note.

“Catholic colleges… have a special responsibility to offer affordable education for low-income students,” the editorial continues. Although most Catholic colleges provide substantial tuition discounts and participate in federal student aid programs, the editors are critical of the growing reliance on student debt to pay rising tuition costs.

However, as previously reported by The Cardinal Newman Society, a 2012-13 study from the Chronicle of Higher Education found that Jesuit institutions made up more than half of the 19 Catholic colleges that charged $50,000 or more for full-time undergraduate tuition, fees and room charges.


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.


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