Friday, February 05, 2016

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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
Education Programs at Newman Guide Colleges Place Premium on Moral Teacher Formation
2/4/2016
The Catholic Church has repeatedly stressed the critical evangelizing responsibility that educators have in teaching and witnessing the faith to their students, and institutions recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College have made this responsibility a priority in their education programs.

At Ave Maria University (AMU) in Ave Maria, Fla., students majoring in education are given all the tools they need to “engage in the integral formation of the human person by developing each student’s physical, moral, spiritual and intellectual gifts in harmony,” said Dr. Dan Guernsey, chair of the University’s education department and director of The Cardinal Newman Society’s K-12 programs.


Catholic Colleges and Schools Take Active Role in Struggle Against Pornography
2/4/2016
Recognizing the “widespread problem of pornography in our culture today,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recentlypublished their formal statement “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” which calls on teachers, religious educators and others who work with young people to “create an environment suitable for learning chastity” and to be “vigilant over technological access” to pornography. The Cardinal Newman Society spoke with several faithful Catholic colleges and schools about how they are responding to the bishops’ call.

The U.S. bishops make it clear in their statement that pornography is “a grave sin against human dignity” that “dehumanizes the persons depicted” as sexual objects. Pornography use “also has direct connections with sins such as adultery, domestic violence, the abuse of children in child pornography, and sex trafficking,” according to the bishops. “It also can be implicated in contraception use and abortion, given that it promotes and even celebrates promiscuity and a view of sexuality devoid of love or openness to new life.”


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

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

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


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

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


La Salle Univ. Students Vote on Gender-Neutral Housing, Administration Avoids Debate
2/3/2016
Administrators at La Salle University in Philadelphia have decided not to weigh in on a student government ballot measure being voted on this week to allow gender-neutral townhouses on campus despite Catholic identity concerns raised by the student who proposed the measure.

A La Salle Students’ Government Association (SGA) ballot initiative on “Should a gender neutral housing policy be enacted in the townhouses?” was opened up to students for online voting on January 25 and will close February 5. Under the proposal, male and female students could live together under the same roof, but, “Restrictions would include having the double room being single gender and the bathrooms having designated genders.”

According to the ballot description, “This change would allow La Salle students to prepare themselves for the future in which men and women must work side by side in effective and appropriate relationships.” If the referendum passed — a majority of favorable votes from at least 10 percent of the undergraduate student population — it would still require approval from the University administration.


Loyola Marymount Deletes Regard for Catholic Mission From Facilities Use Policy After LGBT Conference on Campus
2/3/2016
Following inquiries from The Cardinal Newman Society about a recent conference on campus promoting LGBT advocacy, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles deleted language from its website specifying that every group which sought to hold an event at the University would need approval from the administration “to ensure [the group] supports the mission of the university.”

On the weekend of January 16-17, LMU opened its facilities to a group of “LGBTQ/SSA Mormons, their families, friends, and church leaders” for a conference titled “Knit Together in Unity & Love.” The event included several LGBT rights advocates, including a transgender woman, and addressed topics such as “Thriving as a Gay Mormon,” “Learning how to be an effective Ally for LGBT Mormons” and “Supporting and Empowering our LGBT Young People.”


Moral Formation, Catechesis at Center of New Teacher Formation Conference
2/2/2016
The Center for Catholic Education at Newman Guide-recommended Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., is responding to the Church’s call for faithful teacher formation programs by offering training for educators, administrators and board members of Catholic schools. The Center’s director, Sister Elizabeth Anne Allen, O.P., told The Cardinal Newman Society that she hopes this training will richly benefit future generations of Catholic students. 

The Center’s new teacher formation conference, called WISE (Witness-Inspire-Serve-Educate), will be held from June 13-16, 2016 on the campus of Aquinas College. Sr. Allen told The Cardinal Newman Society that the conference is a deliberate response to specific issues recently cited by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the World Congress on Catholic Education, including “the Catholic identity of Catholic schools and the formation of those who teach in those schools.”


‘Gender-Inclusive Housing’ Pilot Program Launched at Univ. of San Francisco
2/2/2016
The Jesuit-run University of San Francisco (USF) launched a pilot program for the 2016-2016 school year offering “gender-inclusive housing” to students who “identify as transgender” or “do not wish to be identified by any sex or gender identity,” embracing and promoting a view of human sexuality at odds with Church teaching and the statements of Pope Francis and the U.S. bishops.

The description on the USF website defines gender-inclusive housing as “an option for two or more students to share the same room regardless of their sex, gender, or gender identity,” and states that the housing option is intended to support the University’s mission “to create safe, affirming, and inclusive communities by providing options for students of varying identities and preferences.”


Newman Society President on EWTN: Catholic Schools are ‘Instrument of Evangelization’
2/2/2016
In an appearance on EWTN News Nightly last night to discuss National Catholic Schools Week, Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, made it clear that Catholic schools are meant to be “an instrument of evangelization,” and their Catholic identity should be readily apparent in the classroom.

“Catholic schools are intended as an instrument of evangelization. That is part of their mission, part of the mission of the Church,” Reilly said. “So every Catholic school ought to be making its Catholic identity very clear. It ought to be witnessed by the teachers. It ought to be evident in the classroom.”

When asked about the presence of many non-Catholics in Catholic schools, especially in inner cities, and the opportunity for evangelization, he said that “having non-Catholics in the school is simply an opportunity for the school to do exactly what it does, and that is to teach and witness to the faith.”

Reilly shared that the Newman Society recognizes Catholic schools across the country “that have a very strong Catholic identity. We’re looking for schools that form students both spiritually and academically.”


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

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

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


Georgetown Students Drive Pro-Life Efforts Without University Support
2/1/2016
Georgetown University students who attended last week’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., recently told The Cardinal Newman Society that student groups at the University are finding success in driving pro-life outreach and discussion on campus despite the University’s lack of support for their events and activities, or for Church teaching on life issues.

“I think that given a campus culture that's often hostile to pro-life views, it's extremely helpful that there exists organizations like Georgetown Right to Life,” Michael Khan, president of the student-run Right to Life group, told the Newman Society. “With contraceptives allowed in dorms and faculty members who hold views diametrically opposed to Church teaching, I can totally understand why many students on campus feel exiled for their pro-life views.”


Catholic College Invites Abortion Advocate to Speak in its Chapel for MLK Day Celebration
1/29/2016
Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., recently hosted Rosa Clemente, a self-described “Hip-Hop activist” and 2008 Green Party vice presidential nominee, to speak in the campus chapel on issues of race for an event celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. despite Clemente’s public advocacy for abortion.

Clemente was a guest at Saint Michael’s College on January 25 as “the main speaker for the 24th Annual MLK JR. Convocation in the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel.” She spoke on the topic: “What must be done? Addressing the intersection of power, oppression, identity and responsibility.”

Just days before speaking at Saint Michael’s, on January 22 — while thousands braved the incoming blizzard in Washington, D.C., to support the right to life of the unborn at the annual March for Life — Clemente expressed her support for abortion and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on her Twitter page by retweeting a message originally posted by the activist group Black Lives Matter.


Concerned Faculty, Staff Cite Hostility Towards Catholic Values at Marquette
1/29/2016
A group of concerned faculty and staff members at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., recently gathered to discuss the University’s dwindling Catholic identity and the increased occurrences of Catholic teaching being discouraged, and even silenced, in University settings.

Participants of the group, Concerned Catholics at MU, wished to remain anonymous, but their meeting minutes were provided to The Cardinal Newman Society, and indicated that approximately 20 staff and faculty members were in attendance.

Last year, Marquette announced that it would conduct a “climate study” to determine the positivity and inclusivity of the University’s atmosphere. The study’s final report cited several concerns about ongoing hostility towards Catholic values.


Loyola Chicago Faculty Union Debates Escalate, Students Question University’s Social Justice Commitment
1/29/2016
During the same week that faculty elected to form a union under the unconstitutional oversight of the National Relations Labor Board (NLBR), Loyola University of Chicago sanctioned its student government for a demonstration in favor of higher wages for unionized workers, again calling into question how Catholic colleges should handle issues of unionization and social justice.

“One of the common refrains of the protesters and their supporters is that the administration’s actions are hypocritical. The four students say they are being punished for following the very social justice values the university taught them in the first place,” In These Timesreported.


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.


Discriminatory Blaine Amendment Used Against Education Savings Accounts in Nevada
1/28/2016
Not long after Nevada created the nation’s first nearly universal education savings account (ESA) program for students last year, two lawsuits were filed to block the program that relied on discriminatory, historically anti-Catholic, provisions in the state constitution. Now the program is on hold following a temporary injunction issued this month by a Nevada district court in one of the cases.

Carson City, Nev., District Judge James Wilson ruled on January 11 that the program “would cause irreparable harm to students in Nevada” by taking public funds out of the current public school system structure to create a “non-uniform system of schools.”

The case, Lopez v.Schwartzwas filed by the Education Law Center (ELC) in September on behalf of several parents. ELC argued that the program violated several provisions of the Nevada constitution, including Article 11, Section 2, which states in part that “any school district which shall allow instruction of a sectarian character therein may be deprived of its proportion of the interest of the public school fund.”


First Catholic College Successful Against NLRB Oversight of Faculty
1/28/2016
Last week, Carroll College in Helena, Mont., became the first Catholic college to win a favorable ruling against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) since its new standard of evaluating the religious function of faculty was implemented, in part thanks to language found in the College handbook about discharging faculty for “disrespect or disregard” for the Catholic mission of the College.

“Carroll has always been and will continue to embrace and be guided by our mission,” Carroll President Dr. Tom Evans told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview, noting the College’s favorable ruling. “It has been a valuable process for the college to undertake. As an institution, we have benefited from the experience. Collectively, we now have a much clearer understanding of our policies, procedures and shared governance structure.”


Catholic Colleges Should Claim Title IX Exemptions, Says Newman Society President
1/27/2016
As Title IX interpretations have expanded to include discrimination policies grounded in gender theory, Catholic colleges should have no qualms about claiming constitutionally-protected exemptions, said The Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly in an interview with National Catholic Register.

“Of course these colleges have no interest in sex discrimination. They have had no problems complying with Title IX,” said Reilly. “But now things are changing, and the Obama administration is pushing the extreme gender ideology that Pope Francis has strongly warned against. The law could be used to force practices that violate our beliefs and even natural law, unless religious educators claim the exemption that Congress gave them to uphold the First Amendment.”


Students Stranded on Turnpike Finally Home, Praised for Defense of Life
1/26/2016
Hundreds of students from the Newman Guide-recommended University of Mary in Bismark, N.D., and Franciscan University of Stubenville in Ohio finally returned home on Sunday after being trapped for over 24 hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike by a blizzard following the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., last Friday.

Even with the threat of severe weather lingering, students from the two universities, along with thousands of pro-life advocates, descended on the nation's capital on January 22 in support of the right to life. Many hoped by leaving early they could avoid the worst of the weather, but an accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Friday afternoon brought traffic to a halt, leaving over 500 vehicles trapped in a blizzard.


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.”


College Professors Who Are Building a Culture of Life
1/21/2016
The Cardinal Newman Society’s reporting in 2015 featured interviews with numerous Catholic professors who, doing their best to build a culture of life, spoke on pro-life topics such as the undercover Planned Parenthood videos, support for Planned Parenthood on campus and the Obama administration’s contraceptive “HHS Mandate.”

The following list highlights seven professors that the Newman Society spoke to in the last year who are helping to advance the pro-life movement, both at their respective institutions and within society. This list is not meant to be exclusive or to be considered as a ranking of any kind.


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

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


SPECIAL REPORT: 20 Catholic Colleges Sponsor Chapters of Pro-Abortion Amnesty International
1/21/2016
Although known for its long history of fighting human rights abuses, Amnesty International has become a world leader in pushing for legalized abortion and gay marriage, establishing themselves as an opponent of the Catholic Church. But research conducted by The Cardinal Newman Society found that 20 Catholic colleges and six Catholic law schools sponsor active student chapters of Amnesty International despite the organization’s anti-Catholic activism worldwide.

“While there is still much ignorance about Amnesty International’s radical swing toward abortion advocacy, we are informing Catholic educators and urging them to refrain from any cooperation with the organization,” said Newman Society President Patrick Reilly.

Historically, Amnesty International (AI) maintained a neutral stance on abortion, but in 2007 the group’s executive board announced that the organization would support abortion in certain situations.


Newman Society, Pro-Life Groups Call on Media to Fairly Cover March for Life
1/21/2016
The Cardinal Newman Society joined with 16 pro-life organizations, two members of Congress and the Media Research Center (MRC) this week to call on media networks and journalists to offer fair coverage of this year’s March for Life and refrain from any kind of undue censorship.

“Thousands of pro-life school and college students join the March for Life every year, often traveling hundreds of miles in buses to declare themselves the pro-life generation,” said Newman Society President Patrick Reilly in the coalition’s press statement. “Any objective reporter would see the news value in this and be on the ground, getting interviews and reporting on this extraordinary youth activism for ‘traditional’ values.”


Catholic University Honors Pro-Abort Sen. Cory Booker, Says He Reflects School’s ‘Core Values’
1/20/2016
Felician University, a Catholic institution in Rutherford, N.J., honored pro-abortion U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey with an award on Monday, saying Booker’s “personal mission in life … embodies the mission and values of the University's Felician/Franciscan heritage — compassion, justice and peace, and finding goodness in all God's creation.”

Booker was awarded Felician University’s 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award, an award “created by Felician University to honor Dr.King and to do so by recognizing individuals who strive to fulfill Dr. King's dream of equality and justice,” according to a University press release.

The University website lists “Respect for Human Dignity” as its first core value, stating that it maintains “reverence for and commitment to promoting and protecting the dignity of persons.” 


SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Missouri Blaine Amendment Case
1/20/2016
A case challenging a discriminatory Blaine Amendment in Missouri’s state constitution will go before the U.S. Supreme Court this year, the Court announced last week, to decide if the state can rely on the historically anti-Catholic constitutional provision in its denial of a grant to a Christian preschool meant to aid in resurfacing the playground with recycled tires.

“No state can define religious neutrality as treating religious organizations worse than everyone else,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel David Cortman in a statement about the Court’s decision to hear the case, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Pauley, during its January 15 conference.

“That isn’t neutrality; it’s a hostility to religion that violates the First Amendment,” he continued. “That’s the primary issue that the Supreme Court will address. In this case, the state should not have excluded this preschool from the recycled tire program simply because a church operates the school.”


Catholic Education Before the Texas Bar
1/20/2016
In the fall of 2015, the Catholic Lawyers Guild and the Christian Legal Society of San Antonio, Texas, persuaded St. Mary’s University School of Law to conduct the first-ever Christian Legal Perspectives seminar for attorneys in the San Antonio area. Our goal was modest and seemingly noncontroversial: to reinforce the need to consider the moral and religious implications inherent in their legal practices in the 30 or so Texas attorneys who might attend (I also invited the 50 law students in my Catholic Legal Perspectives class).

For example, we thought it important to remind attorneys who are asked to handle divorce cases that our religious view of the sanctity of marriage might result in attorneys referring potential divorce clients to faith-based counseling that might preserve the marriage. We hoped to reach a modest audience on a one-time basis on a Friday afternoon in October. God, however, apparently had broader plans.


Catholic University of America Students to Lead 2016 March for Life
1/19/2016
This year, the Newman Guide-recommended Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., will have the honor of leading the 2016 March for Life — a first-time opportunity for CUA and one which the students are eagerly anticipating, according to Father Jude DeAngelo, university chaplain and director of campus ministry at CUA.

“We’ve been participating in the March for Life for years, but we have never led the March to my knowledge,” Fr. DeAngelo told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview. “It’s quite a privilege and our students are really honored and excited.”

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, reached out to John Garvey, president of CUA, to invite the University to lead the 2016 March for Life.


Black Lives Matter Activists at Notre Dame: We Don’t Need ‘Christian, Cis-Heteronormative Man’ Like MLK to Lead
1/19/2016
Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, co-founders of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, spoke at the University of Notre Dame on Monday during a week of events meant to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but the pair used the opportunity to push gender ideology, attack police as a “very big enemy” of their movement and said a “Christian, cis-heteronormative man” like King isn’t needed to lead them “to the Promised Land.”  

The event, “Black Lives Matter: The Hashtag Behind the New Civil Rights Movement,” was part of “Walk the Walk” week at Notre Dame, “A series of University and department-sponsored events, community-building dialogues and opportunities of reflection.” University President Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., hoped the week’s events would give the campus community the opportunity to “reflect on the values that are so central both to Dr. King’s legacy and to Notre Dame’s mission.” The BLM event attracted nearly 500 attendees.


SPECIAL REPORT: Planned Parenthood Offices Located Near Half of Catholic Colleges, Alarming Pro-Life Leaders
1/19/2016
Half of all four-year, residential Catholic colleges in the U.S. are within five miles of Planned Parenthood facilities, a study by The Cardinal Newman Society has found. Catholic pro-life leaders warn that the close proximity of these Planned Parenthood centers threatens the well-being of students and the culture of Catholic campuses.

Planned Parenthood is, by its mission, directly opposed to Catholic values on sexuality, artificial contraception and abortion. Many of its centers perform abortions and distribute contraceptives.

In its review of 188 four-year, residential Catholic colleges in the U.S., The Cardinal Newman Society found that 92, or 49 percent, are within five miles of a Planned Parenthood facility. Of these, 13 are within one mile or less, 37 are within 1.1-3 miles and 42 are within 3.1-5 miles.


Loyola Marymount Professor Predicts University Will Lose its Catholic Identity 'Within a Generation'
1/18/2016
Loyola Marymount University’s (LMU) Catholic identity will disappear in a matter of years if administrators continue the current and dangerous trajectory towards secularization by not hiring faithful Catholic professors, according to Dr. Christopher Kaczor, a professor of philosophy at the University.

“It is magical thinking to believe LMU is immune from losing its identity. To do nothing, to continue the status quo of religious indifferentism in hiring, is to eventually join the list of formerly Catholic institutions. Higher education does not need one more flavor of vanilla,” Kaczor wrote in an article on Catholic World Report explaining LMU’s dilemma.

“My prediction is that the process of secularization will be completed within a generation,” he stated.


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.


New University Seeks to Bring ‘Divine Mercy’ and Healing to the Culture
1/15/2016
In a new effort to bring healing and mercy to those suffering and in need, the Institute of Psychological Sciences (IPS) in Arlington, Va., recently launched a new online graduate degree program in counseling and has expanded to become Divine Mercy University, Director of Communications Jessie Tappel told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“In choosing the name Divine Mercy University, and providentially launching during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we were looking for a name that fits with our mission,” Tappel said. “We wanted a way to describe the response necessary in a wounded world. It is important with our Catholic identity that we communicate our mission in the name of our university.”


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.”


Belmont Abbey College Launches Program Making Education Affordable for Catholic Families and Homeschoolers
1/14/2016
A new educational program at Belmont Abbey College launched this week in a concerted effort to help Catholic families and homeschoolers afford a faithful Catholic college education, Dr. Bill Thierfelder, president of the College, told The Cardinal Newman Society.

“As a home schooling father of ten children, I was very aware that many homeschooling families wanted the private Catholic college education that Belmont Abbey College provided but often could not afford it,” Thierfelder said. “While praying, it came to me to create a primarily residential program that would ensure students were well-educated, well-formed and well-prepared at a cost comparable to a public college or university.”

The Bishop Leo Haid Fellowship program, which begins this summer, will save students more than 60 percent on tuition when compared to the average national cost for private colleges in the United States, making the total cost for the first four semesters $20,431.


In Year of Mercy, ‘Hardly Anything More Merciful Than Teaching the Truth’
1/13/2016
Catholic schools and colleges follow in the footsteps of the Apostles in teaching the truth of the faith that “prepares us to live with Jesus forever,” and especially during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, “there is hardly anything more merciful than teaching the Truth to others,” Father Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., founding member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

“Our Catholic schools and colleges continue this great service of teaching the Truth that the Lord first taught us,” said Fr. Apostoli. “From the very beginning of Christianity, the faith and doctrine Jesus taught, primarily to His Apostles, had in turn to be taught to others.”

This tradition of educating the faithful has particular significance during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.


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.


Undercover Video: Common Core ‘All About the Money,’ ‘I Hate Kids’
1/12/2016
An undercover video released Tuesday by the investigative journalist group Project Veritas shows an executive at one of America’s top textbook publishing companies and two New York state teachers insisting that the Common Core State Standards were created “to sell more books” by textbook publishing companies that are more concerned with profits than the education of America’s children.

“It’s all about the money,” Dianne Barrow, the west coast accounts manager for textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), told undercover reporters posing as political consultants interested in Common Core. “You don’t think that the educational publishing companies are in it for education do you? No. They’re in it for the money. The fact that they have to align the educational standards is what they have to do to sell the books.”


White House Targeted Catholic Education in Crafting HHS Mandate Exemptions
1/12/2016
Despite the Obama administration’s assurances that it is trying to accommodate religious freedom interests, recently discovered government emails show that institutions of Catholic education were specifically targeted and denied religious freedom exemptions from the HHS Mandate while similar religious entities received exemptions, according to the Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino.

Severino stated in an article for National Review Online last week that she’s filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the HHS contraception mandate case, Zubik v. Burwell, calling out the Obama administration’s direct targeting of Catholic education and citing the emails between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and White House discovered during congressional inquiries into the sharing of tax information.


Faithful Catholicism Dependent on Catholic Colleges, Says New York Times Columnist
1/12/2016
An address by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat recently published on First Things touched on the formative role that Catholic universities play in shaping the next generation in the faith and argued that many Jesuit institutions have kowtowed to “liberal Catholicism” over the years, thereby neglecting their duty to instill authentic Catholic faith.

Douthat’s address, “A Crisis of Conservative Catholicism,” given at First Things’ 28th Erasmus Lecture this past October, detailed the tension between “conservative Catholicism” and “liberal Catholicism,” which he said often aligns with popular social mores and demands change from the Church on varying cultural issues. The “liberal” view of Catholicism, argued Douthat, has a history of taking root in Catholic universities, with negative consequences for the faithful.


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.


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

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


Catholic Colleges Prepare for HHS Showdown Before the Supreme Court
1/8/2016
Three Newman Guide-recommended colleges involved in lawsuits against the Obama administration’s HHS contraception mandate submitted their formal briefs this week as they prepare for oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court that could determine the fate of their religious freedom protections.

The government has embraced an unreasonably narrow view of religious freedom which excludes Catholic education and “denies full religious status and protection to clearly religious organizations,” according to Thomas Aquinas College’s summation of thebrief submitted on its behalf. “By concluding that only ‘houses of worship’ but not religious charitable and educational institutions should be considered ‘religious employers,’ the Government betrays a distressingly narrow view of the proper place of religious faith and practice in our society.”


NLRB Rules Faculty at yet Another Catholic College Have No Role in Religious Mission
1/7/2016
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) argued in a ruling last week that Loyola University Chicago (LUC) does not hold out many of its faculty as being important to its religious mission and asserted authority over employee relations at the University, continuing a series of rulings questioning the Catholic identity of Catholic colleges and universities.

According to the ruling from NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr, LUC failed to meet any of the requirements that would exempt the University from its jurisdiction. “I find that the Board has jurisdiction in this matter because the evidence does not demonstrate that the University holds out the petitioned-for faculty members as performing a specific role in creating or maintaining the University’s religious educational environment,” he wrote.


Univ. of San Diego: Student Demands ‘Inconsistent With Our Catholic Identity’
1/7/2016
Responding to a list of “demands” by student groups focused on racial and LGBTQ issues, a University of San Diego (USD) official told The Cardinal Newman Society there are items on the list “that are inconsistent with our Catholic identity,” and that such proposals would be vetted through a process of working with students to initiate change “in a constructive and respectful fashion.”

“In this process,” said Peter Marlow, associate vice president of communications at USD, “any fringe ideas that may be contrary to our Catholic identity would be vetted by a broad audience and even broader perspectives and priorities.”

Marlow told the Newman Society that the newly installed University president, Dr. James Harris, who began his tenure this past August, recently met with four of the students involved with publishing the demands “to help steer them toward submitting their ideas via the strategic planning process” currently underway at the University. The process, scheduled for completion by early fall, is collecting “ideas for the future” from USD student groups, faculty, alumni, administrators, trustees, community members and other friends of USD.


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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