Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Be Clear about What You Believe,’ Legal Experts Tell Catholic Colleges, Schools
The first step to protecting the religious freedom of Catholic schools and colleges is to clearly define and enforce their mission and purpose, according to experts recently gathered by the Family Research Council (FRC).

Legal and educational experts took part this week in the FRC’s webinar, “The Court and the Classroom: How the Supreme Court's Redefinition of Marriage Affects Religious Schools.” The event was offered in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which effectively legalized same-sex marriage, and to equip educators with the practical steps needed to defend their religious missions.

Greg Baylor, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), kicked off the event by emphasizing the need for schools to clearly define their missions and their purpose.“ Be consistent and clear about what you believe,” Baylor stated. Many schools might believe that flying under the radar is the way to go in the wake of the Supreme Court decision and ensuing discrimination lawsuits. Catholic schools and colleges should in fact be doing quite the opposite, he said. “Root [your policies] in your theological convictions and then apply them consistently.”

Catholic Colleges Must Listen to Pope Benedict’s Strong Case for Sacred Music, Says Prof.
The availability of well-celebrated liturgy and sacred music should be the norm at all Catholic colleges, not the exception, said Dr. Kurt Poterack, choir director and adjunct professor of music at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va. Poterack spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society regarding Pope Emeritus Benedict’s recent comments on sacred music and what it means for Catholic colleges.

The Pope Emeritus recently received honorary doctorates from the John Paul II Pontifical University of Krakow and from the Academy of Music of Krakow in Poland. The former pontiff took the opportunity to thank the now-saint Pope John Paul II for the profound impact he had in his own spiritual life and also share his own reflections on the benefits of sacred music.

The emphasis on sacred music is certainly something that Catholic colleges should be paying attention to, as it helps students to encounter the living God in liturgy, Poterack stated.

Ave Maria Law Professors Fight ‘Ominous’ Trends, See Growing Need for Faithful Lawyers
Faithful Catholic attorneys and lawmakers are needed now more than ever to defend natural law and Church teaching, said several professors at Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Fla., who are doing just that.“ 

In contemporary American society, the law and the legal profession have become important and sometimes dominant forces in nearly every facet of life and culture,” Eugene Milhizer, dean emeritus at Ave Maria Law, told The Cardinal Newman Society. “As recent Supreme Court decisions demonstrate, the law’s reach includes life issues, marriage and the family.”

This is precisely why faithful legal experts are increasingly needed to address legal matters “from the perspective of the natural law and the Catholic intellectual tradition,” said Milhizer, noting that “this approach has become both counter-cultural and desperately needed.”

Catholic Education ‘Going to Win’ HHS Mandate Suits, Predicts Becket Fund Attorney
All the evidence suggests that Catholic schools and colleges are going to win their challenges to the Obama administration’s “HHS mandate,” attorney Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty told The Cardinal Newman Society.

In a summary of lawsuits compiled by the Newman Society with information from the Becket Fund, at least 22 Catholic schools and 11 Catholic colleges have challenged the mandate in federal courts. Two of the schools— Pius X Catholic High School in Lincoln, Neb., and Rhodora J. Donahue Academy in Ave Maria, Fla.—are on the Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll of faithful Catholic high schools.

Eight of the colleges are recommended in the Newman Guide, including Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn.; Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Fla.; Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C.; The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio; Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Cal.; University of Dallas, Tex.; and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.

Winning permanent injunctions against enforcement of the HHS mandate is critical to the protection of Catholic schools and colleges and their ability to faithfully live out their Catholic identity and mission, attested Rienzi, who is also an assistant professor at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. Under the current form of the HHS mandate, most Catholic institutions would be forced to facilitate employee access to full insurance coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including some that cause abortion. If schools and colleges are not granted relief from the HHS mandate, they will be subjected to severe fines for not participating.

Status of Catholic Education Challenges to HHS Mandate
As of July 2015, at least 33 Catholic institutions have filed suits challenging the Obama administration’s “HHS mandate,” requiring employer coverage of sterilization and contraceptives (including some that cause abortion) in employee health plans.

In a summary of lawsuits compiled by the Newman Society with information from the Becket Fund, at least 22 Catholic schools and 11 Catholic colleges have challenged the mandate in federal courts. Two of the schools— Pius X Catholic High School in Lincoln, Neb., and Rhodora J. Donahue Academy in Ave Maria, Fla.—are on the Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll of faithful Catholic high schools.

Eight of the colleges are recommended in the Newman Guide, including Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn.; Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Fla.; Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C.; The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio; Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Cal.; University of Dallas, Tex.; and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.

Bishop Dewane: Families Have ‘Right to Know’ Which Theology Professors Have Mandatum
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.

Cardinal Edward Egan, Former Archbishop of New York, Passes Away at 82
The Archdiocese of New York recently announced that Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York, passed away on March 5 at the age of 82. Cardinal Egan played a significant role in and was a constant supporter of Catholic education.

Ave Maria Renews President Towey’s Contract, Applauds Him as Catholic Identity Leader
President Towey, who joined the Ave Maria community in 2011, will continue to serve in his position for an additional five years with his new contract lasting until June 30, 2020.

Eighth Annual Ave Maria ‘Ablaze’ Youth Conference Set to Be ‘Incredible Weekend of Faith’
This year's conference will be held July 10-12 on the campus of Ave Maria and will also include opportunities for Adoration and Mass, the conference advertisement noted.

Ave Maria Helps Students Avoid Sophomore Slump with New Success Program
Emphasis on the Catholic intellectual tradition and career preparedness are part of a new program at Ave Maria University called "Sophomore Success: Preparing Leaders for the Third Millennium."

Faithful College Leaders Agree, Homeschooling Leads to Success at Catholic Colleges
The experience of these administrators with homeschooled students correlates with a 2013 study which found significant evidence of higher ACT and SAT scores and overall GPAs for homeschooled students who attend a Catholic university.

Thousands of Students from Faithful Catholic Colleges to Attend 2015 March for Life
Students and community members from the faithful Catholic colleges and universities recommended in The Newman Guide—about 3,000 of them, according to estimates—are traveling to Washington, D.C., this week to participate in the 42nd annual March for Life.

Faithful Catholic Colleges Set Standard for Next Generation of Catholic Higher Ed.
A recent PJ Media article compares the compromising of religious mission at many older Catholic colleges with examples of faithful Catholic colleges, observing that the latter institutions are paving the way for the future of Catholic higher education.

Ave Maria Prof Wins Fellowship from Vatican Institute Founded by Pope Benedict XVI
Professor Anthony Valle from Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Fla., recently received an academic fellowship from the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger Benedetto XVI.

Timeless Church Architecture Attracting Catholic Millennials, Argue Chaplains
Students are drawn to the "timeless tradition" of the Catholic Church, particularly in the architecture and art surrounding sacred spaces, according to a new study and several Catholic college chaplains recently interviewed by The Cardinal Newman Society.

Students Joyfully Await Birth of Christ at Faithful Catholic Colleges
Throughout the month of December, institutions recommended in The Newman Guide are offering students opportunities to celebrate Advent and prepare for Christmas before returning home at the end of the semester.

Students Show Growing Appreciation for Traditional Masses, Say College Chaplains
Among Catholic colleges and dioceses across the country there has been an apparent rise in the celebration of the Mass ad orientem, where the priest and congregation face the same direction, traditionally to the east.

Ave Maria Hits ‘Milestone’ in Creation of New Nursing Program
The Florida Board of Nursing recently approved the new nursing program beginning at Ave Maria University. Classes will reportedly begin soon for those interested in the new major, with the first graduates slated for the 2016-17 academic year.

Scott Hahn Recommends Graduate Programs in Theology
Dr. Scott Hahn recently spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society about his recommendations and advice for students considering an advanced degree in theology.

Ave Maria Hosting Vatican Astronomer as Distinguished Visiting Scholar
Ave Maria University will host a lecture by Vatican astronomer Brother Guy Consolmango, S.J. next month, the University announced on its website.

Ave Maria Univ. Hopes New Science Programs Will ‘Bear Witness to the Truth’
Dr. Michael Dauphinais, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Ave Maria University, spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society in a recent interview about the six new academic programs added at the University, bringing the total number of majors offered to 29.

Students Have Rave Reviews for Newman Guide-Recommended Catholic Colleges
Students from colleges recommended in The Newman Guide recently appeared as guests on the Ave Maria Radio program “Mast Appeal.” The Society helped to coordinate interviews to give students the opportunity to share their experiences attending faithful Catholic colleges.

Love and Fidelity Network to Host National Conference on Sexuality, Integrity, and the University
The Love and Fidelity Network will hold their annual conference, focused on inculcating an authentic understanding of sexuality and relationships, at Princeton University. Nationally recognized professors will be speaking at the conference.

Ave Maria School of Law Granted Preliminary Injunction from HHS Mandate
Ave Maria School of Law’s president stated in an email that the victory was noteworthy because “it allows us to continue to practice our faith without being forced to compromise our beliefs.”

Author Explains New Sacred Music Book, Importance for Catholic Education
The Cardinal Newman Society recently conducted an interview with Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, professor of theology and philosophy at Wyoming Catholic College, about his new book of sacred music compositions and its implications for Catholic education and the Church at large.

Newman Guide-Recommended Colleges Rank High in New ACTA Curriculum Ratings
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) recently released its sixth annual “What Will They Learn” list rating the core curricula of colleges and universities across the country. Several institutions recommended in The Newman Guide received high marks.

Ave Maria Wins Relief from HHS Mandate, President Towey Says Battle ‘Far from Over’
The order from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida is the first "enjoining the government's latest attempt to coerce religious organizations via an 'augmented rule' that it issued last August," stated the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

New Ave Maria Law Scholarships Available to Grads from Newman Guide Colleges
The Ave Maria School of Law announced new scholarships, beginning for the Summer/Fall 2015 term. “Ave Maria School of Law seeks to admit men and women who are drawn to our distinctive mission of educating lawyers within the Catholic intellectual tradition,” read the news release.

Washington Monthly Features Colleges Recommended in Newman Guide
Washington Monthly recently released its rankings of four-year colleges and universities across the nation. This year’s 2014 college guide included many colleges and universities recommend in The Newman Guide.

Cheered by Ruling on HHS Mandate, Catholic Educators Await Their Day in Court
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled today that theowners of Hobby Lobby stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties are not required tocomply with the HHS mandate because of the owners’ religious beliefs.

Ave Maria President: Calcutta Service Trip ‘At Heart of Educational Experience’
Ave Maria University President Jim Towey and twelve students served with Blessed Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity from May 12 to 23, assisting in various capacities, including serving handicapped children.

U.S. Bishops Call for Prayer, Education, Action in Fortnight for Freedom
The Fortnight takes place during a time, the bishops note, “when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power...”

Crossroads Celebrates 20 Years of Bringing John Paul II’s Pro-life Message ‘To the Streets’
“Most people are under the impression that young people are not interested in their faith – when they see these amazing young people taking an active role in the Church and society for life, they are inspired.”

Ave Maria Students Getting Married Share Family Values, President Says
Ave Maria University in Florida boasts a record number of students who are engaged to be married in its graduating class of 2014.

Ave Maria University Announces High School Summer Conference
Rising freshmen to graduating seniors in high school are invited to spend a weekend at Ave Maria University in Florida for the “Made for Another” youth conference.

Ave Maria President Offers Commentary on Supreme Court HHS Mandate Case
“Their debate will provide insights into what might ultimately happen with our lawsuit (that has been stayed pending the high court’s ruling),” said Ave Maria University President Jim Towey.

Ave Maria Univ. Announces Librarian of Congress as Commencement Speaker
Dr. James Hadley Billington, who was sworn in as the Librarian of Congress in 1987, will be awarded an honorary doctorate in “recognition of his exemplary public service and lifetime achievements at home and abroad.”

Catholic Education Instrumental in Life of Service, Says Colorado Catholic Charities CEO
Mark Rohlena said that Christendom College offered him an “immersion in things Catholic ”while also providing some of the “best of the intellectual tradition and a foundation for so many things that would come after graduation.”

Ave Maria Univ. Dedicates Mother Teresa Project Exhibition Hall
The Mother Teresa Project Exhibition Hall will “tell the story of the modern-day saint through film, oral histories, handwritten letters, photographs, a personal crucifix, a relic of her hair and other memorabilia.”

Marquette Univ. Laying Off Many Employees to Minimize Spending, Tuition Increases
In all, more than 100 jobs at the Jesuit University in Milwaukee, Wis., are expected to be dropped in an attempt to minimize tuition increases and spending.

Ave Maria Univ. Announces Plans for Performing Arts Center
“We have started a new era,” said AMU President Jim Towey. “Our founder, Tom Monaghan, had a great interest in the arts and planted the seeds...”

College Students Credited as Driving Force in March for Life
Catholic colleges recommended in The Newman Guide are featured for their participation in and efforts surrounding the March for Life in a recent article by The Catholic News Agency.

Common Core Could Be Costly for Catholic Schools, Report Finds
Education professor Denise Donohue of Ave Maria University finds that “one quickly sees that the expense associated with implementation of the new evaluation instruments is in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars.” 

Ave Maria, Catholic Univ. of America 'Best Law Schools for the Devout'
The report indicates that Ave Maria was an easy choice for the number one spot on the list, noting that some law schools on the list "are stark about the relationship" to religion on campus.

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