Thursday, July 24, 2014

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DePaul Touts Its Religious Diversity

Recently we posted about a report from DePaul University, revealing that only a third of students identify as Catholic and describing religious services for Jewish and Muslim students.

Now DePaul seems to be celebrating the fact, with a brochure-quality puff piece in the online publication Inside Higher Ed:

Not far from the entrance to the student center at DePaul University is a Roman Catholic chapel. The chapel, named after Saint Louise de Marillac, has a gold cross and candles and the usual trappings of Catholic worship, as might be expected at a Catholic college. But directly off the chapel is another room, a Buddhist sacred space. Upstairs, a Muslim prayer room abuts a Jewish kosher kitchen.

Enrolling students of other faiths isn’t unusual at a Catholic college. Nor is employing chaplains from those religions, as DePaul does, to serve their religious needs. But DePaul, the largest Catholic university in the country, believes it’s going further than most of its Catholic peers—and further than most in higher education—to create a religious identity that is as much about interreligious cooperation as it is about Catholicism.

Over the past decade, DePaul has become a laboratory for the Interfaith Youth Core, a group that works to encourage cooperation, service and dialogue among college students of different faiths.

Some Catholic colleges do a great job of maintaining a strong Catholic identity without a large majority of Catholic students—see The Newman Guide profiles of Aquinas College (Tenn.), Belmont Abbey College, and St. Gregory’s University, for instance.

And then there’s DePaul.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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