The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., affirmed its policy for students upholding Catholic sexual teaching in an investigative report this week in The Washington Post.
“Our teaching, of course, is that that relationship [should] be a product of exclusive love between two married people,” said Lawrence J. Morris, the university’s general counsel and a retired Army colonel.
While the Post article suggests that the prohibition on pre-marital sex might “complicate efforts to prevent sexual assault,” it is reported that CUA “upholds the church doctrine banning premarital sex but is ‘realistic and clear’ with students about any potential sexual activity.”
In those cases, Morris reportedly states, “But any relationship anybody has has to be conducted in a respectful and appropriate manner. So we are just as clear to them, in a way that is consistent with the overall message of the university on that particular matter, about having consciousness of the other party’s condition.”
New college freshmen will soon be swarming college campuses around the country. Dr. Christopher Kaczor reported in “Strategies for Reducing Binge Drinking and a ‘Hook-Up’ Culture on Campus” that:
The first six weeks of the college experience are extremely important in establishing a student’s habits and identity….Habits take root and patterns of behavior become established during this crucial period.
Kaczor, a 2012 fellow of The Cardinal Newman Society’s Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, promotes the importance of a university sending a strong sobriety and chastity message throughout the year, but particularly at the beginning of the school year.
In a related story from the Witherspoon Institute by Dr. Robert Karle, professor of Theology at King’s College in Manhattan, writes:
United Educators, an insurance company owned by 1,160 member colleges and universities, reported that between 2005 and 2010, 63 percent of complainants filing claims of sexual assault are first-year students, and their assaults typically occur in September. In 92 percent of these claims, the complainant was under the influence of alcohol. More than 60 percent of these claims involved women who were so drunk that they had no memory of the assault.
Kaczor points out that messages of chastity during orientation are important along with a discussion of the “consequences of unhealthy choices as well as addressing the pluralistic ignorance that abounds” on both the issues of binge drinking and pre-marital sex.
A large body of research, Kaczor writes, shows that women who had sexual relations before marriage “have been shown to be about 34% more likely to experience marital dissolution.” As Kaczor puts it, “The sexual choices you make now may make a difference in your marriage and family life later.”
Kaczor points out in his paper that, “A vital institutional strategy for reducing binge drinking and hook up cultures is the institution of single-sex dorms.” CUA adopted this policy in 2011. President John Garvey, in explaining the policy to new parents and students noted that, “Maintaining separate living spaces…'fosters respect between the sexes, and discourages behaviors that undermine it.’”
“Catholic identity," Garvey said, "is ‘not just marketing’ or ‘a vestige of our founding’ but ‘integral to who we are.’”
The Catholic University of America is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.
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