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Origins and Milestones of The Cardinal Newman Society

Blessed John Paul and Newman

The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) was founded by Catholic college alumni to promote and defend faithful Catholic education, following upon Pope John Paul II’s 1990 release of the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic higher education, Ex corde Ecclesiae.

1993: The Journey Begins - Catholic college alumni launch The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) to support Ex corde Ecclesiae and renewal of Catholic higher education.

1995: Pro-Abortion Accreditor Backs Down - CNS joins U.S. bishops and Christian colleges opposing rules by accrediting agency forcing medical schools to teach abortion and sterilization. After oversight hearing in U.S. House of Representatives, accreditor backs off.

1996: CNS Contributes to Bishops’ Guidelines – U.S. bishops invite CNS to advise on guidelines to implement Ex corde Ecclesiae. Vatican shares CNS concerns about pastoral approach of 1996 guidelines. Bishops approve final guidelines in 1999, consistent with CNS recommendations.

1999: Commencement Scandal Averted - CNS report on commencement speakers leads columnist Anna Quindlen to withdraw from Villanova University Commencement, and Worcester Bishop Daniel Reilly boycotts Assumption College commencement because of honor to Lt. Gov. Jane Swift.

2000: Bishops Implement Mandatum - U.S. bishops approve mandatum guidelines consistent with CNS recommendations. CNS publicly defends mandatum from criticism by theologians.

2003: CNS Releases Student Survey - CNS commissions UCLA Higher Education Research Institute study of students at 38 Catholic colleges, finding increased dissent and declining religious practice over four years of a Catholic college education.

2003: Commencement Scandal Fallout - Marist College drops Catholic label when CNS objects to commencement speaker NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Following CNS reports, Worcester Bishop Daniel Reilly boycotts commencement honor for political pundit Chris Matthews at College of the Holy Cross, and Scranton Bishop James Timlin boycotts commencement honor for Matthews at University of Scranton.

2004: V-Monologues Campaign Steps Up - CNS continues campaign against Catholic campus productions of The Vagina Monologues with full-page ads in USA Today, The Washington Times and National Catholic Register.

2004: Bishops Announce Honors/Platform Policy - U.S. bishops respond to college scandals with policy banning Catholic “awards, honors or platforms” for those who defy “our fundamental moral principles.”

2005: More Commencement Cleanup - Marymount Manhattan College drops Catholic label when CNS objects to commencement speaker Sen. Hillary Clinton. Following CNS report on commencements, Baltimore Cardinal William Keeler boycotts Loyola College commencement with former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes boycotts Loyola University New Orleans commencement with Sen. Mary Landrieu.

2006: Website Abortion Referrals Removed – CNS report on Catholic college website referrals to pro-abortion organizations and clinics prods Boston College, Georgetown, Santa Clara and other colleges to remove links.

2007: Catholic College Guide Released - First Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College profiles 21 faithful Catholic colleges and helps Catholic families navigate the college search.

2007: Shining the Light – Worcester Bishop Robert McManus welcomes CNS to cathedral for rally opposing NARAL-Planned Parenthood event at College of the Holy Cross. Roberta Wilhelm withdraws from commencement at College of St. Mary in Omaha.

2007: CNS Presents Vatican Exhibit - Real Presence Association selects CNS as national coordinator for college displays of Vatican’s Eucharistic Miracles of the World exhibit.

2008: CNS Launches New Center - CNS launches new division, Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, to promote best practices in Catholic higher education. Center releases national survey of Catholic students, finding dissent and sexual activity.

2008: Campus Politics Confronted - CNS leads 18 Catholic organizations in statement urging Catholic colleges to reject pro-abortion speakers and honorees. CNS and local bishops oppose Hillary Clinton campaign events at St. Mary’s University and Mercyhurst College, and speech by St. Louis University coach at Clinton rally.

2008: Pope Benedict Challenges Educators - Pope Benedict XVI visits Catholic University of America to present vision for Catholic education. CNS drives media coverage and counters papal critics.

2008: Scandals Averted, Opposed - Presentation College withdraws commencement invitation to Sen. Nancy Turbak Berry. U.S. bishops’ doctrinal committee moves seminar from University of Notre Dame to oppose presentations of V-Monologues.

2009: Faithful and Affordable Campaign - CNS publishes and promotes study finding relatively low costs for attending The Newman Guide colleges.

2009: CNS Leads on Notre Dame, Scandals - CNS leads opposition to Notre Dame commencement honors to President Barack Obama; 367,000 sign CNS petition, 83 U.S. bishops publicly oppose honors. Following CNS report on commencements, New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes boycotts Xavier University commencement with political activist Donna Brazile, and Bridgeport Bishop William Lori boycotts Sacred Heart University dinner honoring dissident Catholic Kerry Kennedy.

2009: CNS Publishes Guides to Renewal - CNS publishes The Enduring Nature of the Catholic University in honor of Pope Benedict XVI’s vision for renewal and reprints classic How to Keep Your University Catholic by Fr. Leonard Kennedy.

2010: Newman Legacy Project, Beatification - CNS leads official U.S. pilgrimage to Beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman in England and helps preserve his original manuscripts.

2010: One Million Prayers for Holy Father - CNS members pledge more than one million prayers for Pope Benedict XVI following media attacks.

2011: CNS Exposes Scandals, Finds Decline - Special reports reveal more than 150 ties between Catholic colleges and Planned Parenthood and professors promoting physician-assisted suicide. Commencement speakers and honorees on Catholic campuses decline from 24 in 2006 to 14 in 2011. Catholic campus performances of The Vagina Monologues decline from 32 in 2003 to nine in 2011.

2011: CNS Launches “Adoration U” - CNS launches and “Adoration U” video, promoting devotion to Blessed Sacrament among college students. Video featured on EWTN.

2011: Center Relocates to Mount St. Mary’s - Msgr. Stuart Swetland takes helm of Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, which relocates to Mount St. Mary’s University. Center releases handbook for college self-assessment of Catholic identity.

2011: CNS Launches Investigative Team - CNS expands campus monitoring with Investigative Task Force of Catholic journalists, online Campus Notes blog and media outreach. CNS reports lead Notre Dame trustee Roxanne Martino to resign over pro-abortion donations, St. Francis University to cancel lecture with Ellen Goodman, and bishops to intervene in homosexual conferences at Fordham and Fairfield University.

2011: Defending Religious Freedom - CNS and 18 colleges join in appeal to Obama administration to rescind contraceptive insurance mandate. CNS commissions attorneys to advise Catholic colleges on religious liberty threats, defends single-sex dorms at Catholic University of America from critics and lawsuit threat, and exposes National Labor Relations Board violations against Catholic colleges.

2012: Catholic High School Honor Roll - CNS assumes management of Catholic High School Honor Roll program from Acton Institute.

2012: More Scandals Averted, Exposed - CNS report prompts Villanova University to cancel workshop by gay performance artist. Bishops halt commencement scandals at Anna Maria College and Mercy College of Ohio. Archdiocese of Washington joins CNS concerns about Georgetown graduation with HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius.

2012: Center Leads College Working Groups - CNS Center for Advancement of Catholic Higher Education sponsors working groups of Catholic college leaders in academics, student life, and admissions to share best practices and collaborate on faculty and staff hiring, promoting chastity.

2012: CNS Assists Canon Law Petition - Georgetown University alumni launch canon law petition concerning Catholic identity, invite CNS assistance and advice. CNS provides exposé on concerns at Georgetown.

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