Tuesday 13th April 2021

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The Catholic Identity Of Catholic Colleges

December 9, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

The ascendant liberalism at modern Catholic colleges is a problem that has perplexed parents with traditional Catholic beliefs for decades now. Bishop Sheen went so far as to recommend that Catholic parents steer their children toward state and private colleges rather than Catholic institutions, contending it would be better to have their faith ignored at a secular college than actively undermined by liberal Catholic professors at a Catholic college.
Not everyone agrees with Sheen. I can remember an exchange on this topic in Triumph magazine back in the 1970s. I can’t recall who it was who disagreed with Sheen’s position, but his point was that even a Catholic college with a theology and philosophy department dominated by liberation theologians was a better choice than a secular college. The writer in question contended that the odds were good that a student would be able to find at least a few professors loyal to the Church at liberal Catholic colleges to help them grow in their faith, something not likely at secular colleges. Beyond that, he felt that spending four years in a Catholic atmosphere of available daily Masses, and the trappings of stained-glass windows and statues of the saints would have a favorable influence on the spiritual life of young people of college age.
My own view? I went back on forth on the question, but I did send my daughter in the 1990s to a Jesuit college that I knew was far more liberal than the Jesuit college I attended in the 1960s. She learned little about Thomas Aquinas and Jacques Maritain while in attendance, but I did not regret my decision. I am convinced that the Catholic cultural environment in which she was immersed was a healthy influence on her spiritual growth.
I was recently surprised to discover that there are professors at Catholic colleges these days who ponder this very issue, who worry about what it will mean if the Catholic identity of their institutions is lost. An article in Commonweal on October 22 (commonwealmagazine.org) by Bernard G. Prusak, an associate professor of philosophy at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (founded in 1946 by the Congregation of Holy Cross from the University of Notre Dame), is an example.
Prusak begins by reacting to an article in the October 17 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education by Beth McMurtrie, entitled, “Catholic Colleges Greet an Unchurched Generation.” McMurtrie writes of the decline of the “pipeline that once fed Catholic colleges” brought on by the shrinking “Catholic secondary-school enrollments . . . since 1970” and of the challenge that Catholic colleges face as a result, when “more and more students and faculty alike profess no religious affiliation.”
She is concerned about how these Catholic institutions of higher learning will connect “their religious mission to topics of broad interest, like developing a meaningful philosophy of life or pursuing social justice” when their student bodies “feel little affiliation with Catholicism” and identify themselves as “nones” when asked to list their religious affiliation. McMurtrie’s answer is to promote discussions not specifically Catholic in nature, but nonetheless with a generally Christian focus, on topics “that can relate to values, solidarity, preferential protection of the poor, concern for the common good, and so forth.”
Prusak appreciates McMurtrie’s problem. He writes: “I teach a course in business ethics. A business ethics course at a Catholic school surely should communicate Catholic values, and mine does! These values, however, can hardly be taken for granted when the students don’t share or know what to do with the underlying beliefs. Yes, this means that they need to be educated, but honestly often the most that can be hoped for, from a single course at least, is that the ‘unchurched’ or ‘nones’ come to understand a bit better the Catholic lens on the world just as, after my course, they understand a bit better how to see things through a Kantian’s eyes or a utilitarian’s or Milton Friedman’s.”
There is another way to deal with the problem Prusak faces: Catholic colleges can go out of their way to make sure that their student bodies are substantially Catholic, and therefore equipped to discuss, in Prusak’s words, “what to do with underlying beliefs.” The University of Notre Dame takes that path, in a way I was not aware of before reading Prusak’s article. Prusak writes, “Notre Dame’s answer has been to mandate that some 80 percent of its undergraduate student body be Catholic.”
Prusak does not object to this policy, but wonders if “most other Catholic colleges and universities have the number of applicants to initiate this practice even they wanted to do so.” Prusak’s point is that Notre Dame’s applicants are likely to be 80 percent Catholic to begin with, when that will not always be the case for other Catholic colleges. There is also the question of whether an 80 percent Catholic student body these days will be Catholic in name only, even if they are graduates of Catholic high schools. The religious training at modern Catholic high schools cannot be assumed to be comparable to that of the past.
Prusak concludes with the following: “For the great majority of Catholic institutions, much greater creativity with our core curricula, professional programs, and student life is the pressing order of the day. I can’t help but think, though, that our hope here has to be tempered by acknowledgment of the magnitude of the challenge.”
On another topic: the ongoing struggle over Common Core. For those who are tempted to despair over the challenge of stopping this effort by the federal government to regulate what is taught in our local schools, there is some good news. Kristin DeCarr reports on the website Education News (educationnews.org) on November 11 that “a bill that would halt the use of the Common Core in Ohio won approval from committee and is on its way to a vote from the full House. The Ohio House Rules and Reference Committee voted true to their party lines on House Bill 597, with all the Republicans voting for the bill and both Democrats voting against it. In the end, the bill passed 7-2.”
This does not mean there will be an easy path to ending Common Core in the state, but that there is a fighting chance. According to DeCarr, “Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard said ‘she is not sure there are enough votes in the House as a whole to overturn Common Core.’ The bill needs the support of 50 Republican members of the caucus to make the full House vote. ‘If we don’t think we have the votes to pass it, we won’t bring it to the floor,’ said Chairman Matt Huffman. Huffman said if the current bill fails, he believes it will be debated again in the next legislature.”

+ + +

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues. The e-mail address for First Teachers is fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford CT 06492.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

VICTORY!

23rd Texas City Bans Abortions, Becomes “Sanctuary for the Unborn” https://t.co/v9JKt68xhF

The goal of much of the modern American left is to celebrate public sin and to disparage traditional values as bigotry.

Abortion on demand, open borders, four dollars a gallon gasoline, churches and schools closed - what's not to love?

Chris Manion . . . Introducing A New “Reality” By Legislative Fiat - https://t.co/fUiS6S0oft

Load More...

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

House passes bill setting up path to citizenship for millions of Dreamers

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday passed an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The Misleading AP Attack on the Catholic Church for Accepting COVID Relief

In early 2020, a pandemic came to America. We started staying home, then we were ordered to stay home. The market tanked. The economy tanked. Unemployment soared. You remember all this, because you lived it. We all did. Congress created a…Continue Reading

Catholic bishop released five days after kidnapping in Nigeria

CNA Staff, Jan 1, 2021 / 10:42 pm MT (CNA).- A Catholic bishop in Nigeria, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released unharmed, according to the Archdiocese of Owerri. The diocese, which is in southeastern Nigeria, announced in a social…Continue Reading

More GOP senators vow to challenge Biden’s win

WASHINGTON – A last-ditch effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election thrust Washington into chaos Saturday as a growing coalition of Republican senators announced plans to rebel against Senate leaders by seeking to block formal…Continue Reading

Underground Catholic bishop dies in China

CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 03:25 pm MT (CNA).- According to the Catholic outlet AsiaNews, headquartered in Rome, Bishop Andrea Han Jingtao, 99, a leader in the underground Catholic Church in China, died Dec. 30. Han Jingtao was the…Continue Reading

‘All-star,’ ‘brilliant jurist’: Pro-life leaders thrilled Trump nominated Barrett to Supreme Court

September 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is “an absolute all-star” and “a judicial role model for the next generation,” pro-life leaders said today.  If confirmed, Barrett will replace pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just…Continue Reading

Farewell, Uncle Di: Father Paul Mankowski, RIP

My editorial career has brought me into close contact with quite a few impressive thinkers. I have worked with famous authors, with noted theologians and philosophers, with canny political strategists, with at least a half-dozen Nobel Prize winners. Among them…Continue Reading

VIDEO: BLM mob threatens, chases Rand Paul down streets of DC

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky found himself the target of left-wing violence yet again Thursday night as protesters swarmed him as he was leaving the White House, chasing him and his wife…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood acknowledges Margaret Sanger’s ‘racist legacy’, continues abortions

CNA Staff, Jul 21, 2020 / 11:05 am MT (CNA).- The New York affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider said Tuesday it will remove the name of its founder, Margaret Sanger, from its Manhattan building because of her support…Continue Reading

Statue of Virgin Mary beheaded at Tennessee parish

CNA Staff, Jul 15, 2020 / 10:40 am MT (CNA).- A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was attacked this weekend at a parish in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the third reported incident against a statue of Mary occuring in the same…Continue Reading

21 doctors tell bishops Communion on tongue ‘safer’ than in hand

June 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twenty-one Austrian doctors have authored a letter appealing their country’s Bishops’ Conference to lift the de facto ban on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, which has been enforced since Communion in the hand was…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

Americans to receive COVID shots inside abortion centers as part of multi-million dollar Planned Parenthood campaign

April 8, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s largest abortion company is launching a major campaign to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and convince people to get them. Today, Planned Parenthood announced a $2 million English and Spanish ad blitz to promote COVID-19 vaccines to at least 1.5 million people, on top of campaigns to distribute shots through clinics and

Statement on the Reception of Holy Communion by Those Who Persist in Public Grave Sin

Many Catholics and also non-Catholics who, while they do not embrace the Catholic faith, respect the Catholic Church for her teaching regarding faith and morals, have asked me how it is possible for Catholics to receive Holy Communion, while at the same time they publicly and obstinately promote programs, policies and legislation in direct violation of the moral law. In particular, they ask how Catholic politicians and civil officials who publicly and obstinately defend and…Continue Reading

Catholic teaching on Communion applies to politicians who support abortion, too, bishop says

Phoenix, Ariz., Apr 6, 2021 / 20:01 pm America/Denver (CNA). Catholic teaching sees the Eucharist as Christ’s transformative sacrifice on the cross and this Holy Communion must only be received worthily. This teaching is not partisan, but it certainly applies to political leaders who back abortion and euthanasia, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix has said in an apostolic exhortation on the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. “Holy Communion is reserved for those, who with God’s grace…Continue Reading

">Conversations with Cardinal Burke March 2021

Only one third of US Catholics plans to attend Mass for Easter: poll

March 31, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A recent poll revealed the severe effect COVID-19 restrictions have had upon churchgoers in the U.S. Catholics are shown to be most cautious, with only 5% of Catholic churches open without any restrictions, as they were before the arrival of the virus. Meanwhile, Evangelical protestants are the most eager to return to normal, and look set to fill their churches the most at Easter time.

Should Government Track The Miles You Drive?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY One American gets up in the morning, gets in his car and drives down a congested highway to work.Another wakes at noon and rides a subway to a saloon.Which of these two — if America’s future takes a wrong turn — would pay what might be called the “Buttigieg tax”?CNBC’s Kayla…Continue Reading

The Plight Of The Author

By DONALD DeMARCO Our parish bazaar was in its second day. Most of the more attractive items were gone on the opening day when crowds of treasure seekers stormed the church basement. Our pastor urged us to sweep clean any trinkets that remained. And so, after Mass, my wife and I made the short journey…Continue Reading

Joe Biden’s Bid To Remake America

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN If Joe Biden’s American Jobs Program, outlined in Pittsburgh, is enacted, then the federal government will take a great leap forward toward irreversible control of the destiny of the Republic.To finance this leap, to subsidize this giant stride toward socialism, U.S. corporations are to be forced to turn over to the…Continue Reading

Like Clockwork… Mass Shooting, Then Demands For Gun Control

By BARBARA SIMPSON (Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on WorldNetDaily, www.wnd.com, on March 26. All rights reserved. Barbara Simpson has a 20-year radio, TV, and newspaper career in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.) + + Here we go again — or rather, “here we still are.” The news is filled with horrific reports…Continue Reading

Senators Demand Investigation . . . Into Planned Parenthood Getting PPP loans

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — A letter signed by 25 Republican senators is demanding an investigation into Planned Parenthood affiliates illegally accessing emergency small business loans.“We write to request an investigation concerning how affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (‘Planned Parenthood’), a national organization with central control over its affiliates which has nearly $2…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Remember The Suffering Of The Messiah

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-191 John 1-5aLuke 24:35-48 In the fourth week of Lent we had a break and looked forward to the joy that was coming in Easter. That day reminded us to be joyful and spurred us on to continue with our Lenten penances, knowing we had made it…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Can you explain what righteous anger is? I thought anger was one of the seven deadly sins, so how can it ever be righteous? — T.S., via e-mail.A. The glossary at the back of the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines anger as “an emotion which is not in itself wrong, but which, when it is not controlled by…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Freedom Of Faith Vs. Social Control

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The world doesn’t know how to use power. Like addicts, those unrestrained by any humility or faith believe that, if a little feels good, then more must be better.We may be in masks to buy groceries for the rest of our lives. We may not be able to do anything about that. It’s the world.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah Asks Pope Francis . . . To Reinstate Individual Masses At St. Peter’s Basilica

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS VATICAN CITY (CNA) — Robert Cardinal Sarah has asked Pope Francis to reinstate the celebration of private Masses at the side altars in St. Peter’s Basilica, after individual Masses were suspended earlier in March in favor of concelebration.“I humbly beg the Holy Father to order the withdrawal of the recent norms issued by the secretariat of state,”…Continue Reading

Love God And Love Neighbor

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Easter (Divine Mercy) (YR B) Readings: Acts 4:32-351 John 5:1-6John 20:19-31 In the first reading today, we are told that the first Christians were of one heart and mind. Such unity can only exist when there is no selfishness. What the first believers show us is that their minds were united in the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Jeanne Jugan

By DEB PIROCH “The Seventh Commandment implies the obligation of assisting the poor and needy as far as we are able. . . . Our Lord declares the omission of alms deeds will be punished by eternal damnation (Matt. 25:46). . . . For many persons, without their own fault, are pitiably destitute, e.g. orphans, widows, the sick and disabled,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Pius X

By DEB PIROCH “He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)