After Synod, Faithful Schools Ready to Lead

Over at Catholic World Report, check out this article on the great value of faithful Catholic schools as an example of true “accompaniment”—a key theme during October’s Synod on Young People.

The Newman Society’s own Dr. Denise Donohue, associate director of K-12 education programs and manager of the Catholic Education Honor Roll, writes:

…I’ve had a firsthand look at the exemplary schools recognized by The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll, and they are truly forming young people in love and the Faith. These schools lead young people to holiness and grow the Church through innovative programs, clear doctrine and bold witness to Christ. They accompany youth, day in and day out, seeking not just to hang out with the young but to lead and inspire them to greatness.

Faithful Catholic schools “present them with the tradition,” that is, they offer a compelling and lived Catholic understanding of man, God and the world. This is necessary, so that students can compare the truth as presented in the Gospels and Catholic tradition to the values, beliefs, and attitudes in contemporary culture. Only then can they make a free decision as to which path they will follow. Authentic accompaniment in these schools is particularly effective at evangelizing, nurturing and leading our youth. …

Dr. Donohue highlights Honor Roll schools including Academy of Our Lady in Marrero, La.; Bishop Machebeuf High School in Denver, Colo.; Detroit Central Catholic High School in Michigan; Frassati Catholic High School in Spring, Tex.; Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, Md.; and Notre Dame Regional High School in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Read more here at Catholic World Report.

Teenager with hands in prayer

College Student to Synod Organizers: Don’t Listen to Me!

Even as the bishops attending this month’s Youth Synod in Rome strive mightily to demonstrate that they hear the wishes and concerns of young people, I was surprised when a Catholic college student told me that he doesn’t much care if the Church listens to him.

Isaac Cross first heard about the Youth Synod when he was asked to participate in the preparatory survey. One of the opening questions has stuck with him: “As a young person, do you feel that the Church listens to you?”

Isaac didn’t like the question.

“What really matters is if I listen to the Church and learn from its wisdom,” he told me. “The Church is built upon thousands of years of tradition and doctrine, and I have especially found at college how striving to understand that doctrine of the Church is a vital means of strengthening [one’s] faith.”

Isaac is a student at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, which is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity. So he’s serious about the Faith and his need for authentic Catholic education.

“Saint John Paul II always called upon the youth to lead the charge of evangelization, but many bishops and priests misinterpreted that idea and started to look toward the youth for guidance in forming the traditions and liturgy of the Church,” Isaac said. “Young Catholics have vitality, which is what St. John Paul saw as so important for spreading the faith, but being young myself, I can tell you we do not have wisdom.”

Providing youth with an education and formation in the truths of the Church is so important, especially given the scandals facing the Church today.

“Without understanding the true foundations of the faith and recognizing the divine source of Catholicism, many young men and women will not be able to distinguish between the corrupt men in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and the Church itself,” he said.

Thousands of young people who attend faithfully Catholic colleges across the country are being formed in the truths of the Faith. In my experience, many of them share Isaac’s humility and fidelity. They know that they don’t have all the answers, and they look to the Church to teach them.

It may be helpful to the Synod fathers to know what young people are thinking. But it’s far more important that young people know what the Church is teaching. We all need some of whatever Isaac is getting at his faithful Catholic college.

This article was first published at the National Catholic Register.

Homeschooling mom and child

Synod Report Displays Ignorance About Homeschooling

At the Youth Synod in Rome this week, one of the bishops’ discussion groups made some disappointing and ignorant comments about Catholic homeschoolers.

It’s a sad reminder that, while homeschooling seems to be gaining support from many bishops in the United States, other bishops here and abroad have yet to embrace one of the most promising developments in the Church today. Earnest and faithful homeschooling parents deserve encouragement and not derision from their shepherds.

The report from the English-language Group C bishops—whose names have not been published—reads:

  • USA has many home schoolers – bishops in USA are not united, as homeschooling can have an ideological basis – kids may have special needs
  • are parents qualified to homeschool them?

It is certainly true that the American bishops are not united in supporting homeschooling, and that is a shame. But what’s the “ideological basis” for homeschooling? Do the bishops perceive some absolute opposition to organized education? It’s not true; many homeschooled students have, at one time or another, attended schools or participated in collaborative programs.

More likely, Group C’s “ideological” comment means something else. It’s what faithful Catholic homeschoolers endure frequently from fellow Catholics, priests and even bishops—the charge that they are too “conservative” and too “moralistic.”

In my experience, those are code words for simply being faithful—for practicing the “old” ways of prayer, sacrament and moral discipline.

As a father of five homeschooled children, teacher at a weekly hybrid Catholic program for homeschoolers that is directed by my wife, and full-time advocate of faithful Catholic education, I have come to know hundreds of Catholic homeschooling families. They are trying to be faithfully Catholic in all that they do. And a key reason for not attending local Catholic schools, aside from the cost, is that too many of the schools lack strong moral and religious formation.

That’s not ideological. It’s responsible Catholic parenting.

In my homeschool community—and in the growing number of parochial, diocesan and lay-run, independent Catholic schools that have embraced the Church’s vision for Catholic education—I see primarily parents who are deeply concerned for the Christian formation of their children. They make great sacrifices to provide the education that their children deserve. And they do so, despite the often demoralizing sneers and snickers of too many in the Church.

As for the Synod bishops’ question whether parents are “qualified to homeschool” their children, it’s not clear whether the question refers to all children or only those with “special needs.” Regardless, the question shows disrespect toward parents. Every parent who is faithfully Catholic and truly loves their child is “qualified” to homeschool by the grace of God. If they lack certain skills or expertise, a loving parent will get the help their child needs, without yielding parental authority and oversight.

Trusting parents to form and care for their children is Catholic teaching! It is inherent to matrimony, reinforced during child baptism, and follows from the Fourth Commandment. And it can be made easier if parishes and dioceses actively support—not control or direct, but support—parents who choose to homeschool.

God has clearly blessed Catholic homeschooling with extraordinary results for children, families and the Church. The academic, financial, and social benefits of homeschooling have been well-documented in many studies. Moreover, homeschooled families are often represented at daily Mass, regular Sunday Mass, Confession, Eucharistic adoration and many parish activities. One recent study found that homeschooled students account for about 10 percent of priestly vocations today.

This isn’t a well-kept secret! But some of the Synod bishops have some learning to do.

Meanwhile, if America’s bishops and other Catholics are truly divided over homeschooling, then they ought to get over their discomfort. The Church should embrace faithful Catholic education in whatever form successfully leads young people to Christ and helps them become fully human—whether at home, online or in a brick-and-mortar school.

Support for homeschooling and for lay-run schools may be new to dioceses that have historically relied on schools owned and directed by priests and bishops. But we can’t confuse method for mission, which is amply served by the growing alternatives in Catholic education. All we need is to trust parents to do the job that God has already entrusted to them.

This article first appeared at The National Catholic Register.

7 Key Things Lacking in Youth Synod

Yesterday the Vatican convened its first session of the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. But judging from the working document that will guide the month-long meeting, seven key things essential for its success are lacking.

Instead of guiding young people along the narrow but rewarding path of Christianity, the Synod working document seems to favor “accompanying” young Catholics on the wide, treacherous pathways of secular culture.

Below are seven essentials that appear to be lacking at the outset of the Synod. Faithful Catholics will be praying that the bishops can steer the Synod back to the Church’s familiar and sure pathways that lead young people to Christ.

1. Credibility

Under the circumstances, there is something simply offensive about Catholic bishops gathering to discuss how they can appeal to young people to stay in the Church. Meanwhile, the crisis of clergy sex abuse and poor judgment and corruption among certain bishops remains unresolved.

Restoring credibility among Catholic families and young people will require years of effort. But transparency from the Vatican regarding Archbishop Viganò’s claims would be a good start, instead of the Synod’s apparent approach of befriending young people by softening moral judgment.

2. Truth

Astonishingly, the Synod’s working document places little emphasis on teaching young people the Truth of Christ—the liturgy, traditions, and doctrines that are the great treasures of the Church. Instead, it focuses on guiding them by personal example and nonjudgmental companionship.

Pope Benedict rightly lamented the “educational crisis” among young people who despair because they do not know Christ and His teachings. We cannot soft-pedal the Truth of the Gospel and leave young people drowning in the relativism of “liquid modernity.”

First and foremost, youth need Truth!

3. Confidence

The Synod organizers seem to lack confidence in young people today, doubting that they would respond positively to appeals to reason. Instead of teaching Truth and moral precepts, the Synod document promotes the subjective experience of a mentor to attract youth.

We need to be bold in calling on young people to study the Faith and make it their own. Many will respond to this call. To be advocates of beauty, seekers of truth, and architects of freedom is a task and adventure worthy of their youthful restlessness and idealism. They are looking for answers.

The simple fact is, our Catholic Faith is not subjective. We can’t abandon young people to the influence and temptation of relativism. Without binding truth claims, our teaching is not Catholic.

4. Courage

The Synod document encourages frank discussions with young people about sexuality, but it lacks a sense of alarm about the moral crisis among our youth and avoids confrontation with the popular culture. The Synod organizers seem comfortable with accommodating the culture’s erroneous assumptions about sexuality and has adopted the culture’s language of identity, instead of reminding young people that we all have one orientation as children of God, to and through Him Who is the Way and the Truth and the Life.

The lives of many young Catholics have become fragmented, incoherent, and indifferent to truth and meaning. The Church needs to stand strong against today’s culture of dissent and radical autonomy, which corrupts the souls of our youth. That includes rooting out scandal in Catholic universities and removing the “Catholic” label from the worst offenders!

5. Formation

The Synod document uses the term “formation,” but it rarely speaks of morality, God’s commandments, and the development of virtues and moral discipline in young people. It warns against appearing “authoritative” or “hyperprotective” but not against permissiveness, which is the real problem today in many of the Church’s schools, colleges, and youth programs.

Young people today need formation—which is harder but much more rewarding than simple companionship—to develop into saints and even martyrs. We encourage the bishops to observe the students at America’s most faithful Catholic colleges (which are recommended in our Newman Guide) or talk to the growing numbers of Catholic families who have deliberately chosen schools and homeschool programs that offer serious formation in mind, body, and spirit.

6. Family

The Synod working document acknowledges the importance of families in faith formation, but parents and families have had a minor role in the Synod’s deliberations, despite the fact that they are the key to reaching young people. Good parents have unique insight as to what young people need to stay strong in the Faith.

Despite the alarming fact that the Church is losing young people, there are places where the Faith is being handed down successfully, and where young people are on fire for Christ and the Church’s timeless mission of saving souls. These families aren’t hiding! They are readily found in parishes with traditional devotions, in families who pray the Rosary together, in homeschools and lay-run Catholic classical schools, and in families who sacrifice everything to send their children to Newman Guide colleges. The Synod could learn much from the very people who are doing it well today.

7. Catholic Education

All this points to a key solution for the bishops: the renewal of an authentic Catholic education, genuinely forming youth and upholding the Faith of good Catholic families. Catholic education is critical to the Church’s evangelization of young people and deserves to be the primary emphasis of the Youth Synod.

Instead, Catholic education gets weak attention in the Synod working document, which overly focuses on it as a means for addressing the world’s problems from a humanistic standpoint. The document places too little emphasis on Catholic education’s role in evangelizing young people and leading them to Heaven.

The working document’s brief section on catechesis is helpful, but this too falls short of embracing the full promise of Catholic education: the formation of the human person, the development of a Christian worldview, an experience of Christian community, and a daily encounter with Christ in prayer and Sacrament.

The Synod fathers would be wise to renew the Church’s commitment to authentic, faithful Catholic education. For decades, weak Catholic schools, colleges, and youth programs have failed to deeply form young people in knowledge of the Faith, tradition, moral discipline, virtue, and wisdom. Such formation should be a top priority for the Synod.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the Church has every tool it needs to reach young people, and it has two thousand years of experience leading people, young and old, to Christ in very different cultures and historical realities. Catholicism works. We don’t need “new” and softer approaches; to the contrary, we need greater commitment to educating and forming young people well. We hope and pray that the Synod fathers will take heed and avoid the easy temptation to simply flow with the times.

Editorial: Youth Synod Goes Forward, Seemingly Headed on a Wide and Dangerous Path

It’s underway. Despite Archbishop Chaput’s call for a delay or cancellation—which the Newman Society supported—the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment is proceeding in Rome.

We have grave concerns that too many Synod organizers and gadflies with the ears of powerful officials are using it to advance their agenda to dilute Church teachings and, instead of calling young people to join the Church on the narrow path to Christ, are plotting to have the Church move to meet them on the secular world’s easy, wide path.

How so? By seemingly discarding centuries of wisdom about formation and how to evangelize young people under the guise of offering a listening ear, “meeting them where they are,” and attention to “practical realities,” which would appear to be code for giving in to worldly concerns.

But isn’t that precisely what has brought about today’s crisis in the Church?

Accompanying young people down the secular world’s wide path is not the way to God. Permissiveness and dependence on human relationships is tempting, but it is treacherous and full of deceivers, thieves, and (yes) predators who strive to ruin souls. Young people don’t need the Church to walk with them on this dangerous path, they need to the Church to show them the way to Christ!

Christ’s way is the narrow path. It is Truth, and it is hard, except for God’s grace and mercy. A formation that gives young people the tools, knowledge, and moral discipline to help carry the Cross is the true path of holiness.

Synod organizers don’t seem to believe this is possible today. But they only need look at thriving parishes with traditional devotions, the growing Catholic homeschool movement, the examples of faithful Catholic schools like those recognized by the Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll, and, of course, the counter-cultural Newman Guide colleges that take their Catholic identity seriously.

These places prove that the traditional way of forming young people works! This is precisely why The Newman Society proposes faithful Catholic education as the best response to the “contemporary ‘crisis of truth’ [that] is rooted in a ‘crisis of faith,’” as Pope Benedict explained to American Catholic educators 10 years ago.

It is a shame that the organizers of the Synod ignore this success.

Bad Timing, Bad Direction

And it’s hard to imagine a worse time for the world’s bishops to gather for a Synod on Young People.

Too many Church leaders have demonstrated an appalling lack of concern for the safety of children and young adults from predator priests and bishops. How do the Synod fathers assure parents, educators, youth ministers, and others that they speak with authority—the authority of Christ—if key Synod participants and even Pope Francis himself will not respond forthrightly and decisively to the scandals and accusations that have rocked the Faithful?

Moreover, as The Cardinal Newman Society and others like the intrepid Robert Royal have warned for months, the Synod organizers seem disinterested in taking the necessary steps to bring the authentic Truth of our Faith to young people.

Our reports on the Youth Synod’s preparatory documents have exposed serious flaws in the Synod organizers’ favored approaches of attending to youthful desires and permissive “accompaniment.”

But even a cursory glance at the Instrumentum Laboris, or working document, for the Synod exposes a social-progressive mindset that clouds the importance of Christian formation. The document seems more about “taking care of young people” than teaching them Truth.

The “realities” for young people that are considered by the Synod’s working document include globalization and diversity, social and economic inequalities, war and violence, injustice and exploitation, jobs and unemployment, intergenerational relationships, digital media, sports and entertainment, immigration, and so on.

To the extent that sexuality is discussed, there is no sense of crisis. Instead, the document seeks more “practical” conversation about fundamental teachings on sexuality.

Education gets far too little attention. When it is discussed, it is primarily in the secular context of academics and career, not with the mission of evangelization.

Narrow Path Forward

We hope that some of the faithful bishops attending the Synod, and there are a number of them, are able to redirect the discussions and outcome. But assuming that not much good will come out of it regarding effectively leading young people away from the secular world’s siren call, families—in partnership with faithful educators and trusted priests and bishops—must go all-in on the renewal of Catholic education.

A renewal of Catholic education—by which we mean the Christian formation of young people in the home and in schools—is critical to the renewal of the Church’s mission of evangelization.

The disastrous results of prior generations’ rebellion against authority and moral discipline—against Truth itself—have reached a culmination in the horrific scandals among so many unfaithful priests and bishops. At least, we hope and pray this is the turning point.

Now is the time when our message of fidelity and responsible formation can resonate. It is for this reason that now—in our 25th anniversary year—the Newman Society is refocusing and redoubling our efforts on recognizing faithful Catholic education and holding it out as a model for the Church.

By setting more and more young Catholics on the narrow path, the true Way of Christ, we will once again see the heroism and the holiness of the saints. And by their example, and by the sacrifice of true educators, and with God’s grace, we will see the renewal of the Church and Catholic life.

Youth Synod Needs Good News from Faithful Catholic Colleges

October’s Synod on Young People comes amid growing awareness of the Catholic Church’s many failures to teach, inspire, and even protect its young. But if the synod fathers are looking for good news, there’s plenty to be found at America’s most faithful Catholic colleges—and these can be examples for the entire Church.

Papal biographer and columnist George Weigel recently urged that “Success stories in youth ministry should be persistently, even relentlessly, lifted up” at the synod. He specifically noted the “intellectual and spiritual achievements of orthodox, academically vibrant Catholic liberal arts colleges and universities in the United States.”

As editor of The Newman Guide, I couldn’t agree more! The faithful Catholic colleges recommended by The Cardinal Newman Society are accomplishing much, for the good of their students and for the Church. And since the mission of the Church is evangelization, and Catholic education is a key means of evangelization, it would only make sense that faithful Catholic colleges would be held up as examples for the Synod on Young People.

Just recently, the U.S. News and World Report rankings were released, and many Newman Guide colleges earned high marks in various categories. But more important than secular rankings, faithful education help provide the formation that young Catholics deserve and which is lacking across much of the Church today.

This formation is offered through faithful theology courses, strong liberal arts core curricula, the witness of faithful leaders on campus, the focus on reverent liturgy and prayer, a healthy campus culture, athletic programs that encourage virtue, and so much more.

Dr. John Grabowski, associate professor of moral theology and ethics at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., explains that studying philosophy and theology “enables the young adult to ‘own’ the faith which their parents, priests, and other teachers had passed on to them.” He recalls, “One of the most rewarding and humbling things that has occurred in my years of teaching is to have students enter the Church or come back to the faith after taking a class and tell me that the course helped them to make that decision.”

That’s a far cry from the scandal and confusion sown by wayward Catholic colleges, such as those that hosted seminars earlier this year on Amoris Laetitia with theologians who are well-known for their attempts to change the Church’s teaching and traditions.

The core curriculum and faculty at a faithful Catholic college are focused on a student’s formation in the light of faith, not in opposition to it. “All students, Catholic and non-Catholic, deserve an education that awakens wonder and is oriented to an integrated wisdom, both theoretical and practical,” says Dr. Josh Hochschild, professor of philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. A strong curriculum is “crucial to help students experience the unity of truth,” he says, but just as important is “the character of the faculty.”

“In any discipline, faculty can help embody confidence and humility of the pursuit of truth, and the example of Christian witness in faculty is a profound grace to students,” Hochschild explains. “The whole campus culture has a role in supporting this vision.”

The faithful colleges held up for example in The Newman Guide often go above and beyond to ensure that students have good role models on campus. Steve Minnis, president of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, told us: “I interview every job applicant on campus, and I ask them to explain to me how they see themselves contributing to our mission—not just accept that we have a mission, but how they will support it. I want every man or woman who works for Benedictine College to be someone I hope our students will aspire to be like.”

Another thing that is at the heart of a faithful Catholic college is the liturgy, which is something that George Harne, president of Northeast Catholic College in Warner, New Hampshire, has often emphasized. And when asked how the College is forming young people in the truth of our faith, several students noted the liturgical life on campus.

Sophomore Rose Phelps says, “Most importantly, the way the liturgy is celebrated at NCC has truly helped me deepen my relationship with God. The reverence of the priests and altar servers along with the beautiful chant and polyphony music make it so easy to lift ones heart to God.”

Senior Rebecca Stolarski agrees. “The spiritual resources available to students [on campus]—daily Mass, Rosary, Adoration, Confession—should not be underestimated: there are few things more spiritual restorative than an evening before the Blessed Sacrament, and nothing more strengthening to faith than convenient access to daily Mass.”

Faithful colleges attend to the entire campus culture. Some great examples are the wholesome activities offered through the outdoor adventures program at Wyoming Catholic College, the Rome campus program offered through the University of Dallas, and the “household” systems at Ave Maria University and Franciscan University of Steubenville that invite groups of students to live and pray together. Benedictine College’s Minnis says the key is to make it “contagious to live the good life” and to let the “good things run wild.”

Formation extends into the realm of athletics. At Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina, President Bill Thierfelder is a former Olympian who stresses virtue in all athletic programs. It’s no surprise that student athletes have helped the College earn the sportsmanship award from its Division II athletics conference in four of the last seven years.

All areas on campus should help form students, according to Michael McMahon, vice president for enrollment management at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota “Through academics, residence life, and even athletics—all seeking truth, students understand that truth is not disjointed or that our lives can be compartmentalized,” he says. “If it is true in the theology course, it needs to also be true in the residence life halls. If the faculty and administration of a university are not faithful to the Church’s teachings why would our students be inspired to be?”

Joseph Nemec, a junior at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, says, “I am grateful to God for the opportunity to study at an institution that values the very things young people want and need.”

Often when parents and students think of college, they think of education. But an education at a faithful Catholic college is about so much more: it’s about formation. This formation shapes a student’s body, mind, and soul and prepares a student for his or her vocation, as well as a career.

The impact of faithful Catholic colleges is impressive! In just 40 years with an enrollment of 500 students, Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, has helped foster 158 religious vocations. Additionally, there have been 419 alumna-to-alumnus marriages. Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, was once asked by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education to give an account for why so many priestly and religious vocations come from the College.

Maybe it’s time for the Synod on Young People to ask Newman Guide colleges to give an account for their success in youth formation. These joyfully Catholic institutions provide an example of fidelity and success that can be a shining light to anyone who is trying to bring Christ to new generations.

This article was originally published by National Catholic Register.

Storm Clouds Ahead for Youth Synod?

As a follow up to the controversial 2014-15 Synod on the Family, the Vatican is preparing to convene a new Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment next October.

And for the first time, they have invited the faithful—in particular young people aged 16-29—to fill out a questionnaire to help shape the Synod’s direction.

Newman Society staff has already begun to review the Synod’s Preparatory Document and questionnaire. Even at this early stage, we are concerned about the direction the Synod could be headed.

In part, our concerns stem from questions about flagrant manipulation of process and reporting raised by a number of bishops attending the last Synod. We’re also seeing red flags in the Vatican’s distribution of an inappropriate and ill-conceived sex-ed program written in Spain. The Cardinal Newman Society—and other Catholic groups—have raised concerns about the explicit material in this misguided project.

More specifically, however, we are troubled by what is in and—perhaps more importantly—not in the Preparatory Document and the questionnaire.

According to the Preparatory Document, “the Church has decided to examine herself on how she can lead young people to recognize and accept the call to the fullness of life and love, and to ask young people to help her in identifying the most effective ways to announce the Good News today.”

That sounds like an important topic for the Church to address, but at first read the Synod’s initial documents would seem to be more interested in community organizing, activism, and worldly concerns than the formation of young people in the truths of our faith—i.e., Catholic education.

In late September, organizers issued a news release adding a note about “the importance of education in the formation of a complete identity,” but we will have to wait and see what that means.

The planning documents gloss over some of the most serious problems facing youth today, including the rise of atheism, attacks on the family, how to live the faith in a hyper-secular world, the collapse of marriage as a societal norm, the rise among young people of serial fornication and so-called “shacking up” as a replacement for marriage, and myriad other issues which put the souls of young people at risk.

Instead, the documents focus on issues such as employment, politics, social media, and the environment—important topics which are perhaps better suited for think tanks, academics, or public officials than a Church Synod on “Faith and Vocational Discernment.” These are also comfortable topics to which youth have a natural affinity. Will we have the courage to challenge them on the topics they really struggle with: truth, fidelity, chastity, humility, faithfulness, self-sacrifice, and life-long commitment?

And it’s important to note that the Synod defines “vocation” not as we would think of it, but more broadly as a “vocation to love.” This broad definition could open the door to a wide range of problematic topics.

Consider that at a planning seminar convened by Synod organizers in September, Catholic News Service reported that one delegate, self-described as a “philosopher and sexologist,” advocated discussion of “sexuality and affectivity.” Another reportedly said, “‘It’s important to open up and talk’ about sex, sexuality and sexual orientation…. ‘And it’s central to vocation.’”

A professor from England reportedly lamented that it was “‘hard to figure out’ what the Vatican wanted from the seminar. ‘Is it to listen to young people? Does that mean they are willing to change something? Are they willing to change the criteria for ministry?’”

Given what happened at the last Synod, the fact that these issues are being raised by delegates at a planning seminar is cause for concern.

Fortunately, the Vatican has offered the questionnaire, giving the faithful a way to influence the Synod’s direction. It is imperative that you, as Cardinal Newman Society Members, let Synod organizers know what you think. To that end we have created a page on our website for you to access various Synod documents and the questionnaire:

Please visit the site, encourage well-formed youth to fill out the questionnaire, and spread the word to your family and friends.

We will provide a more thorough analysis of the Synod in the coming months. In the meantime, please pray that the upcoming youth Synod will uphold timeless Church teachings, recognize the importance of faithful education to the formation of children, and help lead souls to Christ.

Saints John Bosco and John Paul II, ora pro nobis!