Report Card: Cardinal Says Catholic Education Key to Pro-Life, Pro-Marriage Efforts

Cardinal Caffarra: Catholic education is key to protecting life, marriage, family

In an interview with Edward Pentin of The National Catholic Register, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop emeritus of Bologna, Italy, explained that education is the key to protecting life, marriage and the family.

Great efforts must be made in Catholic education and catechesis if the Church is to combat today’s attacks on marriage, life and the family, said Caffarra, the founding president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

He called on Catholics to call things by their real names. “Error is error,” he said. “There is no peace between truth and error.”

He suggested that the long term strategy that Catholics must take on is “to busy ourselves in a great educational work.”

“In my opinion, in the places of learning, there’s also no education of true love of the truth anymore. On the contrary, many people teach the young that the search for the truth is a sad and useless passion that can breed only intolerance,” he said. “At this point, the human person is lost and finds himself, the famous philosopher would say, before paths that don’t lead anywhere.”

Retired Brigadier General stays on as president of Mount St. Mary’s University

Mount St. Mary’s University named Timothy Trainor, its interim president, as the new president of the faithful Catholic college.

Trainor, who previously served in the U.S. Army for 33 years before retiring as a brigadier general, served six years as dean of the academic board at the United States Military Academy before joining Mount St. Mary’s. Trainor served as interim president since last June, after past president Simon Newman resigned in early 2016 amid controversy regarding his crude efforts to boost Mount St. Mary’s student retention rate and national ranking.

Since Trainor came on board last year, enrollment reportedly increased 24 percent.

Fordham to host euthanasia advocacy group on campus

How about this for a contrast?

Fordham University, a Jesuit institution, recently refused to allow Chick-fil-A to come on campus due to LGBT pushback because of the restaurant chain president’s pro-marriage views, in line with Catholic teaching.

But now, the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service will host an event titled “Palliative Art” on June 7 along with End of Life Choices New York (EOLCNY), the euthanasia advocacy group behind the push to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state. The organization is a previous affiliate of Compassion & Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society) and clearly opposed to Catholic beliefs.

Embattled pro-life professor continues to have faith

The professor facing termination from Belgium’s Catholic University of Louvain for calling abortion murder says he doesn’t fear for his future, because “Our Lord is eternally victorious.”

LifeSiteNews reports that Stéphane Mercier, who is currently under “investigation” by the Belgian university, spoke to LifeSiteNews at the 2017 Rome Life Forum.

He says he wondered “what would I say on the day of judgment, when the Lord will ask me, ‘what have you done with your teaching activity?’”

“I’ve done quite a few interesting things in my opinion, but nothing that really matters from an existential point of view,” Mercier explained. “And so, I thought that I should speak about human dignity.”

American Catholic Philosophical Association urges reconciliation at U. of St. Thomas in Houston

The executive committee of the American Catholic Philosophical Association issued a letter calling upon the president of the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, its senior administration, and its board of directors to “formulate a plan for reconciliation in the best interests of the academic community at UST.”

The letter, signed by the association’s past president Father Kevin Flannery, S.J., its president Thomas Hibbs, and its president-elect Francis Beckwith, was in response to a recent outcry from UST’s philosophy department who feared cutbacks in philosophy courses and faculty.

Last week, however, UST President Robert Ivany assured members of the department that they would be receiving contracts.

20th century atheist turned theologian moves one step closer to sainthood

Even the influence of atheist college professors can be thwarted by God.

Itala Mela was born in 1904 to parents who were both atheist college professors. She was raised by Catholic grandparents but left the Church after the death of her brother at a young age.

But when she was eighteen years old, she experienced an incredible re-conversion on the feast of the Immaculate Conception and dedicated her life to the study of theology and the Trinity. Upon her return to Catholicism, she wrote that her life motto would be: “Lord, I shall follow You unto the darkness, unto death.”

At age 24, she had the first of many visions of God which she would experience throughout her life. Itala became a Benedictine Oblate of the Abbey of Saint Paul in Rome, where she took the name Sister Maria of the Trinity. Her mission in life became to bring others to the Holy Trinity. In 1946, she wrote a series of spiritual exercises for the faithful, which were received well by her community.

Mela’s beatification will take place in her home town of La Spezia. Cardinal Angelo Amato will preside on behalf of Pope Francis.

Australian Catholic schools to fight ‘homophobia’ and be more ‘inclusive’

A Catholic schools network in Australia is unveiling a program to train teachers to create a “more inclusive” environment for students and help stamp out “homophobia and transphobia”.

But the language used to describe the program is troubling, appearing to conform to gender ideology and to contradict Catholic teaching on sexuality.

Edmund Rice Education Australia has distributed resources to its 52 schools and will soon run training sessions for educators. The materials state that children may have a sense of their “sexual orientation” in early primary school, and teachers must support them so they can develop “a positive self-identity”.

Gerald Bain-King, principal of the Christian Brothers College in St. Kilda, said “We are not trying to be provocative, and we are not trying to create divisions.”

Sycamore Trust honors Notre Dame students for promoting Catholic identity

The Sycamore Trust, an organization committed to preserving the University of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, announced that its 2017 Student Award for Outstanding Contribution to Notre Dame’s Catholic Identity will go to Sophia Buono (‘18) and Nicole O’Leary (‘18).

Sophia acted as editor-in-chief of the indispensable student publication The Irish Rover, and Nicole as president of the Militia of the Immaculata and a Rover officer.

Peter Kreeft’s no good, horrible, very bad day

In a fascinating piece about how Protestants and Catholics are uniting in the face of an adverse secularist culture, Peter Kreeft, who has been a member of the philosophy department at Boston College since 1965, also offers this disturbing story which describes the “greatest trauma” in his teaching career. It is of interest to all concerned with Catholic education.

He frequently gives his students a questionnaire at the beginning of a philosophy course and asks: “If you were to die tonight and meet God, and God asked you why He should let you into Heaven, what would you answer Him?”

To that inquiry, Kreeft receives all kinds of answers, such as “I’m a good person,” “I’ve tried to be kind,” and “I’ve done my best.” But the theologically correct response, “Jesus Christ,” is given primarily by students who identify as evangelical Christians. Only between 0 and 5 percent of self-identified Catholic students reportedly give that answer.

“Can you possibly imagine a greater scandal in ‘Catholic education’ than that?” Kreeft writes. “The most educated Catholics in America don’t even know how to get to Heaven! That is like the most educated mathematicians in America not knowing the multiplication table.”

Leaked rule would protect religious educators from HHS Mandate

The Little Sisters of the Poor as well as Catholic educators and faithful Catholic apostolates may soon be protected from the HHS Mandate, according to a leaked draft of new regulation from the Trump administration.

The new regulation, currently under review, would exempt religious groups from the requirement to provide coverage of abortifacients, other contraceptives, and sterilization, as mandated by the Obama administration. The new rule would also leave in place the religious “accommodation” created by the Obama administration, making that available to groups that choose to continue using it.

“At long last the United States government acknowledges that people can get contraceptives without forcing nuns to provide them,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel with Becket, a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. “That is sensible, fair, and in keeping with the Supreme Court’s order and the President’s promise to the Little Sisters and other religious groups serving the poor.”

To be clear, the contraceptive mandate issue has been to the Supreme Court five times, and each time the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of broader protections for religious groups. This rule would not negate the need for lawsuits to continue against the HHS Mandate, but it is a step in the right direction.

Franciscan University of Steubenville launches catechetics institute

In an effort to promote evangelization to a secularized culture, a new institute at Franciscan University of Steubenville will provide hundreds of online catechetical videos “to form those who form others.”

Against a backdrop of parish mergers, shrinking budgets, and a shortage of priests and catechists to instruct the laity, this new institute from the faithful Catholic college seeks to support a revitalized Catholic culture.

Through conferences, new catechetical resources, and especially online courses, the Catechetical Institute seeks “to serve all those who form others in the faith,” said Dr. Petroc Willey, director of the institute. It will offer an online library of one-hour workshops that will eventually total more than 650 videos.

Dallas shelves adult degrees, maintains mission

The University of Dallas, a Newman Guide college, is stepping back from a proposed adult degree-completion expansion due to faculty worries it could be a poor curricular and identity fit.

The proposal roiled the liberal arts university, as there were concerns that an adult degree-completion program would not uphold the spirit or content of the core curriculum, which has long embraced an expansive core undergraduate curriculum rooted in the classics. Questions were raised about whether degree-completion candidates could be held to the same standards.

The faithful Catholic college is concerned about revenue and plans to continue to study the idea as a way of expanding its liberal arts program in a new age with new sets of students.

The great good of bona fide Catholic education

Dr. Mitchell Kalpakgian, a long time college professor, wrote a piece on the good of Catholic education at Human Life International’s Truth and Charity forum that’s worth a read:

Rooted in the classical world of Greek thought and Thomistic philosophy, Catholic education is not shaped by trends, fashions, and fads but founded on a great tradition that has passed the test of time. It teaches all subjects in their integrity, according to their first principles, the logos that conforms to the structure of reality and the nature of things–whether it is the grammar that governs language, the reasoning that underlies arithmetic and geometry, or the revealed truths that form the basis of theology. Catholic education is founded on universal truths derived from all spheres of knowledge, that is, the unchangeable laws, the eternal truths, and the perennial wisdom that form the food of the mind and the life of the soul. Catholic education does not dilute, oversimplify, or “dumb down” subject matter to accommodate students but teaches them how to rise to the level of demand required by a particular discipline such as grammar, theology, Latin, or chemistry.

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