Report Card: Catholic Schools ‘Integral to our Nation’s Character,’ Abp. Chaput Urges Notre Dame to Invite President Trump

The Cardinal Newman Society’s “Report Card” column provides weekly commentary from Matt Archbold on the latest in Catholic education. Matt blogs at and National Catholic Register, and he is the author of the book Faith Under Fire: Dramatic Stories of Christian Courage.



Catholic schools are ‘integral to our nation’s character’

National Catholic Schools Week is being celebrated this week in dioceses across the country with events highlighting the importance of Catholic education and the successes of Catholic schools.

In an official statement marking the celebration, Bishop George Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Education, said: “Catholic schools are integral to our nation’s character — serving the common good, strengthening local communities, and building the Kingdom of God on earth.”

“For centuries, Catholic schools have provided a well-rounded education to disadvantaged families, new arrivals to America and to all who seek a seat in our schools. We have always tried to accommodate families of all backgrounds while maintaining our principles and teaching in a spirit of charity,” Bishop Murry added.

He also commented on the national conversation regarding school choice policies in his statement: “The Catholic education community’s commitment to empowering parents’ decision-making and the incredible witness our schools provide means we cannot be silent in the conversation over education policies.”

Pray for our Catholic schools!


Abp. Chaput calls on Notre Dame to invite President Trump

Archbishop Charles Chaput has called some of President Donald Trump’s positions “deeply troubling,” yet in his latest column, he implored the University of Notre Dame to continue its tradition of inviting the sitting president to speak at commencement ceremonies. Last month, Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins said he is considering not inviting Trump to speak at this spring’s commencement ceremony because it could create “a circus.”

“Of course, being ‘prolife’ involves a great deal more than a defense of the unborn child, though it certainly needs to start there,” he wrote. “Maybe the best way to amplify and elevate President Trump’s understanding of that word ‘prolife’ would be for a premier Catholic university — say, for example, the University of Notre Dame — to invite him to campus to offer its commencement address, to explain his personal evolution on the abortion issue, and to share, listen and learn with a cross-section of students and faculty in a respectful dialogue on the meaning of human dignity.”

“Notre Dame takes pride in its tradition of welcoming to campus U.S. presidents from both parties and with very different views,” he continued. “In that light, the invitation would certainly make sense and might be fruitful in unforeseen ways. God writes straight with crooked lines.”

In 2009, Fr. Jenkins infamously hosted and honored President Barack Obama, the most radically pro-abortion president in our country’s history, often citing the need for “dialogue” as a reason for the invitation despite 83 U.S. bishops publicly opposing the commencement honor. Has dialogue ceased to be important?


Faculty urge Fr. Jenkins to declare Notre Dame a sanctuary campus

The University of Notre Dame Faculty Senate passed a resolution urging the school’s president to declare the university a sanctuary campus and refuse cooperation with the federal government.

The resolution, obtained by Campus Reform, points to the school’s Catholic identity and asks university President Fr. John Jenkins to consider the “Gospel values that recognize the needs of the poor, marginalized, and disadvantaged in society” as reasons to support the faculty senate’s decision.

The resolution also invokes the rhetoric of Pope Francis, who has repeatedly talked about the need to welcome migrants and refugees.

Funny, I don’t remember the Faculty Senate invoking “gospel values” or quoting Pope Francis when the federal government demanded the Catholic university subsidize contraception and sterilization.


Georgetown students attend March for Life without support of the university

A Georgetown University student and member of the university’s Knights of Columbus council wrote in the Jesuit university’s student newspaper that Georgetown does nothing to support students attending the March for Life.

“Although we champion Georgetown’s values by marching, we will go this year, as we have in the past, without the university’s support,” wrote Gay Caruso. He referenced the fact that students attending other Catholic colleges and universities (including nearby Catholic University of America as well as the University of Notre Dame) are offered an excused absence for the day of the March for Life.

Subsequently, Amelia Irvine, president of Georgetown Right to Life, pointed out in a New York Times article that she only expected a few dozen students from Georgetown to attend the march while “our entire school basically went” to the pro-abortion Women’s March.

A university’s priorities are shown through both its actions and inaction.


NY Gov. Cuomo drops push for education investment tax credit despite promise to Cardinal Dolan

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dropped his support for an education investment tax credit that he personally vowed to Cardinal Timothy Dolan to fight for, according to the NY Daily News.

The plan was to include $70 million in credits for lower-income families that could be used for up to $500 in tuition expenses per student to send kids to schools of their parents’ choosing. Cuomo had pushed for the bill in the past but it had always failed to pass the Democrat majority in the New York Assembly. But this year, Cuomo’s agenda is “decidedly more liberal” and the earned income tax credit was gone entirely.

I can’t help but be reminded of the story about the scorpion and the gullible frog. It’s amazing to me that an entire party agrees that limiting children’s access to education should be a priority.


Minnesota legislation moves forward to help students attend private, Catholic schools

A bill that would offer a 70 percent tax credit to businesses and individuals who donate money to nonprofit organizations to help middle and low-income families afford a Catholic or private school education advanced through committees in the Minnesota Senate and House committees this week.

“Too many families throughout Minnesota have little or no options when it comes to a good K-12 school,” said Chas Anderson, executive director of opportunity for All Kids. “A child’s future should not be determined by the ZIP code they live in or by a parent’s economic situation. All Minnesota parents should have the opportunity to access the best education option for their children. We need to remove financial barriers that prevent children from being able to attend schools that meet their needs.”

Making quality education available to all students should be a national priority and the government should not act as an obstacle.


Fordham students still outraged over signage on ‘gender neutral bathrooms’

First, the sign outside of a “gender neutral” bathroom at Fordham University simply said, “Restroom.” But that wasn’t good enough for some students, according to the Fordham Observer. Then the school put up another sign saying, “now designated for Single-Occupancy and is available for use by all members of the Fordham community.” Still, some students at the Jesuit university felt the sign didn’t go far enough because it didn’t reference sex or gender.

Said one “frustrated” student: “The reason it was offensive to me was because we have talked endlessly, every single person who has been involved with this, about the language, specifying that it says ‘for all genders,’ and I, as a gender nonconforming person, do not feel as though the university accepts or approves of my identity.”

Once you abandon the teachings of the Catholic Church, the culture is a difficult task master.


Pro-abortion Condoleezza Rice spoke at the University of San Francisco

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke about presidential politics, the economy and technology at the University of San Francisco this past weekend as part of the new Silk Speaker Series.

Rice has publicly pronounced her pro-abortion views which conflict with one of the most basic Catholic teachings about the sanctity of life. She describes herself as “mildly pro-choice” and has said that she didn’t want to see abortion law changed “because it’s an area that I worry about the government being involved in.”

To be clear, there’s nothing “mild” about abortion for the unborn.


How the hookup culture harms Catholic college students

Jason King, chair of the theology department at St. Vincent College, wrote a piece saying that the hookup culture at Catholic colleges is not the norm. In fact, he states that only around 20 percent of students (mostly white and affluent) partake in the hookup culture. But since many students believe it is the norm, it affects their behavior.

“Students hook up,” wrote King. “They have sexual encounters with no implications for subsequent relationships.”

“Their behavior becomes a norm, assumed to be what everyone on campus is doing and what everyone should want to do,” he continued. “It becomes the expected way of acting, so everyone has to position themselves in relationship to it, even if it is a rejection of it.”

Catholic teaching calls us to love one another, not simply receive consent to gratify each other.

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