REPORT CARD: Chaput Sparks ‘Fire at Heart of Catholic Education’; Law Prof Too Catholic for Sen. Feinstein; Prof Fired for Challenging Amoris Laetitia

Archbishop Chaput: The ‘why’ of Catholic education

Catholics schools offer children stability and teach them to work hard and contribute to society. But the real reason Catholic schools exist is sometimes forgotten.

“The goal of all Catholic education is to form young people in a strong Catholic faith, a faith rooted in the truth about God and humanity, a faith that can guide them to a fruitful life in this world, and home to the joy of eternal life with their Creator,” Archbishop Chaput wrote in his column this week.

Catholic education, he said, is built on the foundational principle that “facts and achievements are empty, or worse, unless they’re embedded in a pattern of meaning.”

The archbishop said it’s no surprise that suicide, abortion and euthanasia become the norm in a culture where people regularly reject the existence of objective truth.

“The belief that truth exists, is permanent and knowable, and is worth pursuing and fighting for because it makes us free, is an affirmation of the goodness of life and the world’s loving Creator,” wrote Archbishop Chaput. “This enduring passion for truth is the fire at the heart of all Catholic education, from the first day of First Grade forward throughout life.”

Catholic ‘dogma lives loudly’ in Notre Dame law prof

Scholars and pundits blasted California Senator Dianne Feinstein for anti-Catholic bigotry after she questioned a pro-life judicial nominee’s ability to rule impartially.

“This smacks of the worst sort of anti-Catholic bigotry,” Dr. Chad Pecknold, a theology professor at The Catholic University of America, told Catholic News Agency of Feinstein’s questioning of Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic lawyer nominated by President Donald Trump to be a federal circuit court judge.

The senator took issue with an article Barrett co-authored with now-Catholic University of America president John Garvey about how Catholic judges could deal with cases involving the death penalty.

“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein outrageously said. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.”

University of Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins objected strongly to Senator Feinstein bizarrely questioning Barrett’s Catholic faith.

“It is chilling to hear from a United States senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge,” said Fr. Jenkins in a letter published in The Politico. “I ask you and your colleagues to respect those in whom ‘dogma lives loudly’—which is a condition we call faith.”

He added that those who attempt to live the faith “should command respect, not evoke concern.” Despite the irony, given how poorly many faithful Catholic professors have been treated at Notre Dame, he’s right.

Feinstein’s questions were indeed inappropriate, anti-Catholic, and bizarre. She might as well have asked, “Are you or have your ever been a faithful Catholic?”

Read more at Hot Air.

Catholic university fires professor for criticizing papal document

So much for dialogue. reports that Grenada Archbishop Javier Martínez Fernández has fired a Catholic professor from the International Academy of Philosophy for his criticism of Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

The archbishop removed Dr. Josef Seifert last week from the Academy after the scholar published an article calling the exhortation a “theological atomic bomb” that could ultimately destroy all Catholic moral teaching.

In his article, Seifert argues that if Pope Francis allows couples living in adultery to receive Communion, it “threatens to tear down the whole moral edifice of the Ten Commandments and of Catholic moral teaching.”

Archbishop Fernandez defended the firing, saying that the article “damages the communion of the Church, confuses the faith of the faithful, and sows distrust in the successor of Peter, which, in the end, does not serve the truth of faith, but, rather, the interests of the world.”

The Academy, which offers a Ph.D. program in philosophy, was founded by the archbishop in 2005. We are unable to determine the administrative structure of the university, but apparently the archbishop retains the right to dismiss faculty.

DC archdiocesan schools move to strengthen Catholic identity

The Archdiocese of Washington is introducing a new strategic plan which affirms that Catholic identity is at the heart of what Catholic schools do, The Catholic Standard reports.

“Our schools are truly Catholic and dedicated to the mission of the Church,” said Bill Ryan, superintendent of schools. “The ‘Joy of the Gospel’ is witnessed to every day in our schools.”

Archdiocesan schools serve nearly 27,000 students in nearly 100 Catholic schools in the Washington, D.C., area and five Maryland counties.

“The reason why we have parents who are committed to a Catholic education is that they… see in our schools’ faith, a sense of family and a strong education that will serve their children for a lifetime,” Ryan said.

The strategic plan includes programs to evaluate the performance of teachers and principals, increase enrollment among Latinos, and collaborate with pastors.

Catechetical Sunday: Faith starts with the family

Parents are first teachers of the faith, and they are called to step boldly into that role, according to Linsey Hoard, assistant director of religious education and family life for the Diocese of Sioux City in Iowa.

“Studies prove that parents have the greatest and most lasting impact on the faith life of their children,” Hoard wrote in The Catholic Globe. “This is why it is imperative that the Church find ways to encourage parents to be engaged in the catechetical formation of their children.”

Unfortunately, she points out, families are under stress because of busy sports schedules for their children, extracurricular activities at school, and limited family time.

Hoard argues that catechetical programs and texts must include sections specifically for families, encouraging parents to act as volunteers and educating parents on how best to form their children in the faith.

“As we strengthen families, we also strengthen society and the world in which we live,” she said. “So let’s use this Catechetical Sunday, Sept. 17, as a launching point from which to go forth with a renewed commitment to place families at the center of all our catechetical efforts.

Catholic school sows confusion on sexuality

A Catholic school rector in New Zealand told Stuff Magazine that his St. Patrick’s College in Wellington is a judgment-free zone when it comes to sex—and that students are taught about birth control as part of the school’s “fertility awareness” program.

“I always like to say your sexuality is a gift, it’s something precious, and the Church teaches us we should save it till we’re married,” said Rector Neal Swindells. “But we also understand not everyone can do that, and we’re not sitting in judgment.”

Several forms of contraception are taught as part of the school’s “fertility awareness” program.

Swindells added: “In a way, the new Pope has given us considerable freedom to try to be relevant to the kids and the times that we’re teaching in,” and that the worst thing the Catholic Church can do is impose a sense of guilt.

“I don’t think our kids have that now,” he said.

I wonder why.

Jesuit colleges and universities mobilize for DACA

Following the Trump administration’s announcement that it intends to end the DACA program—not to endanger immigrant families but to undo an allegedly unconstitutional act by President Obama and pressure Congress to pass a new law—Jesuit colleges and universities, along with The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and other organizations, quickly mobilized to voice their protest.

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities issued a statement assuring all that “the nation’s 28 Jesuit colleges and universities will make every effort to protect the Dreamers among our students and alumni.”

Several Jesuit colleges and universities already have protests and rallies planned, according to Ignatian Solidarity.

Father Timothy Kesicki, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, released a letter saying that “more than ever, we commit ourselves to living out God’s law, which calls on us to love the stranger, remembering that our ancestors in faith were once strangers in a foreign land.”

Taking a moral stand is admirable, but what a contrast to these Jesuit leaders’ weak response to laws mandating insurance coverage for sterilization, contraception, and even abortion in some states! One would wish for these kinds of efforts to prevent the killing of the unborn as well.

Dissident ministry prays to end ‘glass closet’ at Catholic schools

Dissident advocacy group New Ways Ministry decries what it calls the “glass closet” that keeps teachers at Catholic schools from openly declaring their dissent on sexuality, for fear of being fired.

“The Church, especially its educational institutions, must be spaces of inquiry and dialogue consistent with the conciliar teachings of Vatican II,” the group states. “To paraphrase Pope Francis, Catholic education should seek to help form consciences, not replace them.”

The article concludes with a prayer, asking God to help Catholic schools “embrace honesty and authenticity as they end ‘glass closets.’”

It would be far better for Catholic schools and teachers to embrace the honesty, authenticity and truth found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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