Report Card: Graduates of Jesuit Colleges in Congress Overwhelmingly Pro-Abortion, RIP Fr. Michael Scanlan

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.


Graduates of Jesuit colleges in Congress overwhelmingly pro-abortion

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities recently celebrated the fact that 56 members of the new 115th U.S. Congress (a full 10 percent) attended a Jesuit college or university.

AJCU President Father Michael Sheeran, S.J., said, “A hallmark of Jesuit education is service to others, and we are proud to see that commitment represented by the alumni of Jesuit institutions who serve in the House and Senate. We appreciate their leadership and look forward to working with them during the 115th Congress.”

As boastful as the AJCU seems about this (it’s on the banner of their home page), I’m not sure a celebration is in order as among those legislators there are precious few who are reliably pro-life.

I searched their voting records and found that out of the 12 Jesuit-educated Senators, there are only two reliably pro-life legislators. Two! The rest are either reliably pro-abortion or have mixed voting records.

Out of the 44 congressmen who attended a Jesuit college or university there are only 12 reliably pro-life legislators while there are 32 legislators with pro-abortion or mixed records.

Those who defend and promote the abhorrent evil of abortion are not deserving of praise for “leadership” nor of “service to others.” One would think that the rejection of fundamental Catholic teachings on the dignity of life by alumni might cause Jesuits to reconsider how they’re educating their students.


RIP Father Michael Scanlan, architect of Franciscan University’s Catholic revival

Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, the former president and chancellor of Franciscan University of Steubenville, passed away Saturday at 85 years old.

Fr. Scanlan was credited with revitalizing the Catholic mission of the small university in Steubenville.

“During his tenure as president from 1974-2000, his ideas, guided by the Holy Spirit, turned things around at the struggling College of Steubenville,” said current president Father Sean O. Sheridan, “and led to its prominence as Franciscan University of Steubenville.”

Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly said Fr. Scanlan was “America’s pastor to Catholic higher education” in a tribute article published by National Catholic Register.


WSJ/Times Higher Education ranks Notre Dame and Georgetown as ‘best’ Catholic colleges

The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education listed the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University at the top of their list of Catholic colleges in their rankings for U.S. colleges released last week. Adherence to Catholicism was NOT among the criteria in the rankings.

Instead, the rankings were based on four main measurements: “graduate outcomes” (graduation rate, value added to graduate salary, value added to the loan repayment rate, academic reputation), “academic resources” (finance per student, faculty per student, research papers per faculty), “student engagement” (interaction with teachers and students, number of accredited programs), and “environment” (proportion of international students, student diversity, student inclusion, staff diversity).

In order, WSJ/THE ranked the top Catholic colleges as: 1. Notre Dame, 2. Georgetown, 3. Boston College, 4. College of the Holy Cross, 5. Loyola Marymount University, 6. Saint Louis University, 7. Seattle University, 8. Villanova University, 9. Santa Clara University, 10. Creighton University.

Worrying about secular prestige and where they fall on these types of rankings has led many Catholic colleges, like these, to abandon their commitment to their religious mission.


Fairfield students to march in abortion activist-supported National Women’s March on Washington

Fairfield University students, faculty and staff will participate in the National Women’s March in Washington, D.C., on January 21, according to the university’s website. The march is co-sponsored by a number of pro-abortion organizations, including Catholics for Choice, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, National Abortion Federation, NARAL Pro-Choice America, The Center For Reproductive Rights, National Organization for Women (NOW) and others. Abortion activist Gloria Steinem is an honorary co-chair of the event.

No announcement yet on the Jesuit university sponsoring a trip down to D.C. for the March for Life.


How ‘Catholoc’ was Notre Dame’s LGBT panel?

The student newspaper of the University of Notre Dame misspelled “Catholicism” in the title of their story about a panel at the Catholic university discussing LGBT issues. The Observer ran a piece titled, “Panel discusses LGBT issues, Catholocism” which included a Catholic doctor who’d been through a divorce and ultimately decided that Church teaching on marriage “doesn’t matter” so it shouldn’t matter for LGBT issues either. The explanation given was that you can still be a good Catholic while engaging in mortal sin and ignoring Church teaching as long as you are “seeking Christ.” But if you’re truly seeking Christ, you would be trying to avoid sin and follow the teachings of His Church.

That should give you an idea of how “Catholoc” the event was.


New York’s ‘free college’ plan could harm small Catholic and private colleges

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing making state colleges tuition-free for residents.

Cynthia Zane, president of Hilbert College in Hamburg, N.Y., a liberal arts college “in the Catholic, Franciscan tradition,” said she is pleased the plan would help more students seek higher education, but told a local news outlet it could threaten smaller, private colleges like Hilbert.

“That this is a very well-intended program, but it hasn’t been fully thought out yet,” said Gary Olson, president of Daemen College in Amherst.

A government program with unintended consequences? You don’t say. And I can’t help but wonder whether at least some in the government would consider harming private colleges a feature or a bug?

To paraphrase PJ O’Rourke, if you think college is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.


What Professor Anthony Esolen has to say about Catholic colleges may shock you

“We would be wiser, take it all in all, without colleges as they are,” said Anthony Esolen in his latest at The Catholic Thing. “But the Catholic, as things stand, does have an interest — in finding those places still committed to Truth Himself, in whatever sane and justifiable way they put that commitment into action. They need our support, and deserve it.”

Hmmm, where would one find a list of colleges still committed to Truth Himself? Oh yeah, The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.


A rare and welcome act of judicial restraint respecting religious liberty

In a rare case of judicial restraint, a Superior Court judge in New Jersey refused to order a Catholic school to allow a girl to play on the boys’ basketball team.

Parents of the girl wanted her to play for the boys’ team since the girls’ team was canceled due to lack of interest, but the school refused.

Silly as the case might seem, it’s important for religious liberty reasons that the courts refuse to take it upon themselves to make decisions for private Catholic schools.


Wheeling Jesuit president steps down suddenly

In a surprise move, the president of Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va., Father James Fleming, submitted his resignation to the board of trustees effective almost immediately.

The release from the university did not specify why Fleming resigned, and a spokesperson refused to comment on whether or not the resignation came as a surprise. But the university does not have an interim president as of yet.

Let’s pray that the university seeks out a president who seeks to nurture the university’s Catholic identity.

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