Report Card: Growing interest in Catholic classical education

Classical Catholic education on the rise

Jay Boren, headmaster of St. Benedict Elementary in Natick, Mass., writes in First Things of the growing appeal of a Christ-centered classical Catholic education.

“Though the classical curriculum is a distinguishing marker for a classical school, the faith life of the school must be vibrant as well. A Catholic school must be unapologetically Catholic. All truth learned in every subject must be ordered towards the cardinal Truth—Jesus Christ. If Christ is not the center of the day, then the entire enterprise is lost. Learning should inspire children to contemplate the goodness of God’s creation. If it falls short of doing so, then it has abandoned the goal of Catholic education and ceases to be an institution devoted to the formation and evangelization of its students.”

Read the whole thing.

Catholic school adopts classical curriculum

Everything old is new again.

St. Michael School, a grammar school in Connecticut, is implementing a Catholic classical curriculum which emphasizes Latin, classic literature, and the history of Western civilization.

It will be the only Catholic school with such a curriculum in the Diocese of Norwich, “but an increasing number of Catholic schools across the country have made widespread changes to their curriculum with the debate over Common Core and some parents seeking a return to more traditional Catholic instruction,” according to TheDay.com.

Principal Doris Messina said in a press release: “Students will study the great ideas of Western Civilization. Democracy, science, art, and literature will provide the impetus for understanding how the past influences and unifies our culture. Great classical literature and primary sources will be utilized, allowing students to discern the original intent of the writers and the truths of the documents.”

Politico: Catholic Church eyes ‘game-changing’ school choice plan.

A number of Catholic education proponents are meeting with Republican legislators and the White House in hopes of helping to create a federal tax credit scholarship plan they believe would put Catholic education in reach for many parents who simply can’t currently afford it, reports Politico.

Such legislation could have a massive impact on Catholic schools.

“We see this as game-changing,” said Greg Dolan, associate director for public policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Catholic Education.

Catholic universities tackling the pressing social problem of‘whiteness’?

Loyola University Chicago will continue offering a program limited to those who self-identify as white, according to a report at The College Fix.

The three year old course titled “Ramblers Analyzing Whiteness” is described as an “’affinity space on campus for self-identified white students’ who are seeking to ‘become anti-racist, anti-supremacist White allies.’”

According to the College Fix report, “[w]hile students who join the program must be ‘white-identified,’ students who are also biracial or multiracial are permitted to attend as long as they identify as white….”

The Loyola program declares that there is no single definition of white, but instead notes that “whiteness” is “a socially constructed category that is normalized within a system of privilege.”

Meanwhile, The College Fix also reports that Fairfield University Associate Professor Kris Sealey spoke at a Fairfield-hosted diversity conference for Jesuit college employees in which she urged students to devote time to solving the “problem that is whiteness.”

“So more and more, the courses that I teach on race have become courses in which I expect my students to engage in the hegemonic power of whiteness,” Sealy said.

Georgetown’s new dean a fan of… Hezbollah?

Georgetown University has promoted an avowed supporter of the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hezbollah as its newest dean of Georgetown University in Qatar, according to the Conservative Review.

As of September 1, Ahmad S. Dallal, who had previously served as the chair of Georgetown’s Islamic Studies department at its Washington, D.C. campus, will be the dean of Georgetown’s Qatar location.

Dallal reportedly signed a 2006 petition declaring his support of Hezbollah, and according to the Conservative Review blamed America for bringing on itself the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.

He also “defended a Georgetown University Press Arab studies textbook that removed Israel from most of its Middle East maps. After students started to complain about the textbook’s anti-Israel bias, Dallas responded: ‘I can’t possibly imagine what anyone would object to in this book.’”

Will Georgetown give a trigger warning to incoming Jewish students that one of the venerable institution’s leaders may think that Israel doesn’t (or shouldn’t?) exist?

Is Trump administration continuing Obama’s transgender policies?

Speaking to the National Association of College and University Attorneys, Candice Jackson and Thomas E. Wheeler Jr., the two top Trump administration officials overseeing civil rights enforcement for higher education, said that despite news to the contrary, the Trump administration was not taking away rights from transgender students.

“There is no doubt that [transgender students] are protected” by existing federal civil rights laws, Wheeler said.

“The withdrawal of the Obama administration’s 2016 guidance requiring educational institutions to make their facilities available to transgender students ‘does not leave those students without [civil rights] protection.’”

We should all keep a close eye on what this means, or doesn’t mean.

Fr. Massingale of Fordham has a fever for less Catechism

Fordham Theology Professor Father Bryan Massingale told 170 members of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests that they are in a “struggle for the soul of America,” According to an article in the National Catholic Reporter.  “We talk more about religious liberty than about Jesus Christ. We talk more about the Fortnight for Freedom than the reign of God. We need less talk about the catechism [sic] and the code of canon law and talk more about the joyful witness of passionate charity found in Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est.”

Why are the Catechism and charity seen as mutually exclusive? They aren’t, of course, unless what you mean by charity is something immoral.

Georgetown pledges not to invest in abortion

Georgetown University has announced a new investment policy which calls for the Jesuit institution to “avoid investments in companies that are substantially involved in the provision of abortion services.”

This, of course, begs the question as to whether the university had been profiting from abortion, but “Georgetown officials repeatedly refused to answer if the Catholic school ever invested in pro-abortion groups in the past.

Good for Georgetown! On the other hand, this is a really low bar.

#MakeIgnatiusCatholicAgain

The Catholic identity of St. Ignatius High School, a Jesuit institution for boys outside of Cleveland, is in question as concerned alumni, parents and students believe that the school’s traditional approach to the faith has been replaced by a progressive philosophy and a focus on social justice. The concerns and a heated debate were publicly triggered when two long-time theology teachers were not offered new contracts for the coming year.

Those concerned with the direction of the school have created a Facebook page, hashtags, a website, and a petition to reinstate the teachers.

Cleveland.com has a good summary of the issue here.

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