REPORT CARD: Notre Dame Rejects Abortion Coverage; Rise of Independent Catholic Schools; Bishop Defends Fr. Martin Speaking Engagement

Notre Dame will NOT cover surgical abortion—but possibly abortifacients

After intense pressure from The Sycamore Trust, a group of alumni striving to protect the University of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, the university has announced that it will not cover surgical abortions through its insurance plans as it had seemed to imply on its website.

It’s scandalous, however, that the university also seemed to imply insurance coverage for abortifacients, contraceptives, and sterilization procedures starting January 1, 2018—but there has been no public denial that these will in fact be covered.

The Trust discovered a notice on Notre Dame’s website that as of January, the University would provide insurance coverage including services listed in IRS Publication 502, which include the illicit “services” noted above. But shortly after the Trust made this information public, the university sent a notice to employees saying it was excluding abortion services from reimbursement.

“It is sobering to consider that Notre Dame would be involved in facilitating surgical abortions had its change in policy not been exposed; and even after deliberation it has continued its offer of cut-rate sterilization, abortifacients, and contraceptives through its FSA,” the Trust said in its latest bulletin.

Independent Catholic schools on the rise

Independent Catholic schools are “popping up” at a good pace in the United States, according to Church Militant. (Note: Click then scroll down for this portion of the article.)

Fewer consecrated religious in parochial schools means having to hire more expensive lay teachers, which increases tuition, and there are fewer students due to a decline in the number of parents practicing the faith, the article says.

As signs of the trend, the story points to two Catholic independent schools in the Cleveland area—Padre Pio Academy and The Lyceum—and says many similar schools are members of the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS).

A day of reckoning for Catholic colleges and universities?

Religion Dispatches published a piece saying that “a reckoning may be due” by Catholic colleges and universities running afoul of publicly accepted morality on issues like abortion and gender confusion.

The story says that “the weight of cultural pressures create a fissure between what the Catholic Church teaches and what Catholic universities practice.” Colleges attempting to straddle the burgeoning divide between Church teaching and the fads and fashions of the day will be forced to choose a side.

We do not have to look far to be reminded of this scandal, considering Notre Dame’s dithering over insurance coverage for abortifacients and contraceptives—or Georgetown’s deliberation on banning a student club for upholding Catholic teaching on marriage.

We can, however, be inspired by The Catholic University of America’s strong witness in its rejection of an “LGBTQ” student group on campus and for it upholding Church teaching to treat all with respect and love.

While the article correctly diagnoses a real problem, the true antidote is for Catholic colleges and universities to embrace their Catholic identity instead of modernism’s fashionable mores.

Are small religious colleges in danger?

Religion News Service reports that small religious colleges may be in danger of closing in an increasingly competitive higher education marketplace.

More than 60 percent of Catholic universities in the U.S. have small endowments and fewer than 2,500 students, according to the article. About one-third of the small private colleges rated by Moody’s Investors Service generated operating deficits last year.

The RNS story points to a trend that includes the recently announced closure of St. Gregory’s in Oklahoma, the decision by Grace University (a Christian institution in Omaha, Neb.) to close, and the closure of Marygrove College undergraduate programs in December.

However, the number of students enrolling in Catholic colleges and universities is on the rise. In 1956, 300 Catholic colleges and universities throughout the country had 400,000 students enrolled. Today, enrollment has doubled, but the number of Catholic institutions has dropped to 200.

Why do anti-Catholic students attend Catholic colleges?

Daniel Payne, assistant editor at The College Fix, wonders why anti-Catholic students choose to attend Catholic universities.

Using Xavier University’s “sex week” as a jumping-off point, Payne points out that “this weeklong celebration stood opposed to virtually everything that Xavier University teaches about sexuality, sanctity and natural law.”

But that’s the point, isn’t it?

“Convinced that they are doing something truly revolutionary by giggling about sexual promiscuity and IUDs, these students think they’re striking a blow for some kind of modernity against the regressive values of the Church,” Payne writes. “It is ultimately a juvenile affair, the kind of thing a 15-year-old might think politically clever.”

Bishop defends Misericordia’s invitation to controversial priest

Despite thousands of Catholics signing a petition in protest, Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera is defending Misericordia University’s decision to invite Father James Martin, S.J., to speak at its winter commencement, according to

Bishop Bambera reportedly said that the priest’s latest book on gender identity was “written with the full consent of his religious superiors and in conformity with Catholic Church publishing guidelines.

“Contrary to what many have asserted, however, Fr. Martin does not call for any change in Church teaching in his publication,” said the bishop. “Given Fr. Martin’s background and current standing as a priest and member of the Society of Jesus, Misericordia University has followed the protocol expected of a Catholic university in extending an invitation to Fr. Martin to serve as its commencement speaker.”

Among those alleging dissent by Fr. Martin is the National Catholic Register, which suggests, “Father Martin puts forth the notion that the Church has misunderstood God’s plan for human sexuality for her entire history and that she must now switch to a new teaching, namely that the union of man and woman in marital love is not the only path for the true and good expression of human sexuality.”

Pro-abort congressman talks love and young people at Georgetown

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who supports abortion on demand, told Georgetown University students that “we have to give all our people, and especially our young people, our children, a sense of hope and faith that we’re going to make it, that we’re going to overcome. And tell them not to get lost in a sea of despair or become bitter or hostile, that the way of love is a much better way.”

Lewis, who holds a 100 percent rating from NARAL, has voted against restricting partial-birth abortion and against making it a crime to harm a fetus during a crime.

You can see why young people might despair.

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