Report Card: Pope Francis on the ‘Evangelical Inspiration’ of Catholic Education; New Study on Hookup Culture at Catholic Colleges Released

Pope Francis: ‘Evangelical’ Catholic Education Doesn’t ‘Obscure’ Catholic Identity

Catholic schools and colleges play a key role in evangelization and in creating a more humane world built on dialogue and hope, Pope Francis told members of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and this does not mean “obscuring one’s Catholic identity” but educating through “evangelical inspiration.”

Pope Francis expressed the importance of Catholic education, saying that young people who are “educated in a Christian way for dialogue, will come out of the classroom motivated to build bridges and, therefore, to find new answers to the many challenges of our times.”

“Dialogue, in fact, educates when the person relates with respect, esteem and sincere listening, and is expressed with authenticity without obscuring or softening one’s own identity nourished by evangelical inspiration,” he said. “Schools and universities are called to teach a method of intellectual dialogue aimed at seeking the truth.”

Bishop Zubik: Catholic Schools Harmed by ‘Godlessness’ in Society

Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburg is set to offer a reorganization plan to reverse the diocese-wide decline in enrollment, but he understands that there’s more to it than demographic shifts. There is also “a sense of godlessness in society” that affects church attendance and Catholic school enrollment, he said.

Sold-Out 18th Year of V-Monologues at DePaul University

On the subject of “obscured” Catholic identity and godlessness, last weekend’s performances of the V[ ] Monologues at DePaul University—for the 18th year!—were reportedly sold out.

“Easily one of the most animated and aggressive performances of the night,” according to the student newspaper, was a student actress “screaming ‘[extremely vulgar reference to female part]’ from the audience and eventually making everyone in the room scream it with her in attempt to reclaim the word from all negative connotations.”

New Study: Catholic Colleges’ Religious Identity Affects Hookup Culture

Jason King, professor of theology at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, has published a study aimed at discovering how Catholic identity affects the hookup culture. The study, “Faith with Benefits: Hookup Culture on Catholic Campuses (2017),” concludes that “Catholic identity does affect hookup culture—but not in a simple or straightforward way.”

“It can hinder hooking up, change its meaning, or direct energy away from it,” writes King. “Its effects depend on how an institution supports Catholic identity, and on the students’ own Catholic faith.”

Trump Administration Withdraws Defense of ‘Transgender Bathroom’ Policy

The Trump administration has decided not to appeal a federal court injunction that barred enforcement of the Obama administration’s guidelines requiring all schools which receive federal funding to allow students who identify as the opposite gender to use opposite-sex bathrooms, locker rooms and other facilities, reports Joan Desmond of the National Catholic Register.

The Obama administration had appealed the ruling by a federal district court in Texas, but the reversal by the Trump administration allows the injunction to remain while the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the matter with oral arguments on March 28. It is not yet clear how the new administration will argue that case, or if it will simply rescind the Department of Education’s interpretation of the Title IX law.

Trump’s Labor Secretary Nominee Was Newman Guide College Trustee… Until Forced to Resign

President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor, Andrew Puzder, was asked to resign his position on the board of Thomas Aquinas College in 2004 after his company ran a racy Carl’s Jr. commercial featuring Playboy founder Hugh Hefner with two models.

The faithful Catholic college, which is endorsed in The Newman Guide, said the ads were not in line with the college’s mission.

“It’s common knowledge that Hugh Hefner and Playboy stand for hedonism and unbridled pleasure-seeking, and that is impossible to reconcile with what we stand for,” said spokeswoman Anne Forsyth.

States Gearing Up for School Choice

In response to the Trump administration’s plans to shift federal dollars to school choice programs, states including Arkansas, Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, and are already debating new proposals, according to Education Week.

Is School Choice Good for Parishes?

A new study out of the University of Notre Dame considers the benefits and costs of school choice for Catholic parishes and other churches with schools. Looking at the Milwaukee voucher program, the researchers find that vouchers helped prevent church closings and mergers, but they also find a sizable decline in non-educational donations to religion.

If more than half the income to struggling parishes comes from the state or federal government, and parish income for religious activities actually declines as a result, what does this bode for Catholic identity and religious freedom? It’s a serious concern worth taking seriously.

Catholic Education Benefits from Gregorian Chant, Says Conference Organizer

Dr. Jennifer Donelson, associate professor and director of sacred music at St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) in Yonkers, N.Y., tells Catholic World Report that her upcoming conference on “Gregorian Chant in Pastoral Ministry and Religious Education” seeks to “inspire attendees with ideas for starting or continuing to develop sacred music programs of excellence in Catholic parishes and schools.”

The Cardinal Newman Society is proud to be a supporting organization for the conference and encourages teachers, school leaders, musicians and parents to attend.

Santa Clara, Fordham Reject Student Clubs Over Public Policy Disagreements

Santa Clara University seems perfectly comfortable with open opposition to the truths of the Catholic faith—see here and here and here—but not divergent ideas on public policy. In front of a standing-room-only crowd, the student senate of the Jesuit university rejected a petition to allow a conservative student group, Turning Points USA, official recognition.

Fordham University also seems pleased with opponents of Catholic morality—see here and here and here. Yet Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, alleges that Fordham University acted wrongly by denying recognition to a students’ petition to form a club called “Students for Justice in Palestine” on the Jesuit campus. The university says that the national group advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel as well as “presents a barrier to open dialogue.”

USF Hosts Jesse Jackson, Advocate for Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage

The Jesuit University of San Francisco hosted the Rev. Jesse Jackson for a Black History Month lecture on February 8, despite his support for abortion and same-sex marriage. I find it hard to believe that the man who called New York “hymie town” was the best available speaker.

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