Report Card: Schools defend rights in court, Notre Dame sidesteps controversy with Pence invite

Supreme Court orders lower court to reconsider transgender bathroom case

The U.S. Supreme Court has vacated an appeals court ruling that supported the Obama administration’s demand that schools allow students claiming the opposite gender to use locker rooms and bathrooms of their choice. The Supreme Court ordered the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., to reconsider the case in light of President Trump’s withdrawal of the Obama policy.

Both sides in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G had urged the Supreme Court to keep the case on its docket. The Cardinal Newman Society filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case, arguing against the Obama administration’s attempt to impose radical “transgender” policies on schools that threaten religious freedom.

Catholic school, Becket fight for right to hire and fire for mission

A Catholic school must have the right to hire a principal of its own choosing, say Becket lawyers who are defending St. Anthony’s School and the Archdiocese of New York.

A former principal fired for insubordination has sued the 60-year old Catholic school. One of her attorneys has a long record of outlandish comments, such as publicly accusing the Catholic Church of being “dangerous to society” and alleging Russian Orthodox churches were “indoctrinating children with Stalinist communism.”

Oral arguments began Tuesday, March 7th at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The case flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, Michigan.

Catholic high school denied ministerial exception in suit by former teacher

A California state trial court has rejected the ministerial exception defense raised by a California Catholic high school in a suit by a former English and dance teacher who was fired after marrying his same-sex partner.

The court ruled that former teacher Kenneth Bencomo can move ahead with his wrongful termination claim against St. Lucy’s Priority High School, saying that although the high school is a religious institution, Bencomo did not teach any religious classes so the ministerial exception does not apply.  The judge found that St. Lucy’s “never required that faith or religion be used in the classes taught by [Bencomo] because he was not in the religious department… Furthermore, [Bencomo] never personally led prayers. In his teachings, [he] never relied on or referenced Catholicism.”

If it’s true that a teacher at a Catholic school never referenced Catholicism or led students in prayer, that is clearly a problem right there.

Notre Dame sidesteps controversy, invites VP Pence instead of President Trump

Vice President Mike Pence will receive an honorary degree and serve as commencement speaker at the University of Notre Dame’s 172nd graduation ceremony. In a break with the tradition of inviting new U.S. presidents to campus, Pence becomes the first vice president to deliver the commencement address at Notre Dame.

This sidesteps controversy on campus as a large number of professors and administrators have come out in strong opposition to Trump’s immigration policies. Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins, CSC, publicly waffled about inviting Trump, saying “My concern a little bit is that, should the new president come, it may be even more of a circus.”

Fr. Jenkins was much less concerned about a “circus” atmosphere when he infamously honored President Barack Obama, the most radically pro-abortion president in our country’s history, in 2009. The Cardinal Newman Society garnered more than 367,000 signers to its petition against Notre Dame’s honor of Obama in 2009, and 83 U.S. bishops publicly opposed the commencement honor. Fr. Jenkins has defended honoring Obama on multiple occasions since 2009.

Catholic schools are parishes’ best means of evangelizing youth, says Guernsey

Dan Guernsey, director of K-12 programs at The Cardinal Newman Society and associate professor and chair of the education department at Ave Maria University, isn’t worried about a recent study that suggests a link between voucher-supported parish schools and a decrease in contributions from parishioners as well as a decline in non-educational religious activity.

“This a great non-problem,” Guernsey told the National Catholic Register. “What are parish funds for if not for evangelization? There is no better way to evangelize the youth of the parish (whom it must be remembered are the parish — they are just the parish at grade 3!) than an authentic Catholic education.

“Vatican II reminds us that ‘The Church is bound as a mother to give to these children of hers an education by which their whole life can be imbued with the spirit of Christ and at the same time do all she can to promote for all peoples the complete perfection of the human person, the good of earthly society and the building of a world that is more human.’”

Villanova University defends the Cross

Villanova University’s plans for a bridge connecting portions of the campus are under fire from some neighbors, because the bridge includes two 4-foot, 7-inch crosses placed on stone pillars at either end of the structure. But the University is standing firm, writes Catholic columnist Christine Flowers at Philly.com.

I’m not sure that Catholicism is actually the last acceptable prejudice. But it’s certainly one of the most popular.

Trump celebrates success of voucher program

In his recent address to Congress, President Donald Trump pointed to the success of Florida’s largest school voucher program and highlighted a young woman, Denisha Merriweather, who benefited greatly from what many consider a “controversial” program.

After struggling in public schools for many years, reading well below her grade level, and being left back, Merriweather enrolled in a private school with the help of a voucher program. “I really think the school changed my life,” she said.

Trump called on Congress to pass legislation that “funds school choice for disadvantaged youth,” giving their families options to educate their children. “These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them,” said the President.

Trump also last week visited a Catholic school in Orlando, Fla., to promote his school choice plans and celebrate the state’s voucher program.

Regis flushes Catholic identity with pro-transgender tweet

Regis University, a Jesuit institution in Denver, tweeted out its support of the transgender agenda recently, saying, “Regis students, staff and faculty come together in solidarity for #transgenderbathroom rights. #thisisregis.” The picture accompanying the tweet was a signed rainbow toilet bowl.:

Suspended Marquette professor receives award for bravery

Professor John McAdams of Marquette University, who was suspended from teaching classes for criticizing another professor’s intolerance of a student’s criticism of same-sex marriage, is being honored for the conduct that got him suspended.

The Bradley Foundation awarded McAdams its $10,000 Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick Award for Academic Freedom. The award, named for the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, recognizes those who exhibit a “dedication to free speech and American exceptionalism.”

The Foundation praised McAdams for embarrassing or at least annoying the administration of the “ostensibly Catholic university.”

Catholic schools trustee wants study to determine if students are evangelized

A trustee of Catholic schools in Edmonton, Canada, proposed commissioning a study to assess whether graduates of Catholic schools are “evangelized.” John Acheson said it was “absolutely essential” to determine if the schools are “creating disciples of Jesus.”

One report presented to the board showed that 27 percent of district high school students did not believe their religion classes made the Catholic faith meaningful to them. Twenty-four percent of high school students said they disagreed with the statement: “What I learn in religion class helps make me a better person.”

But trustee Cindy Olsen questioned whether it’s possible to “measure a person’s faith, their spirituality.”

If we test the students for math, reading, and writing, why wouldn’t we test to see if a Catholic school is doing its job?

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