During Catholic Schools Week, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly was a guest on Kolbecast, the official podcast of Kolbe Academy, a classical Catholic homeschool program for K-12 students. He talked about what led to the creation of The Newman Guide, the reasons why Catholic families should consider a faithful Catholic college and what Catholic education is all about.
Most Catholic colleges and all public colleges have secularized in academics and nearly every aspect of campus life, and they often actively promote a worldview that is antithetical to the faith, explained Reilly. On the other hand, the faithful Catholic colleges recommended in The Newman Guide take a different approach. These places are serious about Catholic identity in all aspects of campus: campus life, hiring, academics, athletics—just to name a few areas.
The Newman Guide colleges are also very serious about educating and forming the whole person, and the graduates tend to be more aware of who they are and what God wants them to be, Reilly said.
Asked what makes a college a “Newman Guide college,” Reilly said, “There is one key standard: a Catholic family can send a child and be reasonably confident that they are going to be receiving a strong foundation intellectually, spiritually, etc.”
“People think we are too stringent” in choosing colleges for the Newman Guide, especially with regard to dorm policies that protect chastity and other student life concerns, Reilly acknowledged. “But campus life is extremely important for students. So many things go on at typical college campuses, which causes a lot of excess worry for the students and affects their performance in school. You need institutions that care about their formation.”
Reilly also addressed the cost of Newman Guide colleges, explaining that the “net price”—after financial aid and scholarships—is often not much different than state institutions. Moreover, the colleges are often very willing to help Catholic families.
Reilly urged families to think about the big picture in the college search: “What is our fundamental purpose in life and education? What would be our view of success, when we look at our child, and we’re looking back and seeing the result of the formation that we gave them? I want them to be good people, generous, Christian, and love God. As a parent, I want to know that I did everything I could to provide them with the best education I could, so they can really be the best person that they can be.”
He added: “I don’t see how you do that in an environment that’s completely secular, that doesn’t pay attention to the core issues.”
There is a lot of hope for Catholic education in the next decade, as more and more people see how faithful Catholic education is effective in forming good students and fostering their growth in the Catholic faith. There’s also great hope at the K-12 level, with programs like Kolbe Academy and schools and dioceses turning to the Newman Society for help in strengthening Catholic identity.
“The next decade is going to be a great golden age in Catholic education,” Reilly predicted. “The greater the pressure that society is putting on us, the greater the need is for Catholic education.”
The co-hosts of this Kolbecast episode included Bonnie Griffin, a mother of four Kolbe Academy students; Steven Hayden, senior development director for Kolbe Academy; and Jordan Almanzar, the Academy’s director of alumni and public relations.