Monthly Archives: February 2013

Providence College Political Science Department Hosting Pro-Abortion Senator for Lecture

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Providence College’s political science department says that it’s “proud” to host pro-abortion Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for a lecture. The college’s campus calendar shows the lecture as taking place on Friday, February 15, though a note on the calendar also lists the date of Friday, February 22. Senator Whitehouse is scheduled to give a lecture between 6-8 p.m. in the Smith Center Concert Hall, with a reception prior to the lecture.

“I am pro-choice,” Whitehouse said during the 2006 Rhode Island Senate debate. “I firmly believe that family planning decisions should be private, and that there’s no role for government intrusion in those decisions. Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land by almost any legal standard.”

It’s not the senator’s first visit to the Catholic college. On October 8, 2008, the senator was on campus to speak about his experiences as a freshman senator, the economy, the environment, and the significance of the youth vote in the  election.

Whitehouse has a solid pro-abortion voting record. He has frequently voted against legislation supported by National Right to Life, and has repeatedly earned a 0% rating from National Right to Life.

He has voted against cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood, voted against a budget bill that would have cut funding for contraception, voted against overturning the pro-life “Mexico City Policy,” voted against banning funding of organizations that support coercive abortion programs, and voted in favor of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

The NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has endorsed Whitehouse. NARAL gave Whitehouse a 100-percent score in its 2011 Congressional Record on Choice.

Our Lady of the Lake University’s Embattled President Stepping Down

My San Antonio is reporting that Our Lady of the Lake University President Tessa Martinez Pollack is leaving her post March 1. The university made the announcement on Thursday.

The decision follows a tumultuous tenure during which Pollack eliminated a dozen degree majors, including religious studies and Mexican American studies, which faculty and students considered at the core of the Catholic university’s mission and identity.

That decision led to tension and a split among the university’s Trustees.

In January, the university revised its student handbook to protect students, faculty and staff from discrimination based upon “sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”


Since Pollack became president in 2002, the university has shed nearly 600 students, a downward enrollment trend that reportedly began before she arrived. This fall there was an increase of about 200 primarily weekend and online students.

Some students have questioned the university’s emphasis on “high demand, high wage” programs in science, technology, engineering and math instead of sharing the focus with the arts and humanities.

Tyler Tully, a religious studies senior who organized student protests of the cut majors, said he felt encouraged by the news of Pollack’s resignation.

Students who protested against the cuts formed the “Stand With the 12” Facebook group, and had created an online petition calling for Pollack’s resignation. The group has approximately 800 members, and the petition received about 290 signatories.

In 2007, the OLLU faculty assembly issued a vote of no confidence in Pollack after enrollment declines and layoffs.

In addition, board member Louis Escareño resigned Thursday from the seat he has held since 2010.

Pollack is the university’s seventh president, and the university’s first Hispanic leader. The Sisters of Divine Providence founded the school in 1895 and retains board membership.

Thomas Aquinas College Named a “Best Value” College by The Princeton Review

Thomas Aquinas College is one of the nation’s 75 “Best Value” private schools according to The Princeton Review in its just-published book, “The Best Value Colleges: 2013 Edition” and on a special area on its website. Thomas Aquinas College is the only private Catholic college in California to be named a “Best Value,” and one of only five private Catholic institutions in the country, along with Boston College, the College of the Holy Cross, Georgetown University, and the University of Notre Dame.

Says Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s Senior VP/Publisher, “We commend Thomas Aquinas College and all of our extraordinary 2013 ‘Best Value Colleges’ for their stellar academics and for all they are doing to make their colleges affordable, especially for applicants with need in these tough economic times.”

In its profile of Thomas Aquinas College, The Princeton Review quotes extensively from students at the College who were surveyed for the book.  Among their comments: 1) Thomas Aquinas College is a school that “takes learning seriously for its own sake, not just as preparation for a job;” 2) the College has “a strong Catholic identity” and “a rigorous curriculum,” where “professors … lead you to truth without forcing it on you;” and 3) “You get all kinds of people here — but one thing they have in common is a desire to search for the truth.”

The Best Value Colleges, subtitled “The 150 Best-Buy Colleges and What It Takes to Get In,” profiles 75 public and 75 private colleges the Princeton Review designates as “Best Values” based on assessments that examined more than 30 data points covering academics, cost, and financial aid.  The Company chose the 150 schools from 650 colleges and universities at which it conducted institutional and student surveys for this project in 2011-12. Of the 75 schools in each group, the top 10 colleges are ranked 1 to 10, and the remaining 65 are listed in alphabetical order.

USA TODAY, the Princeton Review’s publishing partner for this project since 2009, has posted the Company’s 2013 list and an exclusive database of “Best Value Colleges” information at a special area of USA  There, users can find detailed stats and facts about each college and sort the list several ways including by state, tuition, enrollment, and average freshman grant.

The Princeton Review selected its “Best Value Colleges” schools based on institutional data and student opinion surveys collected from the 650 colleges and universities that the company regards as the nation’s academically best undergraduate institutions. The selection process analyzed more than 30 data points broadly covering academics, cost, and financial aid. Cost and financial aid data came from the Company’s fall 2012 surveys of school administrators. Data on academics came from its fall 2011 through fall 2012 surveys of school administrators. Data from students attending the schools over these years included their assessments of their professors and their satisfaction with their financial aid awards.

College of Saint Mary Magdalen President George Harne Pledges Fidelity to Pope Benedict XVI

The College of St. Mary Magdalen President Dr. George Harne.

On February 2, 2013 Dr. George Harne, president at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen, pledged his fidelity to Pope Benedict XVI.   The signing of this pledge took place during the third annual Ex Corde Presidents’ Roundtable and Forum hosted by Christendom College.

The event was an opportunity for presidents at faithfully Catholic colleges to come together, pray, receive spiritual nourishment, meet fellow presidents, share ideas, and renew fidelity to the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church.

His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze was the special guest of the Roundtable.   Cardinal Arinze offered Mass and led a reflection on the Presidents’ spiritual role in maintaining Catholic identity in education.

“This event provided the occasion for college presidents to examine the challenges and opportunities facing Catholic institutions of higher education, and contemplate how to best overcome the challenges and utilize the opportunities,” said Dr. Harne of the Roundtable discussions.

The Ex Corde Presidents’ Roundtable was concluded with the presidents signing of the Pledge of Loyalty to uphold the teachings of the Magisterium.   Cardinal Arinze will personally present the Pledge of Fidelity to Pope Benedict XVI.

Gay Activists Celebrate Nondiscrimination Policy at Our Lady of the Lake University

The New Civil Rights Movement, a homosexual activist blog, is celebrating reports that Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), a Catholic university in San Antonio, Texas, has become the first Catholic school in Texas to revise its student handbook to protect students, faculty and staff of the university from discrimination based upon “sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”

“By embracing this full vision of equality, we can realize the best nature of who we are and what we stand for at OLLU,” said Leda Barnett, assistant professor of political science.

Work to change the handbook began in 2005 with Cynthia Squiabro-Kee, then a graduate student at the University, and her efforts to establish a Gay/Straight Alliance. That group was formed by 2007. In early 2012, The Alliance posted a petition on the website seeking community support for their efforts to revise the university handbook with fully inclusive policies.

A resolution was submitted to the Student Voice Assembly for approval, seeking to “include the statement of ‘sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression’ to all relevant policies within the student handbook.”

After meeting with representatives of The Alliance, Equality Texas, the Rainbow Coalition and GetEQUAL TX, Jack Hank, OLLU’s vice president for Student Life, worked on revisions to the policy with the university’s attorney. On January 16, 2013, Hank announced approval of the policy change by the OLLU Student Life Council.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his Christmas address to the Roman Curia in December, warned against the dangers of celebrating “gender” outside of male and female.

“…the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper,” said the Holy Father.

While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question…. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.


Cardinal Newman Society Thanks USCCB for Standing Against the HHS Mandate

The Cardinal Newman Society today thanked Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for pointing out the ways in which the Feb. 1, 2013, proposed rules from the Department of Health and Human Services still fail to address core concerns with the sterilization/contraception/abortion mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Catholics are left no choice but to oppose the mandate and will be comforted and strengthened by the support and leadership of the nation’s Catholic bishops.

The current movement toward defining first-class religious institutions of Catholic education, Catholic health care, and Catholic charity as second-class institutions is unacceptable.  The Cardinal Newman Society stands at the ready to continue supporting the efforts of Catholic educational institutions to protect their God given Catholic identity and religious liberty.

The Cardinal Newman Society will continue encouraging its members to  pray for our bishops and all American citizens engaged in the struggle to uphold our constitutionally protected religious rights.

U.S. Bishops to Administration: HHS Proposal Falls Short

While the U.S. Bishops acknowledge that the Administration’s proposed Health and Human Services’ rule demonstrates some movement, they officially said that the “accommodation” falls short of addressing their concerns, a statement released today said.

“Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the Administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions—we will affirm any genuine progress that is made, and we will redouble our efforts to overcome obstacles or setbacks,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in the statement. “Thus, we welcome and will take seriously the Administration’s invitation to submit our concerns through formal comments, and we will do so in the hope that an acceptable solution can be found that respects the consciences of all. At the same time, we will continue to stand united with brother bishops, religious institutions, and individual citizens who seek redress in the courts for as long as this is necessary.”

Cardinal Dolan listed three key areas of concern: the narrow understanding of a religious ministry; compelling church ministries to fund and facilitate services such as contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization that violate Catholic teaching; and disregard of the conscience rights of for-profit business owners. These are the same concerns articulated by the USCCB Administrative Committee in its March 2012 statement, United for Religious Freedom.

Cardinal Dolan said the new proposal seemed to address one part of the church’s concern over the definition of a church ministry but stressed that “the Administration’s proposal maintains its inaccurate distinction among religious ministries.”

“It appears to offer second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities,” said Cardinal Dolan. “HHS offers what it calls an ‘accommodation’ rather than accepting the fact that these ministries are integral to our church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches.”

Cardinal Dolan also highlighted problems with the proposed “accommodation.”

“It appears that the government would require all employees in our ‘accommodated’ ministries to have the illicit coverage—they may not opt out, nor even opt out for their children—under a separate policy,” he said.

He also noted that “because of gaps in the proposed regulations, it is still unclear how directly these separate policies would be funded by objecting ministries, and what precise role those ministries would have in arranging for these separate policies. Thus, there remains the possibility that ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities.”

Cardinal Dolan also said the proposal refuses to acknowledge conscience rights of business owners who operate their businesses according to their faith and moral values.

“In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath,” Cardinal Dolan said. “We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences.”

Wyoming Catholic College to Host Cardinal Raymond Burke for Catholic Education Symposium

Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, will be joining faculty, students, and a small group of Catholic men and women for the “Discover a New Renaissance: Celebrating the Revitalization of Catholic Education” symposium taking place at Wyoming Catholic College April 7-10, 2014.

Ecclesiastical Advisor to our Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education

The symposium will offer guests the opportunity to learn more about Wyoming Catholic College’s distinctive program, attend classes in the college’s Downtown Center, dine with the students at Frassati Hall, attend a demonstration on the college’s Outdoor Leadership Program, visit the future home of the college at Broken Anvil Ranch, and participate in liturgies and an address on the revitalization of Catholic education by Cardinal Burke.

“We are greatly privileged to have Cardinal Burke come to Wyoming Catholic College,” said President Fr. Robert Cook. “He understands the nature of Catholic education in a comprehensive and profound way, and we are confident he will appreciate the unique Catholic educational model and mission that we provide to our students. We look forward to hearing his insights into what we can do to further the renaissance of Catholic education in America today.”

Cardinal Burke serves as Ecclesiastical Advisor to The Cardinal Newman Society’s Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education.

Pro-Abortion Television Host Speaks at Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University is highlighting Black History Month with a keynote address by pro-abortion journalist and MSNBC TV host Touré Neblett this evening, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Carlo Auditorium of Tegeler Hall. Neblett will speak on “How Racism Functions Today and Ways to Deal with it to Get Success.”

“Without question, one of Saint Louis University’s greatest strengths is our diversity,” said University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. “Here at SLU, people of diverse beliefs, diverse backgrounds and diverse faiths come together to learn, to live and to lead.”

On January 25, 2013, Neblett, described on the MSNBC program The Cycle, how he and his girlfriend had an abortion, saying that the “choice saved my life.” He further went on to thank God for abortion.

“I cannot imagine arguing against a woman’s right to control her own body, and thus her life,” said Neblett.

Prior to the election, Neblett tweeted: “Girls, get your abortions NOW in case the Republicans win.”


Neblett hosts Fuse’s Hiphop Shop and On the Record. He is the author of Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What it Means to be Black Now, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work of Non-Fiction. He is a regular contributor to MSNBC’s the Dylan Ratigan Show, the Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and NewsNation with Tamron Hall.

Ruth Institute Offers Marriage Conference for Students

University students, interns, seminarians, and young adults interested in learning more about the case for marriage between one man and one woman may be interested in applying for the Ruth Institute’s fifth annual three day pro-marriage conference, “It Takes a Family to Raise a Village.”

The free conference is being held May 30 – June 2 in San Diego. The seminar-style conference brings together 18-30-year-olds for an inter-disciplinary, inter-faith program to help them make an informed and compassionate case for natural marriage. Held at the Town and Country Resort, the conference is open to 35 participants. All of the lectures, food, transportation in San Diego, lodging, and a travel stipend are provided.

Participants from the 2011 "It Takes a Family" conference.

Participants from the 2011 “It Takes a Family” conference.

Among the invited and confirmed speakers are: Bill Duncan, director of the Marriage Law Foundation; Robert Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin; Dr. Freda McKissic Bush, a partner with East Lakeland OB-GYN, and others.

“We are looking for young adults who are passionate about the social issues, and who have leadership potential in their chosen vocation,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. “We want to equip them to understand marriage, why it’s important, and why it should remain between one man and one woman.”

Previous graduates of the program have gone on to form clubs, start blogs, speak on radio programs, and write nationally. The opportunity is likely to inspire future graduates to do likewise.

Father Fights to Have Child Exempted from Religious Studies at Catholic High School

According to a story in the Toronto Star, father Oliver Erazo is considering taking legal action in order to obtain a full exemption from religious courses and programs for his son at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario.

Erazo admits that he and his wife originally chose the school because of academics, and its proximity to their home – not for its religious orientation.

Under the Canadian Education Act’s open-access legislation, students are free to avoid religious instruction if that is the parents’ desire.

While Erazo’s son, Jonathan, a 10th grade student, received a one-year exemption from liturgies and religious classes, he must remain at home during those times. Erazo wants his son to be able to work in the school library or office during that time.

“You can’t extricate the faith,” said Bruce Campbell, Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board spokesman. “It’s woven throughout the fabric of the school. I think what he’s looking for is a public school.”

“I think the only thing they (the board) would understand is a court order,” said Erazo, who has secured the pro bono assistance of attorney Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.

Priest Stresses the Importance of Identity at Canada’s Catholic Colleges

Father Stan Chu Ilo, assistant professor of theology at University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, writing for Canada’s The Catholic Register, recently reflected on his experience of attending post-secondary school at Catholic universities in three different countries.

Not only does he reflect on his own experiences, both as a student, and in working at Catholic universities, but he also suggests the direction he believes Canada’s Catholic institutions of higher education should be going.

The entire educational environment should permeate with religious flavour so that administrators, teachers, staff and students see their university experience as a divine encounter for faith formation. The pluralistic Canadian milieu offers great opportunities but immense challenges in the way we conceive, live, propagate and defend our Catholic identity through Catholic education. Pope John Paul II once observed that a faith that does not become culture is no faith. The Canadian Catholic academy is called to embrace with joy and seriousness the questions Canadian culture poses to our faith.

Later, he discusses the crisis of Catholic education.

The first reality is that Catholicism no longer plays a decisive role in the shaping of the moral, ethical and spiritual vision of contemporary Canadian society, nor is it a strong moral voice or force in the public square. The second reality is a frightening decline in church attendance and the practice of the faith, which has affected Church finances and vocations. This has limited the ability of the Church to invest in Catholic education and social services as in the past.

Father Ilo’s solution? Embracing and strengthening a Catholic college’s Catholic identity and mission, especially in the face of increasing secular partnerships.

Catholic higher education needs to reinvent itself in order to survive. Most Canadian Catholic colleges and universities are already in full partnership with secular universities, offering joint degrees and programs which help with the financial burden. However, these partnerships must be constantly evaluated so that Catholic identity and mission are not sacrificed. The priorities and mission of Catholic colleges and universities often fail to correspond with that of secular universities. That is a change from the past, when Catholic universities flourished and their governance, academic programs, identity, mission and priorities were defined by an ecclesial vocation, rather than by a partnership with secular universities.


Cardinal Arinze Speaks at Christendom College on the Role of the Laity

Cardinal Francis Arinze addresses students at Christendom College on Monday, Feb. 4.

Cardinal Francis Arinze addresses students at Christendom College on Monday, Feb. 4.

Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, spoke on “The Year of Faith and the Apostolate of the Laity” at Christendom College on Monday, February 4.  Speaking as part of the college’s Major Speakers Program, the talk was based upon Cardinal Arinze’s forthcoming book that examines the role of the laity in transforming the culture.

Cardinal Arinze, who is celebrating his 55th anniversary of ordination this year, explained that the Holy Father, in establishing the Year of Faith this past October 11 on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, wants the faithful to pay more attention to the Council and what it taught.

During the Year of Faith, Catholics are encouraged to intensify their reflection on the faith, be more vigorous in their adherence to the Gospel and profession of faith, celebrate the sacred liturgy, especially the Holy Eucharist, with more diligence, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church more frequently, and establish more credible ways of witnessing to Christ.

His Eminence then focused on one way of witnessing to Christ – through the apostolate of the lay faithful.

“The Church has always understood the call to follow Christ by faith and Baptism as a call to the apostolate,” said Cardinal Arinze.  “By apostolate, we mean the mission of the Church, the motive of Christ in founding His Church. It is to spread the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ, so that all men and women may know the One, True God and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent, and knowing Him, that they believe in Him, live the new life He has won for all humanity and find eternal salvation in His name.”

Cardinal Arinze explained that there are no spectators in the Church, and that everyone has a role to play. The apostolate expected of a person in the Church depends on and follows on what that person is called to be in the Church. The laity, who comprise 99.9% of the Catholic population, are to carry out their part in the mission of the whole Church by engaging in temporal affairs and ordering them according to the plan of God.

Cardinal Arinze then elaborated on three different Vatican II documents on the lay apostolate: Gaudium et Spes, Lumen Gentium, and Apostolicam Actuositatem.

In Gaudiem et Spes, the Council Fathers wrote, “Let the lay person take on his or her own distinctive role,” which Cardinal Arinze explained as meaning that lay people should strive to discharge their earthly duties conscientiously and in response to the Gospel spirit.

“Secular duties and activities belong properly, though not exhaustively, to lay people,” he said.  “As citizens of the world, they are to observe the laws proper to each discipline and labor to equip themselves with competence, each person in his or her profession…The Christianization of the temporal order, or the bringing of the spirit of the Gospel into secular affairs, is the apostolate specific to the laity.”

According to the Dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium, the lay apostolate is a participation in the saving mission of the Church herself, and the laity are called to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can she become the salt of the earth.

“The laity are to persevere in promoting cultural values, in harmonizing faith and civic duties, and in guaranteeing religious freedom for citizens,” Cardinal Arinze said.

Finally, in Apostolicam Actuositatem, the Council reminds the faithful that Christ’s redemptive work, while of itself directed toward the salvation of people, involves also the renewal of the whole temporal order.

“God’s plan for the world is that people should work together to restore the temporal sphere of things and to develop it unceasingly. By temporal sphere is meant family, culture, economic affairs, the arts and professions, political institutions and international relations, as well as their development and progress,” he said.

Cardinal Arinze concluded his lecture by enumerating some reasons for the urgent need of the lay apostolate today and some reasons for hesitation on lay engagement. He said that many countries and cultures have turned away from God and leave God out of life in society, and this needs to change. Marriage and the family are under attack in one country after another and the witness of lay people in the mass media, in parliaments, in governments, and in academic institutions is absolutely necessary in order to overcome these threats to the Gospel.

Politics and government have to be evangelized. These are specific fields where the lay faithful are called to bring the spirit of Christ into the various areas of secular life. If the laity do not do this, who will do it? The presentation of the Christian stand on social questions, when made by lay people who are well prepared, has special power to convince the general public more than the witness by clerics and religious. Very symbolic and convincing is the example of that king [Baudouin of Belgium] who resigned his kingship rather than sign a law in favor of abortion. Such action is worth more than a thousand words.

There are some, though, that believe that it is very difficult for the laity to get involved in transforming the culture, due to the fact that there is a sort of power struggle going on between the clergy and the laity. Cardinal Arinze recommends that each person does their specific vocation and apostolic work, which for the laity is the Christianization of the temporal order as insiders. But to do this, they must be educated and adequately prepared for their mission.

“Our prayerful hope is that this Year of Faith may have as one of its fruits that the lay faithful will realize more and more the dignity of their calling in the Church and in the world, and that they may more vigorously take on their own distinctive role and launch out into the deep,” he concluded.

Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life Holds Largest Gathering

Connie Marshner, chairman of the Cardinal Newman Society, reports that with 695 registrants, the 14th annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life held its largest conference to date. The conference took place on Jan. 26, the day after the Washington, D.C. March for Life. The gathering, which was held at Georgetown University, is the nation’s largest student-run pro-life conference.

Keynote speaker Helen Alvaré

Keynote speaker Helen Alvaré

Keynote speaker Helen Alvaré, an associate professor of law at George Mason University spoke on authentic sexuality and encouraged participants to embrace the culture of life. She contrasted the individualism of the sexual revolution with a pro-life ethic rooted in “the whole social-justice tradition based on living out our communal being.”

The conference was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus’ Georgetown University Council 6375, Georgetown University Right to Life and Georgetown University Catholic Daughters of the Americas.

In addition, at least 20 different pro-life organizations were on-hand to educate participants on ways they can be engaged in the life issues. Participating organizations included, among others: the Knights of Columbus, Crossroads, World Youth Alliance, the Catholic Medical Association, Feminists for Life, Defend Life, Generation Life, and the Institute for Psychological Studies.

Michael Schwartz, Former Advisor to Cardinal Newman Society, Died Sunday

Michael Schwartz, a steadfast advocate for the Catholic Church and pro-family policies in Washington, D.C., and a good friend of The Cardinal Newman Society, reportedly died Sunday after a tough battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Schwartz served more than a decade as chief of staff to pro-life Senator Tom Coburn after many years at the Free Congress Foundation. He was instrumental to the founding of The Cardinal Newman Society in 1993 and served on the Advisory Board for many years. On January 25, Schwartz was recognized for his lifetime of pro-life leadership by the National Pro-Life Religious Council.

According to an announcement from the Capitol Hill group Faith and Law:

It is with sadness that we inform you that Michael Schwartz went home to be with the Lord. After a year-and-a-half battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Mike finished his race today.

Mike, Chief of Staff to Senator Tom Coburn, was a devout Catholic who loved the Lord deeply. He was active teaching adult catechism in his home parish. Mike fought valiantly for the unborn from the advent of legalized abortion in America. He was an avid reader of the most rigorous books and essays, reading a book or two each week. He relished discussions about God, the Supreme Court, and politics. He was a friend of the high and mighty and the lowly and powerless alike. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather.

See, below, Senator Coburn’s tribute to Mike on the Senate floor.