Category Archives: Strong Catholic Identity

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.

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.


Fr. Terence Henry Talks about His Tenure as President of Franciscan University of Steubenville

After nearly 13 years, Father Terence Henry is stepping down as President of Franciscan University of Steubenville. Tim Drake, senior editor with the Cardinal Newman Society recently spoke with him about his tenure, Catholic identity, and his contributions to the University.

Father Terence Henry, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Father Terence Henry, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville.

So, it was just announced that you’re moving on at the end of the academic year.

Yes, the winds of change are blowing here at Franciscan. The national norm for a president is six years. I’m looking back on this wonderful opportunity to serve the mission and I have a lot of fond memories. It’s been an awesome blessing to be entrusted with this responsibility.

Given the increasing secularization found in society, and among Catholic colleges and universities, why is fidelity to Catholic identity so vital?

C.S. Lewis once said that the atheist and the Christian hold opposite views about the universe, they both can’t be right, and consequently the one that is wrong will be working to help destroy that universe. The Christian life is the key to unlock a lock. Catholic education has so much to offer people today to escape  moral relativism. Pope Benedict XVI says we’re simply being tossed about. An authentic Catholic education can help people stand on solid foundations and provide the key to life itself.

How does Catholic identity manifest itself at Franciscan University?

Cardinal O’Connor once said it’s easy for the Church to defend a Catholic principle that’s not under attack, but it needs to be at those points of attacks where the culture of death is pressing in. We’ve always asked how we can best serve the Church. We’ve established a Chair in Bioethics. Our theology and philosophy faculty are well established.  Our science courses are rooted in authentic Catholic teaching. That’s how we’re responding to the culture of death.

In what ways might Franciscan be a model for the renewal of Catholic higher education?

We receive our understanding of our vocation and mission from the words spoken to St. Francis – “Francis, go and rebuild my Church.” We see that as so important. Any Catholic school can use that as a guideline.

When the Holy Father spoke at The Catholic University of America, he said that every aspect of a Catholic university campus ought to speak in union with the ecclesial church – not just academics, but our residence halls, the sportsmanship displayed, the entertainment we have – they should all speak to the mission. Catholic schools can go into an area that public schools cannot. Education involves mind, body, and spirit. Secular schools have to refrain from touching the spiritual part. Someone going to such a school will end up with career preparation, but no preparation for answering questions such as: “Who am I?”, “Why was I made?,” and “Where am I going?”

What, from your perspective, makes Franciscan distinctive?

I would say there are four distinctive elements about our university. One of those is the academic quality of our school. It attracts top students, and our SAT scores continue to rise. The quality of our professors and the personal interest they show in our students. Another is our unique culture. Pope John Paul II said that every Catholic college needs a Christian inspiration. Ours is St. Francis – a dynamic joy filled person. Everyone who visits campus notices how on fire our students are for God, and how willing they are to learn. We stand with the Church’s Magisterium and teaching. Finally, there is that sense of evangelism. Franciscan equips students to be salt and light. Our graduates are in all 50 states transforming the culture. They connect the intellectual formation they’ve received with a sense of applying that when they leave.

What changes have you seen during your time as president?

We’ve promoted John Paul II’s call for students. We’ve introduced new majors to transform the culture – an international business major, legal studies, a major in German, sacred music, a concentration in bioethics, and catechetics. The catechetical meltdown that took place for a generation among Catholics is being corrected by Franciscan University of Steubenville and our graduates. We have an endowed chair in bioethics. Where the Church needs to be is in those areas that the culture of death is attacking. In 2007, we entered the intercollegiate NCAA Division III and gained entry into the Allegheny Conference. The physical campus has nearly doubled in size.

What new projects are taking place?

In 2009, we completed our new friary. A unique element on our campus is that we have 20 friars who serve the spiritual needs of our students sacramentally, through counseling, in the classroom, in the residence halls, and by serving as moderators of our sports programs. That religious presence is very important for students, and it’s something we value greatly. That Franciscan presence has been a part of our school since its founding in 1946.

We are in the formative stage of our next capital campaign. The number one item on that needs list is the need for a new chapel. The student body under my tenure has grown an additional 600 students. The current chapel is no longer adequate. We’re hoping to address that need. I know that alumni will help. They can remember standing outside the chapel, unable to squeeze in, in January. Wherever I may be stationed, I would love to come back and be there at the dedication of the new chapel. It will speak to our Catholic and Franciscan heritage. The architecture will speak Assisi. It’s important that someone can set foot on campus and say, “This is a Catholic and Franciscan school.”

We also have been able to increase financial aid for our students through endowed scholarships. 39 new scholarships have been created in order to help them.

What do you see as Franciscan’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Our greatest strength is our commitment to the mission of our school – Catholic and Franciscan. That is the dominant charism of the University. Fidelity to that keeps us centered and provides a moral compass in a sea of moral relativity. That is the story of higher education in general.

We are mission driven, as is our household system, which replaced the fraternities and sororities of old. It’s a peer-to-peer way for students to encourage one another in a path of holiness. There’s been tremendous voluntary participation in household life. We’re up to 48 households now. Household life is a unique contribution that Franciscan came up with to have students support one another to grow in their faith. The bonds and friendships that students form in those households remain strong long after students graduate. They continue sharing in the challenges of living in a secular world. Learning takes place 24-7, and household life helps students to feel encouraged and supported by one another.

People who come on campus notice the physical growth of the campus, but the real story is the living stones – the students who want to grow in faith and wisdom. Cardinal John Henry Newman said a Catholic university is the only true university because it addresses the totality of the human person.

Our number one challenge is to increasingly be able to have the means to help students come to a small, private Catholic university and graduate receiving help. About 80% of our students receive some sort of financial aid, but it’s never enough. The need is acute.

What are you most proud of during your tenure?

I’m very proud that after a 20-year struggle our faculty has passed a new core curriculum that is more unified and integrated. It will provide a more common experience academically for our students. It was a battle because academically we’re not only a liberal arts school but also offer professional and pre-professional majors. I see a lot of blessings that will come from that.

Overall, when I became president, the general public probably wondered, “Does this mean that if Fr. Michael is not there, will the school mainstream itself in the bad sense of that word?” We’ve answered that. Our compass shows that we stand with Peter. If we stand with Peter, and not in front or behind him, we are on solid ground. That has been my main contribution. The school has remained faithful to the Magisterium. We have remained where the church would have us be, so that we can best equip young people to go into the world and transform it.

Do you have any idea what your new assignment will be?

I’m in a cloud of unknowing. I need to wait until May until I hear from my provincial. That’s where the vow of obedience kicks in. Will I be sent up the Amazon? I don’t think so. I’ve been in education all my life. That’s where my passion is.

Christendom College to Host Ex corde Ecclesiae Presidents Roundtable

On February 1-2, Christendom College will welcome Catholic college and university presidents to its Front Royal, Va., campus as it hosts the Ex corde Ecclesiae Presidents’ Roundtable. The Roundtable will examine the challenges and opportunities facing Catholic institutions of higher education, and will give the presidents an opportunity to discuss some very important issues.

“I believe that all the presidents involved will benefit by meeting to meditate on how we can cooperate with each other to be of service to Christ, His Church, and our nation through our educational apostolates,” Christendom College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell said.

The Presidents Roundtable, which was initiated by O’Donnell, is a private association of presidents of Catholic universities, colleges, and institutes, who have embraced the vision of Catholic higher education as presented in the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae of Blessed John Paul II and developed by Pope Benedict XVI, particularly in his historic address at the Catholic University of America on April 17, 2008.

During their meetings, the presidents will informally discuss areas of mutual interest and concern related to the strengthening of Catholic identity and will take advantage of the opportunity for spiritual rejuvenation in the company of fellow presidents. As a special guest, His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments — who has fully supported the initiative — will personally lead the Roundtable’s spiritual reflections.  The discussions will cover topics ranging from student life to presidential leadership within the university. All discussions will be in service to the individual mission and unique charism of each institution.

Francis Cardinal Arinze will lead the spiritual reflections during the Ex corde Ecclesiae Presidents Roundtable at Christendom College.

Francis Cardinal Arinze will lead the spiritual reflections during the Ex corde Ecclesiae Presidents Roundtable at Christendom College.

“As a liberal arts college, Christendom has given dynamic leadership to its students on how to discover the true, the good and the beautiful, and how to pursue these goods which are so deserving in themselves,” said Cardinal Arinze. “The students are taught not to be afraid of the truth, of reality. Christendom College is above all a Catholic educational institution. It importantly expresses its Catholic identity through an explicit profession of the Catholic Faith, and through studies given unity and a sense of direction by sound philosophy and authentic Catholic theology. It is joy for me to be associated with whatever has to do with the good of Christendom College.”

The participating presidents will also sign a pledge to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church concerning Catholic higher education. Cardinal Arinze will then personally present this to Pope Benedict XVI. Nearly 20 presidents are expected to attend the Roundtable discussions and/or sign the pledge.

For more information about the Ex Corde Ecclesiae Presidents Roundtable contact Olivia Ruhl, at or 540.636.2900.

Judge Dismisses CUA’s HHS Challenge on Timing Grounds

Another challenge to the Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate has been dismissed by a federal judge who decided that it’s too early to hear the lawsuit as the Obama administration has promised changes to the mandate to satisfy concerns about religious freedom.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, a President Barack Obama appointee, dismissed the case filed by The Archdiocese of Washington, The Catholic University of America, Consortium of Catholic Academies, Archbishop Carroll High School, and Catholic Charities of D.C. reportedly saying, “If after the new regulations are issued, plaintiffs are still not satisfied, any challenges that they choose to bring will be substantially different from the challenges in the current complaint.”

The Affordable Care Act requires that employer-supplied health-care plans cover contraception. The archdiocese and 42 other Catholic organizations, including the University of Notre Dame and The Catholic University of America, filed lawsuits last year arguing that the mandate violates freedom of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Religious nonprofits have not been forced by the government to violate their conscience yet because the Obama administration  extended a “safe harbor” clause to religious non-profits that delayed enforcement of the mandate on them until at least after Aug. 1.

“While  we are disappointed by the decision, we are not discouraged in the   least because the judge based her dismissal solely on procedural  grounds; she  did not rule nor make any judgments on the merits of our  case,” a Catholic University spokesperson told The Washington Times.

The University of Notre Dame recently saw its lawsuit dismissed on similar grounds. Belmont Abbey College saw its lawsuit dismissed late last year only to see an appellate court reinstate it. Many expect the Administration to announce a change to the mandate in coming months.

There have been over 44 lawsuits against the mandate and over 130 plaintiffs.

EWTN to Televise Mass from The Catholic University of America

EWTN will reportedly be televising the annual Mass in honor of St. Thomas Aquinas at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in association with the Dominican House of Studies and the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA).

The Mass on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 12:10 p.m. will be held in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Crypt Church. Prior Provincial Very Rev. Brian Martin Mulcahy, O.P. will be the celebrant and homilist this year.

Students from nearby Archbishop Carroll High School and St. Anthony Catholic School will also participate.

“Two years ago we began the practice of inviting the National Catholic Educational Association, which comprises Catholic elementary and high schools throughout the country, to tune into our Mass of the Holy Spirit that is broadcast nationwide by EWTN,” said Catholic University President John Garvey in a release. “We thought it was a wonderful way for all of us to open the new academic year.

“While our 6,841 Catholic schools all across the country will be marking Catholic Schools Week with many local school and diocesan events, this national liturgy will serve as a powerful reminder of the ties that bind us together as Christ-centered places of learning,”  said Karen Ristau, NCEA president, in a release. “In this digital age, it is exciting to think that our Catholic school students from across the country can be brought together to celebrate the Mass of St. Thomas Aquinas.”

National Catholic Schools Week, founded in 1974, is a joint project of NCEA and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Catholic Schools Celebrate Throughout the Week


January 27 to February 2 is National Catholic Schools Week – a joint project of the National Catholic Education Association and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The theme for the week is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” The theme supports the recent launch of the “National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools.” These benchmarks ensure the effective operation and responsible governance of Catholic schools across the country, thus promoting high academic standards and Catholic identity.

Of the 132,656 private and public schools in the U.S., 6,980 are Catholic elementary or secondary schools. Educators, parents, and community leaders routinely highlight three benefits of a Catholic education.

– Children are taught faith—not just the basics of Christianity, but how to have a relationship with God.

– Academics, which in Catholic schools are held to very high standards, help each child reach his or her potential.

– Service, the giving of one’s time and effort to help others, is taught both as an expression of faith and good citizenship.

Catholic schools are noting the week through special Masses, open houses, and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and the community. The Catholic University of America will commemorate Catholic Schools Week during the Mass of St. Thomas Aquinas at 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29. The Mass will be broadcast live by EWTN.

This week marks not only National Catholic Schools Week, but also National School Choice Week, across the country.

School choice advocates and organizations, parents and students are celebrating in a variety of ways. National School Choice Week provides a concentrated focus on mission-effective education options for every child. Schools and grassroots networks, including many Catholic schools, are hosting more than 3,500 events in their regions to highlight the importance of school choice, and to bring media attention to the issue.


New Nun Tells How Faithful Catholic Education, Latin Mass Aided Her Discernment

A recent study commissioned by the U.S. bishops demonstrates the importance of Catholic education in people’s choosing to enter a religious order. Christendom College alumna Sr. Mary Jordan (Ida Friemoth, ’05) clearly attests to this in a piece she wrote that is now appearing on Christendom College’s website. Since its founding in 1977, there have been0 66 priests and 44 sisters who can point to Christendom as being instrumental in their choice of vocation, according to Christendom’s website.

Sr. Mary made her Solemn Profession of vows as a Dominican nun last year at the Monastery of St. Jude in Marbury, AL. Thankfully, she took the time to reflect on her time at Christendom College, and how it affected her discernment to the religious life:

My time at Christendom was very influential in forming me intellectually, spiritually, and culturally, and preparing me to discover God’s Will for my life here as a cloistered Dominican nun. I chose to attend Christendom because I desired to learn Truth, especially the truths of Thomistic philosophy and theology, and knew that at Christendom I could count on being taught according to the mind of the Church. During the course of my studies, I realized ever more fully that not only philosophy and theology, but all the classes fit together in presenting a coherent and lived Catholic worldview.

This education is of great value to me here in the monastery in two ways. First, the solid foundation in the thought of our Dominican Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, is an incomparable preparation for our doctrinal study as Dominican nuns, and even more so for understanding and living the virtuous life. Second, the broader foundation that a truly Catholic liberal arts education provides is an invaluable asset to the community as a whole. To know and to be able to enunciate the doctrine of the faith and its basic philosophical underpinnings is very rare in the world today, and is of great help in grasping, maintaining, and defending the essentials of the cloistered contemplative vocation.


Another area in which my experience at Christendom directly led into my vocation is that of the liturgy. Never before had I experienced the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered in Latin, or been exposed on a consistent basis to the beautiful and formative riches of the classical polyphony and Gregorian chant regularly sung by Christendom’s Schola, Choir, and entire community. The reverence and sense of the sacred of the College chaplains also made a deep impression on me. When I first visited this monastery, I walked down the hall to the chapel for Vespers, completely unaware that the nuns sang the major hours of the Divine Office in Latin using their traditional Dominican chant. When I heard the nuns singing in Latin my heart soared; God was using the liturgical formation I received at Christendom to point out to me where He wished me to be His.

students Sister Mary Jordan, OP, with Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi and clergy, including recently ordained alumnus Fr. Fred Gruber (’06).

The cultural and social life of the College also played a role in preparing me to embrace this vocation. Through the example and support of friends, l joined the Legion of Mary, made St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, and began praying the Divine Office, all of which helped prepare me for my vocation as a Dominican nun. This is not to mention the good times of companionship and fun we shared in the context of the College community with its mix of faith, academics, and campus events. I remember one of my first days as a freshman, taking a walk with two new friends out to “Kelly’s field.” As we stood amid the tall grass, the Angelus rang from the College chapel. One of us led the prayers, and we genuflected there in the grass at the verse, “The Word was made flesh.” This is such a simple thing, but indicative of the culture which so many Christendom students strive successfully to create. Living this culture amid virtuous friendships helped me grow as a person and prepared me to embrace this solidarity on a spiritual level in the religious life, where we come together in the monastery to live as “one mind and heart in the Lord,” as our Rule of St. Augustine states.

students Sister Mary Jordan pronounces her vows in the hands of Mother Mary Joseph, OP.

Finally, although I studied at Christendom hoping to learn “what went wrong” with the culture in order to be able to “go out and fix it,” so that culture might again dispose men to holiness, I have discovered in the monastery the truth of what Peter Kreeft once said: that perhaps the most powerful warriors in the fight between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death are the contemplatives spending hours a day in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Those who are called to live in the world, working to restore all things in Christ in the family, workplace, or apostolate, are doing important and crucial work for the kingdom of God. Yet it is the life of prayer and sacrifice that is at the heart of every active work. Both are needed.

Every day the nuns here take turns keeping an Hour of Guard, praying the Rosary before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament as Our Lady’s Guard of Honor. Someone is always there, in the chapel; interceding for the world. I learned at Christendom that the highest use of anything is to dedicate it to God. This is the reason for my vocation—to belong solely to God, on behalf of those with a mission like Christendom, and on behalf of the whole world.

Christendom to Host Thomistic Scholar

Thomistic scholar and author, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P., will deliver the annual St. Thomas Aquinas Lecture on Monday, January 28.

Fr. White, who  converted to Catholicism in college, in part from the influence of reading the letters of Flannery O’Connor, entered the Dominicans in 2003 and was ordained a priest in 2008. He currently teaches theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., and is the director of its Thomistic Institute. He is the author of Wisdom in the Face of Modernity: A Study in Thomistic Natural Theology and his talk, entitled How Does the Resurrection of Christ Illumine Human Reason? From Benedict XVI to St. Thomas Aquinas, is open to the public.

Christendom College hosts a distinguished speaker each year on or around the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (January 28) to speak on a philosophical or theological topic.

For more information, click here.

Wyoming Catholic College’s Freshman Expedition in the Mountains

Freshmen, a number of faculty, and administrators at Wyoming Catholic College spent last week in the Teton mountain range  as part of learning how to stay warm in the winter months, understanding the snowpack, avalanche risk and preparedness, constructing quigloos and quinzhees for shelter, as well as perfecting their skiing skills.

The Outdoor Leadership Program at WCC is an integral part of the liberal arts education at Wyoming Catholic College. It was, according to the College, created to not only serve the vision of educating students in body, mind and spirit but also to help students develop strong leadership skills they will use in their communities, their professions, their country and their Church. WCC says that the OLP provides students with “direct experiences in the first great book of God’s creation.”


The recent outing was the second of freshmen’s two mandatory Outdoor Expeditions. The course, which takes place prior to the start of the Spring Semester each year, immerses students in the winter environment, specifically preparing them to plan and lead winter outdoor adventures over the next three academic years, and to participate in winter field science labs during their sophomore year.


According to a press release from the college, the first morning in the outdoors was a particularly memorable one.

The night before, visibility had been poor. But when the sun arose the next morning, it offered the students their first clear view of the spectacular Teton range (which many were seeing in person for the first time). One student who had expressed particular nervousness prior to embarking on the trip mastered the “art” of staying warm after the first few days ,and enthusiastically exclaimed that “We should spend an entire semester out here!” Jonathan Tonkowich, WCC’s Dean of Students and an instructor on the course, agreed. “I thought the freshmen responded really well to the adversities of camping in winter weather like this,” he said.

The week concluded with a refreshing 8-inches of fresh powder at White Pine Ski Area near Pinedale, after which it was time to return to Lander and prepare for the Spring Semester.

Photos of the expedition are available for download at the college’s Press Room.

Campion College President: “At the Center of This College Is Jesus Christ.”

“At the center of this college is Jesus Christ. I take that very seriously,” Campion College Australia president Dr. Ryan Messmore said at his inaugural speech last month. “Rather than a mere pious label or a decorative gloss, the Christian faith informs the very content and character of a Campion education.”

Dr. Messmore, an American and a Catholic convert, is making a strong push to make Campion College Australia better known. And he is asking Catholics to not only watch the video below of his comments but also to send them to students and families of students who right now are considering colleges. Campion College Australia will be accepting applications over the next six weeks.

You can watch his inaugural address below:  

Campion College Australia opened its doors in 2006. It’s an independent institution named for Saint Edmund Campion and is recommended in The Newman Guide. You can visit its website here.

Franciscan Students, Staff, and Faculty Ready to March

Seven buses and countless cars are expected to leave the campus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville just after midnight on January 25, carrying hundreds of students, faculty, and staff and travel through the night to Washington, D.C. for the 40th annual March for Life.

“More than ever before it is important for Americans to see that those committed to life are not discouraged or demoralized in the fight for life,” said Father Terence Henry, TOR, Franciscan University president. “God, the source of life itself, will help us to stand up to a culture of death that seeks to undermine the foundations of our country and our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

The students are expected to start the day at the Solemn Mass for Life at 7:30 a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. They will then join hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers at the rally at the National Mall and march on Capitol Hill.

As he has every year since becoming president in 2000, Father Henry will lead the Franciscan contingent, 800 strong, under the emerald Franciscan University banner that proclaims, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you… Before you were born, I dedicated you…” (Jer. 1:5).

The following day, a contingent of Franciscan University students will attend the Students for Life of America National Conference where they will network with pro-life organizations and leaders.


New CUA Business School Rooted in Catholic Teaching

The Catholic University of America announced today the creation of a new School of Business and Economics based on Catholic social doctrine and the natural law.

From the University:

“Business schools focus on teaching commercial skills and rules of ethics, but they neglect the importance of character. Our distinctive idea is to bring the rich resources of the Catholic intellectual tradition and the natural law to bear upon business and economics. This will integrate morality into commercial life and help form the character of our future business leaders,” says Andrew Abela, chair of the previous Department of Business and Economics.

“We are going to let our Catholic thinking penetrate our curriculum,” Abela says, adding that studies show companies are more competitive and sustainable in the long run if they respect the dignity of consumers and employees.

The Wall Street Journal notes that while many business schools have introduced ethics courses in recent years, some point out that these efforts have been cosmetic, lacking integration into the core curriculum.  CUA, on the other hand, plans to overhaul its core business courses over the next year.

For example, accounting classes will stress judgment calls about what revenue can be kept off the books, along with the math behind those revenue calculations.

The School of Business and Economics will be distinctive in three ways, according to CUA.  Every class will include an ethics and morality component.  Research efforts will be oriented to the common good in order to make business more humane and effective.  And students will receive formation in virtue and be given the opportunity to apply their skills practically.

CUA has a “unique responsibility to contribute to the national discussion about the economic challenges facing the country,” said University President John Garvey.  He further noted:

Finally, as a new school we can do something different, unlike other schools — Catholic and non-Catholic — that already have large faculties committed to existing conventional approaches to business and economics. Our school is small enough to pursue a new and original direction.

Tom Monaghan Wins Against HHS Mandate

A federal court in Michigan has reportedly ruled that the founder of Ave Maria University Tom Monaghan may exclude contraception from his employees’ insurance coverage in his personal property management company Domino’s Farms.

Still uncertain is whether Ave Maria, which is also suing the federal government over the HHS mandate, will be exempted as well.

The Michigan court order granted a temporary moratorium on religious grounds for Domino’s Farms — a privately held company headed by Monaghan.

The court order said that forcing Monaghan to choose between his conscience and heavy financial fines is an infringement of his First Amendment rights and “constitutes irreparable injury.”

Monaghan had previously said that the law violates his constitutional rights, and he believed that the mandate “attacks and desecrates a foremost tenet of the Catholic Church” against contraception, sterilization or abortion and that it will “force individuals to violate their deepest held religious beliefs.”

The Amazing Latin Mass Society at Belmont Abbey College Thrives with New Media

It’s a Friday night on a college campus. Students walk out of their dorms in the dead of winter, their breath billowing out in puffs of steam, greeting friends with nods and handshakes, hopping into cars and convoying over 30 minutes to a nearby city.

It’s a typical scene on many college campuses across the country, but these aren’t your typical college students. These are members of the Latin Mass Society at Belmont Abbey College, preparing to attend the candle-lit Solemn High Mass at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Charlotte.

“It shows the power of God,” Belmont Abbey College student Anthony Perlas told The Cardinal Newman Society. “Twenty-three people on a Friday night going to Latin Mass. Wow. It’s amazing.”

This is something students from the burgeoning society do once a month. In fact, their weekly on-campus meetings often have about 80 students in attendance.

You wouldn’t guess it, but not so long ago, the Latin Mass Society at Belmont Abbey College seemed to be in danger of disappearing. Now it’s growing rapidly, mainly because of new media. “There’s certainly enough bad stuff on the internet,” said Perlas. “Maybe it’s time for some good stuff on the internet.”

That’s right. The old Latin Mass is being embraced by college students and celebrated in the new media. “Ironically, a lot of the older generation are against the Latin Mass,” said Perlas. “But a lot of college students are very interested. It’s something new to them.”

Joanna Ruedisueli, a sophomore at Belmont Abbey College and a member of the LMS, said the group’s embrace of new media “plays a vital and colorful part” in presenting the LMS on campus. She said that in addition to short, easy-to-watch informational videos about the Mass, they also make use of Facebook events pages, posters around campus, and an email newsletter to spread news. She said their methods have proven effective. But she added that in the end it’s all about the people. “Because of the close-knit community of the small campus of Belmont Abbey, word gets around fast,” she said. “If someone had a neat experience attending a Latin mass, they will tell their friends who will, perhaps, join them at the next LMS event.”

But it was only this past September when the group which had only five members seemed on the verge of extinction. Perlas told The Cardinal Newman Society that he had joined the tiny group as a recent revert who was interested in the Latin Mass only after he wondered why a priest he knew was facing away from the parishioners. “But nobody wanted to take the presidency of [the group] this year,” Perlas told The Cardinal Newman Society. “I didn’t want to let this club die out.”

So he had a decision to make. He knew that his senior year would be a busy one. His father even advised him against taking on added obligations. There was every reason in the world not to do it. But there was one reason to accept it. “I felt called to do it,” he said.

“There’s nothing like the Latin Mass,” Perlas said. “I wish I could have it every Sunday.

So Perlas accepted the leadership position. And Perlas doesn’t do things halfway. Or the old way. He almost immediately began creating ads for the society like this one for the group’s website and Facebook account:

Ruedisueli said that during her first year with the group they attended a few Latin Masses but this year the group has become far more active. “After a Latin Mass we like to go out to dinner with a guest speaker who shares insights and traditions of the Latin Mass, the new Mass forms, and the increase in the Latin Mass’s popularity,” she said. “We also pray a Latin Rosary every week as a group.”

The society also ran the religious freedom rally on campus and often prays the Rosary at abortion clinics. Perlas along with a number of other students also created instructional videos with fellow students explaining the Mass and extolling its beauty. They can be viewed here.

Ruedisueli joined the LMS as a freshman. She told The Cardinal Newman Society that she’d attended her first Latin Mass in high school and was curious to learn more. “I was so intrigued that the Mass used to look and sound so differently than it does today,” she said. “Of course I wanted to join a group of young adults my age who had the same curiosity, or knowledge to share, about the history of the Catholic faith.”

Ruedisueli predicts that students will continue to be interested in the Latin Mass. “Besides and beyond social media, at Belmont Abbey and friends I know at other schools, young adults, I think, are finding in themselves a curiosity towards their faith and its past,” she said. “By exploring how the Mass evolved from the traditional Latin Mass to the New Order of today the faith becomes more their own.”