Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Cardinal Newman Society

The Cardinal Newman Society

          Countless Catholic families have suffered through it: They save for nearly two decades to send their child to a good, Catholic college.  They want their son or daughter to get a top-notch education, but also spiritual formation.  They want to provide an environment that will nurture the values they have worked so hard to instill.  And they want college to be a period of true growth rather than sinful regression.
          But the college they entrust their child to turns out to be less than they’d hoped.  Theology courses are taught by professors who make a name for themselves dissenting from the Church rather than supporting it.  Co-ed dorms with no curfew host entertainment like The Vagina Monologues.  And by the time their child comes home after freshman year, he or she has decided they don’t go to Mass anymore; they’re not sure whether they’re an agnostic or a Buddhist; and oh, yeah, they need a prescription for birth control.
          The preceding scenario has been all too common in America the past three decades or so.  One of the greatest scandals of our times (the consequences of which our society is suffering through) is that many Catholic colleges refuse to be authentically Catholic, and seem to work hard to be antagonistic toward the Faith.
          I don’t wish to explore any particular incidents, or discredit any specific universities.  The problem is well known.  And many professors and administrators are working hard to change the culture at these schools.  A good example is Peter Kreeft, an extraordinary, faithful theologian who is one of Boston College’s greatest treasures.  The pope is well aware of the problem and is also working hard at overcoming it, as are many faithful bishops.
          My point is not to attack anyone.  But until the reform we desperately need is accomplished, what does a Catholic parent do?  Thankfully there are some extraordinary Catholic colleges out there, like Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ave Maria University, Thomas Aquinas College, and Wyoming Catholic College, to name just a few.  There are more and more all the time, and they are true lights in the academic darkness of American higher education.
          How are parents to know if the school they intend to send their sons and daughters to, is one that will help them develop spiritually and intellectually, or if it is one as likely as not to leave them seriously disordered by graduation?
          One of the great Catholic organizations out there is the Cardinal Newman Society.  This is a group dedicated to reforming Catholic culture in higher education and promoting schools that are authentically Catholic.
          Every year it puts out its Newman Guide to choosing a Catholic college that is an invaluable resource to Catholic parents.  It includes detailed information about numerous Catholic schools and has recommendations of schools a Catholic parent can trust.  Last year it even began recommending Catholic high schools.
          Anyone preparing to send a student to a Catholic institute of higher learning would do well to give it a look.  And consider supporting the Cardinal Newman Society and the work it does to make Catholic education something we can all be proud of.