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What Does It Mean for a School to Have a ‘Catholic Identity’?

Sep 21, 2023

What Does It Mean for a School to Have a ‘Catholic Identity’? by The Editors at National Catholic Register. [W]hat is “Catholic identity”? Here we have to go back a bit in history. In 1990, Pope St. John Paul II published his apostolic constitution on higher education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church), in which he laid out essential elements for the renewal of Catholic identity for universities. The core vision of the document: “Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities, while the freedom of conscience of each person is to be fully respected. Any official action or commitment of the university is to be in accord with its Catholic identity.” Read


A Pilgrimage to Taylor, Texas by Samuel D. Samson at First Things. Led by Heidi Altman, a convicted mom and seasoned educator, the financially-strapped parochial school was converted to the classical model. At a time when many Catholic schools were secularizing, St. Mary’s went the opposite direction, attracting droves of families seeking an authentic religious education. Enrollment has only increased since. Read


Taking Humor Seriously by Robert Greving at Heights Forum. This need for humor and laughter is especially true for middle and upper schoolers…. I went to Amazon and entered “bestselling young adult books” in the search. Without exception, the books listed all had the protagonists dealing with some inner angst: some “dark secret” or obsession…. I’m not saying there aren’t situations we shouldn’t take seriously. I am saying that we often need to be pulled out of ourselves. Adolescence… should be a time of preparation for adulthood. And one of the best gifts you can have in that crazy world of marriage, family, work, and, yes, even the spiritual life, is a sense of humor. Read


How Faith Factors in When Choosing a College by Emily Lehman at National Catholic Register. “When I first came here, they showed... the times they have for confession, and it was insane to me,” said David Krymowski, a senior at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. Benedictine has confession times available seven days a week, sometimes multiple times a day. “The presence of the sacraments, and their availability to students for spiritual nourishment, was incredible,” said Krymowski, “and that was definitely one of the leading factors that caught my attention.” Read


Centers of Attention: Secular Colleges’ Newman Centers Provide a Place of Encounter by Virginia Aabram at National Catholic Register. Newman Centers and Catholic student centers are flourishing at large, public universities, where they minister to students hungry for the truth. They’re seeing packed Sunday Masses, large OCIA classes, and even crops of vocations. Some have been so successful that they’re expanding their facilities to better meet student demand. Masses have become standing-room-only even at obscure hours, and aging facilities just can’t keep up with the vibrant campus life fostered by the Church in a new era. Not a bad problem, but a problem nonetheless. Read 


West Point Sued by Anti-Affirmative Action Group after Landmark Supreme Court Ruling by Kaelan Deese and Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. “For most of its history, West Point has evaluated cadets based on merit and achievement,” [Students for Fair Admissions] said in its complaint, filed on Tuesday in the Southern District of New York. However, SFFA said the academy's merit-based evaluations have altered in recent years. “Instead of admitting future cadets based on objective metrics and leadership potential, West Point focuses on race,” the complaint states…. Though the Supreme Court ruled against affirmative action at higher education institutions in June, the court’s 6-3 majority opinion specified it did not have any immediate impact on military academies. Read


Throwback Thursday


The Identity of the Catholic School for a Culture of Dialogue by the Congregation for Catholic Education on January 25, 2022. As far as Catholic schools are concerned, the conciliar declaration represents a turning point, since, in line with the ecclesiology of Lumen Gentium, it considers the school not so much as an institution but as a community. The characteristic element of the Catholic school, in addition to pursuing “cultural goals and the human formation of youth”, consists in creating “for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity”. To this end, the Catholic school aims “to help youth grow according to the new creatures they were made through baptism as they develop their own personalities”, as well as “to order the whole of human culture to the news of salvation so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life and man is illumined by faith”. Read

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