Washington D.C., Mar 9, 2023 / 08:00 am (CNA).
The Cardinal Newman Society, which publishes a yearly guide on the most faithfully Catholic colleges in the U.S., has announced a massive new expansion coming this April to help parents and students find the most authentically Catholic schools at all grades and levels.
“Faithful Catholic education is critical for the souls of our young people … not just [in] the college years,” Kelly Salomon, vice president of Newman Guide Programs, told CNA. “Every Catholic child should receive a Catholic education.”
Starting this April, the Cardinal Newman Society’s “Newman Guide” will include a comprehensive listing of not only colleges but also the country’s most faithful Catholic K–12 schools, home-school programs, and graduate programs.
“Today, we often lament the crisis of belief in society and even among baptized Catholics, but it is rarely a rejection of God — it is a crisis of education,” Salomon said. “Too many Catholic schools mirror public schools in their curriculum, policies, and personnel. At the same time, public/secular schools and colleges have become hostile to the faith.”
The result? A 2019 Pew survey revealed that only 31% of Catholics believe in a basic tenet of their faith — that the body and blood of Christ are truly, really, and substantially present in the Eucharist.
The numbers are even lower for Catholics under 40, with only about 1 in 4 — 26% — believing in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate reported in January that just 17% of American Catholics attend Mass weekly or more, down from 24% in 2019.
As some Catholic schools secularize, many schools, both Catholic and public, have embraced stances on gender, marriage, and the sanctity of life that are antithetical to Catholic belief and teaching.
This education crisis, Salomon claimed, has resulted in many of the serious problems facing the Church in America today.
“This is a failure of proper formation and teaching,” Salomon said. “But there is good news: There is an exciting renewal in truly faithful Catholic education that is happening today.”
“Parochial schools are returning to their roots and embracing strong Catholic identity. Parents across the country are starting up independent, faithful Catholic schools. And there’s been an explosion in Catholic home schooling, especially during the pandemic,” she said.
According to the Cardinal Newman Society, enrollment in faithful Catholic colleges included in the Newman Guide has increased by more than 10%, despite overall college enrollment declining.
Now, the Cardinal Newman Society’s expansion will connect Catholic parents and students with the most faithful education programs that fit their needs.
How does the Newman Guide determine which schools to include on its list? Salomon explained that the Newman Society studies a set of standards that cover each aspect of Catholic education, including academics, admissions, and even athletics.
“These standards are derived from guidance provided by Church councils, popes, Vatican congregations, bishop conferences, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other Church documents,” she said.
By connecting parents and students with the faithful and vibrant Catholic schools and programs, the Newman Society hopes to spread the teachings of the faith.
“Faithful Catholic education is also critical for the future of the Church,” Salomon said. “Leaders in pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-religious-freedom efforts are being formed at faithful Catholic colleges.”
According to Salomon, more than 75,000 families already use the Newman Guide every year to find Catholic colleges.
Colleges included in the Newman Guide span all parts of the country, from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., to Thomas Aquinas College in California, Ave Maria University in Florida, and the University of Mary in North Dakota.
Though Salomon explained the expansion will be an ongoing process, she said the first cohort of recognized Newman Guide schools and programs will be announced this April.
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