Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Study on Catholic Colleges Comes as No Surprise...

CARA, Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, recently released a disturbing (although hardly surprising study):

"The CARA study largely confirms a 2003 study released by The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), which found significant declines in students’ support for Catholic moral teaching on abortion, marriage and sexuality after four years at a Catholic college or university. The declines were generally greater at non-Catholic private and public institutions.

According to the CARA report, 16 percent of students at Catholic colleges and universities become more pro-life and more convinced of traditional marriage, whereas 31 percent become more supportive of legal abortion and 39 percent embrace same-sex “marriage.” Only seven percent increase attendance at religious services, while 32 percent reduce attendance. Eight percent of Catholic students leave the Catholic faith while attending a Catholic institution."

See entire post here.

And while Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities President Richard Yanikoski argued that "the loss of faith at Catholic colleges and elsewhere reflects societal trends", I can't help but make a comparison between my own experience at a Catholic College and my husband's current experience at a Catholic University with the experience my friends had who attended Protestant Colleges and Universities. There was one key difference that I notice when I speak with them about their college days.

Their colleges had expectations.

They were expected to go the chapel on a weekly, and for some of them daily, basis. At one Protestant college that I was considering into back in 2000 I received a statement that I would need to sign if I planned on attending that gave standards for behavior that included no pre-marital sex, no alcohol, drug or tobacco use and no dancing (it was the dancing that kept me from applying- I love tap dancing way too much to sign it away!).

My Alma Mater seemed to take pride in telling prospective students that half of the students weren't Catholic and so they would fit in great... Who knows maybe they were afraid that encouraging weekly Mass attendance would have made some of us uncomfortable... and we couldn't have that... it might have cut into the the school spirit that led to the wild parties that went on pretty much every weekend, year round.

Our administrators hoped that less than a dozen students would be hospitalized after the two big school sponsored parties each year (blood alcohol poisoning, in case you were wondering) and ran "drunk tanks" with EMTs to try and curb the number.

And that doesn't even take into account the attacks on Christianity made by the Professors (something that wouldn't be tolerated at many of the Protestant Universities, but that is looked on favorably at Catholic Universities in the name of "academic freedom." We wouldn't want to restrict our radical leftist professors (or hire anyone more conservative).

I had one Professor who had once been a Christian Brother repeatedly tell the whole class that the Bible (and Jesus himself) never made any claim of Christ's divinity. It had all come along later, he said, because Christ's followers were afraid of death.

No, I won't be encouraging my daughter to follow my footsteps (and my father's footsteps) to my Alma Mater. At my college reunion this last year everyone kept laughing and talking about how our little ones would be Gael's someday too. I couldn't help but wince a little (although I managed to keep from vocalizing what I was thinking). I really hope my Alma Mater doesn't become one of Sadie's top choices in seventeen years.

I think I'd rather have her at a public school (where the Professor's attacks wouldn't be so focused on Catholicism) or better yet, someplace like Steubenville (a mom can dream, can't she?).


  1. We don't even have children yet and I'm already dreaming of them going to Steubenville! It takes all my effort not to spend all my time reading the Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College and the various lists that are out there...

  2. *sigh* Here's another mama dreaming of some place like Franciscan U. for her kiddos:)

  3. I have no idea how Catholic colleges are run (publically educated from primary up to undergrad), but are these colleges supported by the Vatican?

    If so, it sounds like Rome needs to rethink their support.

  4. Hi Cam, this post & one prior calls to mind a recent post from "The Catholic Cavemen". It had to do with the history of the prayer to St Michael the Archangel.

    Our family has made a tradition/habit of saying this prayer for both morning & night prayers. I really think it would be good for any Catholic family wishing to preserve their faith.

  5. I just found your blog and I love it! I went to Mount St. Mary's in MD (it's now on the cardinal newman list). It started taking catholic identity more seriously when I was a sophomore-ish. I'm praying my daughter will want to go there when she's 18, but I'm worrying already! :)


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