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Strong Catholic Institutions: Offering Hope To A Fallen World

November 22, AD2016

Catholic institutions

Catholic colleges and universities offer unique and rewarding opportunities for today’s undergraduate students. They exist to enlighten, inspire and motivate. They also strive to nurture a desire within that seeks knowledge and purpose beyond the halls of academia. Many have witnessed memorable moments of spiritual enlightenment and fulfillment within such institutions. Sadly, however, others have not.

Whether challenging students intellectually, or fostering a sense of competency, many Catholic institutions of higher learning must return to their previous standards of moral integrity and Catholic identity. If they continue to wallow, they will simply remain numbered among their secular counterparts.

Catholic Colleges & Universities Should Stand Apart

What should set these schools apart is their constant adherence to truth – a truth that cannot be compromised or manipulated. This desire for truth lies within the heart and soul of each human being who attends these schools. However, if Catholic institutions do not remain committed to this principal, their light of faith will continue to flicker, and eventually extinguish.

This reality is not often taken seriously by many on Catholic college campuses, whether administrators or professors, clergy or laity. Their knees often buckle when it comes to standing up for the ideals of the Church.

Many are aware of the ongoing controversies revolving around Catholic institutions with ties to Planned Parenthood. There is always an outcry when the idea of separating from these organizations is broached. Colleges are supposed to be places for the free expression of ideas and dialogue, and Catholic ones are no different. However, how many times has a line been crossed? (And many of these institutions are repeat offenders.) These scandals permeate into other institutions until finally, the term “Catholic” vanishes from their identity.

The administrators within Catholic institutions must portray the school’s faith identity in a proactive fashion, rather than a reactive response dictated to it by a fallen world. It is true that we are all sinners, but allowing a secular society to implement a watered-down version of moral standards marginalizes the full capabilities of the Catholic college, where the Holy Spirit is the true authority.

These places of higher learning and achievement exist as beacons of light amidst a dark and pluralistic culture. Administrators and professors must ask the questions, “Who and what are we dealing with, and how are we to respond accordingly?” Just as doctors must first examine all aspects of a patient in order to provide him or her with the best care, these schools must address the situations and circumstances from which each student is coming.

An Obligation to Serve & Educate

Catholic institutions have an obligation to serve and educate in a manner that is non-negotiable. Furthermore, their respect for the views and values of their students should not deviate from doctrine. Students who choose to attend Catholic colleges and universities, must realize that they should conduct themselves according to these standards of reverence and respect. This means that they do not undermine the mission set forth. Unfortunately, this is often ignored by them, and overlooked by administrators who cater to them while at the same time reprimanding others who demonstrate authentic Catholic teaching. However, this is not always the case, as some institutions have honorably defended the teachings of Holy Mother Church.

Catholic colleges must return to their roots of empowering their students to become strong, competent ambassadors for Christ and His Church. Each student is called to be a disciple and should be encouraged to embrace God’s plan for his or her life. They are inspired to travel a noble and honorable path that incorporates diligence with a sense of respect for others, and maintains a Christ-centered approach. This process begins immediately when one sets foot onto campus. However, it does not end at their graduation. The experiences of attending a Catholic college or university continue to remain, further nurturing and guiding the graduate, throughout the rest of his or her life.

As stated earlier, problems do arise when those in authority stifle Church teaching. The events that follow undermine the mission of the Catholic faith, which is to engage the culture and evangelize through open dialogue, and charitable fellowship. This mandate is not meant to coerce or force students to adhere to a specific set of guidelines as much as it exists to reinforce methods which lead to a sound understanding of the teachings. This demonstrates the virtue of hope.

Students should be brought to an understanding of the truths of Catholicism – that faith and logic complement one another and do not contribute to a false ideal. These elements must be interwoven into all aspects of the academic environment in order to be viewed in accordance with each subject.

Professors should be encouraged to attend other classes and view the textbooks and course materials of their colleagues to gain a better understanding of what is being discussed in these disciplines. Finally, they should provide sound wisdom to their students, combining it with a love of learning and a love of faith and neighbor. This culminates in building a community of believers who share in a common mission, centered on the Body of Christ.

Catholic institutions must recognize the special role they play in the New Evangelization. This is accomplished through sacramental worship, opportunities for contemplation, fellowship, and service. This helps strengthen society and offers our fallen world a message of hope that is united in our Creator.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Todd was born and raised just outside of Philadelphia (Go Phils!) but now lives and works in Michigan. He has been involved with the Church, and working with youth, for over 15 years in the areas of ministry, athletics, and education. He has a M.A. in Theology from Catholic Distance University, with a concentration in Ecclesial Service (special thanks to the intercession of St. Joseph of Cupertino). He is a proud family man and has a passion for all things CATHOLIC!

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