New Guide Recommends Faithful Catholic Colleges

The answer is that many catholics dont have convitions that fly in the face of the church teachings on war and the death penalty. A Catholic in good conscince can support both. as then Cardinal Ratzinger noted:

***Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

I think I’d back JKsoren up to an extent. Franciscan can be a wonderful place. But, one’s choice of college or university has to take into account numerous factors, not the least of which is a) what do you want to do with your degree and b) how does your institution’s degree program get you there?

Some go to Franciscan for undergrad without targeting a grad school. Some go for a technical field (nursing is particularly good there, I have heard). But I think if one was to, say, want to become a PHD in Theology there might be other Theology programs that have more “cachet” in the academic world. This isn’t to say that someone who goes to Franciscan can’t go on to Oxford or one of the Pontifical Universities in Rome, but they might have a better shot at it by going through another theology program. (Notre Dame’s Theology program for instance is quite good, from what I can gather, and would help one break into academia. There are others – some Catholic schools, some not). One thing that struck me from JKSoren’s account is that Franciscan’s Theology MA doesn’t require a language – did I read that right JK? I think that in itself is a mark against it from a purely academic standpoint.

Again, this isn’t to say that Franciscan has a lot to commend it. One might want to send their kids there to keep them from being exposed (too much) to unorthodox Catholic teaching. Or, one might go there as a new convert to learn the basics of the faith. Or, one might go there in preparation for a vocation (LOTS of those from Franciscan). Or one might go there simply because they love the life of faith as it is lived there. Conversely, though, if someone is strong in their faith, it might be more prudent to go to Cornell or University of Michigan or Stanford, etc, depending on their chosen field.

manualman, I don’t think JK is criticizing FUS because it is orthodox – i.e. I don’t think he is a dissenter. His point, I think, is that he knew all about those qualities and went there because of it (it’s orthodoxy, Scott Hahn!, etc.) but thinks that the objective qualities of academic excellence (at least in his field) are somewhat lacking.

Just my opinion (and a conjecture regarding JK). Take it with a grain of salt!

I’m sure Franciscan is good for what it is. It’s probably as close as you’re going to get to a truly Catholic school. It’s sad what’s happened to the big name ‘Catholic’ universities like De Paul, Loyola, etc. If I were a parent, I wouldn’t waste the money to send my kid to one of those schools. I’d rather go to a secular state school than to one that advertises its Catholic heritage only in the diocesan newspaper. Here at the University of Illinois is the largest Newman center in the U.S. I know several priests have come out of there.

Just curious, but thoughts on Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas? I visited in July and fell in love with the place almost instantly…I felt completely “at home” there. I applied and am now enrolled for the fall of 2010 as an International Studies/Foreign Languages double major. I’ve never heard any negative things about the place…from current students or alumni, though I’m sure there are students who didn’t enjoy their experience.

I’m not going to change my mind, so please don’t think that you can. I just wanted to hear some honest thoughts, observations, etc.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

Oh my gosh! You have to follow CNS catholic colleges list if you want to true to faith catholic college.

A lot of catholic colleges are catholic in name only, take it from me. You hear parents all the time about how their child was led off into weirdness in some so called catholic colleges.

I would say Franciscan U. is #1. It’s beautiful with all the confessions everyday, daily masses packed, etc. Absolutely beautiful. If I could afford it I would love to go there for a degree. Sadly, I was low on funds and had to get my degree from a state school. :frowning:

This has been an interesting thread, thank you to whoever started it. :slight_smile:

I guess it just goes to show you that in every university, Catholic or not, you’re going to have your share of excellent profs and crummy profs.

I suppose what matter most is the reason for attending a Catholic college? Better education, in general, than a public/state college? Specifically for the religious education/classes?

My non-Catholic daughter is an Honors student and scholly recipient at a Catholic college (not on the list, interestingly enough) that has a fantastic local reputation for turning out intelligent, employable, out-of-the-box thinkers. She’s going there for the education, and obviously not the religion.

Edited to add: She’s extremely happy there and I’ve seen her mature quite a bit in just one semester. She’s happy, she learning, and she’s growing as a person. How much better can a school get? :wink:


I think it’s a real shame that Franciscan is getting put down because their M.A. in Theology does not require a language. No, they don’t require it, but they do STRONGLY encourage it. That’s up to the student to get the tools they need if they wish to go onto a Ph.D. Although my degree from there is not in Theology, when I was looking into doctoral programs in literature around my junior year of college I began looking at their foreign language requirements. Latin was not required for me to graduate with my B.A., but after doing research and an evaluation of my goals I decided to take it. It was not because someone told me to, or that I needed to for degree completion.

I think each student needs to evaluate whether or not they need a modern or archaic language requirement based on what they would like to do with their degree. I believe a student needs to take ownership of the educational direction they want to take, so let the student decide if it is necessary to take a language as well. If they need it, they will take it.

I am disappointed that morality is thrown out for academic elitism. Of course other colleges and Universities have bigger names than Franciscan, but that doesn’t matter to me. It’s up to every student to take what they can from where they are. And I’ve had plenty of Ph.d’s answer my question with the response of “I don’t know the answer to that.” Does that diminish their credibility? I don’t think so, so why does it diminish the credibility of Franciscan? I am saddened that because I didn’t go to a big name college my degree doesn’t mean as much as someone’s who did.

When I did get to graduate school I was far ahead in the realm of literary theory and criticism, and a perhaps a little behind in some other areas. But do you know what I did? I read the texts to catch up, which is what you do if you need to obtain knowledge for a class. It’s not a professor’s job to hand feed information to you, it’s their job to direct you to how you get that knowledge or answer your question.

My parents and myself sacrificed a great deal for me to go to Franciscan. And I know all of those sacrifices were not in vain since I now have the tools to evaluate literature and modern life from a moralistic approach and other ways which money or fame can’t put a price on. And I believe that is the value of a Franciscan education.

:clapping: Beautifully put. I agree wholeheartedly. A language under the theology degree program is irrelevant. Some people don’t study the old latin texts, some do, and hey, if you really need to, you go and get a learning latin book for $5 at the used book store…big deal…

Yes, I suppose you could teach yourself Latin, and it doesn’t matter if the program you are in requires you to know it or not.

I’m the one who mentioned that not having a language requirement might be a mark against Franciscan. What I mean is that in the wider academic world it might be something that indicates a less rigorous program.

Again, I’m not knocking Franciscan if it offers what someone is looking for. But, then again, someone might want a MA Theology program that gives them stronger academic credentials, or is more rigorous, etc. etc. I’m not sure that Franciscan is the top of the heap when it comes to doing theology (I mean as an academic discipline – not just learning the basics of the faith).

Here’s an interesting article in First Things (3 years old, though) which gives one professor’s ranking of top graduate theology schools.

I’m just saying that the criteria used to evaluate schools in the Guide might not be the criteria one would necessarily use if one was a) strong in their faith and b) wanted to go to the top schools in one’s field. I don’t think we should shy away form ranking schools in order of excellence. Ranking, after all, is a very Catholic thing to do.

For instance, I think if you had the grades and the money, and you wanted to get into a excellent theology program you would look into Notre Dame. I don’t think they are on the Guide’s list, are they?

Just my 2cents.

I understand, but I figure that most people would go to a true to the faith catholic college with lines for confession daily and crowded masses…lively in the spiritual matters, rather than a catholic in name only college. I believe this especially if you are going to be paying that much, most are interestedmore about your son/daughter’s soul than their Ph.D.

No, Notre Dame is catholic in name only right now. God help them. I hope Bishop Rhodes straightens them out. They went by the wayside a couple decades back.

Cardinal Newman Society only names colleges that are 100% catholic and are certainly not ashamed to say it. Notre Dame stated its stance several times, most notedly in the scandal of awarding our pro abortion president an honorary degree.

Any feedback or thoughts on Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT? I attend college here right now as an undergraduate student.

Right. But I mentioned above if one is strong in their faith. . . i.e. if one doesn’t need to go to college to preserve one’s faith. After all, you said yourself you can teach yourself Latin if you need it. Surely you can go to daily mass and weekly confession if you want as well. . . you know what I mean.

If attending a certain school puts one’s faith at risk (and that is a personal prudential decision) then one shouldn’t attend. But that goes for Franciscan as well. But, if one’s faith is intact, why not seek out the best you can get into if that’s what you are after. I’m looking at this from a Medieval perspective. Some monasteries produced exceptional wine, and some of less quality. It would be nice if the most holy monks produced the best wine. . . but, that isn’t always the case. So – if you are looking for a place to pray vespers you go to one monastery. But, if you are looking for a good bottle of wine you go to another.

As far as Notre Dame goes, I’m just looking at the Theology program. I think it must be one of the top schools. The Chair of the department, Dr. Cavadini was recently named by Pope Benedict XVI as member of the Order of the Knights of St. Gregory the Great and was appointed as one of the 30 theologians on the International Theological Commission, which advises the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. And there are lots of Masses and confessions on campus.

It just depends what you are looking for. It could be better for one’s child to be sent to, say, Boston College rather than Franciscan as far as one’s career prospects (other things being equal, namely one’s faith).

Now that’s 4 cents worth!

Woohoo! I got 4 cents! :twocents::twocents:I totally understand your standing point on that one. :cool:

Regarding Notre Dame, there are tons of daily masses across campus. Each dorm has a nightly mass, and there are 20+ dorms, and the basilica has multiple daily masses. I can’t remember what all of the confession options are, but I’m pretty sure that at least the basilica has daily confession.

There are also 40+ hours of Adoration offered each week.

Languages are completely NOT irrelevant to graduate Theological studies. Anyone wanting a PhD has to pass proficiencies in at least one foreign language (e.g. German or French) – not just for “old texts” but to read and study the writings of theologians who wrote or write in those languages.

Biblical Studies requires many languages, of course: Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and often other ancient languages.

If someone wants a Master’s degree in Theology (e.g. M.Div. or M.A., which are usually not designed to prepare people for doctoral degrees) without the intent to pursue further studies or teach at the college level, then certainly language is less important.

Confessions are in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, three times daily, 11am, 4:45pm and 7pm.

These sites might help people to realize that there’s more to Notre Dame than the Obama Drama :slight_smile:

I’m sorry about the confusion, but let me clarify my points a little more. I didn’t teach myself Latin, I took advantage of the courses offered because I knew it would be the best fit for my future goals.

I have never knocked Notre Dame about the amount of masses, confessions, ect. . .in any of my previous posts. If someone chooses to go to Notre Dame, that is 100% fine! I just don’t like to see Franciscan being put down as not academically rigorous because their M.A. program does not require a foreign language. I definitely think the language proficiencies are VERY important if you would like to go one. I realize that. But if you look at many doctoral programs you need the language proficiencies done by the time you receive your Ph.D, they do not necessarily have to be completed by the time you finish your M.A. In fact I have to take another German class to make sure my modern language proficiency is met, but does that make my M.A program any less rigorous? I do not believe so. If someone’s sole criteria for judging academic rigorousness is the language requirement, I think you should reach beyond just one way of evaluating a college as “good” or not.

No, Franciscan is not Harvard, MIT, or any other big name school. I think their intent in the college is to graduate some of the truest Catholics in the United States. And those people can be mothers, teachers, lawyers, scientists, and Ph.D’s. I think this guide is looking at something a little different than academic rigorousness. The student NEEDS to take ownership in whether they believe a college or program will offer them the best chance for future success.

What does it mean to be academic rigious anyway? Does it mean to have requirement after requirement, or does it mean to have requirements, and make those requirements count? If someone is looking for graduate schools they should look around, tour them, and talk to the professors there. Graduate school should be picked out of many criteria not just one, and as I have stated before Francsican offers all of the languages one would need to go on, and it is up to the STUDENT to take them based on what they would like to do with their degree.

Just because one chooses Notre Dame over Franciscan does not ensure that they will have automatic success in their future. Once again ownership needs to be taken in , education. My husband went to one of the top undergraduate programs in the country for engineering, and there were many students who thought the name on their diploma would get them the job, so they just skated by. And that didn’t work so well for many of them. I am not convinced that the name on your diploma matters so much, as what you do with it or how you apply yourself when you are there.

Hi Susanna,

Thanks for clarifying your thoughts. I’ll note, as I was the one who picked up on the “no language required” point of JKSoren, that I mentioned that not having a language requirement could be seen as an indicator that Franciscan’s MA program is less rigorous. I think that is still a valid observation. It doesn’t mean that it is less rigorous, or that (as you point out) a disciplined and motivated student at a less rigorous school can’t excel in learning over a less-disciplined less-motivated student at a rigorous school, OR that the rigor of an academic program is the most important factor in choosing a school.

Also, we shouldn’t forget that undergrad and grad programs operate on different planes


My alma mater is on the list, Benedictine in Atchison KS.; it was a wonderful place for me. My youngest son graduated from Notre Dame, it was a wonderful place for him.

A difference is that Benedictine has openly declared that they will follow the teaching of the Catholic Church and the Magisterium in providing education. Notre Dame has openly declared that they will not be subject to the Catholic Church and the Magisterium in providing education religious or otherwise.

Many fine schools do not follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, but then they do not proclaim themselves as Catholic schools. In 1967 Notre Dame felt that being subject to the Catholic Church would limit their academic freedom so they opted out, however, they have not publicly admitted to their departure. Still they maintain a wonderful campus ministry and turn out very many good catholic graduates.

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