What is everyone's thoughts on the Catholic Theological Union?


#1

I plan on going to grad school for theology and CTU is one school I'm considering. I had an older Catholic woman tell me that my faith is a gift and that when I go to grad school I must protect this gift (presumably by attending orthodox schools to avoid heterodox teaching). The problem is that I'm not sure how orthodox CTU is.

I know several people who go there and they seem fine (one is a deacon and is especially orthodox in his views). I had a seminarian friend of mine tell me they're not the most orthodox school around (although another seminarian I know studies there and he seems fine also).

What does anyone happen to know about the school and the orthodoxy of it's programs?


#2

CTU is not very orthodox at all. It could work for you if you maintain an orthodox religious life. You can learn what you need and discard what is not in keeping with the magisterium. You may not find an orthodox group in the Chicago area in fact, depending on what you want to study.

We had a priest come to our parish from CTU during our Lenten mission. He denounced eucharistic adoration. No kidding. The theme of the entire mission, which was for three consecutive nights, was social justice.

Anytime you see undue emphasis on social justice you can be sure you are in the wrong place. This is a tell-tale sign of recent corruption that has undermined our Church. It is good stewardship to remove support of any group that falls into this category.

Good luck!


#3

As a graduate of CTU, I can attest that it is a very orthodox school of theology. It has been investigated by the Vatican, once while I was a student there, and not found wanting at all. The Vatican suggested that CTU include more classes on Mariology, which it proceeded to do, but that was the limit of the Vatican's critique. Now, are many different views expressed and examined at CTU? You bet! After all, CTU is a graduate school of theology and it is expected that those who attend classes there are well grounded in their faith and have studied philosophy and theology in their undergraduate years. The student body represents the whole gamut of the Catholic Church and includes students that many would not recognize as "orthodox," but the school itself most certainly is. It offers a challenging environment for learning about the Catholic faith and students are expected to express and defend their views, especially those who seek to serve the Church as priests and missionaries. CTU does not offer an environment where the faith is spoon fed to you. If you are firmly grounded in your faith, CTU will not endanger it. If you are not grounded in your faith, then CTU may raise more questions for you than it answers. Nevertheless, it is an orthodox school of theology, recognized by the Vatican and Cardinal George as such, and is a stimulating place to study.


#4

Why do you think the Vatican conducted an investigation? It was because there were serious issues at the CTU.

Why was it lacking in representation of Mary? I can attest the current pastor at my church had the statues of Mary removed during a recent "renovation." This pastor is friendly to the CTU.

It may be orthodox in from your point of view. However, the truth is apparent.

Look, orthodox means simply total alignment with and support of the Magisterium of our church. If there is even a small deviation, then it needs to be revealed so others are not led astray.


#5

[quote="rskempf, post:4, topic:195866"]
Why do you think the Vatican conducted an investigation? It was because there were serious issues at the CTU.

Why was it lacking in representation of Mary? I can attest the current pastor at my church had the statues of Mary removed during a recent "renovation." This pastor is friendly to the CTU.

It may be orthodox in from your point of view. However, the truth is apparent.

Look, orthodox means simply total alignment with and support of the Magisterium of our church. If there is even a small deviation, then it needs to be revealed so others are not led astray.

[/quote]

CTU was investigated by the Vatican in the early 80's because all American seminaries were investigated at that time, not just CTU. It was not an investigation based upon rumors of theological problems, but a matter of assuring that all seminaries in the U.S. were offering similar courses of instruction to their students. CTU did have courses on Marian theology at that time, but they were elective courses. The Vatican suggested, but did not mandate, that CTU make these courses required for M.Div. candidates. CTU complied with this suggestion. I do not know your pastor or his reasons for being friendly toward CTU, but it is a bit of a stretch to suggest his removal of statues of Mary in your church is CTU's fault. By this reasoning we should close down all seminaries because the priests responsible for the present sexual scandals in the Church graduated from them. Does this really make sense to you? I agree that orthodoxy is important in our seminaries and we should be vigilant in assuring that orthodox faith is taught to our seminarians and those who would serve the Church throughout the world, but as I stated in a previous post, CTU is orthodox, recognized as such, not only by me, but by the Vatican, the numerous religious orders which send their seminarians to CTU and the Cardinal of Chicago.


#6

#7

I went to CTU from 2001-2002 and took a class in Mariology. If you bothered to look at the curriculum it would hit you right between the eyes.

Rome investigated ALL schools of theology in the US - not simply CTU. And CTU was duly accredited and recognized.

How dare you defame an institution you know obviously nothing about.


#8

Okay, so many supporters seem to be living in other areas of the country/world. The one who said that CTU is not completely orthodox lives in the midwest (as I can recall, the Chicagoland area). Many of us Chicagoland area Catholics are aware of CTU and who does and who does not attend their various formation and ministry programs. My pastor attended there, but he also was ordained in the Rockford Diocese. He is the only orthodox individual I have known to come out of CTU. In my various interactions with CTU students and graduates, I would say a majority do not agree with at least one basic tenant of the faith which we are required to believe. Whether that is the result of the diocese in which they are a part, the parish in which they are a part, the neighborhood in which they have grown up in, or the family in which they were raised, I don’t know. But you must be very cautious of who you associate with and how you approach your professors if you do choose CTU. There are solid parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago and many that are not. If you attend a solid parish, you may be just fine. All I can say is proceed with extreme caution.


#9

Speaking for myself, the reason I no longer live in the Chicago area is because I was sent out from CTU as a missionary. Most of the students at CTU belong to religious communities involved in various ministries in the Church throughout the world. Many graduates of CTU continue to live in Chicago and the midwest, while others live and work elsewhere. I do not know how many graduates from CTU you have met, but in my experience most of the graduates I know are very orthodox and faithful to the Church. Your advice about being cautious about your professors holds true whether you attend CTU or any other school of theology or indeed, any other graduate school in any subject you choose to study.


#10

Since I graduated from CTU I’m wondering if you can give examples of the basic tenets of faith which you find these CTU students not agreeing with?

I’m also wonder if what you actually mean is that people have doubts about certain points? If so doubt is part of being human ergo the apostles and their doubts.

Doubting isn’t necessarily bad…it may simply mean someone is searching.
Last time I checked we aren’t a “goose-step” belief system that assumes people will believe instantly. If that were the case Christianity would never have gotten off the ground.
It’s the way people try to make sense of questions and issues in their lives…Each of us comes to terms with these questions in our own way…

Thanks,
tpw


#11

Perhaps the reason the priest offered a three day mission with social justice as the theme is because the parish needed it. Some parishes have no exposure to the social teachings of the church and are badly in need a jolt.

It’s easy to focus on abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia. Much harder to grapple with the problems that the social teachings attempt to address.

A good parish has a balance between good liturgy, sacramental life, devotional life/spirituality, evangelization, moral-social teaching and service related groups and projects. When such a balance doesn’t exist there’ bound to be problems.

From the two years I spent at CTU courses were offered to train students in all areas. I’m very grateful for what I received.


#12

Our parish does not need a mission on social justice. Let me spell it out for you. In my parish, our DRE commonly led 30 or more catechists in a pagan chant declaring allegiance to the hindu god of shiva.

Our pastor routinely declares Gospel miracles, as ordinary events. Not miracles at all. Even the parting of the red sea was declared a “weather related event.” The feeding of the multitudes said to be people learning to share what they already had. I could go on but you get the idea. I sit in the audience during mass and pick up every detail that is related in the homily that is unfaithful.

If this is not clear, consider this. In 2008, during an Easter season homily maybe one week after Easter Sunday, our pastor was particularly energized and declared a rebellion with our Pope. Naming Pope Benedict XVI explicitly, the pastor stated he was trying to roll back advances made since Vatican II. Our pastor declared “the spirit of vatican II” as his authority for breaking away from and denouncing our pope.

So you see, I have good reason to be skeptical of Chicago area seminaries and organizations. This is where the pastor was trained. I have seen this behavior in other parishes nearby - not all mind you.

After six years of effort, I have finally been able to stop the practice of pouring the Sacred Blood of Christ down the drain after mass. See Redemptionis Sacramentum paragraph 107 for a reference.

You can defend the CTU if you wish. I am patiently waiting to see some “good fruit.”


#13

[quote="rskempf, post:12, topic:195866"]
Our parish does not need a mission on social justice. Let me spell it out for you. In my parish, our DRE commonly led 30 or more catechists in a pagan chant declaring allegiance to the hindu god of shiva.

Our pastor routinely declares Gospel miracles, as ordinary events. Not miracles at all. Even the parting of the red sea was declared a "weather related event." The feeding of the multitudes said to be people learning to share what they already had. I could go on but you get the idea. I sit in the audience during mass and pick up every detail that is related in the homily that is unfaithful.

If this is not clear, consider this. In 2008, during an Easter season homily maybe one week after Easter Sunday, our pastor was particularly energized and declared a rebellion with our Pope. Naming Pope Benedict XVI explicitly, the pastor stated he was trying to roll back advances made since Vatican II. Our pastor declared "the spirit of vatican II" as his authority for breaking away from and denouncing our pope.

So you see, I have good reason to be skeptical of Chicago area seminaries and organizations. This is where the pastor was trained. I have seen this behavior in other parishes nearby - not all mind you.

After six years of effort, I have finally been able to stop the practice of pouring the Sacred Blood of Christ down the drain after mass. See Redemptionis Sacramentum paragraph 107 for a reference.

You can defend the CTU if you wish. I am patiently waiting to see some "good fruit."

[/quote]

To be totally honest I'm really not buying much of this anymore, as it's starting to look more like a rant than anything else.


#14

It may appear to be a rant. It is in fact an attempt to offer evidence of liturgical abuse, schism and heresy. It is present in my parish and I an one of a growing few that is calling it out, shining the light, and making a difference.

It was considered uncharitable at one time to identify error and demand correction. I believe it is now time to stop equivocating. My parish has connections to CTU. I have looked into the history of the CTU and how it’s formation ocurred just after Vatican II. It is a combination of three groups that came together at that time.

Give it a try. Look into the history and see how CTU started, note the timing, and ask yourself the obvious questions. Why was this group formed at this time? What were they trying to accomplish?


#15

[quote="rskempf, post:14, topic:195866"]
It may appear to be a rant. It is in fact an attempt to offer evidence of liturgical abuse, schism and heresy. It is present in my parish and I an one of a growing few that is calling it out, shining the light, and making a difference.

It was considered uncharitable at one time to identify error and demand correction. I believe it is now time to stop equivocating. My parish has connections to CTU. I have looked into the history of the CTU and how it's formation ocurred just after Vatican II. It is a combination of three groups that came together at that time.

Give it a try. Look into the history and see how CTU started, note the timing, and ask yourself the obvious questions. Why was this group formed at this time? What were they trying to accomplish?

[/quote]

Right, I understand, but I would still need concrete evidence of this. This is a serious decision for me and I'd prefer to operate on facts rather than allegations over the internet. Maybe that sounds harsh but it's true.


#16

ctureview.us/

Here is a website created by a student who dropped out of CTU because of its unorthodox teaching. He provides a lot of excellent detail about CTU. He was an A student close to graduating. BTW, I found this website throught these forums.


#17

Re: the Shiva chant - can't say much about what the DRE did or why he/she . I can assure you no one at CTU taught him or her that....

And even if what you say is true - you don't give me reason to believe your parish doesn't need social justice. Chanting to Shiva has nothing to do with social justice at all.

The miracles stories have come under scrutiny in the past thirty or forty years as advances in biblical studies have drawn from social and natural sciences. The Red Sea crossing could have been exactly that - a weather-related event. The key though is not that it happenned - but why did it happen when it happened - that's where the really miraculous dimension comes into play.

Can't speak re: your pastor - but it is true that Benedict is pursuing an even more conservative position than his predecessor. There's legitimate room for debate about changes he has supported or is proposing. It was probably not wise for your pastor to say such a thing in a homily - although I'm wondering what the context was...

Keep in mind that what an indivdual graduate from CTU does or doesn't do - isn't a reflection on CTU...A person - liberal or conservative - can always interpret things offered in a classroom setting contrary to what was taught.

Why not enroll in a class at CTU and find out for yourself?

tpw


#18

The whole idea of a Shiva chant in a Catholic institution seems rather absurd but who knows?

The miracles stories have come under scrutiny in the past thirty or forty years as advances in biblical studies have drawn from social and natural sciences. The Red Sea crossing could have been exactly that - a weather-related event. The key though is not that it happenned - but why did it happen when it happened - that’s where the really miraculous dimension comes into play.

Is this orthodox? I suspect it might not be to be honest.

Why not enroll in a class at CTU and find out for yourself?

I could take a couple for a semester or two and transfer if I find myself wanting to. How much would a full courseload cost for a semester, any idea?


#19

[quote="rskempf, post:14, topic:195866"]
It may appear to be a rant. It is in fact an attempt to offer evidence of liturgical abuse, schism and heresy. It is present in my parish and I an one of a growing few that is calling it out, shining the light, and making a difference.

It was considered uncharitable at one time to identify error and demand correction. I believe it is now time to stop equivocating. My parish has connections to CTU. I have looked into the history of the CTU and how it's formation ocurred just after Vatican II. It is a combination of three groups that came together at that time.

Give it a try. Look into the history and see how CTU started, note the timing, and ask yourself the obvious questions. Why was this group formed at this time? What were they trying to accomplish?

[/quote]

This is nonsense. You haven't identified anything except personal opinions and certainly haven't offered evidence of schism or heresy. If you have, then you should be presenting that evidence to the Archbishop of Chicago and all the superiors of the religious orders who send their seminarians to CTU instead of playing games on this forum. Your parish isn't the only parish with connections to CTU. As I've mentioned already, numerous parishes throughout the world, as well as numerous Catholic institutions, are served by graduates of CTU. If CTU was the hotbed of unorthodoxy you accuse it of, I would expect that those parishes and institutions would be storming the Vatican with complaints about those graduates. Such isn't the case. You are correct when you state that CTU was originally founded by three religous societies in the late 60's. I believe one of those groups was the Passionist Fathers and another group was a Franciscan community. They formed CTU in an effort to pool their resources in terms of instructors and money because the individual seminaries they had run for their own communities were no longer attracting the necessary number of seminarians to keep those institutions opened. They felt if they formed one seminary and sent their seminarians to a centralized location, it would be a wiser use of funds and other resources and would enable them to free more priests for active ministry in the parishes and missions. Sorry, but there is nothing sinister about this. In fact, it strikes me as plain common sense and as a desire to be accountable to those who donate money to those communities. You see shadows where none exist.


#20

[quote="LotusCarsLtd, post:18, topic:195866"]
The whole idea of a Shiva chant in a Catholic institution seems rather absurd but who knows?

Is this orthodox? I suspect it might not be to be honest.

I could take a couple for a semester or two and transfer if I find myself wanting to. How much would a full courseload cost for a semester, any idea?

[/quote]

I suppose a Shiva chant in a Catholic institution might be odd unless, of course, one was attempting to understand the mindset and cultural mileau of the people who worship in such a way. CTU sends missionaries to various parts of the world, including India. It would be remiss on the part of CTU's mission program if it did not attempt to help those sent to the missions to understand the faith and religious expressions of the majority populations of those countries. Seeking to understand those religious expressions and the meaning they have for those believers is not the same thing as replacing one's own religious expressions or accepting those expressions as one's own and believing the theology behind them.

One has to approach scripture in a variety of ways if one is to understand it, not only as a person of faith, but also as one seeking to understand the historical process through which the scriptures were written and handed down to us. It is perfectly orthodox to approach scripture scientifically, and doing so does not lesson the spiritual impact or truth behind those scriptures. This is not to say that all events in scripture are not historical (many, if not most in my belief, certainly are) or that the miraculous impact of certain events are not valid today. Of course they are, especially to those of us who believe scripture is the word of God. But God speaks to us through human history and human persons. To see a particular Biblical event as happening within the realm of science does not mean it is less than miraculous, unless you believe God does not cause miracles to happen through science, or that God is not responsible for the event. Why do we so often think that God's activity among his people must be inexplicable?

I don't know what a full course load at CTU is nowadays, but I'm sure you can find out on CTU's website.


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