Study: Catholic higher education doesn’t build support for Catholic teachings

In a new study that has conservative Catholic groups very alarmed, Georgetown researchers are reporting that Catholic students who attend Catholic Universities are not much more likely to support Catholic teaching than their counterparts at non-Catholic colleges and universities.

The Bulletin—”Philadelphia’s Family Newspaper”—writes:

“The [Georgetown University Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate] study largely confirms a 2003 study released by The Cardinal Newman Society, 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 7 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.”

CARA researchers also found that attending Catholic college has no statistically significant effect on students’ support for abortion, the death penalty and same-sex marriage. “Students report some improvement in attending religious services (not necessarily Catholic), reading about religion and spirituality (not necessarily Catholic) and deeming it ‘important to improve the human condition’—a concern that is presumably shared outside the Catholic faith,” The Bulletin writes.

“Catholics should be alarmed by the significant declines in Catholic practice and fidelity at many of America’s Catholic institutions,” Patrick Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society shown above with the Pope, said when the finding were presented at the annual conference of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

“Everyone expects a Catholic college to be markedly different from a secular one. Students should be inspired to embrace and deepen their Catholic faith, not negotiate around Catholic moral teaching.”

5 Comments on “Study: Catholic higher education doesn’t build support for Catholic teachings

  1. Does the article talk about the Catholic perspective on social justice and equity? Service to others and respect for the environment?

  2. @typical-very good point. another example of how “moral teaching on abortion, marriage and sexuality” is all what characterizes Catholic teachings. The Church really needs to show through words as well as deeds that the message of the Gospel is so much more than that.

  3. Catholics should be more alarmed that they are failing to support their own social teachings. why is the CNS reducing Catholicism to abortion and gay marriage. how many times did Jesus condemn either? Zero. Talk to me when you start being concerned about interest rates, international and domestic economic exploitation, or immigration policy. thats the jesus I know, and love, and am loved by.

    For the CNS aka the clanging cymbal community – 1 Corinthians 13

    1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.
    4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

  4. everyone in the Cardinal Newman Society really just ought to be excommunicated for their shameless work to turn the Catholic Church into a branch of the Republican Party…

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