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.”