Res et Explicatio for AD 8-24-2009

Monday, August 24, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in Catholicism:

1. The Reform of the Reform project continues as the Congregation for Divine Worship recommended the following:

  • Voted almost unanimously in favor of a greater sacrality of the [Latin] rite.
  • The recovery of the sense of Eucharistic worship.
  • The recovery of the Latin language in the celebration.
  • The remaking of the introductory parts of the Missal in order to put a stop to abuses, wild experimentation’s, and inappropriate creativity.

In addition they declared the reaffirmation of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.

Pope Benedict XVI continues in correcting the abuses and misinterpretations of Vatican II with these rectifications and tweaks.

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Res et Explicatio for AD 8-24-2009

  • Quote: “According to an interview featuring E. Michael Jones, who knew several prelates close to Medjugorje explained the contrasts on how both popes approached the issue. It seems that JP2 wanted to believe in the Marian apparitions but was hesitant due to the evidence to the contrary while Papa Bene isn’t hesitating to begin to make a ruling against the validity of these questionable apparitions.”

    Unfortunately, Mr. Jones takes wide liberty in making statements that cannot be supported. The entire piece written by Jones is a sham and an embarrassment to him and others who promote his books and articles. Jones lacks any direct quotes and is thus left to fabricate the truth based on his skewed view of Medjugorje. Cardinal Ratzinger was involved from the beginning in removing judgement of Medjguorje from the local Bishop to the Yugoslavia Conference of Bishops and more recently to the Vatican. A more full rebuttal to Jones can be found here:

  • Timothy,

    We all struggle do discern God’s will, for some it’s easier than others.

    But when the Virgin Mary tells her Medjugorje seers to join the priesthood and convent and you refuse, that is enough for me to believe that the Marian apparitions are a sham and nothing more than the devil playing these poor kids (no adults) for all their worth.

  • Please Taco; there’s more than just that which would lead one to doubt the sham that is Medjugorje.

    Our Lady of Fatima it certainly is not.

  • Pingback: Res et Explicatio for AD 8-25-2009 « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Adios Heretics, Hello Orthodoxy! « The American Catholic

Colleges for Catholics (and Catholic Colleges)

Monday, April 27, AD 2009

Graduations are just around the corner, and I would assume that most high school seniors heading on to college next year have already picked their schools and are now navigating the treacherous waters of financial aid forms. However, ’tis the season, and with Catholic colleges somewhat in the news at the moment (and the realization that despite my thinking of myself as recently down from college I am in fact eight years out — with my eldest daughter likely heading off to college herself in eleven years) I thought it might be an appropriate time to assess the practicalities of Catholic higher education — or more properly, of higher education for Catholics.

In our social circle, I know a number of parents who proclaim that no child of theirs shall ever go to any but one of 3-5 approved, orthodox Catholic colleges. (The contents of these lists vary slightly depending on the speaker, but Thomas Aquinas, Steubenville, Ave Maria, Christendom, University of Dallas and Benedictine are names one hears often.) I find myself less of one mind on the question, in part because my wife and I both actually went to Steubenville (class of ’01). My goal here is not to advocate one specific course as the only wise one for serious Catholics, but to lay out the advantages and disadvantages of all. I think there are basically two sets of concerns that parents have in these discussions, moral and academic. I shall begin with the moral.

Continue reading...

24 Responses to Colleges for Catholics (and Catholic Colleges)

  • A good post, but you might want to make it clear that the “orthodox” college list refers to Benedictine College in Atchison, Kans. and not Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.

    If a specifically “orthodox” Catholic college or university is out of the question due to cost, lack of appropriate course offerings or other factors, the next best alternative might be to choose a secular school with a top-notch Newman Center like that of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Don can vouch for this.) I believe a secular school with a really good Newman Center is preferable to a “Catholic in name only” school when it comes to faith formation and support.

    If keeping your child away from temptation is a concern, you might try sending them to a local junior college for a year or two (keeping them at home) and then allowing them to transfer to the state university for the last two years. If they enroll as juniors, they will usually not be obligated to live on campus, and may be able to live in an off-campus apartment with like-minded roommates (which, perhaps, the Newman Center might be able to help them find).

  • I second the U of I at Urbana-Champaign! Its where my husband converted from atheist to Catholic. He was always impressed by the “island of Faith” in the middle of the college culture which he never considered until grad school.

  • Elaine and Karen are right! A bright spot in my seven year sojourn at the U Of I was the Newman Center. From the packed Saurday midnight masses to the activities for undergrads and grads, the Newman Center was a beacon for Catholic students in Chambana! One of my sons is planning on attending there, and I think he has made an excellent choice!

  • And so, for instance, we had a class on the French Revolution by one professor which was so shoddy in its scholarship that I’d been specifically warned not to take it by my advisor, and yet it was defended by many who claimed for it the virtue of being a specifically Catholic take on the topic.

    My wife and I also took that class, although without forewarning. Certain quotes from the professor are still running jokes in our house, and it was one of the worst classes I’ve ever taken. Attending a ‘secular’ grad school now with graduates from a wide range of schools, I am leaning more towards “you are only allowed to attend these schools!” parental authoritarianism, although I think it depends on the child. I certainly have concerns about academic excellence, and Steubenville was very hit and miss. But I think there is value in living in a distinctively Catholic community for a period of several years, and conversations with siblings, classmates, and co-workers suggest the undergrad campus experience at many colleges is hostile intellectually and socially to practicing Catholicism. I don’t think most seventeen and eighteen year-olds are well-equipped to deal well with those types of tensions, although some are.

    Catholic communities also have their downsides; Steubenville could be fairly insular. In the end, though, I think I left a better person and a better Catholic than I would have at another college. That, more than any other reason, is why I would at least recommend my child attend a Catholic college.

  • And if they want to major in something outside the liberal arts?

    Or if they want to spend (or borrow) an amount of money that is rational and commensurate with their likely earning power, given their choice of major, and their future ability to pay back borrowed funds? (I read this past week that only about 30% of college bound young adults and/or their parents consider future earning power when weighing how much to pay for college, something that blows me away in its irresponsibility)

    There’s a real moral cost to incurring a huge debt at a young age. There’s a real moral cost to expecting your PARENTS to pay an enormous amount of money for college.

  • I’d suggest Belmont Abbey College in NC (which also has many scholarship and financial aid options.) But an orthodox Catholic college is no guarantor that the individual student won’t find plenty of occasions of sin or will still be a practicing Catholic by graduation. I went to public college and U myself and can vouch for the success of good campus ministry programs.

    For a student who is a bit immature or unreliable, I’d recommend any public college or university within easy commuting distance while living at home, at least for the first two years.

  • For some reason, I’m just not sold on the “orthodox” Catholic colleges. I think Brendan does a good job of laying out some of the things I’m concerned about.

    I’ve got no problem encouraging my kids to go somewhere like the University of Virginia, where I know they will have access to the Dominicans at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. I’ve also heard that Texas A&M has a very solid Newman Center.

  • At one college I looked at, the majority of the history courses (History was my original intended major, though I eventually switched to Classics at Steubenville) were cross-listed offerings from the Womens’ Studies, Afrocentric or GLTB studies departments.

    I know your type, you didn’t go to that school because you’re a sexist racist heterosexist! Shame on you!

  • Excellent post. All good things to consider when Bubba and his sisters are of age for college. Bearing raises a good point on cost vs. potential earning power. Another thought that comes to mind is whether or not the pursued degree is vocational training or not.

    My wife and I are a mixed bag. She attended Steubenville with both Mr. & Mrs. Darwin. I would say she benefited both from a vocational standpoint as well as from the Catholic culture. In fact, she thrived there. I, on the other hand, probably wouldn’t have thrived. I, too, would have been rather irritated by some of the nanny-state aspects of the school. Secondly, I don’t know if any of these orthodox Catholic colleges and universities would have had course studies that fit my interests and career goals (electrical engineer). Many, if not all, of these schools are liberal arts colleges where engineering is an after thought, if it even exists.

    Lastly, I will personally vouch for Texas A&M’s Newman Center. Bishop Aymond (as well as his predecessor Bishop McCarthy) make it a point to assign some of the best priests to this parish. Mass on weekends is packed. Daily Mass had close to 200 attendees (10 years ago), not sure about it now. It’s a vibrant ministry that takes advantage of the rather conservative climate at Texas A&M as well as the university’s roots and emphasis on tradition.

    There are many state-run colleges and universities out there with excellent Newman programs. Visit them during your college visits. Talk to the pastoral team. Feel them out to see if the Catholic faith is authentically taught to the students.

    Big Tex
    Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’99 Whoop!

  • I may send my kids to leave with their grandparents in Virginia or their grandparents in Texas for a year after they graduate from high school so they can get in-state tuition at UVa or Texas A&M.

    I see very little downside to their attending UVa. But there are definite trade-offs to their attending A&M. On the one hand, the solid Newman Center at the school is an attractive attribute. But, on the other hand, THEY’LL BE AGGIES! Yuck!


    Baylor University ’90
    University of Virginia School of Law ’93

  • Obviously, “leave” should be “live”. Even people with real degrees from real schools make mistakes, I suppose (it’s not just Aggies).

  • It’s my understanding that A&M has the record for vocations of any college in the US. All of the A&M grads I know are good Catholics.

    Having said that, it’s a local school, Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula or Christendom College at this point for little Abigail.

  • Jay

    As an Aggie class of 02 and of 09, I can assure you that your children will have a great time and be able to plug into a good Catholic community!!

    Have them email or you email me at any time – I am very familiar with many aspects.

  • Jonathan,

    Thanks, but we still have several years before my kids will be taking that next step. My oldest just turned 7, so we’re a good decade away.

    And for all my good-natured poking of the Ags, my grandfather, my uncle, my aunt, and my cousin all attended A&M. So I do have a little Aggie blood in me. The rest of the family (immediate as well as extended), however, are all pretty much Baylor grads.

  • Fulton Sheen told parents: “Send your children to a secular university, where they will have to defend their faith. Do not send them to a Catholic college, where they will lose it”.

  • Baylor… no comment. 😉

  • Gabriel Austin: I went to Marquette and while it is true I lost my faith there, I wasn’t trying very hard to keep it. My theology classes weren’t terribly inspiring and basketball seemed to be the school’s true faith. But then, I wasn’t seeking out the believing Catholics were were undoubtably present.

    I have a doctor friend who graduated from MU the year after me. He was serious about his faith and his experience of MU was much different than mine was. In college, I would have thought him a “dork” and passed him up for the hip “bad boys” drinking beer and shooting pool in the campus pubs.

    There’s a reason I never married – I had very poor judgement as a young woman and made many bad choices. (And considering the men I dated, I am thankful that I never tied the knot, because my life would have been miserable.) I can’t really blame the environment, because other people in the same environment had better experiences and more sense. Ah, live and learn,….,

  • I attended a big state university (the one that makes it now impossible to countenance sending the Offspringen to A&M), with a campus parish that, at the time, was pretty far from orthodox and had a pastor who was very far off the reservation, and was actually the first person ever in my life to offer me marijuana. So it does sound like every Catholic parent’s nightmare, true.

    But … I was young, newly converted to Catholicism, and quite naive. I didn’t know about the highly questionable activities of our priest until I was nearly ready to graduate, and in fact he helped me greatly with my biggest spiritual problem of anger (anger was a problem with him too, and he was very familiar with the temptations and self-justifications). In the department I was majoring in, several of the most respected professors were committed Catholics, one of whom gave me very direct and solid advice on maintaining intellectual integrity in the context of faith. While the memory of the things done during Masses make me cringe now, years later, at the time I was too new a Catholic to know better, and I made some good and very orthodox friends at the parish–one of whom I still see frequently at my current parish–who nudged me gently towards orthodoxy in doctrine and practice. In the end, I came out of college with my faith in as good a shape as, I think, a parent could reasonably want.

    This isn’t meant to be argument by anecdote, but to suggest that the kind of company a child gravitates toward will most likely determine what kind of faith she leaves college with, particularly at a big enough campus that she can choose her company easily. There are good and bad Catholics, studiers, and partiers on every campus.

  • Darwin, this is such and important conversation and I thank you for writing. It hits home for us as our two oldest are at Notre Dame and a third one prepares to enter senior year (read agonizing-about-colleges-year) at home. Helping them make a decision–and yet letting them make it–seems to be the thing to do. Easy to say, very difficult thing to do. It takes prayer.

  • I agree with Big Tex and can confirm Jay’s perception of Texas A&M. They are SOLID. I have even adopted the Texas A&M football team as my own (Arizona and Hawaii being the other two) to replace Notre Dame.

    I have visited the campus and yes Big Tex, they still have about 100-200 attend daily Mass. Matt McDonald is correct about the vocations, they are by far above the rest when it comes to answering God’s call.

    Marcel, of Aggie Catholics blog, is the director at the Newman Center and he has a full staff of 24, yes, 24 people on the payroll to work that wonderful apostolate.

    I even met Bishop Aymond and he is orthodox and deeply committed to Texas A&M’s mission towards their thriving Catholic community. In fact, Bishop Aymond is applying the very same template at very liberal University of Texas in Austin and is reaping excellent rewards.

    As far as for me, I nearly lost my faith at the University of Arizona. They’re a mix bag. They have an excellent social program, but as far as orthodoxy is concerned, the priests wear tie-dye shirts and they like to be called by their first name without the ‘father’ in front of their name.

  • Interesting post. Obviously I see the positive social aspect of a protective Catholic environment. I had not really considered the potential negatives of a “too Catholic” education.

    I have a few years to deliberate for my kids, but today, I am leaning towards a very good high school education (likely home schooling) followed by the first two years at community college while living at home. The last two years at a relatively close-to-home public university with a good Newman Center. And probably working part time to assist with tuition and rent and groceries (whether that be an apartment of their own, or still at home).

    Then, of course, on to seminary! 😉

    Seriously though, that “full contact climate of dorm life” is, in my opinion, dangerous and totally unnecessary. The idea that kids should be sent halfway across the country to be independent doesn’t jive with me. It’s fun, but it’s not real life. If college is training for adulthood, they should be studying hard, working, and learning lots of practical life skills from their parents, and receiving guidance and counsel when dating a potential spouse. Their solid high school education combined with discussion around the dinner table and with fellow Catholic students will help them to withstand the inevitable challenges to our faith and world view.

    That will allow me to help my sons make the transition into manhood, and save tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars in the process. If there was a perfect Catholic university within an hour of home and it cost about the same, I’d consider it. But, in my opinion, the “college experience” is overrated, and a good student can learn what he needs to know anywhere, if he’s been taught to do the research and think independently. Besides, most of us need graduate degrees or professional designations to really get ahead. At that level, the quality of the program matters a lot more. For undergad, a BS is a BS is a BS.

    By the way, I would also be fully supportive of trade school or military service after high school. As homeschoolers often say, we’re trying to get them into heaven, not Harvard.

  • I somewhat a agree with Fulton Sheen. I lived a fairly insular Catholic life until I went to college…in the Bible belt. It was an amazing learning experience to have to suddenly defend my faith.

    That being said, I think it really comes down to the child. If they go into any college a strong Catholic and with a strong sense of self, it will be very hard to shake them no matter what they are exposed to. If they are luke-warm in their faith or strongly dependent on the approval of others for their sense of self they will have more problems.

    I partied some at my secular college, but at the same time I was very sure about my personal moral limits and stuck to them. At the same time, my B.A. in religious studies gave me a better understanding of my Catholic faith than 12 years of Catholic school, and there were very few practicing much less orthodox Catholics around and the Newman Center consisted of only about 15 students.

  • My husband went to an Orthodox Catholic U. I went to a formerly protestant secular U. He had protective parents. I had relatively liberal ones. He’s a rule breaker, I’m a rule abider–but the bottom line is that we both got in trouble in college.

    Is it temperament? Is it environment? Is it education? Lack of support? Or just sin? No one is impervious to sin and it can happen anywhere, especially when there is a lot of idle time.

    More and more I’m thinking along the lines of State school, live at home, work to pay for it. Gain responsibility while you get your education. Who’s to say kids get to have this uninterrupted four years of complete self orientation? It’s not preparation for real life, and maybe it sets us up for an attitude of entitlement later in life.

  • The family is on vacation at the moment, so although I’ve enjoyed following the comments I havent’ been able to participate as much as I might have liked. However, one toss out thought:

    I think I’m probably more in favor of the “going away to college” experience than most posting here. But then, I’m thinking of it in the context in which I experienced it: I went through Steubenville on a pretty lean budget, paying via scholarships, work, and a bank account that my grandparents had left me for college expenses. If I’d lost my merit scholarships, I would have had to fill in with debt instead.

    So while I enjoyed (and to be honest had been very restive for) the chance to get some independence, it was a pretty sober independence — not the kind of “here’s some more cash from Mom and Dad, make sure you have a good time on spring break in Cancun” kind of existence that some of my coworkers seem to be financing.

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-10-2009

Tuesday, March 10, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. There seems to be a growing counter-movement in U.S. politics aligning itself against the Catholic Church.  We see it happening in Connecticut where state legislatures want to control Church property.  We also see it in the higher echelons of government where President Obama are using Catholic pawns such as Douglas Kmiec and Kathleen Sebelius.  It isn’t being orchestrated by anyone, but the common theme seems to be to neutralize the effectiveness of the Church.  Dave Hartline of the Catholic Report wrote an excellent column tieing all these loose ends together and explaining the consequences of this growing counter-movement.

For Dave Hartline’s columnn click on counter-movement above or here.

2. Speaking of Connecticut, Archbishop Charles Chaput has this to say concerning SB 1098 that would remove the bishops authority over each parish:

“legislative coercion directed against the Catholic community in one state has implications for Catholics in every other state. If bigots in one state succeed in coercive laws like SB 1098, bigots in other states will try the same.”

The bigots Archbishop Chaput is referring to are Senator Andrew McDonald and Representative Mike Lawlor, who are both homosexual activists that opposed the local Church’s efforts to defend marriage between a man and a woman.

For the article click on SB 1098 above or here.

Continue reading...

One Response to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-10-2009

  • What Hath Prop 8 Wrought. More annoying little bedbugs like these two will pop up all over the country. Nothing organized as an anti-Catholic conspiracy, but effect is just the same. Much of this stuff bubbling up since November 5. We hope and pray that the sheer ineptitude of these forces allow them to trip up themselves. As King David prayed about ex-advisor Ahithophel, who jumped to rebel side of angry son Absolom. King prayed O Lord turn their counsel against them. We should too.

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-5-2009

Thursday, March 5, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here we have today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. I discovered today that Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas was the only obstacle that would have prevented the nomination of Pro-Abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius  to be nominated for Secretary of Health and Human Services.  President Barack Obama did not want to nominate Governor Sebelius without the support of Senator Brownback.  President Obama made a personal phone call to Senator Brownback last week to ensure his support, which would have pre-empted any problems with Governor Sebelius nomination in the Senate.  So Senator Brownback had the opportunity to strike a blow for the Pro-Life movement, but instead succumbed to worldly praise of his president.  Senator Brownback you have advanced Satan’s agenda of the increase in the murder of innocent children, shame on you!

Here is the link:

2. Late last night His Excellency Most Reverend Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City was quoted by the archdiocesan blog, The Catholic Key Blog, that he is “concerned personally” for Pro-Abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.  He has also said that “she is a very bright and gifted leader“.  Archbishop Naumann has called her nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services “particularly troubling”.  He further goes on explaining the problems associated with her public stance by quoting the great film A Man for All Season, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul, but for Wales?”.

Here is the link:

Continue reading...

11 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-5-2009

  • 1. Brownback’s support of Sibelius- inexplicable. Inexcusable. Keep in mind. Always.

    2. Bravo Archbishop Naumann. Appears to be job requirement as Archbishop of KC- lay down smack on Sibelius. He does it well.

    3. So which bloody lab coat does Tiller the Killer wear at the confirmation party?>

  • Brownback is eyeing the KS governor’s mansion. With Sebellius in DC, his path is now clearer.

    What profiteth a man, indeed.

    Good news on all the other points.

  • Tito,

    Why don’t you use “et” for “and (&)”?

  • Mark,

    I was thinking of that, so I’ll be using “&” for now, then switch to “et” for next week.

    Good catch buddy.


  • Actually, my bad, I think, as the font you chose appears to give an “E” blended with a “t”.

  • Mark,

    I just learned something new today, thanks!

    I went on Wikipedia to confirm what you said and I’m impressed.


  • Still trying to wrap my head around Brownback … American Papist speculates here:

    So what’s going on here? Politics.

    Brownback and Sebelius are home-state rivals from Kansas: she the pro-abortion governor, he one of their two pro-life senators. Speculation has been going for months that in 2010 Sebellius and Brownback could well collide for an elected office: either Sebellius challenging Brownback for his senate seat or Brownback trying to become Kansas governor.

    Brownback, therefore, can be personally relieved that it appears Sebelius will be “kicked upstairs” by this HHS nomination (presuming that all goes well). It saves him two worries.

    But I think it was a wrong move.

  • But I think it was a wrong move.

    Morally wrong, cowardly.

  • Tito,

    My friend, please I know it is hard but cut Senator Brownback a bit of slack, he has done more for the pro-life movement than any other senator I can think of.

    Just because Brownback is a Catholic though, doesn’t mean he can’t be pragmatic. Even the great Thomas More knew that sometimes you have to play politcs and pick your battles.

    No matter what Obama is going to pick a rabid pro-choicer for this spot. Even if Brownback and the whole of the Republican party drew a line in the sand and made this into an epic battle Obama would just keep picking pro-choicers until he got what he wanted.

    As to people implying that Brownback just wants Sibelius out of the way so he can run for gov. She already is out of the way, she is in her final term by the laws of the state of KS. If she didn’t get this cabinet job though she planned to run (and probably win) Brownback’s old seat (as he has pledged to not run again for senate.)

    The fact that Brownback probably will end up as Gov. of KS in 2010 is a very good thing for the pro-life movement in that state but should not be misread as mere oportunism. Trust me, Sam Brownback would not sell his soul to be Gov. of KS.

    What he is doing is being smart and looking down the road, in 2010 do you want KS to have a pro-choice dem senator? The KS seat is one of the few the Republicans can probably hold based on current trajectories. Trust me you don’t want Obama to have a super-majority in the senate.

    Brownback has put it all on the line before for truth and justice, the fact that Catholics are turning on him so quick for this bothers me.

  • FD,

    My friend, please I know it is hard but cut Senator Brownback a bit of slack, he has done more for the pro-life movement than any other senator I can think of.

    he just undid it. We have to be non-partisan here and criticize soundly any politician who support the abortion lobby directly or by providing them cover like Brownback has done.

    Trust me, Sam Brownback would not sell his soul to be Gov. of KS.

    he already has. This IS mere political opportunism.

    Thomos More did not endorse evil, he did at times refuse to speak and condemn evil until the right time, that is NOT what Brownback is doing.

    Of course Obama will get his nominations through (at least the ones who aren’t scofflaws), what you’re missing is that when they get support from conservative Republicans it weakens our ability to oppose their evil policies, it also undermines the Church which is attacking this nomination, to have a Catholic endorse her.