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SANTA PAULA, Calif. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A divide is growing between Catholic universities faithful to the Church and others that are drifting from doctrine.
Two recent announcements illustrate the contrasts.
In February, Southern California school Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) revealed that Bp. Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, will serve as its 2018 Commencement speaker.
Bishop Morlino has made headlines for his commitment to Catholic doctrine. Since becoming bishop of Madison in 2003, he's worked to steer the liberal diocese back to orthodoxy.
Since 2016, Morlino has ordered all 134 churches in his diocese to return their tabernacles to the center of their sanctuaries; declared that all Masses he celebrates will be ad orientem (with the priest and the people facing Christ in the tabernacle); directed his priests to recommend that parishioners receive the Holy Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling; and barred Church funerals for anyone who dies unrepentant in a "public union gravely contrary to the natural law," specifically referring to same-sex unions.
In announcing Bp. Morlino's coming, TAC President Dr. Michael F. McLean applauded the prelate: "As a priest, an educator, a pastor and a bishop, as well as in his work in the field of bioethics, Bp. Morlino has been an unfailing champion of the Catholic Church's teachings, particularly those concerning the intrinsic dignity of the human person."
The University of Notre Dame offers a contrast to TAC.
In early April, "Our Lady's University" announced that at its May 20 commencement it will award Chicago Cdl. Blase Cupich an honorary doctorate in law.
One of the country's most left-leaning bishops, Cupich warns his priests against pro-life demonstrations, steers his flocks away from the Traditional Latin Mass, promotes the "seamless garment" argument that places issues like poverty and unemployment on equal moral footing as abortion, allows pro-abortion politicians to receive the Eucharist and supports active homosexuals being admitted to Holy Communion.
The news comes on the heels of the university's announcement it would cover contraception for faculty and students in its health plan. Notre Dame sparked scandal in 2009 when it awarded President Barack Obama an honorary degree in 2009.
Notre Dame's honoring of Cupich and Obama is part of a falling away from Catholic doctrine, endemic since the late 1960s; specifically, since the 1967 Land O' Lakes Statement by which U.S. Catholic universities declared themselves free of Church authority.
Becoming de facto Protestant in their rejection of magisterial authority and teaching, most schools suffered a devastating loss of Catholic identity and morality, such that, today, U.S. Catholic universities commonly support abortion, LGBT ideology, same-sex marriage and paganism.
Graduates from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, for example, claim the school wishes to gain the world and lose its soul. In Milwaukee, Marquette University promotes "gay Masses" and "Pride Proms." Chicago's DePaul University was exposed, offering students volunteer opportunities with Planned Parenthood.
In late 2017, Georgetown University announced it will open LGBTQ-only housing for the 2018–2019 academic year. Months earlier, Love Saxa, a pro-marriage student group faithful to Church teaching was forced to defend itself against "hate" charges by campus gay activists. Georgetown professors have included an associate director of Planned Parenthood, supporters of assisted-suicide and a Catholic priest in a same-sex "marriage."
Catholic education in the United States has deteriorated to such a degree that the Cdl. Newman Society recommends just 17 Catholic colleges — out of more than 220 across the nation — as suitably faithful to Church doctrine.
At a 2008 address at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Pope Benedict XVI warned the West was plagued by a growing "educational emergency."
In his address to American educators, the pontiff argued Catholic education must unite faith and reason, teaching divinely-revealed truths, as well as observed and reasoned truths. Catholic universities must develop both the intellect and the soul, Benedict said.
A particular responsibility, therefore, for each of you and your colleagues, is to evoke among the young the desire for the act of faith, encouraging them to commit themselves to the ecclesial life that follows from this belief. It is here that freedom reaches the certainty of truth. In choosing to live by that truth, we embrace the fullness of the life of faith which is given to us in the Church.
A decade later, less than 10 percent of U.S. Catholic universities are fulfilling this duty.
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