Blog Post

Catholic Colleges Receive Failing Grade

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist   A new study has found that attending a Catholic college has little impact on a student’s faith life. According to Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, researchers at Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) found significant declines in students’ support for Catholic moral teaching on abortion, marriage and sexuality after four years at a Catholic college or university. These declines were generally greater at non-Catholic private and public institutions. The report found that 16 percent of students at Catholic colleges and universities became more pro-life and more convinced of traditional marriage, whereas 31 percent became more supportive of legal abortion and 39 percent embraced same-sex “marriage.” Only seven percent increased attendance at religious services, while 32 percent reduced attendance. Eight percent of Catholic students left the Catholic faith while attending a Catholic institution. Commenting on the study to, Richard Yanikoski, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU)  argued that the loss of faith at Catholic colleges and elsewhere reflects societal trends. Despite CARA’s analysis showing that the choice of a Catholic college has little significant impact on a student’s faith practice and beliefs, Yanikoski pointed to the raw data indicating that “a typical Catholic undergraduate student attending a Catholic college or university emerges more spiritually intact than if she or he had attended a public or secular private institution, but not nearly as spiritually active as would have been the case a few decades ago.” “That’s hardly something to celebrate,” Reilly said. “If the ACCU thinks it a happy fact that Catholics lose their faith somewhat slower at Catholic colleges than elsewhere, then they fail to appreciate the concerns of faithful Catholic families.” Catholics should be alarmed by the significant declines in Catholic practice and fidelity at many of America’s Catholic institutions, he said. “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.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®