I write to you today with great pastoral concern for the young people in Catholic education, and on behalf of my friends at The Cardinal Newman Society.
Did you know that nearly 1-in-8 Catholics will leave the Faith while attending a Catholic college?
On many of our Catholic campuses, there is a crisis thatimperils the souls of tens of thousands of the Church's sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, brothers and sisters, and nieces and nephews.
Today's Gospel reads: "If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them should go astray: doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the mountains, and go to seek that which is gone astray?... [I]t is not the will of your Father, who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
My friend, Scripture here reminds us of why we must be vigilant in protecting the faith of every son and daughter.
We also must fight for a return to the flock of those colleges that are, perhaps unwittingly, teaching false theology and condoning promiscuous student life.
Because while 1-in-8 Catholic students at Catholic colleges abandon the Faith, we have disturbing clues as to why it happens. A recent Cardinal Newman Society survey found that:
27% of students at Catholic colleges view pornography.
59% say their friends regularly use drugs.
Nearly 1-in-5 know a student who had or paid for an abortion.
61% disagree with the Church's infallible teaching on the male priesthood.
60% think that abortion should be legal (and even 50% of those who attend Mass weekly!).
60% think that premarital sex with someone you care about is not a sin.
78% disagree that using a condom is a serious sin.
58% support "gay marriage".
If we cannot do better than that at a Catholic college, what will happen to our culture?
This is a terrible crisis and we all need to do our part. The future of the Church and our nation is at risk, as are the souls of our young Catholic men and women.
I am so very thankful that The Cardinal Newman Society remains steadfast in its commitment to our Faith.
I support their mission to prod wayward Catholic colleges to embrace the richness that is genuine Catholic education. It is a cause that is near to the hearts of Pope Benedict and his venerable predecessor, Pope John Paul II.
I have had a close relationship with The Cardinal Newman Society and am grateful that they are on the job:
alerting the faithful to scandal on Catholic campuses,
working with college leaders to improve policies and programs,
helping Catholic families in their search for good colleges,
promoting Eucharistic Adoration on campuses,
helping colleges defend their religious liberty from secularism,
and much more!
They seek to renew Catholic colleges campus by campus, until the graduates of these colleges are strong in their faith and lead the New Evangelization.
Already The Cardinal Newman Society works with a small but exciting group of faithful Catholic colleges, that embrace their Catholic identity and each year turn out a small army of well educated and faithful students prepared to evangelize the world.
We all need to do our part to renew our Catholic colleges -- and they are truly "ours," since they rightly belong to the universal Church.
One way you can help is to encourage your family and friends to send their children to the strong, faithful Catholic colleges recommended in the Society's Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College (which is in print and on the Internet).
I surrendered my allegiance to Jesus in a stone Catholic chapel while a college student. My four children are my magnum opus: twin sons Joseph Linden and Adam Edward, Hannah Rose and Laurel Emmaline.
My dear dad, eldest of ten, strove for and achieved excellence at whatever he did: surrendering his allegiance to Jesus and serving Him his entire life, most proficient sharpshooter during his stint in the Marines; scouted not once, but twice, to pitch for the Brooklyn Dodgers; struck Willie Mays out; valedictorian at Crozet High, Belmont Abbey and at UVA. While a Marine, he appointed himself as THE man to ensure his mates came safely back to the ship after carousing on land. His exemplary mother, Katherine Kirk Bain, was Mother-of-the-Year for VA in 1966. She was my best friend until her death at age 99 in 2000. I miss her always!