Campus Watch

Evolution Education

AMERICA, Feb. 7 — The Jesuit weekly included a call for a defense of evolution by David Byers, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Science and Human Values from 1984 to 2003.

Byers cited papal documents and the Vatican’s International Theological Commission to demonstrate that “the official Church sees little danger in evolution.”

He called on Catholic educators “to correct the anti-evolution biases that Catholics pick up from prominent elements in contemporary culture.”

Though not mentioned by Byers, Catholics are free to reject the theory of evolution, which has a number of Catholic critics.

Cardinals’ Dinner

THE FLORIDA CATHOLIC, Jan. 28 — The 16th annual American Cardinals Dinner for the benefit of The Catholic University of America raised more than $1 million for the university’s scholarship fund and served to showcase Catholic education.

The dinner, which is hosted by the nation’s seven cardinals, is no longer exclusively held in a city with a residential cardinal. Miami was selected this year because Archbishop John Favalora is a university trustee.

More than 400 students from 12 Catholic elementary and high schools attended a Mass at St. Mary Cathedral prior to the dinner.

Seminarians of Faith

CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, Feb. 1 — Why would a man become a priest in arguably the worst period in the history of the American Roman Catholic Church?

The answer, offered earlier this month in a generally positive Discovery Channel documentary came from seminarian Scott Steinke: “We still believe.”

Steinke, 34, is one of five seminarians featured in the documentary, which was shot at Cincinnati’s Mount St. Mary Seminary during the height of the sex-abuse scandal in 2002.

“We still believe God is the ultimate goodness. … No matter what, he is going to let his Church continue,” said Steinke, who will be ordained a transitional deacon in April.

‘Not a Concern’

CATHOLIC CAMPUS NEWS, Jan. 26 — The proposed merger of the Jesuits’ Boston College and Weston Jesuit School of Theology has prompted questions about BC’s willingness to merge with an institution known for controversial theologians, reported the electronic newsletter of the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization that promotes fidelity to Church teaching by Catholic colleges.

“There will always be concerns over theologians,” Father William Leahy, president of BC, told the press. “We’ve had issues with our own department of theology members, [and] there may be issues in the future with Weston faculty members who come to BC, but we handle these things. It’s not a concern.”

New Chief

PRNEWSWIRE, Feb. 9 — Karen Ristau has been named president of the National Catholic Educational Association in Washington effective July 1, succeeding Michael Guerra.

The announcement was made Feb. 8 by Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin, Texas, NCEA board chairman.

Ristau is currently president of the Immaculate Heart of Mary High School in Westchester, Ill., a position she has held for the past three years.

Before that position, she was vice president and dean of faculty at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind.