Campus Watch

Lumen Christi

THE CATHOLIC NEW WORLD, Sept. 22 — In a feature on the University of Chicago's Lumen Christi Institute, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago reported that Catholics are now the “largest number of those who declare a religious affiliation” at the university.

Respect for Catholic thought and tradition at the university dates to the 1930s, when Mortimer Adler established an influential undergraduate great books program that included an emphasis on St. Thomas Aquinas.

Founded in 1977 “to promote a better integration of faith, prayer and the intellectual life,” Lumen Christi sponsors lectures, visiting fellows and other programs that promote intellectual work done explicitly in relation to Catholic tradition. It also organizes Scripture study groups and other opportunities for spiritual formation.

Prayer and Action


Sept. 15 — A college cannot be called Catholic unless it has “a contemplative side and a social justice dimension,” according to Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau of the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education.

These essential aspects must be expressed explicitly by both faculty and students, said the archbishop at a Mass to open the anniversary of the New York college's founding by the Ursuline Sisters in 1904.

Archbishop Pittau said a Catholic college must maintain the “vertical dimension” of emphasizing “contact with God” while recognizing that “to serve is an essential part of being Christian.”

Boom Times

THE WASHINGTON TIMES, Sept. 8 — Enrollment for the 104 evangelical schools affiliated with the Washington-based Council for Christian Colleges and Universities shot up 47% during the 1990s, dwarfing the growth rate of private and public colleges and universities, which grew 17% and 4%, respectively, the Washington daily said.

While not counted in the council's statistics, the newspaper observed in an aside that “Catholics increasingly reject the liberalism of their faith's powerhouse schools” and that newer colleges with stronger Catholic identities are rapidly growing.

The Times said many parents find that “the increasing depravity and materialism of American culture make values-laden colleges more attractive.”

All-Star Catholic

SPIRIT DAILY.COM, Sept. 18 — While college can be a time when many people lose their faith or give it diminished importance, just the opposite happened to Chicago Cubs pitching sensation Mark Prior, the Catholic Web site reported.

A celebrated college ballplayer, Prior was an All American at the University of Southern California, leading the Trojans to the College World Series in 2001. But also in college, Prior grew in his Catholic faith.

“I spent all year going to RCIA meetings,” said the All-Star pitcher, who received the sacrament of confirmation as a junior.

Community Service

ST. MICHAEL'S COLLEGE, Sept. 22 — Alumnus Robert Sutton has pledged $700,000 to the college in rural Colchester, Vt., to help build a new fire station house for the campus, the school announced.

The college's student-run, 24-hour fire and rescue squad responds to more than 2,000 calls annually, serving four adjacent towns and transporting more than 100 intensive-care patients each year. More than 40 students and 12 alumni volunteer for the squad annually.

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy