Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, on federal regulators passing judgment on the religious character of Catholic colleges:
The erosion of religious identity in Catholic higher education over the past 50 years has been marked by theological dissent, hostility toward the bishops, and increasingly liberal campus-life arrangements such as co-ed dorms and lax visitation rules. These issues fueled the 2009 confrontation at Notre Dame, for example, when pro-life Catholics objected to the school honoring President Barack Obama. This year the U.S. bishops are engaged in a review of Catholic educators’ compliance with church rules for colleges and universities.
Colleges that have deliberately watered down their Catholic identity, in part to help themselves compete for government aid, now face church pressure to strengthen their religious identity. The choice for Catholic educators is increasingly clear: defend religious liberty and stand up for a strong Catholic identity—or give up the pretense.