This Thursday, the Lecture Fund at Georgetown University will welcome Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, to campus to ask an important question that is bound to open a broader debate within the university community: Is Georgetown still Catholic?
The Cardinal Newman Society is a national organization dedicated to the renewal of Catholic identity at Catholic colleges and universities in the United States. It is are an intercollegiate organization of more than 16,000 college leaders, educators, students, alumni, and others.
The School argues that over the past few decades Georgetown has redefined its identity as a Catholic and Jesuit university (it severed its legal ties to the Church in 1969). Over that time, it has evolved from a strong regional university to an internationally recognized research institution attracting students from all over the world. As a result, the university has embodied a strong international character along with a commitment to diversity and openness to students of all faiths.
Georgetown has shown that outside values and beliefs can co-exist with the Jesuit identity that continues to make our university distinct from other top schools.
“A middle ground compatible with other belief systems,” would allow The university to attract a variety of students because of its non-imposing Catholic teachings.
The university values the On-campus Catholic organizations like the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Daughters of America which continue to enjoy thriving memberships, and there is still a sizeable Catholic presence among students — approximately half of the student body is Catholic.
Patrick Reilly and the Cardinal Newman Society is continuing its action to remind Catholic universities of their fundamental identity and how to be both Catholic and places of debate. This follows a remark made by Patrick Reilly on the newly taken position by Notre Dame president on whether Catholic Universities should allow events contrary to the Catholic Faith on their campuses.