In speaking to the benefit of a Catholic college degree, Kelly Salomon, director of family and parish programs for the Cardinal Newman Society, highlighted the challenges faced by young Catholics in today’s cultural climate.
“How does a young Catholic navigate today’s dangerous culture without a faithful Catholic education, without truly knowing the faith, understanding how it relates to every area of knowledge and life, and being able to defend it?” Salomon told the Register.
“We see most young adults not attending Mass, and most don’t believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist — they actually think the Church teaches it’s just a symbol,” she added. “But the renewal of faithful Catholic education will bring a renewal of faith and culture.”
“Catholic education is critical for the souls of young people and the future of the Church. At faithful Catholic colleges, students are formed for their careers and vocations,” Salomon said.
Donovan, a marketing major, stressed the importance of integrating Catholic formation and workplace education.
“Business and theology go hand in hand,” he said. “They cannot be separated.”
“I could go to any other university, and succeed and do well, and get my marketing degree, and learn how to make the best sales pitch ever, and have a sales record of 100%, and do anything to get the sale.” However, if one allows a client to walk away without “feeling the love of Christ,” Donovan said, “all of it would have been for nothing.”
A higher education institution not listed in “The Newman Guide,” which is still eligible for the scholarship, is a school named for St. Joseph the Worker in Steubenville, Ohio, expected to open in 2023.
“Christ belongs in the workplace,” Donovan said. “We want to make sure people know how to bring him into the workplace by going to Catholic universities that are authentically Catholic.”
The Register also recommends its own list of higher educational institutions that prioritize solid Church teaching in their curricula in its annual “Catholic Identity College Guide.” The list includes schools in “The Newman Guide” as well as others not included in the Bellarmine Fund scholarship, but the fund organizers recognize it “as a reliable means of attaining a competent and faithful Catholic education,” according to Uzdavinis.
“We basically take a look at the whole person,” Donovan said.
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“While we are currently focusing directly on those schools accredited by the Cardinal Newman Society,” Uzdavinis told the Register, “our fund hopes to soon be able to provide financial assistance to every faithfully Catholic higher education institution in the country.”
In part, the aim of the fund is to help counter the “radical ideology and wokeism” that “have pervaded higher education, perhaps even in Catholic institutions,” Uzdavinis added.
“Attending a university in which students are exposed to divine truth and provided ample opportunities to receive divine grace is of grave importance. Our fund aims to make that possible for the many students throughout the country who thirst for such an experience.”
“The St. Robert Bellarmine Fund has the capacity to reach so many Catholic students in a way that we hope inspires them to pursue Catholic truth and helps them to attain that,” he continued.
“Our goal is to become a reliable means for countless families to allow students to concentrate more on the goodness they receive in their studies and less about how they’ll manage to pay for it.”