This is an important question. For those of you who have spent any time worrying about a new private university building, we’ve got you covered: the University of Notre Dame has announced that it will be turning itself into a separate University of Notre Dame Institute of Religious Education and Religious Life, which will “offer a range of comprehensive and specialized courses offered only through the Institute.” The news makes me wonder what else this new school will be, or whether they’re going to turn it into an independent religious education school:
But despite the fact that the new school will have no affiliation with a particular college or university, they will still be “a fully accredited religious education program with its own curriculum, affiliated with the Catholic University of America and Catholic University of America.” They’ll “also provide a unique opportunity to serve students in all of the country.” The “program will also provide students with the opportunity to take classes on the Vatican University campus, which allows them an opportunity to participate in a fully integrated way of life, while also having an opportunity to explore the richness of Jesuit-Catholic theology and Catholic-American culture.”
To be clear, it’s not clear how many students will go through this program when it launches. I’ve seen some posts on Twitter which suggest up to 20,000, which is way, way above everyone’s estimates for the number of students coming through the program. If I were a betting man, I’d guess that number will be much higher, though I would be willing to guess the numbers to be even higher than that.
I suspect that the only way this new option will give most students an experience that will feel very different from their experience at traditional Catholic institutions is if they have to get a GED. Then they’ll get all the Catholic college experience without needing to pay tuition and not having to go to an accredited Catholic school. This will be much more likely for students who get their education on their own time than those who go to a school that has to be accredited by a Catholic university.
If we want more information about the university, all we can do is take a look at the following post from The Irish Times:
The new institute will focus on teaching and training on “issues of justice and human rights… such as abortion, homosexuality, contraception and gender roles,” the press release says.
The Irish Times reported that the university will also open up their own school for teaching that uses “more secular methods.”
But why stop there? When I got to the
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