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Catholic Schools for Non-Catholics?

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Replies to: Catholic Schools for Non-Catholics?

  • 4gsmom4gsmom 735 replies26 threadsRegistered User Member
    I'm sorry this thread is painful for you, OhMan. The reality is that many of the Catholic schools are terrific schools in their own right, Catholic or not. So, people, obviously, are going to be interested in them.

    My husband and I were both raised Catholic, but have decided to raise our children Episcopalian. My daughter is uncomfortable with certain tents of the Roman Catholic faith, but is not anti-religion or anti-Catholic (if she was, she'd be alienating pretty much both of our very large Irish/Italian Catholic families). She does not, however, want to be on a campus that would have an anti-gay bias (she is not gay, but is very supportive of gay rights).

    I think that is the concern for some people - not that the school is "Catholic" per se, but that certain beliefs within the Roman Catholic faith would be a part of the school's culture. And that's what I think this discussion is about.

    I think it would be just as easy to have the discussion: "Would my non-Jewish child feel comfortable at Brandeis?"
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  • LergnomLergnom 7737 replies189 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I thought this thread stayed on course and that you're over-sensitive, OhMan. Being comfortable at a school certainly includes whether the religious atmosphere doesn't fit you. That isn't slamming the Catholic choice or saying the schools should change.
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  • missypiemissypie 17980 replies503 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think campus visits are very important with the schools with fairly strong religious ties. We visited one (not Catholic) school that is trying to rebrand itself as very mainstream; no tip-offs otherwise from the website or written materials. But once we were on campus, chatting with students...let's just say if you like church camp so much you'd like to live at church camp, that's the place to go.
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  • gymmom2007gymmom2007 81 replies16 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    we are Catholic and have a D who will be a Junior at a Baptist University in the fall. She absolute loves it. It just happened to be a perfect fit for her. She was required to take 2 semesters of religion ( general stuff) and has very felt any kind of religious pressure. Our other D will attend ND in the fall but it was not chosen because it was catholic it was just a perfect fit for her. Good luck and my suggestion is to visit all campuses with an open mind.
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  • missypiemissypie 17980 replies503 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    She was required to take 2 semesters of religion ( general stuff)

    The unnamed school we visited required 15 hours of "their brand" of religion...that's 3 hours short of a minor! (They made room for the hours by not having math or foreign language requirements!)

    Lots of schools require a class or two in religion. It can be tellling to just look over the course offerings. Son's school offers Fundamentals of Christianity, but also Fundamentals of Islam; even a Greek and Roman Mythology course will satisfy the requirement. The unnamed school only offered courses in the Christian religion and most classes were on books of the New Testament.

    If you visit the campus, chat with students and read the course offerings/requirements (and inqure about any chapel requirements), it's doubtful that you'll have an unpleasant surprise.
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  • B77B77 304 replies15 threadsRegistered User Member
    Agree with gsmom's point, but must correct her analogy to Brandeis suggesting it is a religious school comparable in that respect to the Jesuit Catholic schools. Unlike these Catholic institututions, which are Church affiliated, Brandeis is and always has been a secular, non-sectarian school, although founded in the tradition of Harvard, Princeton etc by a religious-affiliated group. Currently with a Jewish population of less than 50% (closer to 40% if you fairly count grad students who are integrated into the campus) and around 25% minority and international students, it is quite diverse and continues to strive for increasing diversity. At this stage, its total Jewish population and culture is very similar to schools you might not single out as "Jewish" because of their founding--e.g. Barnard ( 43% Jewish), NYU (51% ) and Penn (30%). See:Fall 2007 - Universities with the Largest Jewish Population in North America
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  • 4gsmom4gsmom 735 replies26 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thank you for the correction. : )

    Maybe a better analogy would've been Yeshiva?
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  • scout59scout59 3502 replies67 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Minor quibble with a previous post that said that Jesuit schools would be "more welcoming" than other types of Catholic schools: DD attends DePaul in Chicago, which is Vincentian. There's a huge emphasis on community service there; culturally, the school is pretty liberal and accepting of a wide variety of religious belief, including atheism.
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  • ilovetoquilt22ilovetoquilt22 351 replies8 threads- Member
    My daughters went to a jesuit high school and are attending a jesuit college. THey have never felt any anti gay bias. We are a fairly progressive liberal family, and non practicing Catholics. What they found at their schools was the emphasis on inclusion, education, community, sense of fair play, and a real sense of educating the whole person.

    Its funny, Fordham has its LC center campus and girls complain that their aren't enough straight guys!

    At my daughters HS there was a straight/gay alliance, gay teachers, at the college same thing.

    I would guess that there is often more bias against certain groups at some secular schools.

    Yes, at my daughter's college there was a pro-life meeting. Eh, it was no big deal. At my daughter's HS, they taught full sex education.

    As stated, you need to visit the school to get a real feel for comfort.

    Both my girls went on retreats and came back "less religious" but "more spiritual".

    When the students at my daughters school go out to do service work, and it is realllllyyyy supported, their really is no religious component to it. Its all about helping othes. So, any faith or non-faith person could be very comfortable.

    The mission of the volunteering is not to witness to those they are helping, or to each other.

    Yes, if one is wanting to practice their faith, whichever one that is, there is a place.

    Yes the catholic colleges are all over bell curve when it comes to conservative-liberal/progressive, but that is as much to do with location as anything else, as it would be for secular, babtist, evangelical, secular.
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  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 4425 replies138 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Catholic schools also tend to have stricter alcohol policies than other schools.
    LOL Not really.
    My oldest went to a small Catholic University in MD. About 80% of students were Catholic, most from Baltimore Catholic families who had attended parochial schools.
    She wanted a Catholic college and was very happy there - she had friends who were practicing, non-practicing, Protestant, Jewish, gay etc.
    It was/is a big party school. They were more concerned about overnight guests of the opposite sex (though it still happened) than drinking in the dorms.

    At Catholic colleges there is a Catholic presence. If a Crucifix in the classroom bothers you then don't go. You won't be required to attend Mass or pray before class.
    You will NOT find any guidance on birth control, so get that at home. Don't even think about any thing "Pro-Choice" (organizations or demonstrating).
    If you are cool with all of that then you will be fine.

    Oh yeah - expect plenty of emails from the Chaplains - every tragedy will bring an opportunity to go to Mass. My daughter was in college on 9/11 - as soon as they realized kids were wandering around aimlessly in shock - they announced a Mass at Noon. Even her Jewish friend went.
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  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 4425 replies138 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Jesuit schools would be "more welcoming" than other types of Catholic schools
    Absolutely not true either. Catholic colleges are very welcoming to folks of all faiths. Just don't try to change them. It's their school, they make the rules.
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  • OhManOhMan 16 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    4gsmom: I would respectfully submit that the reason many Catholic schools are terrific is precisely that, they ARE Catholic! Catholic Christian values are taught and lived by the faculty, staff and students. My own college search involved applying to 6 Catholic colleges and I am on my way to one this fall. (It is Jesuit, by the way) Being involved in church, service and a pro life community will be part of my education. Eventually I hope to attend medical school at a Catholic University. I also look forward to meeting and interacting with students from other religious backgrounds, but I want to attend a Catholic school so I can openly be who I am with no apology.
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  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 4425 replies138 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Catholic Christian values are taught and lived by the faculty, staff and students.
    true that. I hope you have a great year!
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  • ND DadND Dad 4 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    My S recently graduated from BC, and all of his non-catholic friends always felt like they fit-in just fine. My impression from BC was: they stress "service and responsibility" and that applys to kids of all faiths.
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  • SmithviewSmithview 75 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    When we visited Georgetown a student came up to us and chatted while we were waiting to go in for the tour [talk about friendly!]. He was Jewish so my son asked him this very question and he had never had a problem with it. He found the mandatory religion classes very interesting. Sounds like they do not push it down their throats, which was my son's concern. It was my first choice for him of the schools he got into, but alas, only #3 for my son, so he will not be attending...
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  • historymomhistorymom 3302 replies165 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    DDs will be attending a LaSallean campus in the fall and agree that their campus is equally welcoming and accepting: the focus is on following the LaSallean mission of service so would like to coroborate scout59's quibble that Jesuit schools are the "most" welcoming of others.
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  • studious momstudious mom 176 replies30 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I really appreciate all the feedback...keep it coming.
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  • mantori.suzukimantori.suzuki 3245 replies102 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Did research at Notre Dame some years back. Totally spiritual environment and totally accepting of other faiths, or no faith. There is a continuous dialog about spiritual matters and the big questions of life and society, and all viewpoints are welcome. Some people fear that Notre Dame will be to Catholicism as Liberty or Oral Roberts are to fundamentalism. Absolutely untrue; they are not remotely comparable.
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  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 4425 replies138 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The vast majority of Catholic colleges and Universities are quite accepting to people of other faiths or no faith.

    There are a few Catholic colleges that are more Evangelical, e.g. Franciscan University of Steubenville or more "fundamental", e.g. Christendom; that probably would not appeal to kids of different faiths.
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  • par72par72 4207 replies1 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Jesuit schools Holy Cross and Georgetown actively seek diversity.
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