How religious are the California Catholic universities?

We live in Vancouver WA and had a CA road trip planned over Spring Break to visit a bunch of CA private schools. Mainly the Catholics plus Occidental and the Claremont schools. Daughter is not seeking a religious environment. She is atheist and LGBT but we come from Latin American Catholic roots so she is comfortable with the trappings of Catholicism in a cultural way. But will be unhappy if things like anti-LGBT policies for faculty or students are present in any way. Or if a majority of students are politically conservative Catholics.

We were looking at possibly Santa Clara, Loyola Marymont, USF, and USD. Stanford, USC, and Pomona are probably big stretches. But she is right in the wheelhouse to be a top 25% applicant with possible merit aid from the Catholic schools.

I’m just trying to get the general vibe. And how they compare socially and academically to the Northwest Catholics (UP, SU, and Gonzaga).

My S attended USF. The student body and administration are quite liberal and very LGBTQ-friendly. He is an atheist and had no issues at all.

Good friend’s daughter would say exactly the same.

Thanks. It is kind of hard to take the measure of a place from afar. But it sounds like the “California” influence is stronger than “Catholic” influence, at least socially.

That isn’t the case for every Catholic University, especially some from the midwest. And it isn’t the same for every California religious school either. For example Pepperdine.

Are the big four Catholic Universities in CA mostly similar in that respect? Or are some more conservative and Catholic in nature or reputation?

I’m talking about SCU, LMU, USF, and USD which I assume are the big four that would be of most interest to out of state students. I know there are various other small local Catholic schools like St. Mary’s and Holy Names that are more regional. We aren’t looking at any of those.

I’ll take a stab at it…I think each of those four schools pretty well reflects the area in which it is located. USF is the most liberal and also has the largest contingent of international students; SCU and LMU are somewhat less liberal, the biggest difference between the two in terms of atmosphere is the NorCal vs. SoCal vibe. USD is the most conservative/religious of the four. However, even USD is nowhere near as conservative as, say, Pepperdine.

Thanks. I believe that USF, SCU, and LMU are all Jesuit schools, while USD was founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart as a women’s college. I wonder if the religious order that runs each has any influence, or is that pretty irrelevant these days. For example, Notre Dame is run by the Congregation of Holy Cross and is thought to be more conservative than say Georgetown which is Jesuit. I’m just starting to educate myself about the nuances of Catholic universities.

@Camasite, I think your analysis is pretty reflective of what I have read on this board over the years in terms of how the order plays a role in the atmosphere of each institution. For the most part at the Jesuit schools, the religious aspect is there for those who want it; otherwise, it’s just not that noticeable (aside from the obvious church on campus, occasional crucifix, etc.) For example, when my S was required to take one theology course, he chose Religion and the Environment - nothing to do with Catholicism at all.

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