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ERIC Number: EJ914869
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1097-9638
Catholicism on Campus: Stability and Change in Catholic Student Faith by College Type
Gray, Mark M.; Cidade, Melissa A.
Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, v14 n2 p212-237 Dec 2010
Are Catholic colleges and universities failing in their mission of educating their Catholic students in the faith? Many believe these institutions are in one key way: A 2003 study commissioned by the Cardinal Newman Society concluded that "a survey of students at 38 Catholic colleges...reveals that graduating seniors are predominantly pro-abortion, approve of homosexual "marriage," and only occasionally pray or attend religious services" (Reilly, 2003, p. 38). To understand if Catholic higher education is truly failing one must isolate changes that are occurring to students' attitudes and behaviors "on campus." In this paper, the authors agree with the author summarizing the Cardinal Newman Society study who notes, "Regardless of where students begin their college journey, Catholic colleges should be helping students "move closer" [emphasis added] to Christ, and certainly doing a better job of moving students toward the Catholic faith than secular colleges do" (Reilly, 2003, p. 43). This represents a measurable outcome. The authors, like the Cardinal Newman Society, rely on data from the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California, Los Angeles. The Cardinal Newman Society study was based on a survey of college freshmen in 1997 and a follow-up survey with students in their senior year in 2001. The authors rely on a more recent HERI longitudinal survey, which included a new addendum: the College Student Beliefs and Values (CSBV) survey. Available data from this survey includes 14,527 students at 136 U.S. colleges and universities. This survey was administered to freshman respondents in 2004 and again to these students as juniors in spring 2007. The authors' analyses of these data are inspired by the quote above from the Cardinal Newman study author regarding the ability of Catholic colleges and universities to help Catholic students "move closer" to the Church and their faith. The authors measure whether students, regardless of their incoming attitudes and behavior, move closer, stay the same, or move further away from the Church while in college. The results of this study do not indicate any significant secularizing trend among Catholic students attending Catholic colleges as is often expressed in the criticism of these institutions. (Contains 6 tables, 1 figure and 11 footnotes.)
Boston College. Roche Center for Catholic Education, 25 Lawrence Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. Tel: 617-552-0701; Fax: 617-552-0579; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A