September 08, 2017

University President John Garvey published a Q&A with CRUX about the Pope Francis Effect in Catholic higher education in America.

The July interview was referenced in a September Crux story on the anniversary of the Land O'Lakes statement. 

Located in Washington, D.C., the Catholic University of America is the lone institution of higher learning in the country directly founded by the U.S. bishops, and the only one to have been visited by three popes - John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.

As a result, you’d expect that if there is a “Pope Francis effect” in Catholic higher education in America, you’d feel it there first, and CUA President John Garvey says that’s exactly what’s happening.

First, Garvey said, Francis is driving home the point that when you’re trying to draw people back into the faith, the Church’s moral rules probably aren’t the right place to start.

“He’s not saying that the rules about abortion, the rules about marriage, the rules about divorce are out the window, we’ve moved on,” Garvey said.

“He’s saying, ‘If you are trying to get people to fall in love with the faith, you probably don’t want to begin by saying don’t do this, don’t do that, and that’s why we are Catholic.’ You start with, ‘Here’s what we like about the Church, the rest of this goes along with it but it follows naturally once you buy into it’.” ...

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