Countless Catholic institutions of higher learning across the nation have eschewed traditional moral standards in their residence hall policies, according to a new report from the Cardinal Newman Society. While many are now allowing today’s “hook-up” culture to pervade their campuses, Christendom College continues to be highlighted as one of the last Catholic colleges to retain traditional Catholic values in its student life policies, promoting chastity in the residence halls and beyond.
The Cardinal Newman Society’s report was published this past week, and included a review of the dormitory visitation policies of 191 residential Catholic college campuses in the United States. Of those colleges, only 5% still retain traditional Catholic values in their policies, such as no opposite sex visitation in the residence halls, except for occasional “open house” events. Christendom College is one of those precious few, and has stuck to its policies since it’s founding, believing that moral formation is integral to an education of the whole person.
“[Christendom College] demonstrate[s] that a culture that promotes chastity can be achieved with appropriate dorm policies as well as educational efforts,” said Adam Wilson, author of the Cardinal Newman Society’s report, writing in a summary of the report for Crisis Magazine.
For nearly forty years, Christendom has promoted a culture of chastity and moral formation in the student body by making each residence hall a single-sex residence and by prohibiting opposite-sex visitation. The benefits from such a decision can be seen in the contrasts with other, more lax Catholic colleges. By following the American norm of residence life policies and allowing opposite-sex inter-visitation late into the night, often beyond 2 a.m., Catholic colleges are now pervaded by the “hook-up” culture that is damaging the moral formation of countless people worldwide.
“A healthy campus culture gives students the atmosphere necessary to excel in their studies and form good friendships. At a Catholic college, the campus residences should be an environment to grow in virtue. But this ideal is far from the norm at the majority of Catholic colleges throughout the U.S.,” said Wilson.
The report proves a point that many Catholics have known for years now: just because a college is “Catholic” does not mean that they are authentically so. In fact, it was partly due to the controversial 1967 “Land o’ Lakes” conference, which saw many Catholic colleges eschew their identity for national recognition, that Christendom was founded in the first place. Christendom seeks to form the whole person by this prohibition of opposite-sex visitation, promoting a culture of chastity in a culture that often rejects such ideals — even at colleges that profess teaching Catholic values.
“By having single-gender halls, students have a unique opportunity to continue their moral formation distinctly as men and women. In a culture that does a poor job of promoting the dignity and distinctions of the genders, we see a great benefit in designating single-gender space where men and women are able to deepen their understanding of their own masculinity and femininity,” said Amanda Graf, director of residence life at Christendom, in an interview with the Cardinal Newman Society.
As the culture continues to attempt to re-define gender norms, marriage, and family, Christendom’s promotion of chastity helps to form students into authentically Catholic men and women who will be able to fight off the culture, living out their mission to “restore all things in Christ” in the process.