Encyclical and Catholic higher education

Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” (“Charity in Truth”) can inspire changes in Catholic higher education, said Richard Yanikoski, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

The pope wrote that economic activity should promote the common good. Catholic colleges should take heed.

“We are a business, too,” Yanikoski told CNS. “We’re a big business. We have a responsibility to ensure that the economic decisions we make also are cognizant of the moral consequences.”

Colleges must treat employees fairly, be responsible to the environment, and reserve financial aid for the needy and not just the smartest students, he said.

The pope also wrote of the overlapping areas of truth and human development. Catholic colleges’ role is to further explain Catholic social teaching. Although Yanikoski said the encyclical is not quite a teaching document, it can be used in campus ministry centers, seminars and workshops, and as an assignment to students in majors such as business ethics and environmental protection.

Yanikoski also said Catholic colleges should pay attention to the pope’s emphasis on religious freedom and collaboration between believers and nonbelievers. It reflects “the way Catholic campuses are to accept, not just ‘deal with’ others than Catholics,” he said. “We need to treat as brothers or sisters people who believe other than we do.”

Post-Katrina sisters in action

Sisters of St. Joseph are not about to be deterred by fire or rain. 

Even though their former motherhouse had to be torn down — after damage from Hurricane Katrina’s flooding and then a subsequent fire caused by a lightning strike — members of the community remain active in several ministries in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Clarion Herald reports.

In fact, Kim Shackleton, a member of the Mission Advancement Team of the newly merged Congregation of St. Joseph, said there are currently more St. Joseph sisters ministering in the archdiocese than before the storm.

Although Hurricane Katrina hit the region nearly four years ago, recovery efforts are still underway thanks to the efforts of  groups like these sisters who keep doing what they can to help local residents at clinics, adult education centers and senior care programs.