Political v. Religious view of Franciscan University of Steubenville

Posted: March 10, 2014 in Catholic, Franciscan University, Free Writing, Opinion, Pro-Life
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A few nights ago, I was sitting in Golden Corral with my family to celebrate a couple birthdays.  In my family, all the birthdays fall into a couple different parts of the year (February/March, June/July, August, and November), so around that time, the entire extended family get together for dinner to celebrate.

I had just gotten back from school for spring break the night before and was still recovering from the time change and the late night of traveling. My mom was sitting across the table from me talking to the people around us about my school. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it was something along the lines of, “Franciscan has such a wonderful, conservative environment.”

That’s when I zoned back into the conversation and felt the need to correct her that it’s not the conservative environment that Franciscan University of Steubenville is known for, its the Catholic environment. To my mom’s credit, she was talking to my dad’s side of the family who aren’t Catholic, and have very strong conservative views, so she may have said that due to the audience, but I really felt a need to clarify this confusion:

Franciscan University is not a conservative school, it’s Catholic. YAF-logo

At the beginning of the school year, the Young America’s Foundation released a list of its Top Conservative Colleges to give young Conservatives a list of schools that will allow them to harden and deepen their conservative values. Franciscan University was on the list.  I don’t disagree with YAF’s categorizing Franciscan University, especially since it did acknowledge Franciscan’s Religious Environment. However, it’s political standing should not influence a student’s decision to go there.

Franciscan has never classified itself to one political view. As long as the Franciscan TOR friars and sisters are there, it probably never will. Some folks would argue that is does declare itself a conservative organization due to its involvement in the March for Life and opposition to the HHS mandate.

marchforlife2Franciscan sent aprox. 500 students to the 2014 March for Life earlier this January. Student’s braved the cold to march for those who couldn’t. They go every year because its students are passionate about defending every human’s right to life. They even have  a small tomb where the bodies of aborted babies have been laid to rest where students can pray and meditate.

Franciscan was also among the first universities to speak out against the HHS mandate, particularly because it forced employers to pay for late term abortions.  They even went as far as to file a federal law suit which was later dropped.

Due to both of these events, as well as many others, many have confused Franciscan for being a Conservative University. But both issues are a result of Franciscan University sticking to its Catholic identity. Students who attend Franciscan go because it is “Academically Excellent and Passionately Catholic”. Over 700 students attend daily mass and the same number join the on-campus faith households.

Steubie 007

Franciscan University Tomb of the Unborn Child where the bodies of aborted children have been laid to rest.

It just created a new core in order to help students become better informed and educated classes, requiring all students to take at least 9 credit hours on the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and on Christian Morals and Principles. The presence of the TORs is crucial in maintaining that Catholic identity that survived the 70s and 80s, unlike other Catholic institutions like University of Notre Dame, Gonzaga University, Creighton University, and Georgetown University (just to name a few).

I really encourage y’all, when discussing Franciscan University, don’t call it conservative. While it is a very conservative university with very similar ideas and missions, it’s not. It’s never identified itself as conservative. It’s Catholic. It runs based on what the Catholic Church teaches and knows is true.

Franciscan is a wonderful school that produces incredible young Catholics who are so passionate about their faith and using it for good.  Even in the seven  months I have attended, I have decided to no longer identify myself as a conservative like I did in high school. I (like Francican) am Catholic, both politically and religiously.

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