The Catholic Church lives up to its name in that it embraces, though not always with enthusiasm, a broad range of doctrinal and political opinions, from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's profound conservatism to the Catholic Worker and Liberation Theology movements. As popes come and go the Church's attitudes towards variant interpretations of doctrine and social policy change. More than many other Christian colleges, Church-affiliated schools also vary in their tolerance for dissent or divergence from traditional counsels. The most steadfastly conservative Roman Catholic colleges are listed below.
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1. Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio
A school founded on Catholic teachings, particularly of the Franciscan order. There's a strong emphasis on working with the poor, but the school is touted by conservatives for its social policies.
2. Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia
Their website lays it out plainly: "Founded in 1977 in response to the devastating blow inflicted on Catholic higher education by the cultural revolution which swept across America in the 1960s." Religion courses are required.
3. Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
CAU is the only Catholic university founded as a joint project, you might say, of the U.S. bishopric and the Vatican, and is considered the "national university" of the Church in the United States.
4. The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Merrimack, New Hampshire
This private college is directed by Church laity, and notes that, "The Trustees, Administrators, Faculty, and Staff of the College all pledge unreserved fidelity to the Catholic Faith and undivided loyalty to the local ordinary, the Bishop of Manchester, and to the Vicar of Christ, our Holy Father the Pope."
5. Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, California
This college was founded in response to the social changes of the 1960s, and promised "to establish a new Catholic institution that was determined to be faithful to Christ and never to compromise its principles."
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6. Northeast Catholic College, Warner, New Hampshire
Each year, the entire faculty and staff of this small college, along with its president and trustees, takes an "Oath of Fidelity" before the Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire.
7. Wyoming Catholic College, Lander, Wyoming
"The College is unmistakably Catholic, planted in the deep center of Catholic tradition," the school states. "All spiritual exercises at the College are designed to foster a genuine Catholic environment so that students may graduate with a deeper understanding of their faith and an ability to undertake a life of prayer and devotion. Holy Mass is offered daily. Both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite are celebrated."
8. John Paul the Great Catholic University, Escondido, California
"Students have the opportunity to acquire a deep and personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. Catholic ethical, moral, and social values provide a guiding compass for everything we do," according to the college.
9. Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas
This college's "Vision for Greatness" is a strategic plan aims to further its status as "The flagship college of the New Evangelization." It is "committed to those beliefs and natural principles that form the framework of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and it is committed ... to those specific matters of faith of the Roman Catholic tradition, as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ and handed down in the teachings of the Church."
10. Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, Florida
Ave Maria University is, as its name implies, "devoted to Mary the Mother of God," and is noted for its "faithfulness to the magisterium of the Catholic Church."
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