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The University of Dayton, a Catholic University, Opens Muslim Prayer Room

A poster at the Free Republic who either attends or teaches at the U of D received an email yesterday, September 11, from university leadership introducing a Muslim prayer room on campus. He didn't include his email, but I found this page at the U of D's website that points out where the prayer room is located. You'd think this would be unusual since one of the main purposes of Catholic universities is to teach the faith of Catholicism.

Nonetheless, I found this piece from the Vatican about how Catholic universities can better work with Muslims to help them feel more accepted. Here's a portion:

C. Prayer Space, Special Foods and Accommodations for Holy Days (e.g., Ramadan)

The vast majority of Catholic campus ministers that answered our questionnaire identified a Muslim prayer space for students as the number one religious concern of Muslim students. On some university campuses, such designated spaces have been a separate room, a shared common space, or a sacred space used by various religious groups. Consider the following:

1. A Separate Room: At the University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI, a Catholic and Jesuit University, a space is provided for 2 Islamic prayer rooms. At the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, two years ago, a small conference room in the Campus Ministry Center was turned into a permanent Muslim prayer room for the campus. Having the Muslim prayer room in the Campus Ministry Center gives the Catholic campus ministers and Muslim students an opportunity to interact regularly.

2. A Shared Common Space: At Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, the Student Common Room is used for Mass and then Islamic prayer every First Friday of the month. Often the Catholic students and priest help the Muslim students to role out the carpets as one group exits and another enters.

3. A Sacred Space Used by Various Religious Groups: Staten Island University, New York, NY, through the combined efforts of Catholic Campus Ministry and the college administration, designated a "Prayer and Meditation Room" in the Campus Center, which can be used by anyone who wishes to spend some time in prayer or meditation. The room can also be booked for services or prayer by any organization on campus. Fridays are generally blocked out for the Muslim Student Association, while Ash Wednesday is designated for Catholic campus ministry.

The second identifiable concern of Muslim students by Catholic campus ministers that answered our questionnaire was the issue of fasting and food accommodations. Some campuses seem to be very accommodating, others, not so much. Catholic campus ministers at religious colleges report that their schools are more sensitive to these issues than the state schools reporting. For example, one Catholic university campus reported that the Catholic chaplains and the Muslim Student Association co-sponsored a breaking-of-the-fast meal at Ramadan.

Unfortunately, undermining Catholicism at Catholic universities this isn't an unusual occurrence. Many American Catholic universities have failed to foster the Catholic faith in their students that, according to a 2003 study, many Catholic students graduated Catholic universities antagonistic toward their own faith:

However, that ideal has, for the most part, been gravely distorted especially in North America. Even if young people survive with their faith intact until university or college age, statistics show they will lose their faith in so-called Catholic higher education.

A large study which gained massive attention in 2003 found that by the time they graduate, students at many Catholic colleges are significantly more opposed to Church teachings, pray less, and are in many ways less religious than when they were freshmen. The study, based on annual surveys by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute (HERI), surveyed students at 38 Catholic colleges finding that:

· Whereas a majority of students entered Catholic colleges pro-life (55% opposed to legal abortion, 45% in support), many graduated pro-abortion (57% pro-abortion, 43% pro-life).

· Support for legalizing homosexual "marriages" increased from 55% to 71% by senior year.

· Approval of having sex with someone known "for only a very short time" increased from 30% to 49% by senior year.

· Although 15% of seniors reported much stronger religious beliefs and convictions than when they were freshmen, the same growth was reported by 12% of seniors at nonsectarian colleges and 24% of seniors at other religious colleges (mostly Protestant).

· Only 37% of seniors prayed more than one hour a week; 31% didn't pray at all.

· Among Catholic students, 9% left the faith by graduation. Although 11% of non-Catholic students converted to the Church, their actual numbers were smaller and still left Catholic colleges with a net 4% loss of Catholics.

· Among Catholic seniors, 13% did not attend a religious service in the past year (a four-fold increase since their freshman year), and about half attended only occasionally.

Pandering to the Muslim faith will only serve to continue this trend.


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Comments (28)

So will they open a chrstia... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

So will they open a chrstian prayer room or will that get the ACLU to bring one of its idiotic lawsuits

Kim:Your ignorance... (Below threshold)


Your ignorance about Catholic universities is astounding. Having attended a catholic university, a catholic high school and a catholic parochial school I can guarantee you their ( a catholic university) purpose is not to teach the catholic faith. It's to provide an education and a degree in a chosen field of study.

I graduated in 1967 and even back then we were only required to take 2 course in theology and 2 in philosophy and none of those courses was to teach catholicism.

If you're going to write a piece like this at least have a fundamental understanding of the issue you're writing about.

You'd think this would b... (Below threshold)

You'd think this would be unusual since the purpose of Catholic universities is to teach the faith of Catholicism.

They teach some other stuff too, you know.

And, as private institutions, they are under no obligation to admit non-Catholics. That they choose to do so, and want to make those students welcome, is not exactly scandalous. At least, not to those of us who aren't feverishly anti-Muslim.

Pandering to the Muslim faith will only serve to continue this trend.

So, the presence of Muslims at a Catholic university will make the Catholic students more likely to support abortion, gay marriage, promiscuous sex, etc.? Are you serious? Do you know what the Muslim stance on those issues is?

During the 80's the Catholi... (Below threshold)

During the 80's the Catholic Church in Western Hemisphere was infiltrated with pro-Communist losers who hid behind 'Liberation Theology'.

Could there be anything more suicidal to Catholicism, the Communism? However, they were there. John Paul II fought Communism from within the Church probably as much as from without.

When the Soviet Union died, they went silent, but didn't go away. With their left over Soviet Union days anti-West sentiment, I'm not surprised they want to go down another suicidal path.

JFO, I'm not the o... (Below threshold)


I'm not the one who said that Catholic universities are supposed to teach the Catholic faith. Pope Benedict did. From the last link in the post:

Pope Benedict XVI paid a visit to Rome's Sacred Heart Catholic University today to address students on the occasion of the inauguration of the academic year. The Pope, knowing the devastation to the faith of millions of Catholic students which has taken place in Catholic universities, asked pointedly of students at Catholic Universities "How do they leave? What culture did they find, assimilate, develop?"

The ideal envisioned by the Catholic Church for Catholic schooling has been expounded on in various papal documents. It revolves around the hope of higher learning fused with formation in faith in God and the pursuit of the logical connection between faith and reason. As Pope Benedict put it, "This is the great challenge: ... to give life to a true Catholic university, one that excels for the quality of its research and teaching and, at the same time, for its faithfulness to the Gospel and to the Church's Magisterium."

So, are you going to accuse the Pope himself of being ignorant of the American Catholic university experience? It seems, however, that he knows quite well what the American Catholic university experience is like, and he doesn't like what he sees.

What a shame. The UD Flyer... (Below threshold)

What a shame. The UD Flyers are no longer flying. They have their heads in the sand.

A muslim prayer room on campus (read mosque for radical islam). islamists now consider UD to be muslim territory. How pathetic.


Nice straw man but it doesn... (Below threshold)

Nice straw man but it doesn't fly. I graduated twice and worked as gradual student and a research engineer at UD. There has always been a sizeable middle east population at UD, both Chritian (Lebanese) and Muslim.

I remember twenty years ago having a group of muslims in EE do their afternoon prayers in the hallway of the frieght elevator in Kettering Labs. That was very disconcerting.

Sticking them in basement of Founders sounds like a containment strategy. Put them in a basement of a small old and renovated dorm doesn't sound like much of an accommodation.

As for Catholic teaching, the school has had its problems. One of problems is the liberal order, the Marianists. The other problem is Pilarczyk (AB of Cinci) won't hold theology teachers accountable to their licenses (mandatum).

From personal experience at UD, it has never been shy about its Catholic identity. And within my circle friends and relationships, most are practicing. Some may have let their faith slumber until they were married and had kids, but stayed fundamentally Catholic.

This post sucked because there are two maybe three issues to discuss but you got tied in a non-sequitor fashion. Do a better job.

Kim:You, not anyon... (Below threshold)


You, not anyone else, said this:

"...since the purpose of Catholic universities is to teach the faith of Catholicism."

Now if you meant "one of the purposes...." fine. Just correct it, but if you meant what you wrote, you're wrong.

"...since the purpose of Ca... (Below threshold)

"...since the purpose of Catholic universities is to teach the faith of Catholicism."

Does that mean that they shouldn't be teaching medicine, law, chemistry, etc?

Maybe they should all follow Notre Dame's lead and drop their football programs, too.

I have to agree with mantis... (Below threshold)

I have to agree with mantis here, it is a private institution. I don't personally agree this is a great idea, but it is well within their rights to make that decision and likely lose students, prospective and othwerwise because of it.

Had this been a public school, or the only Catholic University in the nation, I'd have more of a problem with it.

Funny, our local catholic s... (Below threshold)

Funny, our local catholic schools all emphasize Catholicism. Daily masses, catechism, etc... An education too, but from a Catholic point of view. Anyone claiming otherwise is obviously a poser.

There are plenty of people who call themselves Catholic, but thats like some of the people calling themselves Jews. They are born of ancestors who practiced the religion, but they don't themselves. So, they really aren't Catholic, or Jewish, etc... The same goes for some of those colleges. They abuse the Catholic label, as if to reassure parents and students with a false claim. They should have that label removed, and no one who is an actual Catholic should have anything to do with them, including the excommunicating of any religious who continues to support them.

Of course, JFO, teaching Ca... (Below threshold)

Of course, JFO, teaching Catholicism is one of the purposes of a Catholic university. Since it is a university, however, I expected that readers understood it to be a given that it also taught academic courses of study.

KimAn excellent we... (Below threshold)


An excellent weasel. I'd give you extra point for it. Move you from a C- to a C.

JFO, if it makes you feel b... (Below threshold)

JFO, if it makes you feel better to call my previous comment a "weasel," then go right ahead.

Unfortunately, undermini... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Unfortunately, undermining Catholicism at Catholic universities this isn't an unusual occurrence.

As a Catholic, I disagree. Allowing Muslim students a space for prayer does not "undermine" the Church nor is it capitulating to some kind of Islamist pressure. I believe this act strengthens the Church by exhibiting an openness and tolerance of other religions; something that is taught in my parish.

Obviously these Muslim students were also open and tolerant enough to want to attend a Catholic university in the first place. Extending a courteous gesture by offering them a place to pray is good and positive way to lessen the gap/gulf between the two religions.

I wasn't raised Catholic, s... (Below threshold)
rrita m:

I wasn't raised Catholic, so for the most part, I'm out of touch with this. The only plus for me would've been the uniforms because I really hated planning a school wardrobe each week.

Back to the topic, though, it.is too bad a university can't just be consistent and teach what their school name suggests.

Don't tell the Freepers, bu... (Below threshold)

Don't tell the Freepers, but The Catholic University of America has a Muslim Students Association too! Clearly this is the cause of support for gay marriage among Catholics. Muslims are totally into the homo-nups.

I was not raised Roman Cath... (Below threshold)

I was not raised Roman Catholic, and I am not currently a Roman Catholic. I did, however, attend a Roman Catholic high school (it was the best education opportunity in the area). At said high school, we were required to take eight semesters of religion courses (there were only eight semesters from admission to graduation, for reference), and four of those focused exclusively on Roman Catholicism. Two went into comparative religions (taught by a Roman Catholic priest, though), and I honestly cannot remember what the other two were. Additionally, we had, at minimum, a mass a month, and most major events were, in some way, religiously oriented.

Were I, any of the other non-Roman Catholic Christians, or any of the surprisingly large number of Muslims, excused from any of these religious requirements or events? Nope. Was any concession made to me/us/them? Nope. Did we somehow manage to muddle through ur "oppression" and graduate anywise? Ayup. Granted, this was a high school I am talking about, but you get the picture...

Owing that this is a private institution, they are well within their rights to do as they please, and the rest of the world be damned. This does not make their decision any less surprising, any less disappointing, and any less disturbing. The Muslim faith, by its very articles of that faith, dictate one of three outcomes for anyone who is not Muslim - conversion, oppression, or death. This is further backed by the proclamation that the Muslim faith will eventually unite the world under its rule. That the Roman Catholic church would turn over part of its institution to be used as a quasi-mosque... I would draw an analogy, but people would probably object. However, as someone said previously, if that room is appropriately treated by the Muslim community, it will become, in essence, a mosque, and yet another article of faith is that once a place is sanctified to the Muslim religion, it can never be undone or changed. Means nothing to the secularists, sure, but one would think it might mean something to a religion that feels much the same way about its spaces.

However, given that a Roman Catholic bishop recently declared that all Christians should refer to God as "Allah" in an attempt to better understand and grow closer to our "Muslim brothers", I suppose it is only a matter of time until the Roman Catholic church as a whole caves. Just bring up that water temperature slowly, and the frog never even notices...

"homo-nups"I don't... (Below threshold)


I don't know what it is, but just that word alone sounds like it should be offensive.

I wonder when the Saudi mon... (Below threshold)

I wonder when the Saudi money will start flowing into the Alumni Association? When will they expand the prayer room? Footbaths everywhere. Separate swim times for muslim females... Oh there aren't any. Scratch that.

UD, University Dar al-Harb.

Dayton will turn into another Detroit, otherwise known as New Falluja.

Poor JFO. He finally finds... (Below threshold)

Poor JFO. He finally finds something he's an "expert" on,(Catholic learning institutions), and he still fails miserably on that subject as well.


Oh liberals, what would we do without them? Well, laugh a lot less.

I don't know what it is,... (Below threshold)

I don't know what it is, but just that word alone sounds like it should be offensive.

Sorry, that's a Pastor Swank-ism for gay marriage (homosexual nuptials, natch).

Catholic Church becomming a... (Below threshold)

Catholic Church becomming as irrelevant as the Episcopal Church.

Question of the day: if you... (Below threshold)

Question of the day: if you're a Muslim, why the heck are you at a Catholic university?

Another question: if you're... (Below threshold)

Another question: if you're a Jew, why the heck are you at a Catholic university?

Answer: They're good schools!

(well, many of them are)

I heard that HANOI JANE onc... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:


Wasn't it nice when shame a... (Below threshold)

Wasn't it nice when shame and common sense influenced our culture ? I think they called it,"conscience" or something like that.

To bad freedom of choice includes the freedom to blind ones self with (self)hateful rage.

actually the room has been ... (Below threshold)
Emily Katz:

actually the room has been around for over 20 years, it was just relocated - guess the facts didn't meet the agenda of the original poster so he/she just ignored them






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