Who is Coming to Class Today? The Challenge of an Emerging Catholic Evangelical Student Identity for Catholic Colleges and Universities

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This paper begins with a typological discussion of students at Catholic colleges and universities. It focuses on those students who express a strong Catholic identity, recognizing that such students are a minority. The discussion describes this group as a manifestation of a more evangelical Catholicism and traces this development to changes in the wider culture. Such changes include a breakdown in religious socialization and the notion of the religious consumer in a culture of choice. A renewed missionary sense within Catholicism is also raised as an explanatory factor. Catholic colleges and universities can respond to some of the challenges posed by committed, evangelical students by considering a number of pastoral and academic options. The paper argues that Catholic colleges and universities should seek to better engage such evangelical Catholic students in the life of the institution.

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