Frequently Asked Questions
We are often asked questions about the CNI courses and certificates by perspective students and others who are interested in our mission. Here we provide clear answers to many of these questions.
1) Are the courses taught by the Cardinal Newman Institute similar to graduate courses in Catholic universities and schools?
Yes. All courses offered through the Cardinal Newman Institute are equivalent to two credit courses at Catholic universities and are taught at the graduate level. Each course meets for a total of 30 classroom hours. Each course has required readings as well as content which students should master if they are taking the course for credit toward the CNI Basic Certificate or the Advanced Catechetical Diploma.
2) Can the CNI courses be taken for graduate credit?
Although CNI does not have the ability to award graduate credits or a graduate degree, the quality and content of our courses is robust and meaningful for all who are seeking to better understand our Catholic faith and the teachings of the Church. The objective of the Cardinal Newman Institute is not to award a graduate degree, but to provide an advanced formation for laity, and especially those who are serving as Catechists or teachers of the faith in Catholic schools and in parish programs. Our main emphasis is to provide quality continuing formation in the faith for all Catholics who seek to grow in their knowledge of Tradition, Scripture, Church teaching and Catholic theology.
3) Is the Advanced Catechetical Diploma recognized in the Fort Worth Diocese and in other Dioceses?
The Advanced Catechetical Diploma is recognized as an outstanding accomplishment by those who are serving, or seeking to serve as catechists and catechetical leaders in parish programs and Catholic school settings. Mr. Lucas Pollice, Director of Catehesis for the Diocese of Fort Worth has asked the Cardinal Newman Institute to provide this advanced course of studies in order to form catechists and catechetical leaders at an advanced level. This formation is sometimes referred to as "Master Catechist" formation or training. Those who live and serve in other dioceses should speak to their Diocesan Director of Catechesis about whether Cardinal Newman Institute courses meet diocesan requirements for Basic and Advanced Catechist formation or certification in that diocese. Please email us if we can be of assistance in this process.
4) If the Cardinal Newman Institute does not award an academic degree, how might one justify the time and money required for CNI classes?
Life-long learning and formation in the faith is important for all Catholics. One who loves the Church continually seeks to better understand her teaching and to be part of the witness to the truth of the faith that is needed in the world. The Cardinal Newman Institute provides an authentic pastoral and theological formation which helps adults to deepen their own personal faith and prayer ("fides quae"), as well as develop their understanding of the "faith of the Church" ("fides qua"). The CNI curriculum shows how doctrine has developed over the course of twenty centuries. CNI students not only grow in their understanding of the Catholic faith, but become better acquainted with important catechetical documents that highlight sources, methods and skills required for handing on the faith to others. Just as virtue is its own reward, so too education and formation in faith is primarily an end in itself, not a means to something else. Those who feel called to serve in the Church or to teach and help form others in the faith should respond to this "call" generously by acquiring the knowledge and skills that are necessary to carry it out successfully.
5) Can courses or credits from the Carcinal Newman Institute be transfered into degree programs at other institutions?
The Cardinal Newman Institute is not currently accredited by an accreditating agency. Therefore most Academic institutions and unviersities will not accept CNI courses toward credit in graduate degree programs. It is possible for undergraduate credits from the College of Saint Thomas More to be issued for any of the CNI courses however if this is helpful to a student who is wanting to go on for a degree at another institution. Often colleges and universities have undergraduate prerequisites toward degree programs.