Whither Catholic education?

Ronald D. Witherup PSS

This article looks at the recent apostolic constitution Veritatis Gaudium which poses some interesting questions about Catholic education in the future. Ronald D. Witherup PSS is Superior General of the Society of the Priests of St Sulpice.

At the end of January 2018, Pope Francis issued an apostolic constitution on Catholic education that likely ‘flew under the radar’ of most people. Titled Veritatis Gaudium (The Joy of Truth), the 56-page document in English seemingly is oriented to professionals at pontifical universities and faculties because much of the document concerns norms at this level. But the document is worth examining – especially the ten-page Foreword – because it constitutes part of the reform of the Church Pope Francis is engaged in.

The state of affairs
On a personal basis, I was formed initially in a parish Catholic elementary school and later at two Catholic colleges in the United States. Then, after ordination, I taught for two years at a mid-size diocesan Catholic secondary school, before beginning my long-term ministry of priestly formation in several seminaries. From my own experience, I would say that Catholic education has largely done a great service to the Church and to the world.

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