Revisiting the educational mission of the Catholic Church

A view from the side lines

A former Diocesan Director of Education, Bernard Stuart, looks back at an article he wrote eight years ago and takes a fresh look at some of the current issues facing Catholic education today.

Eight years ago, in May 2011, following the publication in this journal of an article by Bishop, now Archbishop Malcolm McMahon,1 I contributed one entitled ‘What is the educational mission of the Catholic Church?’ In the light of what has transpired since then and given my own experience in the field of Catholic education over the past forty-five years (I write from the perspective of having been a teacher, in school leadership, governor, inspector, diocesan advisor, consultant, and diocesan director), I believe it is worth revisiting that same topic in order to offer an updated view of the educational landscape of
England and Wales.
Once again I will be addressing the following questions:

• Why do Catholic schools exist?
• Should we have Catholic schools?
• Could the Church continue its mission without
schools?
• Can there be a vehicle other than a school to act
as an agency of religious formation for the
Church?
• Should we be open to and prepare for a ­
completely new landscape?

In 2011, I considered what might be useful and what was in place for Catholic education to be relevant and useful and came to the conclusion that there appeared to be key features. It is my intention to make use of some of these same features in this current article.

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