Connecting School and Church

Connecting School and Church investigates whether and how the Catholic tradition and ecclesiastical life can be meaningful for the search within Catholic education for well-inspired teaching. It includes a national subprogram that investigates inspiring school-church contacts and an international subprogram that investigates whether and how the Vatican vision and its developments contribute to future-proof visions and practices.

The background of Connecting School and Church is the increasingly anonymous world where self-reliance, efficiency and manufacturability dominate and where religious diversity surpasses parental capacity because of the religious illiteracy that characterizes their generation. As a result, agnostic and non-religious parents also appear to attach great importance to the core values of Catholic education: personal dignity, an inspired school climate and commitment to society. The task of educating children raises the demand for values-filled formation and for Catholic education that can respond to that demand. However, the social tendencies that cause parents to have higher expectations regarding the catholicity of the school have also influenced this education. They have led to a diverse Catholic school landscape with various visions and practices around questions of catholicity, and have also contributed to the awareness of the necessity to reflect together on what good education actually is and how it can contribute to personal and social life. In this light, the opinion of the Van de Donk Committee (2010) once again becomes relevant to bridge the distance that has grown between the Catholic educational world and the Catholic faith tradition.

Connecting School and Church investigates whether and how local and small-scale contacts between Catholic school life and the lived Catholic faith (inspiring people and activities within parishes or monasteries, caritas, Vatican documents on education) can contribute to the reflection on good and inspired Catholic education. The program includes a Dutch and an international component.

  • The Dutch subprogram is embedded in contacts with various social partners and through interviews with those involved in various school-church contacts it describes a number of successful initiatives that can inspire a wider group of schools and churches. With this in mind, a book publication by Berne Media will report on this in the spring of 2021.
  • The international subprogram outlines the development of vision on Catholic education within relevant Vatican documents from Gravissimum Educationis (1965) to Educating Today and Tomorrow (2014/2015). It examines the actual and possible meaning of this vision within various international contexts, in which secularisation, globalisation and religious pluralism each take shape in their own way. This subprogram collaborates with KU Leuven and the Julius-Maximilian University of W├╝rzburg. The research results are reported on in symposiums and symposium collections.