Recently, the Vatican issued a call for stronger Catholic identity in Catholic education. But will it do any good?
The short answer: Yes, I think it will. The Congregation for Catholic Education’s new instruction on schools, “The Identity of a Catholic School for a Culture of Dialogue
,” published March 29, could help tremendously, if dioceses take to heart its demands for truly faithful Catholic teaching across all subjects, hiring teachers who profess and witness to the Catholic faith, and intervening meaningfully when a school or teacher fails to provide faithful Catholic formation.
Catholic families have been waiting more than 50 years for such firm commitment to Catholic identity, and already we have seen some exciting examples of dioceses and parochial schools overcoming the poor catechesis, poor formation and high costs that eroded much of Catholic education in past decades. We have also seen the growth of lay-run independent schools, homeschool programs and hybrid home-and-school programs that are serving a wide range of Catholic families.
All dioceses can build upon these models to ensure a strong backbone of fidelity and authentic Christian formation in parochial schools and especially schools affiliated with religious orders — or if necessary, shut them down.
Here are 10 key takeaways from the Vatican’s instruction.