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From Present to Future: Catholic Education in Ireland for the New Century

ISBN13: 9781853909030

ISBN10: 1853909033

Publisher: Veritas


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  • In the Past decade, Irelands largely informal system of education has been transformed by a number of legislative measures, which have effected a major transfer of control from the churches to the State. All this has occurred against the backof a rapidly increasing and secularizing society. This is the context in which the current public discourse on the role of the Catholic Church in education is taking place.

    The proceedings of this conference held in February 2005 bring together some of the key thinkers in the Catholic and Irish educational world. In addition to the conference papers, a seminal paper by Dr J. Dunne from a 1992 conference on School and Society and a Theological Reflection on the Catholic School in Ireland by Dr A. McGrady are added to the conference papers. It is therefore a thought-provoking book for anyone interested in engaging in this important question for the Church in Ireland and society.
  • Eithne Woulfe



    James Cassin



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    This book, edited by Eithne Woulfe and James Cassin, makes available the texts of five major Papers presented at a 2005 Education Conference in Maynooth and two further papers previously printed elsewhere. The introduction includes excerpts from the opening Address to the Conference of Bishop Leo OReilly. Speaking to those attending the Conference - and now, by extension, to the readers of this book - Bishop OReilly asserts that We must face head-on todays challenges to Catholic education. The traditions which brought us to this point will not continue if we do not act responsibly. We must adapt to the changing circumstances of modern Ireland ... It is time to plan for the future. The publication of these papers will contribute to the reflection, discussions and decisions essential to the task outlined by Bishop OReilly.

    Many of the papers give a useful overview of the interlining ecclesial, educational and societal developments in recent years. They set out a number of challenges to the Catholic school which are at once recognisable and disturbing. Tensions are not minimised, nor are past weaknesses ignored in the critical analysis offered by the writers. There are some answers to the perennial questions about what constitutes a Catholic school, as well as pointers towards the different future now unfolding. The summary of the Churchs pronouncements on Catholic education and on the theological basis for Catholic education will be appreciated by the readers.

    The inclusion of a paper originally published in 1991 was an interesting decision. One must acknowledge that many of the points made in this paper are still obstinately at the centre of our contemporary agenda (p.1.91.), despite major changes in the years since its original publication. The editors tell us that there was no change made to the material of this paper other than some small typographical and stylistic corrections. The presentation of this section could have benefited from some further editing which would have made the material more accessible to the reader.

    This is not a book to be read at one sitting. It is, rather, a rich resource which should be referred to by all involved in the Church and in education in Ireland. The editors tell us that the development of the themes raised in this volume is a work-in-progress. The publication of the material in From Present to Future gives an impetus to such developments and to the serious discussions which are called for. It is good that this work.

    - Eileen Randles IBVM, Loreto Education Centre. Intercom, May 2007


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From Present to Future: Catholic Education in Ireland for the New Century