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 Contents - Sep 2012AD2000 September 2012 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: 2012 Fighting Fund launched: support Christian values - Peter Westmore
Sainthood: Cardinal Van Thuân: process to beatification 'very advanced' - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Film: 'For Greater Glory': an inspiring message for today's Christians - Babette Francis
Survey confirms crisis of faith in Ireland - Michael Gilchrist
Noted UK doctor slams BBC program's anti-Catholic bias - Robert Walley
Interview: Egypt after Mubarak: 'Christians feel excluded' - Father Andrzej Halemba
Letters: Archbishop Chaput: how to meet the challenges to religious freedom - Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM
Time for women's "true genius" to reassert itself - Anne Lastman
Australian Catholic Students Association Conference 2012 - Br Barry Coldrey
The Church's mission priority: to search for its 'lost sheep' - Andrew Kania
Letters: Media bias - Anne Lastman
Letters: Achilles' heel - Fr John George
Letters: Appreciation - Frank O'Connor
Letters: Article of faith? - Jean-Leon Shanks
Letters: Power of the Rosary - Gabrielle Gannon
Letters: Old Testament - Fr Brian Harrison OS
Books: A COMPANION TO CATHOLIC EDUCATION, by Leonardo Franchi (Editor) - Gerard O'Shea (reviewer)
Books: THROUGH SHAKESPEARE'S EYES: Seeing the Catholic presence in the plays, Pearce - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Books: FATIMA FOR TODAY: The Urgent Marian Message of Hope, by Fr Andrew Apostoli CFR - Brother Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Fatima: Mary's appeal for penance and conversion - Bishop Arthur Serratelli

Teaching the faith in Catholic schools: a valuable new resource

Leonardo Franchi (Editor)
(Gracewing/Freedom Publishing, 2012, 252pp, $30.00, ISBN: 978-0-85244-757-4. Available from Freedom Publishing)

The essential message of  A Companion to Catholic Education is summed up on the back cover in a quote by Pope Benedict XVI: "A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person. A Catholic school, over and above this, should help students to become saints."

But let's not delude ourselves: for many years, this is not what we have witnessed in large parts of the world, including our own country.  Let's just examine some statistics.

In our own country, a 2006 investigation into the attitudes of  Generation Y found that less than 3% of recent graduates from Catholic schools participated regularly in the Sunday Eucharist while  r elativism was identified as their predominant philosophy, namely that an individual's views and preferences, provided they harm no-one else, should not be questioned or constrained, and that spiritual or religious beliefs and practices are purely personal lifestyle choices  which are in no way necessary.

In 2010 Benedict XVI acknowledged this problem to journalist Peter Seewald who asked him how it was possible that, despite spending years in Catholic schools, students in the Western world seem to end up knowing more about Buddhism than their own faith. The Pope replied: "That is a question I also ask myself. Every child in Germany has nine to thirteen years of religion in school. Why, in spite of that, so very little sticks, if I may put it like that, is incomprehensible."

It would be both ungracious and inaccurate of me not to acknowledge the efforts made in more recent years by many in our Catholic Church in Australia to try to turn this around. I think for example of the work of Cardinal Pell, Archbishop Hart and Bishop Elliott in bringing forth the  To Know, Worship and Love for Catholic schools, and I look at the inroads on Catholic youth culture being made by  World Youth Day, the  Thomas More Centre,  Six-Thirty and  Theology On Tap.

We can look also at the efforts being made in tertiary institutions like the John Paul II Institute, Campion College and the University of Notre Dame in Sydney.

Despite all of this, however, we know that we have much more to do. This book,  A Companion to Catholic Education, is an attempt to add yet another tool to aid us in the greatest cause ever known - preaching the Gospel to every creature, in this case by spreading it into the domain of educational theory and practice.

The book takes up this task on two levels: theological knowledge and application to practice. The contributors cover a wide variety of subjects and bring different levels of expertise to the project - differences of both degree and kind.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 25 No 8 (September 2012), p. 17

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