Catholic education a force for social harmony

Catholic education remains a powerful catalyst for social harmony according to a visiting expert in international and human rights law.

Notre Dame Law School (USA) Professor Paolo Carozza spoke to the Australian Catholic University (ACU) about the role of Catholic education in developing social capital.

“There’s a lot of reason to believe that Catholic schools in many parts of the world are capable of contributing a great deal to social capital and social harmony and development very broadly,” Carozza said.

“These institutions are providing a formation that has huge implications for the development and stability and public wellbeing of communities. Values-laden education is a way to encourage and foster civic engagement, democratic values, community growth and development, higher degrees of toleration and understanding in a fraught era,” Carozza said.

Assistant Director of Catholic Schools Office of Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Brian Lacey, agrees that Catholic school students receive a unique education that affects their whole life. 

“Our Catholic schools are places where students, parents and staff are invited into relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is through our identity, culture and traditions that our young people get to ‘break open’ the Gospel message through participation in social justice programs, outreach and an awareness of the Gospel challenge of making God known to others,” Mr Lacey said.

“In a world that has a global distrust of institutions, governments, sporting groups and the like it is through our Catholic education that young people realise and share a witness of Christ who is able to meet and embrace others who are on the edge of society, who are disengaged and who are yearning for community and an identity,” Mr Lacey said.

Professor Carozza is one of the many experts who will be speaking at a conference hosted by ACU on 22-24 May in North Sydney. This conference is an opportunity for experts in education and the law to share the implications of their research for “navigating the tensions in the balancing of three goods: the freedom of students to learn, the autonomy of institutions to teach, and responsibility of governments to provide.”

The conference is hosted by ACU in collaboration with The Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame (USA); the Holy See’s Congregation for Catholic Education; and the European Association for Education Law and Policy.

For more information, or to register, visit the conference website.

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle