Articles

Research in Service of Catholic Education – Part II: Interviews with Friends and Colleagues of Professor Grace

In the interview with Professor Grace mentioned in Part I of this post, I asked him about the areas where he believed more research was needed. He suggested three main areas: (i) Catholic Education and service for the Poor; (ii) the effectiveness of the spiritual, moral and social cultures of Catholic schools; (iii) the education and formation of Catholic school leaders and teachers. These themes are echoed by his friends and colleagues in interviews conducted over the last six months that are available in a compilation from the Global Catholic Education project. The interviews are organized around the following questions:

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Service learning and social justice – a new innovation at St. Mary’s University

St. Mary’s University is launching a new degree programme. It is coming to the end of its validation process and will be formally “on the books” from February. Students will be able to join the programme from September 2022, but they can apply now. For the next month, we are currently advertising it “subject to validation” as the regulations require. The programme is probably unique in the UK. It will be called: “MA in Social Justice and Public Service”. 

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Can we eat, drink and be merry this Christmas?

A quick google search will reveal that Pope Francis warns us almost every year about the commercialisation of Christmas. This year, for example, he was quoted as saying: “The Christmas tree and Nativity crèche should evoke the joy and the peace of God’s love and not the selfish indulgence of consumerism and indifference”. Of course, this message is not unique to Pope Francis: almost every Christian minister warns of this danger.

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Economics and purposeful human action

Economics involves the study of purposeful human action. When economists write about “methodological individualism” as being at the basis of their subject, some Christians have a tendency to think that this is problematic: after all, we are called to live in society. However, methodological individualism simply means that it is only the individual that can act purposefully. We should not think of the economy as an abstraction. Economic decisions, outcomes and even complex social structures ultimately arise from the decisions of individuals. If there is dire poverty, oppression and corruption in a country, this does not happen without sinful actions by individuals in the economic sphere. Even if structures of sin exist, whereby the culture is so warped that we find it almost impossible to resist the temptation to sin ourselves (for example, if we simply cannot run our small business without paying a bribe), as St. John Paul II reminded us, such structures of sin always derive from the actions of individuals. That is true even if those actions were historical and interact with the actions of many others.

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Is there a right to die? Assisted suicide, assisted dying and changing the law

‘To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it’. These words from G.K. Chesterton’s A Short History of England are a salutary reminder to those who claim certain rights. And now, not for the first time, a new right has been proposed: the right to die. Over the last few years a number of bills advocating for a change in the law to allow for assisted dying or a right to die have been brought before Parliament. All have so far failed. Yet, the assisted suicide campaign continues.

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