Citizenship and Education

In this post I explore citizenship education through the lens of Catholic teaching on education. I also make reference to Pope Leo XIII’s teaching on citizenship. I show that there is such a thing as a Christian ‘idea’ of citizenship. This might not sit comfortably in a society which seeks to marginalise (intentionally or unintentionally), the Christian voice.

Citizenship, education and religion 

How citizenship education in the Catholic school is both understood and taught makes it a crucial feature of the contemporary educational scene.

 

Citizenship education flows from a political or civic desire to build community cohesion – universally deemed a ‘good thing’. How to promote, far less achieve, this in a multi-cultural society remains problematic.

 

For some, citizenship education is a ‘secular’ version of religious education: values emerge, it seems, from reason alone without a concomitant contribution from revealed religion. Although religious belief and practice should be fundamental parts of citizenship education, contemporary articulations of citizenship education minimise discussion of the difficult issues arising from religious faith or identity. Nonetheless, the number of children of all faiths and none who are educated in Catholic schools should place the Catholic school not at the margins but at the heart of citizenship education.

 

Religions, of course, are an expression of diversity. This leads to the following question: is contemporary education a means of monopolising thought and values within a conceptual framework which purports to be inclusive but, intentionally or otherwise, fails in this objective?

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Government debt – a vacuum in Catholic social thought?

Until Debt tear us apart

The UK government has borrowed huge amounts of money to try to deal with the covid-19 crisis. Catholic social teaching and thought discusses the question of personal debt and poor-country government debt a great deal but, oddly, there is no systematic treatment of government debt more generally. Yet there are several ways in which government borrowing might be thought problematic. This post will deal with just one aspect of the problem – distributive justice.

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‘Dying well’ in the time of coronavirus

Deathbed-Etiquette-During-Covid-19

This article follows the same theme as last week’s article in a rather different context. The virtues of social justice and solidarity demand that we all play our part in ensuring that those who die experience a good death and have the support they need. Catholic organisations are working to ensure this in these difficult times, as are a range of other organisations. However, ultimately, when things return to normal, we know that, though we will learn from the use of technology during this difficult period, we still need human contact.

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Covid-19 and international solidarity

principles of cooperation

What has Catholic Social teaching to say about the Covid-19 pandemic? As the Church reflects on both the ethics of healthcare resource allocation and the running of the economy, there is quite a lot for us to say; but here I simply want to look at how the United Kingdom’s international policies, and the attitudes underlying them, have affected the country’s response to the crisis. Some policies have been mistaken because they stem from flawed moral attitudes. We have a duty to question and challenge policies: while we are trying to ‘pull together’ governments and public authorities need to be held to account, particularly if mistakes have cost lives. For Christians this is in the best tradition of the Old Testament prophets.

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Covid-19: Love in a time of War

covid 19 Healthcare worker

In an open letter to his parish of St Mark’s, Cambridge weeks before the Government’s “Stay at home” message was issued, Prof of New Testament, Richard Bauckham wrote “During the past week I have had the weird sense of a society preparing for an imminent outbreak of war…The analogy with war came to me last week and I might then have thought it over-dramatic. But now everyone is using it. The difference from the great wars is that the “home front” is now the front.”

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Solidarity in an ageing world

Francis Davis meets The Pope

The world is ageing. By 2050 globally there will be more over 60’s than there under 14’s. With that shift come real changes for the Churches that they are only just beginning to consider.  No wonder then a week ago the Christian relief and development agency Tearfund published my major study into the needs of older people in Rwanda. Not surprising then that just after the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life in the Vatican staged its first ever Congress on the Pastoral Care of the Elderly to explore what challenges the future might hold.

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