Catholic schools and Catholic social principles : a comparative study of Australia, England and Wales, and the United States of America
This thesis questions to what extent Catholic schools in Australia, England and Wales, and the United States are being able to form their pupils in Catholic social principles today. Catholic schools, because of what they are and of what they purport to be, must always be open to questions of authenticity. Over recent years there has been a steady and subtle, but very significant, increase in the role of governments in non-government education in Australia, England and Wales and the United States. There is concern that non-government schools, particularly Catholic schools, may be becoming unwitting and complacent vehicles of government policy, whether it be a Labour government in Australia, a Conservative government in England and Wales, or a Republican government in the United States. The thesis examines the nature of this government intervention in Catholic schools in these countries over recent years, and considers whether such intervention has been antithetical to the school's capacity to develop the pupils in a sound understanding of Catholic social justice principles. It looks at reasons why Catholic schools in these countries today have difficulty reconciling their aims for social justice with prevailing government's economic and social policies. It is a comparative study, to see how an analysis of such developments in England, Wales and the United States can illuminate these issues in Australia. The thesis attempts to locate, evaluate and synthesise evidence to give a much clearer picture of the difficulties Catholic schools have to face in their call to evangelise modern youth. The investigative method used is essentially a historical analysis of policy documents of the Catholic Church, of the popes, bishops and Catholic education bodies, of the governments and Courts of the countries concerned, of recent statistical data, and of a series of informal interviews. Visits were made to a number of Catholic tertiary institutions to estimate current input in terms of modern Catholic social teaching. In the conclusion the thesis offers strategies to current Catholic educational administrators which may help improve the effectiveness of their Catholic social justice teaching.