The Archbishop is an engaging speaker and has some important things to say about the nature and purposes of Catholic schooling. He recently wrote an illuminating book called the “Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic Schools”, which brings together the thinking and directions behind a range of Church documents for over four decades.
I had the opportunity to chat to him after the conference about some of the points he made. The thing which inspired me was his focus on the dignity of the human person as the centre piece of what we should be on about in our Catholic schools.
It resonated so much since I am of the view that the essence of all learning lies in the fact that it is a relational process which is essentially linked to human dignity. If this is not at the heart of what we are doing and is not a touchstone for our work then we will struggle to be authentically Catholic.
A further point of the Archbishop’s relates to the concept of education as a process. In an age when consumerism so affects all of our lives and thought patterns, what a welcome reminder that education is not a commodity, that our schools aren’t shops, that parents aren’t customers. We don’t sell a product but rather invite families to join a learning community where their children experience education as a life-giving process.