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Constants in context: an exploration of conciliar and post-conciliar documents on the Catholic school

  • David Hall
  • William SultmannEmail author
  • Geraldine Townend
Article
  • 4 Downloads

Abstract

Conciliar and post-conciliar documents provide a consistent stream of inspirational and informative directions for Catholic Education. This study explores the thematic constants within and across these releases, specifically in relation to the mission of the Catholic school. A series of Leximancer analyses, digital data mining processes of narrative text (Leximancer Manual in https://www.leximancer.com. Version 2.23, 2017), were applied to the eight individual and the overall combination of documents. Findings from the individual analyses emphasised the challenges, opportunities and strategies for the Catholic school relevant to time and context. Results from the combined narratives offered a synthesis of these characteristics and revealed four dominant themes; School, Life, People and Communion. The theme of School was linked with sub-themes of catholic, community, mission, education and church; Life, was accompanied by the sub-themes of work, person, human, God, culture, dialogue, faith and society; People, was expanded upon through educational, formation, students, teachers, religious, cultural, different, and social sub-themes; and Communion was reflected in the sub-themes of mission and church. Pictorial illustrations and numerical frequencies of themes and relationships suggested four dominant themes, the constants of Catholic school mission. These included: Mission Alignment (Catholic school mission as integral to the life and mission of Church); Christian Anthropology (Catholic school mission founded on what it means to be fully human); Engagement Typology (Catholic school mission in dialogue with and in service of the world); and School as a Formative Place (Catholic school mission informed by the Gospel and insights of the new evangelisation). A hermeneutic of continuity was established from the individual and collective document analyses, associated research, and commentary by Magisterium leaders. Mission constants and accompanying characteristics were nominated as paradigms of Faith, Learning, Leadership, Community and Formation. These paradigm constants are discussed as holographic in nature and the mission of the Catholic school as a dynamic and interdependent cluster of foundational characteristics.

Keywords

Mission constants Catholic schools Magisterium documents on Catholic schools Conciliar and post conciliar Catholic school documents 

Notes

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Copyright information

© Australian Catholic University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.La Salle AcademyAustralian Catholic UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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