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Queer Thriving in Catholic Education

Going Beyond the Pastoral Paradigm for LGBTQ+ Inclusion

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  • © 2024


  • Explores the limits of the pastoral paradigm in LGBTQ+ inclusion
  • Argues for a turn to queer thriving as a particular approach to LGBTQ+ inclusion in Catholic schools
  • Includes personal and scholarly reflections of relevance to queer theology, religious education, and Catholic education

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About this book

This book provides readers with the opportunity to go beyond anecdote and supposition in order to get a fuller grasp of research around Catholic education and LGBTQ+ matters. This is an edited collection of chapters which explores LGBTQ+ matters in relation to Catholic education. Although the field of Catholic Education Studies has grown exponentially over the past two decades, little if any attention has been published specifically about the place of LGBTQ+ students (and teachers) in the context of Catholic education. This edited book presents the various strands of research about Catholic education and LGBTQ+ inclusion. More specifically, this edited book of chapters addresses a number of broader themes including:

• Is it possible for Catholic education to sit in harmony with the concerns of LGBTQ+ inclusive education?

• What does it mean to ‘queer’ education at all? How does this sit in relation to Catholic perspectives on the purpose of Catholic education?

• When it comes to LGBTQ+ issues in relation to Catholic education, what is the research agenda?

• How might Catholic schools move beyond a ‘pastoral accommodation’ approach to LGBTQ+ students?

• What does the evidence from research in Catholic schools indicate? Are they places of inclusion, hospitality, and welcome for LGBTQ+ young people?


Table of contents (13 chapters)

Editors and Affiliations

  • St Mary's University Twickenham London, Twickenham, UK

    Sean Whittle

  • Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK

    Seán Henry

About the editors

Sean Whittle is a Senior Lecturer in Catholic Education and member of the CERRL research centre at St Mary’s University, United Kingdom. For many years he has worked as a Research Associate with Professor Gerald Grace. Sean has published widely in Catholic education and completed a range of post-doctoral research projects, including a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Brunel University on a religious literacy project, ‘Researching RSE in Catholic schools in Northern Ireland’, and a research project of a Catholic multi-academy trust in Birmingham. Since 2016 he has been collaborating with other academics working in the field of Catholic Education Studies, serving as the organising secretary for the Network for Researchers in Catholic Education (NfRCE). Sean serves as chair of the academic association AULRE. Alongside these academic roles he works part-time as a secondary school RE teacher in London. His book, 'A Theory of Catholic Education' (Bloomsbury 2014), presents arobust philosophy of Catholic education that draws fruitfully on insights from Karl Rahner.  

Dr. Seán Henry is Lecturer in Education at Edgehill University, UK. His teaching experience in higher education has spanned the disciplines of philosophy of education, sociology of education, inclusive pedagogy, religious education, and theology and religious studies. At Edge Hill, he teaches modules in: Eastern Dharma; Judaism; religion and the public sphere; challenges and controversies in religion; and gender, sexuality, and Christianity, among others. His research engages with philosophy of education to reflect on the capacity of education to affect critical social change in the context of pluralism and difference. His research interests are interdisciplinary, connecting the fields of philosophy of education, religious education, and sex education, among others. His 2019 doctoral dissertation ('Queering Religious Schooling: Teachings, Values, Rituals') engagedwith queer theologies to reimagine Jewish, Christian, and Muslim accounts of faith-based schooling. 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Queer Thriving in Catholic Education

  • Book Subtitle: Going Beyond the Pastoral Paradigm for LGBTQ+ Inclusion

  • Editors: Sean Whittle, Seán Henry

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Education, Education (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2024

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-981-97-0322-7Published: 17 April 2024

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-981-97-0325-8Due: 18 May 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-981-97-0323-4Published: 16 April 2024

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XII, 154

  • Number of Illustrations: 2 b/w illustrations, 3 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Educational Philosophy, Sociology of Education, Queer Studies, Catholicism

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