Why Catholic Education?: An Outsider Ponders the Uniqueness of the Catholic Tradition

In the past, debates over Catholic education and distinctive Catholic education institutions were often pursued in the context of traditional religious antagonisms. But ours are gentler, more tolerant times. Explicit theological language is no longer acceptable, or indeed useful, in Ontario's secular public forum. The attention of parents and educators, whether Christian or not, are increasingly focused on bottom-line, practical matters and the challenge of new technology. Moreover, parents and teachers are struggling with issues of globalization, pedagogical effectiveness, results, instructional development, jobs, training, and limited resources. In such a situation, do 'Catholic' education or 'Catholic' educational organizations continue to have a place?

Peter Erb, Ph.D.

Peter C. Erb has taught in the Department of English and is currently a member of the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University. A Mennonite, he has written on Radical Protestant reformers and pietists, German Catholic theology of the Romantic Era, nineteenth-century Roman Catholicism and Anglo-Catholicism in Great Britain, and twentieth-century Catholic novelists. He maintains an interest in certain aspects of contemporary Catholic theology, has for some years been working on an edition of the German poetry and plays of Father Eugene Funcken (d. 1888) of St. Agatha, Ontario. Dr. Erb is presently completing a three-volume critical edition of the correspondence (1833-1890) between William E. Gladstone, four times Prime Minister of Great Britain, and Henry E. Manning, a Catholic convert from Anglicanism and Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. He has received an Outstanding Teaching Award from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Wednesday, January 20, 1999 - 7:30pm
Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University