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Upholding the Faith

The Process of Education in Catholic Schools in Australia, 1922-1965

Tom A. O'Donoghue

Notwithstanding the lack of substantial state aid for nearly one hundred years, the Roman Catholic Church in Australia was successful not only in maintaining but also in expanding an educational sector independent of state educational systems. Upholding the Faith is concerned with what was distinctive about education in Catholic schools in Australia during the period between 1922 and 1965. The background is the private nature of Catholic education, which resulted in great freedom for the Church at the level of school management and administration. The main focus, however, is on the fact that such freedom was sought and maintained, albeit at enormous financial and human expense, so the Church could shape the process of education in distinctive ways. Four features of this process are examined: schooling took place within an authoritarian framework; major emphasis was placed on religious instruction and on ensuring an all-pervasive religious atmosphere; particular gender roles were promoted; and a strong Irish influence permeated the curriculum.
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Tom A. O'Donoghue

Throughout the nineteenth century the Catholic Church expressed deep opposition to the great increase in state intervention in education internationally and it mounted resistance wherever possible. However, by the 1920s there was only a small number of countries where the Church was satisfied with the school system. Ireland was one such country. In Ireland successive governments between the 1920s and 1960s left management of the schools in the hands of the Church while accepting financial responsibility for their maintenance. This book is concerned with how the Church, operating within such parameters, was able to influence the secondary-school curriculum in order to meet its own interests, namely, the development of a loyal middle class and the production of priests, brothers, and nuns.
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Come Follow Me and Foresake Temptation

Catholic Schooling and the Recruitment and Retention of Teachers for Religious Teaching Orders, 1922-1965

Tom A. O'Donoghue

Nowadays, lay teachers predominate in Catholic schools throughout the English-speaking world. Yet, for over a century the Catholic teaching force was heavily influenced by the presence of the religious orders. The turning point was the mid 1960s and the opening up of the Catholic Church to the modern world as a result of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). This opening up resulted in large numbers leaving the orders, a major drop off in new recruits and a consequent need to employ ever-greater numbers of lay teachers.
This book is concerned with the period 1922-65. The focus is on the situation prevailing in the United States, England and Wales, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand from 1922 to 1965, whereby Catholic schools were used to maximise the possibility of recruiting new members to the religious orders and to minimise temptation to leave the religious life amongst those who had already joined. Four major practices are examined in this regard. First, Catholic schools deliberately set out to encourage pupils to join the ranks of the religious. Secondly, they replicated within the schools the authoritarianism of the religious life. Thirdly, they worked continuously to marginalize lay teachers from decision-making. Finally, they were ever vigilant in their opposition to co-education and sex education.
The contribution of the religious orders to Catholic education is recognised in the final section of the book. However, consideration is also given to the darker side of what sometimes took place, namely, the child abuse, both physical and sexual, in which members of various religious teaching orders engaged. Finally, the book closes with a brief consideration of changes in Catholic education with the demise in the presence of the religious orders in the schools. In particular, it focuses on the new role of the lay teachers and the changes in the Church’s attitude towards them.