Vatican II and Catholic Religious Secondary Education in Ontario: Changes within a North American Context


Joseph Stafford
Queen's University


Vatican II, religious education, Papacy, Neo-Thomism, Province of Ontario, the New Theology, curriculum theory


This book examines the impact of Vatican II on secondary religious education in Ontario in the context of North America. In order to understand this impact, pre-Vatican II secondary religious education is analysed beginning with the role of the papacy and the eventual imposition of Neo-Thomism on Catholic schools. The conditions of reception for the reforms of Vatican II, in particular for the Declaration on Christian Education, are also examined. During the long sixties, secondary religious education experienced a fundamental shift as both the pre-Vatican II approach to education and the dominant theology of Neo-Thomism were abandoned. Influenced by both the Vatican II reforms and the conditions of reception, secondary religious education shifted from an objective, content-driven approach to a subjective approach that focused on the inner transformation of the individual and the establishment of a Christian community within the school. By the late 1970s, an effort was made to establish a balance between these two approaches as Catholic schools struggled to deal with the pervasive influence of secularism and the collapse of the Catholic classicist culture. This book proposes a new curricular framework aimed at achieving this balance.



November 11, 2019