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Vatican II and new thinking about Catholic education

An international conference on Catholic education: 'Vatican II and new thinking about Catholic education'

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Event date: Tuesday 23rd June, 9:30am to Wednesday 24th June, 4:00pm

Location: Heythrop College, University of London

This conference will be an opportunity to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s declaration Gravissimum Educationis and the 25th anniversary of Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

A primary goal of the conference is to consider some of the enduring themes about Catholic education that have emerged since Vatican II.  There will be an opportunity for delegates to dialogue about the present state and future direction of Catholic education.  There will be a range of international perspectives presented as well as papers on Catholic education in the UK. 


Tuesday 23 June

9:15     Registration, Coffee / Tea

10:00   Welcome: Michael Holman SJ

10:05   Opening address: Bishop Michael Campbell OSA

10:30   Keynote speaker 1: Professor Gerald Grace (UCL-IOE)  “Vatican II and new thinking about Catholic education”

             Response to Professor Grace: Dr Michael Kirwan SJ (Heythrop)

11:35   Keynote speaker 2: Professor Stephen McKinney (Glasgow)  “Scotland: Vatican II and Catholic education”

            Response to Professor McKinney: Dr Leonardo Franchi (Glasgow)

12:45   Lunch

1:30     Keynote speaker 3: Professor Lieven Boeve (KU Leuven)  “Belgium: Vatican II and Catholic education”

            Response to Professor Boeve: Dr Martin Poulsom SDB (Heythrop)

2:45     Tea / Coffee

3:00     Panel 1: “New thinking about Catholic education: researchers and practitioner perspectives – part 1”: Professor Lieven Boeve, Dr Dermot Lane, Dr Ros Stuart-Buttle, Dr Anthony Towey [short presentation from each, followed by open discussion and Q & A]. Panel chaired by Dr Maureen Glackin (St Mary’s).      

4:15     Conclusion to day 1

Optional seminar: Some perspectives from Australia and Italy 4:30 – 5:30

Dr Jill Gowdie (Brisbane Catholic Education Office, Australia) “Dialogue around the Australian context”.  Professor Michele Riondino (Pontifical Lateran University – LUMSA University)
“From Gravissimum Educationis to Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the recent magisterium on the Catholic university: A community at the service of knowledge”.

Seminar chaired by Dr Sean Whittle (Heythrop).

Wednesday 24 June

9:30     Coffee / Tea

10:00   Welcome: Introduction to day 2: Dr Sean Whittle (Heythrop)

10:30   Keynote speaker 4: Dr Dermot Lane (Mater Dei, Dublin)  “Catholic Education in the light of Vatican II”

             Response to Dr Lane: Dr Paddy Walsh (Institute of Education-UCL / CRDCE)     

11:35   Panel 2: New thinking about Catholic education: Researchers and practitioner perspectives – 2: Mr Paul Barber, Dr Maureen Glackin, Dr Jill Gowdie and Fr Michael Holman [short presentation from each, followed by open discussion and Q & A]. Panel chaired by Dr Anthony Towey (St Mary’s).

12:45   1:30 Lunch

1:30     Keynote speaker 5: Professor Francois Moog (Paris)  “France: Vatican II and Catholic education”

             Response to Professor Moog: Mr Paul Barber (Catholic Education Service)         

2:45     Coffee / Tea

3:00     Keynote speaker 5: Professor John Sullivan (Liverpool Hope) “Catholic education: a personal reading of the task”          

4:10     Conclusion to the conference: Fr Michael Holman SJ

*On both days, following each response to the keynote address, there will be an opportunity for questions.

The conference will include two panel discussions that will focus on new thinking about Catholic education by bringing together researchers and practitioner perspectives.  The panel members will include, amongst others, Dr Maureen Glackin, Michael Holman SJ, Paul Barber and Dr Anthony Towey.

Throughout the conference there will be repeated opportunities for delegates to dialogue and debate issues and concerns in Catholic education. 

The conference will begin on both days at 10am and will be over by 4:30pm.

Fees and booking information

The conference fee is £70 and includes all refreshments.  For delegates who can only attend one day of the conference (either the 23rd or 24th June) the fee is £45.

To book please download and complete this booking form (.pdf) or contact (or phone 020 7795 4163)

Contact name: Dr Sean Whittle (Post-doctoral Research Fellow with the HIRS)
Contact email address:

This event will be hosted by the HIRS in association with the Aquinas Centre at St Mary’s University College.

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