An analysis of the fundamental shift in Catholic secondary religious education during the long sixties, 1955-1973

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Joe Stafford

Abstract

This paper examines the fundamental shift in Catholic secondary religious education in North America during the long sixties, 1955-1973. Special focus is given to the Canadian province of Ontario. This paper argues that this fundamental shift involved a major change in orientation as the strict Neo-Thomism was abandoned after Vatican II along with the traditional teacher-led pedagogy of rote-memorization. It was replaced with a more subjective approach, emphasizing the developmental nature of Church tradition and the inner transformation of the individual. Teaching methods also changed with more student-centred strategies adopted. This paper also examines the causes and consequences of this fundamental shift, concentrating on the impact of the cultural changes of the long sixties and Vatican II. This paper argues that this shift was a needed one, but that it was too extreme leading to a period of considerable confusion in Catholic secondary religious education.

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Section
Part II: Catholic education at the intersection with the “long 1960s"