Catholic School Matters Radio Hour is back on the air today, Wednesday January 9th.  The episode is theologically centered on disaffiliation and Catholic culture.

Dr. Julie Rubio is the first guest.  Here is the announcement of her hiring last spring.  Here is a video of a lecture from 2017 about finding common ground.  Here is a link to her faith formation guide to Amoris Laetitia.  She discusses Amoris Laetitia and the confusion surrounding the document, which she says is about people deepening their intimacy and commitment to marriage.  We need to accompany people through this struggle.  She also presents the idea of a “virtue ethic” and a vision to aim toward that is aspirational.  She also discussed the “mercy vs. truth” framework.

The second guest, John Vitek, is the President and CEO of Saint Mary’s Press.  He is the co-author of Going, Going, Gone: The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics (2017).  The book examines the rapid rate of disaffiliation which is affecting the US Catholic Church.  They found that the average age of disaffiliation has dropped to age 13.  But they found that secularization has impacted all denominations in the US.  Here’s an NCR article about the book and another here.

The final guest is Dr. Patrick Manning, a former ACE teacher, a Seton Hall professor, and the author of “Disintegrating Worldviews and the Future of Catholic Education: Addressing the Deep Roots of Catholic Disaffiliation” in the Journal of Catholic Education.  Here is the abstract:

Catholic schools in the United States continue to struggle with declining enrollment just as the wider American Church continues to struggle with rampant disaffiliation. While some Catholic educators have generated creative solutions to keep their schools afloat, the long-term viability of U.S. Catholic education will require understanding the deep roots of current disaffiliation trends in the gradual fading of the Christian worldview from Westerners’ imaginations. This article addresses this issue by interpreting sociological data about the faith lives of Catholics and Americans in general through the lens of contemporary research on secularization. Working from these interpretive insights, the author suggests concrete implications for how an understanding of the subtle forces precipitating this momentous historical change might guide the work of Catholic educators.

It’s a great article exploring disaffiliation from another perspective with concrete recommendations for Catholic schools, namely that school leaders take building an intentional Catholic school culture seriously, building religion into the curriculum, and leadership formation.

It’s a great podcast exploring theological themes.  Listen here and make sure to subscribe!  Next week I’ll be back with a great episode spotlighting one Catholic school in depth.

Portions of this blog will also appear on the NCEA Talk blog.