|Fr. John Piderit, S.J.|
“For teachers preparing to work in Catholic elementary or high schools, most offer little that is specifically Catholic,” said Jesuit Father John Piderit, president of the Catholic Education Institute, who served as president of Loyola from 1993-2001. “Why is this important for administrators?” asked Father Piderit’s colleague Melanie Morey, senior director of research at the institute. “Every year you bring young faculty into your schools” and they are by and large unprepared to teach specifically as Catholics, she said. That means the task of forming faculty in Catholic teaching methods falls almost entirely upon the shoulders of administrators, the two educators said. Bringing the Catholic faith and the Catholic view of the world and of the human person into the classroom “is adding texture and depth and meaning,” Morey said. Father Piderit and Morey spoke at a seminar for administrators as part of Marin Catholic’s second annual Substantially Catholic Conference, a three-day event presented by the Catholic Education Institute to help Catholic high school teachers and administrators infuse Catholicism across the curriculum and in the school culture. Father Piderit said that when comparing Catholic schools of today with those of 50 years ago, schools are more tepid in presenting the faith even as American society has become more aggressively secular. Some of that can be traced back to departments and schools of education at Catholic colleges and universities which, he said, are so concerned with keeping pace with secular competitors and meeting ever-changing requirements for accreditation, that they are not teaching, or doing research into, ways to present Catholic faith and culture in subjects other than religion.
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