Since the beginnings, the community of the Brothers of the Christian Schools has worked for the human and Christian education of children and adults. In the France of the closing years of the seventeenth century, they realised that their mission went far beyond the classroom and the teaching of catechism. As older brothers to their pupils, they were leading them in the paths of knowledge, helping them to acquire the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. They taught them social manners through the rules of good behaviour and politeness, and above all they introduced them into the Christian society of the time through liturgical and sacramental practices adapted to their level. As lay schoolmasters rather than clerics, they understood the secular value of the school, and they learned to dialogue with the society in which they were situated, without neglecting their profound faith and religious convictions.
Their schools were explicitly Christian, and they laid the foundation for modern pedagogy. It is no longer possible to maintain the historical view that pedagogy was born during the Age of Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, because already at the end of the seventeenth century De La Salle and other educators in different parts of Europe had produced a systematic pedagogy with profound Christian roots, whether Catholic or protestant.
In this issue Number 15 of our Digital Journal of Lasallian Research, we are beginning a dialogue on the subject of the teaching of religion, catechesis and education in the faith... these are disturbing words reflecting a journey that is continuing into the twenty first century. Of course, this issue only claims to be the start of the discussion and to point the way to a more profound discussion about what gives us our identity, namely an educational mission with a Christian character.
How and why religion is taught in schools in Europe: The three paradigms
This text is derived from a lecture given by the author in the Institute of Religious Sciences of the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso, on August 3rd 2015. It adopts a systemic approach that looks at the plurality of models of religious education in schools as the result of an organic complex of interconnected and interdependent factors, whether they be social and religious, political and legal, or organisational and methodological. Three paradigms for this education found in Europe are discussed, namely, the political-concordat, the academic-curricular and ethical-values.
The contribution of the sociology of images to the anthropological interpretation of the aesthetics of a Lasallian school in the context of the recent universalisation of basic education in Brazil
The article is a partial result of the doctoral project developed in the post-graduate program in education of La Salle University in the research group “Lasallian Themes”. Its purpose is to disseminate a hermeneutical experience about the aesthetics of the Christian School and De La Salle’s justification on Christian grounds for universal elementary education. The methodology combines, on the one hand, the historical hypothesis of Gauthier and Tardif (2014) that the De La Salle Brothers created modern pedagogy, and on the other hand, the anthropological interpretation of Martins (2017) about Brazilian popular religiosity, working from the sociology of images. The article compares some images of Lasallian iconography with images of the French oligarchy of the 17th century in order to reinterpret the aesthetics of Lasallian schools in the Brazilian educational context, given that it has not yet been possible to universalise basic education, although this has recently been guaranteed by law (number 12796/13).
The catholic school evangelises at least four cultures
It is asserted that the gospel demands that the Catholic school itself be purified along with the cultures of the people in it. This includes the traditional popular culture of the families, the audiovisual culture of the masses, the subcultures of the students (whether children adolescents or young adults) and the academic culture. The characteristic features of these cultures are described to give the work direction.
This article makes two valuable contributions. First there is a description of the experience of the Universidad De La Salle Bajío in the training of catechists, a contribution so relevant and useful as to make the university a leader in this invaluable work. Catechesis and universities can appear to be incompatible. This perception is due in large part to inadequate ideas and practices in catechetics. In the light of this, evangelisation and catechesis should not be relegated but should be seen as giving a different meaning to university life. These reflections form the second contribution, and they greatly help our reinterpreting and acceptance of the mission of evangelising and catechising in a Lasallian university.
Some convictions to be reconsidered explicit presentation of the gospel in a school
Having been called ‘apostles of the catechism’ by Pope Pius X, the Lasallians of the 21st century in Argentina are making a big effort to give an explicit place to the gospel in their educational communities. To this end, they have begun to take into account certain important convictions, namely the plurality of today’s Christian and even Catholic world, the importance of considering the active subjects in the catechetical relationship and the need to ensure processes of initiation and re-initiation into the faith experience in educational communities. All these ideas are an essential part of a school which
Religious education in schools a pathway of culture and faith
In the context of a secular world, the question of religion raises the question of what is religious, religious tradition, religious freedom and the autonomy of the human individual. This religious question can have different faces. It can be the question about the universe, its intelligibility and its foundations; it can be a question about different religious traditions and their story in the shaping of nations through their world visions; it can be the question about unconditioned morality and its relation to specific choices; it can be the question about the origins and the future of the world and of ourselves; it can be the question of the meaning of life; it can be the question about the normal limits of existence; it can be the question of transcendence and of freedom in worship. The ultimate question which subsumes all these is the question of the secular experience of faith. All these questions in their contexts require an initiation, if they are to be formulated, accepted and responded to. This may happen in the context of a family
upbringing or that of an educational establishment through the processes of teaching and learning. It is in the school context where the best approach is to be expected, because it is systematic, critical and well grounded. On the basis of these questions, efforts can be made to answer the main question about the importance of religious