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Statistics show there are roughly 210,000 Catholic schools all over the world, even in countries where Catholics are a minority. But with secularization on the rise, what exactly makes a Catholic school, Catholic?

CARD. ZENON GROCHOLEWSKI
Congregation for Catholic Education 
"When a school is Catholic, students and teachers need to understand that Catholic values will be taught there. We respect other religions of course, but it's our right to transmit Christian values.”

As a prelate of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal Zenon said, having schools with a clear Catholic identity is a right that should be respected, despite secularization or cultural disagreements. This is one of the points addressed in a new document titled: Educating: Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools. It highlights that having a religious identity is a strength that gives way to inter-religious dialogue.

CARD. ZENON GROCHOLEWSKI
Congregation for Catholic Education 
"The document shows how having this clear identity as a Catholic school, can be a great way to engage in inter-religious dialogue.”

He adds that dialogue does not mean compromise.

ITALO FIORIN
LUMSA University Professor
"There's the notion that says, 'I'll accept you, but only if you leave your identity aside. So in a way you're accepted by that culture, but only because of a 'conditional acceptance.' The loss here is huge. You're being asked to forget about your own identity.”

To keep the dialogue alive, the Congregation for Catholic Education is planning two forums in 2015: One at UNESCO offices in Paris and the other in Rome. The goal will be to look into the role Catholic schools can play in enforcing Christian beliefs and in welcoming inter-religious dialogue.


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