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Archbishop Vincent Nichols calls for promotion of Christian virtues in schools
posted on 04 June 2009
Archbishop Vincent Nichols
Archbishop Vincent Nichols

In an address at a conference on the theme of ‘Education and Young People’ held at Heythrop College on 3rd June, Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols said that children should be taught Christian values in schools.

In his address he said that Catholic schools have a crucial role to play in cultivating virtues such as honesty, justice and compassion: Using the words of St Paul, he talked of the ‘supreme advantage of knowing Christ saying: “such a supreme advantage of knowing Christ, gives rise to a way of life which we believe fosters true virtue, true, steady life- building habits of mind and action. That’s what virtue is. It’s those habits of mind and action which genuinely serve the common good.; like honesty and justice and compassion and courage and prudence and temperance; that ability to moderate and use all things with good judgment.”

“There are plenty of indicators in our society today that we need such civic virtues in addition to regulation.  Schools are the places where such virtue is generated or where it is neglected.” Archbishop Nichols went on to say that: “Today we live in a society that tends to instrumentalise everything. In other words, everything is broken down to clear objectives and attainments and each is given a price. Once this really takes hold then education has truly entered the market place. We are finding ourselves considered as nothing more than consumers and suppliers.” He said that Catholic schools that promote virtues benefit society:” This, I believe, is one of the key callings of a Catholic school in education today; to be an arena of genuine covenantal cooperation for the common good. This is one of the reasons why our schools are a genuine service to our society at large.” The conference was organised by Heythrop College, University of London and was   attended by Catholic school heads, parish catechists and religious.  To read the Archbishop's address in full, please see the link below.

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