BY Ian Dunn | May 24 2013 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Vatican supports Scottish Catholic teacher training

—Prefect for Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to give St Andrew’s Foundation launch lecture —Inaugural head of new foundation talks to SCO

One of the Vatican’s most senior officials will visit Glasgow next month to officially launch the new St Andrew’s Foundation for Catholic teacher education.

Archbishop Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will give the annual Cardinal Winning Lecture on the importance of Catholic education at Glasgow University’s Bute Hall on June 15 at 9.45am, ahead of a round table discussion featuring noted academics such as Professor John Haldane.

Archbishop Müller is well placed to give informed insight into Catholic education as, in 2012, he was appointed a member of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic education and, as Bishop of Regensburg, he made education a priority by setting up a church school trust in November 2003, which has taken on the sponsorship of nine church schools to date, ensuring they are financially viable.

Scottish reaction

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland who will introduce Archbishop Müller at the lecture, said the presence of such a senior member of the curia is an excellent omen for the launch of the St Andrew’s Foundation, an initiative intended to build on the 1999 agreement between the Catholic Church in Scotland and Glasgow University which led to the formation of the faculty, now the school of education.

“We are delighted to have Archbishop Müller with us for this significant and important event,” Archbishop Tartgalia said. “The university was born from the heart of the Church at its foundation, and it is good that in our own day the links remain strong and fruitful.”

The evening before the lecture, Archbishop Tartaglia will celebrate a special Mass to mark the launch of the foundation at Glasgow’s St Andrew’s Cathedral. He said that he hopes ‘the new foundation will provide support and inspiration for all involved in Catholic education in Scotland.’

There will also be a special civic reception in the Briggait after the Mass.

Key role

Leonard Franchi, inaugural head of the St Andrew’s Foundation, agreed that the launch promises to be ‘an exciting event’ and told the SCO that he was ‘delighted that Archbishop Müller has agreed to speak at the launch of the Foundation.’

Mr Franchi said he believed the new foundation would play a key role in the future of Catholic education in Scotland.

“St Andrew’s College in Bearsden, which prepared a great many Catholic teachers over the years, merged with the University of Glasgow in the late 1990s to form the faculty of education,” he said.

“Starting in 2009 the university went through a restructuring process. Consequently, the faculty of education became the school of education.

“The St Andrew’s Foundation has grown out of a sincere desire to maintain the traditions of Catholic teacher education amid this changing academic landscape.

Need for change

Mr Franchi believes that the foundation can serve a number of vital areas within the broader world of Catholic education.

“We want to develop an international profile across a range of research and scholarship activities in the field of Catholic education, support the spiritual and pastoral formation of the staff and students of the school of education and offer supportive structures to teachers currently working in Catholic schools,” he said. “We will be a natural point of contact for anyone interested in this field. We will host academic conferences and generally act as a hub of Catholic teacher education in Scotland and beyond.

“With the centenary of the 1918 Education (Scotland) Act coming up in five years time, we intend to prepare a number of events to mark that important milestone.”

University support

Glasgow University is delighted with this development.

Anne Anderson, vice-principal of Glasgow University and head of the college of social sciences, said it was a privilege for the university to host the launch event.

“This is an exciting time in the life of the university when we both celebrate our heritage and new opportunities to develop an international profile in research and scholarship in the field of Catholic education,” she said.






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