Newman Studies Journal

Volume 13, Issue 2, Fall 2016

Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas
Pages 53-68

Cardinal Newman and Pope Francis
Catholic Schools as Key to an Educated Laity

When people hear the name of Cardinal Newman, one of the first associations they make is to his Idea of a University. However, it is rarely known that his first love was Catholic education at the elementary and secondary levels, so that the Oratory School he founded has been described as the “apple of his eye.” Interestingly, Pope Francis is the first pontiff in modern history, at least, to have taught high school (chemistry and Latin) and who has reflected extensively on his own personal experiences of being raised by the Salesian Fathers in Argentina. Both Newman and Francis would regard Catholic elementary and secondary schools as essential to producing what Newman repeatedly referred to as “an educated laity” – equally essential for what St. John Paul II dubbed “the new evangelization.”