Contemplation, Attention, and the Distinctive Nature of Catholic Education

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Rik Van Nieuwenhove

Abstract

Catholic education should be primarily understood in terms of the contemplative disposition it fosters among students, i.e., a theocentric focus of knowing and loving God, rather than in terms of values. This argument will be developed by drawing on the Thomist understanding of contemplation (as knowing and loving God), and Simone Weil’s notion of attention. The second part will show that the attentive regard for God in all things undergirds some of the central features we have come to associate with Catholicism and its educational vision, such as its sacramental understanding of the world and the way it envisages the relation between faith and reason.

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Author Biography

Rik Van Nieuwenhove, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland

Rik Van Nieuwenhove, Ph.D., is lecturer in theology, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland.