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On 'The Importance of Education'

Fifty years ago, Catholic leaders penned a declaration of how vital education is in modern life.

Their Gravissimum Educationis — “The Importance of Education” — was drafted during the era of the Vietnam War, Woodstock, women’s liberation and the election of America’s first Roman Catholic president. It was a major Counciliar document during a pivotal time period in American history, and the only one written on Catholic education, according University of Dayton professor Charles Russo.

Russo is reflecting on its impact with a new book out this month, Gravissimum Educationis: Golden Opportunities in American Catholic Education 50 Years after Vatican II. 

“After a half a century, it is time to look back,” Russo said. “The book provides a history and a perspective look at Catholic education — where it’s going and what we need to move forward for Catholic education to remain viable in the 21st century.” 

Russo, director of the University of Dayton’s doctorate program in educational leadership, is co-editor with Gerald Cattaro from Fordham University.

The publication features chapters by “leading experts on various aspects of Catholic education.” It also offers 10 recommendations to reinvigorate Catholic education from Russo and Cattaro. 

The book is being released ahead of the anniversary of Pope Paul VI publishing Educationis on Oct. 28, 1965.

Russo and Cattaro say they hope the book will add to the celebration during a seminar at the Vatican this October to mark the anniversary, and enhance the international scope of research on Catholic education.


News and Communications Staff