Renewing parish education in the Roman Catholic Church of Latvia: Implementing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council

Lasma Latsone, Fordham University


Throughout history, many political, cultural and religious factors have influenced the lives of Latvian people, culture and society, as well as the development of the Latvian Catholic Church. Progress in science and technology has changed the ways people relate to each other and their system of beliefs and values. New challenges have arisen for religious educators as well in their attempts to respond to the needs of the people they serve. Many of the changes people experience in the Roman Catholic Church were inspired by the Second Vatican Council which challenged the self-understanding of the Church and brought new spirit to the life of Catholic communities. This dissertation, briefly emphasizing the main historical developments of Latvian Catholic Church and placing it in contemporary society, seeks to answer the following questions: why are Catholics of Latvia so poorly educated about the teachings of the Second Vatican Council? What has been the impact of Latvia's particular historical circumstances on the social, political and religious imagination of its people? How does contemporary society influence people's understanding of Church and their desire to belong to and participate in a particular parish community? In what ways can adult religious education improve the religious literacy of Latvian society, and how can it help people to appreciate the power and potential of community? This study employs not only historical and philosophic inquiry methodologies, but also a survey method which brings into conversation the lived experiences of people and reveals their needs and expectations, suggesting the significance of religious education in changing people's lives and their understanding of what it means to be part of a parish community. The Second Vatican Council encouraged openness to the modern world and brought new challenges for the future, inviting each parish community to acknowledge its mission in the public world and its social, political and religious responsibilities. Education can change the way people look at things and events, and varied forms of religious education can prepare people for change, thus giving them courage to create the Church to which they want to belong and in which they want to participate.

Subject Area

Religious education|Religion

Recommended Citation

Latsone, Lasma, "Renewing parish education in the Roman Catholic Church of Latvia: Implementing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council" (2004). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3126526.