A descriptive study of the espoused and in-use ecclesiology found in selected Lasallian Christian Brother colleges and universities

Stephen William Markham, Fordham University


Statement of the problem. The identity of a Catholic College involves individual and corporate perceptions of how the Church is understood. The changes adapted at Vatican Council II brought, within the Catholic Church, a period of confusion and diversity. Such is reflected in a college's efforts to identify and implement a Catholic identity. This study describes the concepts of Catholic Church that are espoused and transmitted at selected Lasallian Christian Brother Colleges. Theoretical rationale. Argyris' espoused and in-use-theory provides the theoretical basis for this study. Espoused theories express what individuals expect of an organization and hope to achieve through it. In-use-theories are what individuals actually do to implement their values and attitudes. Governing variables. From the literature review, Church characterized as other-worldly and as immersed in the world are the key variables or categories established for this study. The former emphasizes separation from the world, while the latter tends to involve itself in social action, promoting personal freedom, responsibility, and justice. Method. Content analysis is used to determine the espoused characterization of Church and field research is utilized to determine the in-use. The materials studied or observed for each college include: (a) mission/goal and campus ministry statements, (b) student handbook, (c) religion classes, and (d) campus ministry and resident life activities. Significance. This study can be a significant first step for the Lasallian Christian Brothers in assessing and evaluating the changes taking place at their colleges and in identifying and implementing the Catholic character of their colleges. Limitation. Only Lasallian colleges were studied, only two understandings of Church, and only a selected few areas of the colleges' operation were researched.

Subject Area

Religious education|Higher education|Religion

Recommended Citation

Markham, Stephen William, "A descriptive study of the espoused and in-use ecclesiology found in selected Lasallian Christian Brother colleges and universities" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8813579.