The consistency of Catholic high school policy and practice with the Church's teaching on social justice

Jeremias Arenemhe Eruaga, Fordham University


In the quest for global eradication of social injustice, Catholic hierarchies mandated social justice education for Catholic schools. It is one thing for the Church to urge social justice education and it is another for schools to plan and implement a well-conceived program in social justice education. This study aims at determining whether the ideals of social justice are operational in the policies and practices of Catholic schools. The diocesan or/regional religious congregation's director of education is usually the link between the schools and the Universal Church at an intermediary level. Ideally in formulating educational policies these three levels should be consistent if the Church is to achieve its goals. So this study focused on one aspect of a typical organizational strategy: to realize large goals within a sub-unit of the organization; namely, through consistent policy formulation at each level, policy articulation between levels, and policy implementation within each operational unit. The study employed textual analysis and interviews as strategies for collecting data. Three core concepts of social justice: human dignity, community, and participation were developed from the encyclicals in order to analyze educational policies and practices. The sample consisted of five system levels, a diocesan and four religious congregations. Three high schools were selected from each system level. All the systems but one had written high school policies. The analysis and rating of the policies revealed that, to a certain degree, each policy reflected the three concepts in order to give their schools' program a general basis in content of social justice. Some system levels monitored their school programs and activities to ensure that they practiced what they taught. With the exception of the schools without system policies, the schools based their policies and practices on their system guidelines. These schools' policies were found to be consistent with their system level policies and consequently the Church's social teaching. The conclusion drawn from the study is that, when there is consistency among all policy levels in an organization, it enhances the possibilities of genuine implementation at the operational level.

Subject Area

School administration|Religious education

Recommended Citation

Eruaga, Jeremias Arenemhe, "The consistency of Catholic high school policy and practice with the Church's teaching on social justice" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9123116.