Faith Leadership 1

Schools are a miniature community. They, like the communities in which they are set, reflect what is happening in society and are shaped by current agendas and the cultural environment. Australian Catholic schools today differ from those of the past in many ways. The Catholic Identity of schools, advances in technology, political accountabilities, defined curriculum and the composition of the student population have all changed. The Catholic School in the Threshold of the Third Millennium tells us that “New requirements have given force to the demand for new contents, new capabilities and new educational models besides those followed traditionally. Thus education and schooling become particularly difficult today.” (Congregation for Catholic Education, 1997. p1).
The world is a constantly changing place and recently, the rate of change has increased dramatically. In their mission, all schools are impacted by this rapid change and particularly Catholic schools face enormous challenges resulting from situations in political, social and cultural spheres. With these political, social and cultural changes come a variety of challenges for faith leadership in Australian Catholic Schools and Catholic schools around the world.
We know from both scholarly literature and from real world experience, that the challenges are great and varied for faith leaders in Australian Catholic schools. This essay will attempt to explore some of the challenges of faith leadership as expressed in scholarly literature and from a personal experience viewpoint.
The particular challenges that will be explored in this essay are:
  * The change in organisation of the Catholic school
  * Parental perception and expectation of Catholic Education
  * The distance between the people and the church

Challenge: The change in organisation of the Catholic School
While the nature and purpose of Catholic schools have not changed fundamentally since their foundation, cultural,...