The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education inspires and equips Catholic educators to renew today’s Catholic schools by drawing on the Church’s tradition of education, which frees teachers and students for the joyful pursuit of faith, wisdom, and virtue.
The Institute proposes to fulfill its mission by:
1. Reflecting on Church teachings and historical approaches to guide today’s lived experience of education
2. Recovering and adapting the classical tradition of liberal education as embraced and developed by the Church
3. Supporting Catholic educators through conferences, teacher development programs, in-service workshops, consultation, and publications
4. Advancing this vision among schools, colleges, dioceses, and other individuals and institutions involved in Catholic education
- The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education (ICLE) is dedicated to saving and renewing our treasured Catholic school system, K-12, which is ever more vital in an increasingly “post-Christian” culture.
- Through our work with schools over the past decade, we are convinced that the solution is clear: Catholic schools flourish when they recover and adapt the Church’s time-tested approach in the classical liberal arts and sciences, which formed many of the keenest minds and holiest saints in history.
- We help educators realize the full implications of a philosophy of education that puts Jesus Christ, the Logos, at its center. We focus on how this affects what we teach and how we teach.
- Catholic liberal education (from the Latin, liber, which means free) is ordered to the Truth that sets us free. This formation frees us for growth in faith, wisdom, and virtue. While recent attention has been aimed at the revival of liberal learning in higher education, we understand that these habits of mind and heart must first be cultivated in the very young. The sacramental and moral imagination is nurtured in childhood.
- ICLE recognizes that the secular model of education is rooted in an atheistic, utilitarian philosophy. Its rise over the past century has fragmented knowledge and failed children at an increasing rate with every experiment it deploys. When this industrialized approach is imported uncritically into Catholic schools, it undermines both the faith and reason of our children – contrary to the Church’s central purpose in education.
- Through the recovery of the Church’s own tradition, Catholic schools can offer both Catholic and non-Catholic students the kind of learning that will free them from the shackles of secularism, which rejects the very notion that Truth exists. Authentic Catholic education is an engine of evangelization for the Church and the culture; it nourishes the soul in truth, goodness, and beauty, defying the Dictatorship of Relativism that oppresses our age.
- To this end, ICLE offers conferences, workshops, site visits, teacher training, publications, and consultation services designed to give current and future teachers both theory and practice for immediate use. We work with entire dioceses, as well as parish schools, independent schools, and individual teachers. Our efforts have fostered a community of inspired, faith-filled educators whose reach is exponential. Their deep appreciation of our work fuels us for our mission.
- The Institute has served hundreds of Catholic educators who are now transforming their schools with the ideas and the tools that bring the Church’s vision to life. Their success is evident not just in surging enrollment, but in the joyful communities of faith and learning that result when “Catholic identity” extends throughout the school culture, curriculum, and pedagogy.
- ICLE has accomplished this work over the past decade through the mostly pro-bono work of a just a few staff members, all passionate educators who are committed to serving the Church in this way. We can no longer meet the burgeoning demand without full-time staff and resources to expand our mission.
- The Institute seeks to spread the good news of this proven renewal in Catholic education. And, to further its exponential impact, we seek financial support from those called to restore the culture in Christ.