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:
- Reflecting on Church teachings and historical approaches to guide today’s education
- Recovering and adapting the classical tradition of liberal education as embraced and developed by the Church
- Supporting Catholic educators through conferences, teacher development programs, in-service workshops, consultation, and publications
- Advancing this vision among schools, colleges, dioceses, and other individuals and institutions involved in Catholic education
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY WAS ICLE FOUNDED?
The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education (ICLE) is dedicated to preserving and renewing our treasured Catholic K-12 school system which is ever more vital in an increasingly “post-Christian” culture.
WHAT IS THE PROPOSED SOLUTION?
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 liberal arts and sciences, which formed many of the keenest minds and holiest saints in history.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT IT?
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.
WHY “LIBERAL” EDUCATION?
Catholic liberal education (from the Latin, liber, which means free) is ordered to the Truth that sets us free. This formation frees teachers and students to grow in faith, wisdom, and virtue, leading to the only authentic freedom, which is freedom in Christ.
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 young. The sacramental and moral imagination is nurtured in childhood.
WHY BE DIFFERENT?
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.
HOW DOES THIS VISION EVANGELIZE?
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 constraints 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.
HOW DO WE HELP EDUCATORS, SCHOOLS, AND DIOCESES?
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.
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS?
The Institute has served thousands 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.