The Catholic school sector is under significant stress with declining enrollments and schools closing in virtually every diocese in the United States. This paper examines two value propositions for Catholic education. One is its role in providing foundational support for the development of personal spiritual identity in emerging adulthood and across the lifecourse. The second is the contribution of Catholic education to moral-character formation. Both propositions are relatively underdeveloped. The question of students’ personal spiritual identity is overshadowed by the understandable concern with the Catholic identity of schools. The question of moral-character formation is subsumed by catechesis and liturgy but is otherwise remanded to the hidden curriculum. We argue that Catholic education can make a powerful claim on parents and students to the extent that explicit attention is drawn to spiritual identity and moral-character formation. Several features of the Catholic school advantage with respect to school ethos can be recruited to this end. Directions for future research are noted.
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Lapsley, D., & Kelley, K. (2022). On the Catholic Identity of Students and Schools: Value Propositions for Catholic Education. Journal of Catholic Education, 25 (1). http://dx.doi.org/10.15365/joce.2501072022