How Much and Which Theology in Religious Education? On the Intimate Place of Theology in the Public Space of the School

  • Bert RoebbenEmail author


This chapter explores the thesis that the public-theological role of Catholic religious education in Late-Modernity needs to be reconsidered drastically. Because school development today is based on the idea of human dignity and inter-subjective creativity, religious education needs to redefine its goals. The theology of religious education will as a matter of fact be influenced by this shift. After requalifying the German concept of Bildung, the paper focuses in the second part on the movement of children’s and youth theology and on its specific didactical outlook as “theologizing with children and young people.” In the third section these findings are related to systematic-theological elements of the Catholic tradition. After consideration a kenotic-theological concept seems to be most fitting to re-imagine the intimate place of theology in the public space of the school.

The starting point of this chapter is the contemporary school in Europe. It has been developing in recent years into a highly organized institution with many procedures of professionalism and accountability. Every school (private or public) is expected to contribute to the common good and to demonstrate the adequacy of its contribution. Schools prepare children and young people to participate with their competences and skills in the society of the future. When this condition is fulfilled, knowledge can accumulate and wealth can grow. Children and young people will then, in their turn, enjoy the commodities of this knowledge and wealth. In this chapter I raise serious questions about this instrumentalization of young people and their talents in school and society today.


Young People World View Religious Education Thick Description Religious Language 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities and TheologyTechnische Universität DortmundDortmundGermany

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