Inter-religious education replaces Catholic education in Austria

The Kirchliche Pädagogische Hochschule (KPH) Vienna / Krems is an "open space for the coexistence of religions" is, according to the words of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, . Austria's largest private educational college, in which seven Christian churches work together and which also cooperates with the free "churches" as well as the Muslim, Alevi and Israelite religious communities, being "no bastion one against the other." "The churches are concerned about the future of our country and education," the Viennese Archbishop said at a ceremony on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the KPH on Wednesday afternoon at the University of Vienna-Strebersdorf.

My faith, your faith, no faith.  Our Country.

As the most important task of education, and thus also the goal of ecclesiastical teacher training, Schönborn described as the "promotion of responsible freedom" (Cathcon: the universal law of the Church is the salvation of the soul). The "passionate educator", Pope Francis has written about this in a programme form: "The prudence, the good judgment, and the reasonableness depend on a whole chain of elements that form a synthesis within the person, more precisely; in the centre of their freedom. " Education should promote "responsible liberties that choose with meaning and reason at decisive moments" and let people understand that "their life and that of their fellowship is in their hands, and that this freedom is an immeasurable gift," the Cardinal quoted the Papal Letter "Amoris laetitia" (Para. 262).

Schönborn also recalled the pre-history of the KPH Wien / Krems: As a result of a challenging Academies Study Act in 1999, the Catholic Bishops' Conference had taken a "courageous decision" with financial commitments for the church to remain in teacher training. Education is ultimately a "primordial element of the Jewish-Christian tradition" and "an essential part of what we understand by religion". Since 2007 the "ecumenically launched" KPH Wien / Krems has taken "an important place in teacher training" thanks to "excellent cooperation between the churches and the state".

"Role model for society and school"

The chairman of the university council, Andrea Pinz, described the KPH as the "response of the churches to one of the great challenges of our time", . The training centre was a "role model for society and school" by providing a meeting place for "learning in diversity". Graduates were "ready for the reality, which is as plural as the university itself" in the face of today's multi-ethnic composition of school classes. In this situation, "a sensitive treatment of religion as well as with ethical and social diversity" and also the knowledge of one's own background was important, emphasized Pinz.

Today the KPH Wien / Krems stands as a "strong, large facility" with an influence far beyond the confines of the religions and the country, according to the chairman of the university council. It was a "workshop for the future that draws from the past". Pinz announced that the churches would continue to work independently in the training of teachers.

Five hundred high-ranking guests from the worlds of religion, science and society took part in the ceremonial act at the Vienna-Strebersdorf university, including Cardinal Schönborn, St. Pölten, Bishop Klaus Küng and Bishop Conferences General Secretary, Peter Schipka, as well as the Lutheran Bishop, Michael Bünker, Paisios Jung, the president of the Muslim community, Ibrahim Olgun, Arie Folger, the Jewish Chief Rabbi and the Alevitian head of the school, Ertürk Maral.



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