The Rediscovery of Reality: Education and the Catholic Imagination

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The Rediscovery of Reality: Education and the Catholic Imagination

November 7 at 7:00 PM - November 9 at 12:30 PM

Teachers, parents, educational leaders, and anyone interested in the formation of the human person are invited to join the John Paul II Institute for a conference that seeks a truly Catholic vision of education.

The great Robert Spaemann once defined education as an “introduction to reality.”  But what is the reality into which education introduces us?  The American philosopher John Dewey—pragmatist, progressive, and a principal architect of American public education—described the “intellectual modification of the last few centuries” as “revolutionary” because, “it has substituted a conception of the world differing at every point” from the one that preceded it, a world understood by Christianity as creation and defined by the Christian synthesis of Rome, Athens, and Jerusalem.  American education, including Catholic education, was developed within this revolutionary conception.  But now that this post-Christian civilization and its systems of education are in crisis, the question arises.  What does education mean if Catholic Christianity is really true after all?  This question, as Dewey’s remark suggests, touches on “every point”:  the nature of education itself, the corresponding pedagogy, and the conception of the disciplines, but most fundamentally, the nature of the human being, the meaning of history, and the nature of the world itself.  If modern education is premised upon a revolutionary and now deep-seated reconception of the world, then there can be no true restoration of a Catholic vision of education without an equally revolutionary reimagination of the world.  This conference will explore the various facets of this fundamental question in light of this fundamental need.

Conference Schedule

Breakout Sessions

The breakout sessions at 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon are listed below. You will have the opportunity to select your preferred session on the conference registration form below.


N.B. Registration is open to Institute alumni only in the pre-registration period during the month of June. All other registration categories are welcome to register beginning on July 1.

Registration for this conference is a two-step process:

  1. Please complete the registration form.
  2. Click here to pay the registration fee by credit card.

Alumni Reunion

Following the close of the conference, graduates of the John Paul II Institute are cordially invited to an alumni reunion on the evening of Saturday, November 9. Registration for the reunion may be completed at the same time as the conference registration, using the forms above, or separately using the form on the alumni reunion event page. Please click here for details on the schedule of events.


November 7 at 7:00 PM
November 9 at 12:30 PM
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Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family