Contemporary Practices and Issues in Religious Education

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2024 | Viewed by 2251

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Zagreb, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: catechetics; religious education; education and values
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Religions is dedicated to the topic of contemporary religious education, especially from the perspective of religious education in Christian faith communities and churches, with a particular focus on Catholicism. Religious education is an unavoidable topic within the framework of the discourse regarding contemporary education. An authentic educational process aims to develop the integrity of a person in all of its dimensions. Comprehensive education is fully focused on humans, their world, and their present-day material or spiritual problems. It is a topic that can be rather broadly interpreted, as it encompasses numerous issues related to religious education carried out in families, religious communities, preschools, and school educational institutions.

The current situation in which the contemporary Church lives and works, especially in the Western world, is imbued with deep cultural, political, ethical–spiritual and religious transformations, showcasing a clear tendency towards further complexity. The prevalence of numerous changes, such as globalization, pluralism, migration, the complex world of media communication, changes affecting the notion of a family, scientific and technological development, various forms of intolerance and conflict, processes of modernization, secularization, and materialism, which are increasingly difficult to manage, lead to changes in religious practice, as well as humans’ relationships with religion and the Church. Today's mentality, customs, values, and life choices are becoming ever-less rooted in the Christian faith or inspired by its teachings. 

We are also witnessing a crisis of religious socialization. Traditional educational institutions, such as family, school, and church, are losing their influence on children and young people. There is a strong crisis at work regarding the intergenerational transmission of faith. Family, which is the first educational and socializing institution, is increasingly distancing itself from passing on religious traditions to its own children. This Special Issue, therefore, considers the extent to which Christian parents, whose Christianity is only an expression of belonging to a certain tradition and culture, are able to raise their children in a Christian manner.

The scope and depth of contemporary changes have not circumvented the Christian community and its educational activities. Religious education/catechesis cannot ignore the historical and cultural context in which it is taught. Current religious education requires serious consideration of the modern world as a different interlocutor; it does not involve providing an answer to a person whose behaviour, thinking, sensibility, and language do not belong to such a world. A special challenge that religious education faces is the new culture, i.e., the so-called digital culture. Influenced by digital culture and the related phenomenon of cultural globalization, we are witnessing changes in behaviour, which then affect the formation of personal identity and interpersonal relationships. The global character of digital culture strongly influences the personal process of building an identity, as well as interpersonal relationships; awareness of time and space; how individuals understanding themselves and other people; how individuals understand and experience the world; the way in which people communicate, learn, inform and establish relationships with others; language, and personal formation. This context represents a challenge for religious education, especially in the context of communication and language. One of the major challenges facing religious education is the erosion of trust in religious institutions. This decline in trust has been particularly fuelled by the sexual and financial scandals that came to light in recent years.

Religious education in schools occupies a special place. When it comes to religious education, the situation in Europe is rather colourful and diverse. However, confessional religious education still prevails in most European countries. The predominance of confessional religious teaching necessarily brings about the multiplication of confessional school subjects, meaning that in most European countries in which confessional teaching is carried out, the school system offers several confessional versions, depending on the religious composition of the population. Many countries, in addition to denominational models, offer a non-confessional alternative. Issues related to the state of religious education in schools include the compatibility of confessional education and public secular schools, as well as the connection of the model of confessional education, which also represents learning religion, to the fact that young people are increasingly distancing themselves from religion and from the Church. A special challenge for religious education lies in the requirements of intercultural education and its religious dimension. Today, there is a broad consensus in Europe that religious education has an important place in the school system and represents an important dimension in the intercultural education of young people. In Europe, religious education has been recognized as a resource, i.e., a tool to be used for the purpose of promoting democratic values and realizing human rights and active citizenship. More precisely, religious education serves as one of the tools used to accomplish European policies related to the matter of coexistence in a pluralistic Europe. However, there is no consensus when it comes to the most suitable model of religious education.

Since the quality of religious–pedagogical and catechetical activity largely depends on the models of religious–pedagogical and theological–catechetical training used to instruct future teachers/educators, the initial and permanent religious–pedagogical and theological–catechetical training of teachers/educators is an issue of particular importance.

Papers that explore and present the relationships between family, society, the Church, school, media, and religious education are welcome. Theologians, philosophers, historians, educators, and religious educators are invited to submit their papers for publication in this Special Issue.

Original research articles and reviews are welcome. Areas of interest may include, but are not limited to, the following research topics:


  • Family and religious education;
  • The crisis of adulthood and the consequences for religious education;
  • Christian approaches to dialogue and reconciliation in an educational context;
  • Religious education in the Christian community (parish catechesis);
  • Education of mature Christians;
  • Religious education of persons with special educational needs;
  • Young people, faith, spirituality, and ecclesiasticism;
  • Education aiming to promoting spiritual values as a counterbalance to globalisation, which is understood almost exclusively as an economic and technological phenomenon;
  • Religious education at a time of growing public distrust of the Church;
  • School and religious education;
  • Religious education in Europe;
  • Ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue and religious education;
  • The religious dimension of intercultural education;
  • Media and methods in religious education;
  • Contemporary religious and moral circumstances and religious education;
  • Religious education and ecology;
  • Bioethical issues in the framework of religious education;
  • Digital culture and educational issues;
  • The training of religious educators/religious education teachers;
  • Institutions that train religious educators/religious education teachers.

Prof. Dr. Ružica Razum
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • catechesis
  • the Church
  • confessional religious education in school
  • crisis of religious socialization and education
  • traditional educational institutions
  • theological–catechetical formation of teachers/educators

Published Papers (2 papers)

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10 pages, 230 KiB  
Contributions of the Synodal Process to the Religious Life of Adult Believers in Christian Communities
by Nikola Vranješ
Religions 2024, 15(5), 580; - 4 May 2024
Viewed by 725
Synodality, as a determinant of the mentality and style of pastoral activity, has proven to be one of the key themes of Church life in the last few years. The synodal dimension of the Church is seen as the fundamental backbone of all [...] Read more.
Synodality, as a determinant of the mentality and style of pastoral activity, has proven to be one of the key themes of Church life in the last few years. The synodal dimension of the Church is seen as the fundamental backbone of all the other important components of pastoral engagement. Religious life and practice of adult believers, on the other hand, remains one of the most challenging pastoral tasks. This claim is so current that concerning many church environments one can legitimately ask whether a mature and developed practice of faith exists at all. The synodal process that is ongoing in the Catholic Church, especially until the fall of 2024, helps to improve so many pastoral activities and most of them concern the practice of faith of adult believers. This paper is dedicated to the theological–pastoral study of the main components of the improvement of this practice in light of the contributions of the synodal process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Practices and Issues in Religious Education)
19 pages, 277 KiB  
Intercultural Sensitivity of Religious Education Teachers in Croatia: The Relationship between Knowledge, Experience, and Behaviour
by Ana Thea Filipović and Marija Jurišić
Religions 2024, 15(2), 176; - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 829
Intercultural education and the pedagogy of recognition are among the fundamental dimensions of contemporary education in European schools. The recognition of the role that learning about religions and drawing lessons from them plays in creating a cohesive society is becoming more widespread. European [...] Read more.
Intercultural education and the pedagogy of recognition are among the fundamental dimensions of contemporary education in European schools. The recognition of the role that learning about religions and drawing lessons from them plays in creating a cohesive society is becoming more widespread. European educational policies suggest integrating intercultural competence into the professional identity of teachers in all subjects, including religious education teachers. Intercultural learning is a constitutive part of shaping the identity of all religious communities. The intercultural sensitivity of religious education teachers, along with attitudes and behaviours that reflect openness, adaptability, and communication with those of different cultural and religious backgrounds, influences the development of intercultural competence in students. This paper examines differences in the intercultural sensitivity of religious education teachers from various religious communities in Croatia in relation to their intercultural experiences, gender, and acquired theoretical knowledge. The research utilised a quantitative methodology, and the analysis of results incorporated descriptive and differential statistics (t-test). Although the teachers demonstrated a relatively high level of intercultural sensitivity, differences were still evident among the groups. Understanding the concept of the religious dimension of intercultural education emerged as a significant factor influencing the ethnorelative or ethnocentric attitudes and behaviours of religious education teachers. Differences observed in intercultural experiences and gender lead to the conclusion that there is a need to create equal opportunities in intercultural education for both men and women. Additionally, there is a need to increase opportunities for intercultural exchanges and encounters with members of other cultures and religions to enable teachers to develop a more open identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Practices and Issues in Religious Education)
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