Learning from religion at a detraditionalizing Catholic university. The case of the required course "Perspectives on religion and meaning" at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium


  • Annemie Patyn University of the Free State, South Africa & Catholic University Leuven, Belgium
  • Joris Geldhof Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  • Annemie Dillen Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium


At the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven (Belgium), all students are required to follow a course titled “Perspectives on Religion and Meaning”, taught by professors from the Faculty of Theology. This is remarkable since this university, in spite of its history, has a public character to a large extent. In this contribution, the peculiarity of this course is elucidated. Three difficulties with this course, of principal, practical and theological nature, are pointed out. Further, three opportunities of a course like “Perspectives on Religion and Meaning” are considered. To conclude, we draw some lines between these difficulties and opportunities to defend the value of a course like this, even in “pure” public universities.


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