Gravissimum Educationis 7

Scriptorium7. Moral and Religious Education in all Schools

Feeling very keenly the weighty responsibility of diligently caring for the moral and religious education of all her children, the Church must be present with her own special affection and help for the great number who are being trained in schools that are not Catholic. This is possible by the witness of the lives of those who teach and direct them, by the apostolic action of their fellow-students,(The Church considers it as apostolic action of great worth also when Catholic teachers and associates work in these schools. Cf. Second Vatican Council’s schema of the Decree on the Lay Apostolate (1965), nos. 12 and 16.) but especially by the ministry of priests and (laity) who give them the doctrine of salvation in a way suited to their age and circumstances and provide spiritual aid in every way the times and conditions allow.

The Church reminds parents of the duty that is theirs to arrange and even demand that their children be able to enjoy these aids and advance in their Christian formation to a degree that is abreast of their development in secular subjects. Therefore the Church esteems highly those civil authorities and societies which, bearing in mind the pluralism of contemporary society and respecting religious freedom, assist families so that the education of their children can be imparted in all schools according to the individual moral and religious principles of the families.(Cf. Second Vatican Council’s schema on the Declaration on Religious Liberty (1965), no. 5.)

I don’t know how to comment on this. As an American, I’m leery about a secular institution providing moral and religious education. Clearly, the burden remains as a primary with parents. A parish with or without out a school is number 2.  If the state saw fit to assist parents with resources to find their own religious education solution, I have no problem with that in principle.

Perhaps someone outside the States could add a different perspective.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Gravissimum Educationis 7

  1. Fred says:

    Fr. Giussani taught in a public high school in Italy. He taught religion alongside proslytizing atheist or Marxist teachers of philosophy, history, literature, etc. So, this European solution does not seem ideal.

    The typical American solution, on the other hand, tends to make the religious question into an extra, a non-essential. Parents must pay for an entirely secular education first. Only then are they permitted to opt-out and choose a religious education as a luxury item (either through parochial schools or CCD).

    A consequence of this American system is that history, literature, etc are all viewed from a secular perspective even in Catholic schools (these schools often adopting as textbooks those that have been produced for Texas and California).

    I’ve explored the problem of justice in education in a recent post:
    http://deepfurrows.blogspot.com/2007/02/matter-of-justice-for-children-and.html

    Fred

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