Gravissimum Educationis 9

Scriptorium9. Different Types of Catholic Schools

To this concept of a Catholic school all schools that are in any way dependent on the Church must conform as far as possible, though the Catholic school is to take on different forms in keeping with local circumstances.(Cf. Paul VI’s allocution to the International Office of Catholic Education, Feb. 25, 1964: Encyclicals and Discourses of Paul VI, 2, Rome, 1964, p. 232.) Thus the Church considers very dear to her heart those Catholic schools, found especially in the areas of the new churches, which are attended also by students who are not Catholics.

All the good stuff said so far, especially in the recent sections, should apply to many circumstances beyond the typical set-up of parish educating its own in its own school. Beyond the “foundation of education,” we also have:

Attention should be paid to the needs of today in establishing and directing Catholic schools. Therefore, though primary and secondary schools, the foundation of education, must still be fostered, great importance is to be attached to those which are required in a particular way by contemporary conditions, such as: professional(Cf. Paul VI’s allocution to the Christian Association of Italian Workers, Oct. 6, 1963: Encyclicals and Discourses of Paul VI, 1, Rome, 1964, p. 229.) and technical schools, centers for educating adults and promoting social welfare, or for the retarded in need of special care, and also schools for preparing teachers for religious instruction and other types of education.

“Spare no sacrifice” is a stirring motto, but one that often falls short in application. In my own area, and perhaps my own parish, there is something of a sense that the Catholic school system is a tag-team prep academy for the college-bound who need to avoid certain employment.

This Sacred Council of the Church earnestly entreats pastors and all the faithful to spare no sacrifice in helping Catholic schools fulfill their function in a continually more perfect way, and especially in caring for the needs of those who are poor in the goods of this world or who are deprived of the assistance and affection of a family or who are strangers to the gift of Faith.

Perfection is hard to find in this life, but the striving for it is applauded, especially in regard to the reaching out of Catholic effort to those who lack material goods or the “gift of Faith.” The council bishops are clearly seeing Catholic education not as just an in-house training ground for believers, but as a tool of charity and evangelization. Does your local Catholic school see it that way, too?

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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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