Catholic Identity in Education: Selected Church Documents for Reflection is a compilation of selections from Church guidance on education. It is intended to provide simple and structured access to highlights from the five principles that help organize the readings: Inspired by Divine Mission; Models Christian Communion and Identity; Encounters Christ in Prayer, Scripture, and Sacraments; Integrally Forms the Human Person and Imparts a Christian Understanding of the World. These selections will allow for deeper exploration and meditation upon those elements the Church expects to be present in all Catholic schools and which distinguish them from other schools.
Intention for Use
Catholic Identity in Education: Selected Church Documents for Reflection is designed as a reflective resource for anyone interested in thinking deeply about the nature and purpose of Catholic education. Selections have been numbered to assist in discussion. Brief summaries in italics facilitate transitions between selections.
Suggestions for Use
The document can be read in whole or in part, by anyone wishing to encounter first hand, critical texts from the Church related to Catholic education. The document may be of particular use to those schools who are in the process of assessing or enhancing their Catholic identity and want to take a deeper dive into Church documents to better ground their efforts. Selections from the document can be used in faculty and staff in-services, research and writing, or prayerful meditation.
Principle I: Inspired by Divine Mission
Catholic education is an expression of the Church’s mission of salvation and an instrument of evangelization:1 to make disciples of Christ and to teach them to observe all that He has commanded.2 Through Catholic education, students encounter God, “who in Jesus Christ reveals His transforming love and truth.”3 Christ is the foundation of Catholic education;4 He journeys with students through school and life as “genuine Teacher” and “perfect Man.”5 As a faith community in unity with the Church and in fidelity to the Magisterium, students, parents, and educators give witness to Christ’s loving communion in the Holy Trinity.6 With this Christian vision, Catholic education fulfills its purpose of “critical, systematic transmission of culture in the light of faith”7 and the integral formation of the human person by developing each student’s physical, moral, spiritual, and intellectual gifts in harmony, teaching responsibility and right use of freedom, and preparing students to fulfill God’s calling in this world and to attain the eternal kingdom for which they were created.8 Catholic education is sustained by the frequent experience of prayer, Sacred Scripture, and the Church’s liturgical and sacramental tradition.9
Catholic schools need to be understood in the context of the Catholic Church’s broad mission of salvation and evangelization. Her schools are a privileged place to promote the formation of the whole person so that the Gospel might take root in the hearts and lives of her children.
1. The Salvific Mission of the Church: In the fullness of time, in His mysterious plan of love, God the Father sent His only Son to begin the Kingdom of God on earth and bring about the spiritual rebirth of mankind. To continue His work of salvation, Jesus Christ founded the Church as a visible organism, living by the power of the Spirit.
Moved by the same Spirit, the Church is constantly deepening her awareness of herself and meditating on the mystery of her being and mission. Thus she is ever rediscovering her living relationship with Christ “in order to discover greater light, energy, and joy in fulfilling her mission and determining the best way to ensure that her relationship with humanity is closer and more efficacious”—that humanity of which she is a part and yet so undeniably distinct. Her destiny is to serve humanity until it reaches its fullness in Christ.
Evangelization is, therefore, the mission of the Church; that is she must proclaim the good news of salvation to all, generate new creatures in Christ through Baptism, and train them to live knowingly as children of God.
Means available for the Mission of the Church: To carry out her saving mission, the Church uses, above all, the means which Jesus Christ has given her. She also uses other means which at different times and in different cultures have proved effective in achieving and, promoting the development of the human person. The Church adapts these means to the changing conditions and emerging needs of mankind. In her encounter with differing cultures and with man’s progressive achievements, the Church proclaims the faith and reveals “to all ages the transcendent goal which alone gives life its full meaning”. She establishes her own schools because she considers them as a privileged means of promoting the formation of the whole man, since the school is a centre in which a specific concept of the world, of man, and of history is developed and conveyed.
Contribution of the Catholic school towards the Salvific Mission of the Church: The Catholic school forms part of the saving mission of the Church, especially for education in the faith. Remembering that “the simultaneous development of man’s psychological and moral consciousness is demanded by Christ almost as a pre-condition for the reception of the befitting divine gifts of truth and grace,” the Church fulfills her obligation to foster in her children a full awareness of their rebirth to a new life. It is precisely in the Gospel of Christ, taking root in the minds and lives of the faithful, that the Catholic school finds its definition as it comes to terms with the cultural conditions of the times. It must never be forgotten that the purpose of instruction at school is education, that is, the development of man from within, freeing him from that conditioning which would prevent him from becoming a fully integrated human being. The school must begin from the principle that its educational program is intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person. The Catholic School, 1977, #5-9.
Catholic schools are communities that develop students’ intellect, judgement, and values while promoting work and culture.
2. Among all educational instruments the school has a special importance. It is designed not only to develop with special care the intellectual faculties but also to form the ability to judge rightly, to hand on the cultural legacy of previous generations, to foster a sense of values, to prepare for professional life. Between pupils of different talents and backgrounds it promotes friendly relations and fosters a spirit of mutual understanding; and it establishes as it were a center whose work and progress must be shared together by families, teachers, associations of various types that foster cultural, civic, and religious life, as well as by civil society and the entire human community. Gravissimum Educationis, 1965, #5.
The Second Vatican Council lays out seven principal purposes of Christian education: that the baptized will know salvation, know the faith, worship God, be conformed to Christ, grow in virtue, grow the Church, evangelize, and contribute to the common good.
3. A Christian education does not merely strive for the maturing of a human person as just now described, but has as its principal purpose this goal: that the baptized, while they are gradually introduced the knowledge of the mystery of salvation, become ever more aware of the gift of Faith they have received, and that they learn in addition how to worship God the Father in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23) especially in liturgical action, and be conformed in their personal lives according to the new man created in justice and holiness of truth (Eph. 4:22-24); also that they develop into perfect manhood, to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ (cf. Eph. 4:13) and strive for the growth of the Mystical Body; moreover, that aware of their calling, they learn not only how to bear witness to the hope that is in them (cf. Peter 3:15) but also how to help in the Christian formation of the world that takes place when natural powers viewed in the full consideration of man redeemed by Christ contribute to the good of the whole society. Wherefore this sacred synod recalls to pastors of souls their most serious obligation to see to it that all the faithful, but especially the youth who are the hope of the Church, enjoy this Christian education. Gravissimum Educationis, 1965, #2.
The Second Vatican Council also outlines the particular role of the Catholic school in Christian education. The Catholic school is to create a Christian atmosphere of freedom and love, where culture is ordered to the Gospel and all is illumined by faith, so as to form students as a saving leaven for the contemporary world.
4. The influence of the Church in the field of education is shown in a special manner by the Catholic school. No less than other schools does the Catholic school pursue cultural goals and the human formation of youth. But its proper function is to create for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity, to help youth grow according to the new creatures they were made through baptism as they develop their own personalities, and finally to order the whole of human culture to the news of salvation so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life, and man is illumined by faith. So indeed the Catholic school, while it is open, as it must be, to the situation of the contemporary world, leads its students to promote efficaciously the good of the earthly city and also prepares them for service in the spread of the Kingdom of God, so that by leading an exemplary apostolic life they become, as it were, a saving leaven in the human community. Gravissimum Educationis, 1965, #8.
The primary goal of a Catholic school, which has its foundation, model, and goal in Jesus Christ, is to facilitate an encounter with the living God.
5. Education is integral to the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News. First and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth (cf. Spe Salvi, 4). This relationship elicits a desire to grow in the knowledge and understanding of Christ and his teaching. In this way those who meet him are drawn by the very power of the Gospel to lead a new life characterized by all that is beautiful, good, and true; a life of Christian witness nurtured and strengthened within the community of our Lord’s disciples, the Church. Pope Benedict, Meeting with Catholic Educators, Washington, DC, 2008.
6. At the heart of Catholic education there is always Jesus Christ: everything that happens in Catholic schools and universities should lead to an encounter with the living Christ. If we look at the great educational challenges that we will face soon, we must keep the memory of God made flesh in the history of mankind—in our history—alive. Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion, 2014, III.
7. Christ is the foundation of the whole educational enterprise in a Catholic school. His revelation gives new meaning to life and helps man to direct his thought, action, and will according to the Gospel, making the beatitudes his norm of life. The fact that in their own individual ways all members of the school community share this Christian vision, makes the school “Catholic”; principles of the Gospel in this manner become the educational norms since the school then has them as its internal motivation and final goal.The Catholic School, 1977, #34.
The twin goals of Catholic education are personal sanctification and for the work to which a student is called by God, provided in the light of Gospel values.
8. It is therefore as important to make no mistake in education, as it is to make no mistake in the pursuit of the last end, with which the whole work of education is intimately and necessarily connected. In fact, since education consists essentially in preparing man for what he must be and for what he must do here below, in order to attain the sublime end for which he was created, it is clear that there can be no true education which is not wholly directed to man’s last end, and that in the present order of Providence, since God has revealed Himself to us in the Person of His Only Begotten Son, who alone is “the way, the truth, and the life,” there can be no ideally perfect education which is not Christian education.
From this we see the supreme importance of Christian education, not merely for each individual, but for families and for the whole of human society, whose perfection comes from the perfection of the elements that compose it. From these same principles, the excellence, we may well call it the unsurpassed excellence, of the work of Christian education becomes manifest and clear; for after all it aims at securing the Supreme Good, that is, God, for the souls of those who are being educated, and the maximum of well-being possible here below for human society. And this it does as efficaciously as man is capable of doing it, namely by cooperating with God in the perfecting of individuals and of society, in as much as education makes upon the soul the first, the most powerful and lasting impression for life according to the well-known saying of the Wise Man, “A young man according to his way, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” With good reason therefore did St. John Chrysostom say, “What greater work is there than training the mind and forming the habits of the young?” Divini Illius Magistri, 1929, #7-8.
9. Catholic education is an expression of the mission entrusted by Jesus to the Church He founded. Through education, the Church seeks to prepare its members to proclaim the Good News and to translate this proclamation into action. Since the Christian vocation is a call to transform oneself and society with God’s help, the educational efforts of the Church must encompass the twin purposes of personal sanctification and the social reform in light of Christian values. To Teach as Jesus Did, 1972, #7.
Catholic schools must remain vigilant in their mission against worldly threats by remaining rooted in Christ and the Gospel and preserving a Catholic culture which proclaims essential truths about the nature and dignity of human person.
10. The Catholic school loses its purpose without constant reference to the Gospel and a frequent encounter with Christ. It derives all the energy necessary for its educational work from Him and thus “creates in the school community an atmosphere permeated with the Gospel spirit of freedom and love.” In this setting the pupil experiences his dignity as a person before he knows its definition. Faithful, therefore, to the claims of man and of God, the Catholic school makes its own contribution towards man’s liberation, making him, in other words, what his destiny implies, one who talks consciously with God, one who is there for God to love. The Catholic School, 1977, #55. 11. It is important for Catholic schools to be aware of the risks that arise should they lose sight of the reasons why they exist. That can happen, for example, when they unthinkingly conform to the expectations of a society marked by the values of individualism and competition. It can also happen through bureaucratic formalism, the consumerist demands of families, or the unbridled search for external approval. Educating in Intercultural Dialogue in the Catholic school: Living in Harmony for a Civilization of Love, 2013, #56. 12. In Catholic teaching the concept of human dignity implies not only that the person is the steward of creation and cooperates with the creator to perfect it, but that the rest of creation, in its material, social, technological and economic aspects, should be at the service of the person. Human dignity is secure only when the spiritual, psychological, emotional, and bodily integrity of the person is respected as a fundamental value. Sharing the Light of Faith: National Catechetical Directory for Catholics,1979, #156.
Catholic schools must provide solid witness to the world and strive to affect a critical and systematic transformation of culture in light of Gospel values.
13. Catholic schools’ primary responsibility is one of witness. In the various situations created by different cultures, the Christian presence must be shown and made clear, that is, it must be visible, tangible, and conscious. Today, due to the advanced process of secularization, Catholic schools find themselves in a missionary situation, even in countries with an ancient Christian tradition. The contribution that Catholicism can make to education and to intercultural dialogue is in their reference to the centrality of the human person, who has his or her constitutive element in relationships with others. Catholic schools have in Jesus Christ the basis of their anthropological and pedagogical paradigm; they must practice the “grammar of dialogue”, not as a technical expedient, but as a profound way of relating to others. Catholic schools must reflect on their own identity, because that which they can give is primarily that which they are. Educating in Intercultural Dialogue in the Catholic school: Living in Harmony for a Civilization of Love, 2013, #57. 14. The specific mission of the school, then, is a critical, systematic transmission of culture in the light of faith and the bringing forth of the power of Christian virtue by the integration of culture with faith and of faith with living. Consequently, the Catholic school is aware of the importance of the Gospel-teaching as transmitted through the Catholic Church. It is, indeed, the fundamental element in the educative process as it helps the pupil towards his conscious choice of living a responsible and coherent way of life. The Catholic School, 1977, #49.
In all of this, Catholic schools must not shy away from their essential religious purpose.
15. The special character of the Catholic school, the underlying reason for it, the reason why Catholic parents should prefer it, is precisely the quality of the religious instruction integrated into the education of the pupils. While Catholic establishments should respect freedom of conscience, that is to say, avoid burdening consciences from without by exerting physical or moral pressure, especially in the case of the religious activity of adolescents, they still have a grave duty to offer a religious training suited to the often widely varying religious situations of the pupils. They also have a duty to make them understand that, although God’s call to serve Him in spirit and truth, in accordance with the Commandments of God and the precepts of the Church, does not apply constraint, it is nevertheless binding in conscience. Catechesi Tradendae, 1979, #69. 16. The Catholic school pursues cultural goals and the natural development of youth to the same degree as any other school. What makes the Catholic school distinctive is its attempt to generate a community climate in the school that is permeated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and love… The Council, therefore, declared that what makes the Catholic school distinctive is its religious dimension, and that this is to be found in a) the educational climate, b) the personal development of each student, c) the relationship established between culture and the Gospel, d) the illumination of all knowledge with the light of faith. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #1. 17. The educational mission of the Church is an integrated mission embracing three interlocking dimensions: The message revealed by God (didache) which the Church proclaims; fellowship in the life of the Holy Spirit (koinonia); service to the Christian community (diakonia). To Teach as Jesus Did, 1973, #14. 18. The integration of religious truth and values with life distinguishes the Catholic school from other schools. This is a matter of crucial importance today in view of contemporary trends and pressures to compartmentalize life and learning and to isolate the religious dimension of existence from other areas of human life. To Teach as Jesus Did, 1973, #105 19. The Catholic school has a clear identity, not only as a presence of the Church in society, but also as a genuine and proper instrument of the Church. It is a place of evangelization, of authentic apostolate, and of pastoral action—not through complementary or parallel or extracurricular activity, but of its very nature: its work of educating the Christian person. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #133.
Principle II: Models Christian Communion and Identity
Catholic education teaches communion with Christ, by living communion with Christ and imitating the love and freedom of the Trinity.10 This communion begins in the home—with the divinely ordered right and responsibility of parents to educate their children—and extends to the school community in support and service to the needs of the family.11 It unites families and educators with a shared educational philosophy to form students for a relationship with God and with others.12 The educational community is united to the universal Church in fidelity to the magisterium, to the local Church, and to other schools and community organizations.13
The school community is a place of ecclesial experience, in which the members model confident and joyful public witness in both word and action and teach students to live the Catholic faith in their daily lives.14 In an environment “humanly and spiritually rich,” everyone is aware of the living presence of Jesus evidenced by a Christian way of life, expressed in “Word and Sacrament, in individual behaviour, [and] in friendly and harmonious relationships.”15 The school climate reproduces, as far as possible, the “warm and intimate atmosphere of family life.”16 As members of the Church community, students experience what it means to live a life of prayer, personal responsibility, and freedom reflective of Gospel values. This, in turn, leads them to grow in their commitment to serve God, one another, the Church, and the society.17
All teachers and leaders possess adequate skills, preparation, and religious formation and possess special qualities of mind and heart as well as the sensitivity necessary for authentic witness to the gospel and the task of human formation.18 Teachers and leaders of the educational community should be “practicing Catholics, who can understand and accept the teachings of the Catholic Church and the moral demands of the Gospel and who can contribute to the achievement of the school’s Catholic identity and apostolic goals.”19
Since communion with Christ and each other is the essence of the Church, it is critical that Catholic schools collaborate with families and all others who are invested in the establishment and sustenance of Christian educational communities.
1. Educating in communion and for communion: Because its aim is to make man more man, education can be carried out authentically only in a relational and community context. It is not by chance that the first and original educational environment is that of the natural community of the family. Schools, in their turn, take their place beside the family as an educational space that is communitarian, organic and intentional and they sustain their educational commitment, according to a logic of assistance. The Catholic school, characterized mainly as an educating community, is a school for the person and of persons. In fact, it aims at forming the person in the integral unity of his being, using the tools of teaching and learning where “criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life” are formed. Above all, they are involved in the dynamics of interpersonal relations that form and vivify the school community. On the other hand, because of its identity and its ecclesial roots, this community must aspire to becoming a Christian community, that is, a community of faith, able to create increasingly more profound relations of communion which are themselves educational. It is precisely the presence and life of an educational community, in which all the members participate in a fraternal communion, nourished by a living relationship with Christ and with the Church, that makes the Catholic school the environment for an authentically ecclesial experience. Educating Together in Catholic Schools: A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful, 2007, #12-14. 2. When Christians say communion, they refer to the eternal mystery, revealed in Christ, of the communion of love that is the very life of God-Trinity. At the same time we also say that Christians share in this communion in the Body of Christ which is the Church (cf. Phil 1: 7; Rev 1: 9). Communion is, therefore, the “essence” of the Church, the foundation and source of its mission of being in the world “the home and the school of communion,” to lead all men and women to enter ever more profoundly into the mystery of Trinitarian communion and, at the same time, to extend and strengthen internal relations within the human community. In this sense, “the Church is like a human family, but at the same time it is also the great family of God, through which he creates a place of communion and unity through all continents, cultures, and nations.” Educating Together in Catholic Schools: A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful, 2007, #10. 3. Everything that the Catholic educator does in a school takes place within the structure of an educational community, made up of the contacts and the collaboration among all of the various groups—students, parents, teachers, directors, non-teaching staff—that together are responsible for making the school an instrument for integral formation. Although it is not exhaustive, this concept of the scholarly institution as an educational community, together with a more widespread awareness of this concept, is one of the most enriching developments for the contemporary school. The Catholic educator exercises his or her profession as a member of one of the constitutive elements of this community. The professional structure itself offers an excellent opportunity to live—and bring to life in the students the communitarian dimension of the human person. Every human being is called to live in a community, as a social being, and as a member of the People of God. Therefore, the educational community of a school is itself a “school “. It teaches one how to be a member of the wider social communities; and when the educational community is at the same time a Christian community—and this is what the educational community of a Catholic school must always be striving toward—then it offers a great opportunity for the teachers to provide the students with a living example of what it means to be a member of that great community which is the Church. Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, 1982, #22.
Catholic schools serve the Church and the broader community.
4. By giving witness of communion, the Catholic educational community is able to educate for communion, which, as a gift that comes from above, animates the project of formation for living together in harmony and being welcoming. Not only does it cultivate in the students the cultural values that derive from the Christian vision of reality, but it also involves each one of them in the life of the community, where values are mediated by authentic interpersonal relationships among the various members that form it, and by the individual and community acceptance of them. In this way, the life of communion of the educational community assumes the value of an educational principle, of a paradigm that directs its formational action as a service for the achievement of a culture of communion. Educating Together in Catholic Schools: A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful, 2007, #39. 5. Concretely, the educational goals of the school include a concern for the life and the problems of the Church, both local and universal. These goals are attentive to the Magisterium, and include cooperation with Church authorities. Catholic students are helped to become active members of the parish and diocesan communities. They have opportunities to join Church associations and Church youth groups, and they are taught to collaborate in local Church projects. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #44. 6. The ecclesial nature of the Catholic school, therefore, is written in the very heart of its identity as a teaching institution. It is a true and proper ecclesial entity by reason of its educational activity, “in which faith, culture, and life are brought into harmony”. Thus it must be strongly emphasized that this ecclesial dimension is not a mere adjunct, but is a proper and specific attribute, a distinctive characteristic which penetrates and informs every moment of its educational activity, a fundamental part of its very identity and the focus of its mission. The fostering of this dimension should be the aim of all of those who make up the educating community. Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 1997, #11. 7. More than any other program of education sponsored by the Church, the Catholic school has the opportunity and obligation to be unique, contemporary, and oriented to Christian service: unique because it is distinguished by its commitment to the threefold purpose of Christian education and by it total design and operation which foster the integration of religion with the rest of learning and living; contemporary because it enable student to address with Christian insight the multiples problems which face individual and society today; oriented to Christian service because it helps student acquire skills, virtues, and habits of heart and mind required for effective service to others. To Teach as Jesus Did, 1973, #10.
In Catholic schools, students should feel “at home” in a positive and respectful environment.
8. Considering the special age group they are working with, primary schools should try to create a community school climate that reproduces, as far as possible, the warm and intimate atmosphere of family life. Those responsible for these schools will, therefore, do everything they can to promote a common spirit of trust and spontaneity. In addition, they will take great care to promote close and constant collaboration with the parents of these pupils. An integration of school and home is an essential condition for the birth and development of all of the potential which these children manifest in one or the other of these two situations—including their openness to religion with all that this implies. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #40. 9. Before all else, lay people should find in a Catholic school an atmosphere of sincere respect and cordiality; it should be a place in which authentic human relationships can be formed among all of the educators. Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, 1982, #77. 10. Some of the conditions for creating a positive and supportive climate are the following: that everyone agree with the educational goals and cooperate in achieving them; that interpersonal relationships be based on love and Christian freedom; that each individual, in daily life, be a witness to Gospel values; that every student be challenged to strive for the highest possible level of formation, both human and Christian. In addition, the climate must be one in which families are welcomed, the local Church is an active participant, and civil society—local, national, and international—is included. If all share a common faith, this can be an added advantage. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #103.
Teachers are the primary influence in creating a Catholic community, by their personal witness of the faith and the care they provide their students.
11. The teachers love their students, and they show this love in the way they interact with them. They take advantage of every opportunity to encourage and strengthen them in those areas which will help to achieve the goals of the educational process. Their words, their witness, their encouragement and help, their advice and friendly correction are all important in achieving these goals, which must always be understood to include academic achievement, moral behavior, and a religious dimension. When students feel loved, they will love in return. Their questioning, their trust, their critical observations and suggestions for improvement in the classroom and the school milieu will enrich the teachers and also help to facilitate a shared commitment to the formation process. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #110. 12. Teaching and learning are the two terms in a relationship that does not only involve the subject to be studied and the learning mind, but also persons: this relationship cannot be based exclusively on technical and professional relations, but must be nourished by mutual esteem, trust, respect, and friendliness. When learning takes place in a context where the subjects who are involved feel a sense of belonging, it is quite different from a situation in which learning occurs in a climate of individualism, antagonism, and mutual coldness. Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion, 2014, II#3. 13. The integration of religious truth and values with the rest of life is brought about in the Catholic school not only by its unique curriculum, but, more important, by the presence of teachers who express an integrated approach to learning and living in their private and professional lives. It is further reinforced by free interaction among the students themselves within their own community of youth. To Teach as Jesus Did, 1972, #104. 14. The preparation and ongoing formation of new administrators and teachers is vital if our schools are to remain truly Catholic in all aspects of school life. Catholic school personnel should be grounded in a faith-based Catholic culture, have strong bonds to Christ and the Church, and be witnesses to the faith in both their words and actions. The formation of personnel will allow the Gospel message and the living presence of Jesus to permeate the entire life of the school community and thus be faithful to the school’s evangelizing mission. Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary & Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 2005, excerpts. 15. For this reason, Catholic educators need a “formation of the heart”: they need to be led to that encounter with God in Christ which awakens their love and opens their spirits to others, so that their educational commitment becomes a consequence deriving from their faith, a faith which becomes active through love. In fact, even care for instruction means loving. It is only in this way that they can make their teaching a school of faith, that is to say, a transmission of the Gospel, as required by the educational project of the Catholic school. Educating Together in Catholic Schools: A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful, 2007, #25.
It is essential that all teachers live in communion with the Church as credible living witnesses for their students, since the mission of the school depends chiefly on them.
16. In the Catholic school, “prime responsibility for creating this unique Christian school climate rests with the teachers, as individuals and as a community”. Teaching has an extraordinary moral depth and is one of man’s most excellent and creative activities, for the teacher does not write on inanimate material, but on the very spirits of human beings. The personal relations between the teacher and the students, therefore, assume an enormous importance and are not limited simply to giving and taking. Moreover, we must remember that teachers and educators fulfil a specific Christian vocation and share an equally specific participation in the mission of the Church, to the extent that “it depends chiefly on them whether the Catholic school achieves its purpose”. Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 1997, #19. 17. The extent to which the Christian message is transmitted through education depends to a very great extent on the teachers. The integration of culture and faith is mediated by the other integration of faith and life in the person of the teacher. The nobility of the task to which teachers are called demands that, in imitation of Christ, the only Teacher, they reveal the Christian message not only by word but also by every gesture and behavior. This is what makes the difference between a school whose education is permeated by the Christian spirit and on in which religion is only regarded as an academic subject like any other. The Catholic School, 1977, #43. 18. The instruction and education in a Catholic school must be grounded in the principles of Catholic doctrine; teachers are to be outstanding in correct doctrine and integrity of life. Code of Canon Law, 1983, 803 §2. 19. Recruit teachers who are practicing Catholics, who can understand and accept the teachings of the Catholic Church and the moral demands of the gospel, and who can contribute to the achievement of the school’s Catholic identity and apostolic goals… As a catechetical leader in the Catholic school, the principal is called to provide opportunities for ongoing catechesis for faculty members… The distinctive Catholic identity and mission of the Catholic school also depend on the efforts and example of the whole faculty… All teachers in Catholic schools share in the catechetical ministry… While some situations might entail compelling reasons for members of another faith tradition to teach in a Catholic school, as much as possible, all teachers in a Catholic school should be practicing Catholics. National Directory for Catechesis (2006) 231, 233. 20. Besides every Christian child or youth has a strict right to instruction in harmony with the teaching of the Church, the pillar and ground of truth. And whoever disturbs the pupil’s Faith in any way, does him grave wrong, inasmuch as he abuses the trust which children place in their teachers, and takes unfair advantage of their inexperience and of their natural craving for unrestrained liberty, at once illusory and false. Divini Illius Magistri, 1929, #57.
Principle III: Encounters Christ in Prayer, Scripture, and Sacrament
Rooted in Christ, Catholic education is continually fed and stimulated by Him in the frequent experience of prayer, scripture, and the Church’s liturgical and sacramental tradition.20 The transmission of faith, catechesis, is intrinsically linked to these living encounters with Christ, by which He nurtures and educates souls in the divine life of grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.21 By their witness and sharing in these encounters, educators help students grow in understanding of what it means to be a member of the Church.22 Students discover the real value of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation, in accompanying the Christian in the journey through life. They learn “to open their hearts in confidence to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through personal and liturgical prayer,” which makes the mystery of Christ present to students.23
The school should radiate the faith with clear devotions, especially to Jesus and Mary.
1. From the first moment that a student sets foot in a Catholic school, he or she ought to have the impression of entering a new environment, one illumined by the light of faith, and having its own unique characteristics. The Council summed this up by speaking of an environment permeated with the Gospel spirit of love and freedom. In a Catholic school, everyone should be aware of the living presence of Jesus the “Master” who, today as always, is with us in our journey through life as the one genuine “Teacher”, the perfect Man in whom all human values find their fullest perfection. The inspiration of Jesus must be translated from the ideal into the real. The Gospel spirit should be evident in a Christian way of thought and life which permeates all facets of the educational climate. Having crucifixes in the school will remind everyone, teachers and students alike, of this familiar and moving presence of Jesus, the “Master” who gave his most complete and sublime teaching from the cross. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #25&26. 2. An awareness of Mary’s presence can be a great help toward making the school into a “home”. Mary, Mother and Teacher of the Church, accompanied her Son as he grew in wisdom and grace; from its earliest days, she has accompanied the Church in its mission of salvation. The Religious Dimension in a Catholic School, 1988, #29.
Catholic schools cherish the Word of God.
3. No Catholic school can adequately fulfill its educational role on its own. It must continually be fed and stimulated by its Source of life, the Saving Word of Christ as it is expressed in Sacred Scripture, in Tradition, especially liturgical and sacramental tradition, and in the lives of people, past and present, who bear witness to that Word. The Catholic School, 1977, #54. 4. Of the educational programs available to the Catholic community, Catholic schools afford the fullest and best opportunity to realize the threefold purpose of Christian education among children and young people… It makes more accessible to students participating in the liturgy and the sacraments, which are powerful forces for the development of personal sanctity and for the building of community. To Teach as Jesus Did, 1973, #101.
The sacraments are critical to the Catholic school’s mission, especially those most suited to expression in the school environment: Eucharist and Reconciliation.
5. This educational environment of the Church embraces the Sacraments, divinely efficacious means of grace, the sacred ritual, so wonderfully instructive, and the material fabric of her churches, whose liturgy and art have an immense educational value; but it also includes the great number and variety of schools, associations and institutions of all kinds, established for the training of youth in Christian piety… Divini Illius Magistri, 1929, #76. 6. They [teachers] will, therefore, help students to discover the real value of the Sacraments: they accompany the believer on his or her journey through life. This journey takes place within the Church, and therefore becomes more comprehensible as students grow in an understanding of what it means to be a member of the Church. The essential point for students to understand is that Jesus Christ is always truly present in the Sacraments which he has instituted, and his presence makes them efficacious means of grace. The moment of closest encounter with the Lord Jesus occurs in the Eucharist, which is both Sacrifice and Sacrament. In the Eucharist, two supreme acts of love are united: Our Lord renews his sacrifice of salvation for us, and he truly gives himself to us. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #78. 7. An understanding of the sacramental journey has profound educational implications. Students become aware that being a member of the Church is something dynamic, responding to every person’s need to continue growing all through life. When we meet the Lord in the Sacraments, we are never left unchanged. Through the Spirit, he causes us to grow in the Church, offering us “grace upon grace”; the only thing he asks is our cooperation. The educational consequences of this touch on our relationship with God, our witness as a Christian, and our choice of a personal vocation. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #79. 8. A genuine ecclesial maturity, nourished by the encounter with Christ in the sacraments, will make it possible to develop “whether of the more traditional kind or the newer ecclesial movements […] a vitality that is God’s gift” for the entire scholastic community and for the educational journey itself. Educating Together in Catholic Schools, A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful, 2007, #17.
The catechetical and religious instruction in the school are lived out and expressed naturally in the daily activities of the school.
9. In fulfilling its educational role, the Church, eager to employ all suitable aids, is concerned especially about those which are her very own. Foremost among these is catechetical instruction, which enlightens and strengthens the faith, nourishes life according to the spirit of Christ, leads to intelligent and active participation in the liturgical mystery and gives motivation for apostolic activity. Gravissimum Educationis, Declaration on Christian Education, 1965, #4. 10. The life of faith is expressed in acts of religion. The teacher will assist students to open their hearts in confidence to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through personal and liturgical prayer. The latter is not just another way of praying; it is the official prayer of the Church, which makes the mystery of Christ present in our lives—especially through the Eucharist, Sacrifice and Sacrament, and through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Religious experiences are then seen, not as something externally imposed, but as a free and loving response to the God who first loved us. The virtues of faith and religion, thus rooted and cultivated, are enabled to develop during childhood, youth, and in all the years that follow. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #83. 11. Participation together in the liturgy and in paraliturgical activities and spiritual exercises can effectively foster community among students and faculty. Since the Gospel spirit is one of peace, brotherhood, love, patience, and respect for others, a school rooted in these principles ought to explore ways to deepen its students’ concern for and skill in peacemaking and the achievement of justice. Here young people can learn together of human needs, whether in the parish, the neighborhood, the local civic community, or the world, and begin to respond to the obligation of Christian service through joint action. To Teach as Jesus Did, 1973, #109. 12. But we are not in a hopeless situation. The teacher should help students to see, in the light of faith, that this reality has another side to it. On the world scale, the Gospel message continues to “die” as the “seed” in the soil of the earth only to blossom and bear fruit in due season. At the personal level, the Lord waits for us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is not just a devotional practice, but rather a personal encounter with him, through the mediation of his minister. After this celebration we can resume our journey with renewed strength and joy. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #93. 13. The physical proximity of the school to a church can contribute a great deal toward achieving the educational aims. A church should not be seen as something extraneous, but as a familiar and intimate place where those young people who are believers can find the presence of the Lord: “Behold, I am with you all days.” Liturgy planning should be especially careful to bring the school community and the local Church together. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #30. 14. In a Catholic school, even this [students feeling loved] is not enough. There is also a continuous vertical interaction, through prayer; this is the fullest and most complete expression of the religious dimension. The Religious Dimension in a Catholic School, 1988, #111.
Teachers, school leaders, and other employees and volunteers need to model an active faith life and be active participants in the sacraments.
15. As a visible manifestation of the faith they profess and the life witness they are supposed to manifest, it is important that lay Catholics who work in a Catholic school participate simply and actively in the liturgical and sacramental life of the school. Students will share in this life more readily when they have concrete examples: when they see the importance that this life has for believers. In today’s secularized world, students will see many lay people who call themselves Catholics, but who never take part in liturgy or sacraments. It is very important that they also have the example of lay adults who take such things seriously, who find in them a source and nourishment for Christian living. Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, 1982, #40. 16. Education in the faith is a part of the finality of a Catholic school. The more fully the educational community represents the richness of the ecclesial community, the more capable it will be of fulfilling this mission. When priests, men and women Religious, and lay people are all present together in a school, they will present students with a living image of this richness, which can lead to a better understanding of the reality of the Church. Lay Catholics should reflect on the importance of their presence, from this point of view, alongside the priests and Religious. For each of these types of ecclesial vocation presents to the students its own distinct incarnational model: lay Catholics, the intimate dependence of earthly realities on God in Christ, the lay professional as one who disposes the world toward God; the priest, the multiple sources of grace offered by Christ to all believers through the sacraments, the revealing light of the Word, and the character of service which clothes the hierarchical structure of the Church; Religious, the radical spirit of Beatitudes, the continuous call of the Kingdom as the single definitive reality, the love of Christ, and the love of all men and women in Christ. Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, 1982, #43. 17. Prime responsibility for creating this unique Christian school climate rests with the teachers, as individuals and as a community. The religious dimension of the school climate is expressed through the celebration of Christian values in Word and Sacrament, in individual behavior, in friendly and harmonious interpersonal relationships, and in a ready availability. Through this daily witness, the students will come to appreciate the uniqueness of the environment to which their youth has been entrusted. If it is not present, then there is little left which can make the school Catholic. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #26.
Principle IV: Integrally Forms the Human Person
The complex task of Catholic education is the integral formation of students as physical, intellectual, and spiritual beings called to perfect humanity in the fullness of Christ, which is their right by Baptism.24 The human person is “created in ‘the image and likeness’ of God; elevated by God to the dignity of a child of God; unfaithful to God in original sin, but redeemed by Christ; a temple of the Holy Spirit, a member of the Church; destined to eternal life.”25 Catholic education assists students to become aware of the gift of Faith, worship God the Father, develop into mature adults who bear witness to the Mystical Body of Christ, respect the dignity of the human person, provide service, lead apostolic lives, and build the Kingdom of God.26
Catholic education forms the conscience through commitment to authentic Catholic doctrine. It develops the virtues and characteristics associated with what it means to be Christian so as to resist relativism, overcome individualism, and discover vocations to serve God and others.27 “Intellectual development and growth as a Christian go forward hand in hand” where faith, culture, and life are integrated throughout the school’s program to provide students a personal closeness to Christ enriched by virtues, values, and supernatural gifts.28 As a child of God, made in his image, human formation includes the development of personal Christian ethics and respect for the body by promoting healthy development, physical activity, and chastity.29
In Catholic education, “There is no separation between time for learning and time for formation, between acquiring notions and growing in wisdom”; education and pedagogy inspired by Gospel values and distinguished by the “illumination of all knowledge with the light of faith” allows formation to become living, conscious and active.30 The atmosphere is characterized by discovery and awareness that enkindles a love for truth, and a desire to know the universe as God’s creation. The Christian educational program facilitates critical thinking that is ordered, precise, and responsible as it builds strength and perseverance in pursuit of the truth.31
Integral formation is the purpose of education. It involves educating the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—for active participation in this life and eternal life in the next.
1. The integral formation of the human person, which is the purpose of education, includes the development of all the human faculties of the students, together with preparation for professional life, formation of ethical and social awareness, becoming aware of the transcendental, and religious education. Every school, and every educator in the school, ought to be striving “to form strong and responsible individuals, who are capable of making free and correct choices”, thus preparing young people “to open themselves more and more to reality, and to form in themselves a clear idea of the meaning of life.” Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, 1982, #17. 2. It must never be forgotten that the purpose of instruction at school is education, that is, the development of man from within, freeing him from that conditioning which would prevent him from becoming a fully integrated human being. The school must begin from the principle that its educational programme is intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person. The Catholic School, 1977, #29.
It is essential to properly understand and work with the nature of the human person. We have to know what the “complete person” looks like through the lens of a Christian anthropology, in order to better educate students to become that person.
3. The educational value of Christian anthropology is obvious. Here is where students discover the true value of the human person: loved by God, with a mission on earth and a destiny that is immortal. As a result, they learn the virtues of self-respect and self-love, and of love for others—a love that is universal. In addition, each student will develop a willingness to embrace life, and also his or her own unique vocation, as a fulfillment of God’s will. Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #26.
4. Any genuine educational philosophy has to be based on the nature of the human person, and therefore must take into account all of the physical and spiritual powers of each individual, along with the call of each one to be an active and creative agent in service to society. And this philosophy must be open to a religious dimension. Human beings are fundamentally free; they are not the property of the state or of any human organization. The entire process of education, therefore, is a service to the individual students, helping each one to achieve the most complete formation possible. Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, # 63.
5. The Catholic school sets out to be a school for the human person and of human persons. “The person of each individual human being, in his or her material and spiritual needs, is at the heart of Christ’s teaching: this is why the promotion of the human person is the goal of the Catholic school”. This affirmation, stressing man’s vital relationship with Christ, reminds us that it is in His person that the fullness of the truth concerning man is to be found. For this reason the Catholic school, in committing itself to the development of the whole man, does so in obedience to the solicitude of the Church, in the awareness that all human values find their fulfillment and unity in Christ. This awareness expresses the centrality of the human person in the educational project of the Catholic school, strengthens its educational endeavor, and renders it fit to form strong personalities. Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 1997, #9.
6. Students should be helped to see the human person as a living creature having both a physical and a spiritual nature; each of us has an immortal soul, and we are in need of redemption. The older students can gradually come to a more mature understanding of all that is implied in the concept of “person”: intelligence and will, freedom and feelings, the capacity to be an active and creative agent; a being endowed with both rights and duties, capable of interpersonal relationships, called to a specific mission in the world. The human person is present in all the truths of faith: created in “the image and likeness” of God; elevated by God to the dignity of a child of God; unfaithful to God in original sin, but redeemed by Christ; a temple of the Holy Spirit; a member of the Church; destined to eternal life. Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #55.
7. In today’s pluralistic world, the Catholic educator must consciously inspire his or her activity with the Christian concept of the person, in communion with the Magisterium of the Church. It is a concept which includes a defense of human rights, but also attributes to the human person the dignity of a child of God; it attributes the fullest liberty, freed from sin itself by Christ, the most exalted destiny, which is the definitive and total possession of God Himself, through love. It establishes the strictest possible relationship of solidarity among all persons; through mutual love and an ecclesial community. It calls for the fullest development of all that is human, because we have been made masters of the world by its Creator. Finally, it proposes Christ, Incarnate Son of God and perfect Man, as both model and means; to imitate Him, is, for all men and women, the inexhaustible source of personal and communal perfection. Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, 1982, #18.
Formation involves development of the will and of virtue; the habit of seeking and doing the good.
8. Mindful of the fact that man has been redeemed by Christ, the Catholic school aims at forming in the Christian those particular virtues which will enable him to live a new life in Christ and help him to play faithfully his part in building up the Kingdom of God. The Catholic School, 1977, #36. 9. Its task is fundamentally a synthesis of culture and faith, and a synthesis of faith and life: the first is reached by integrating all the different aspects of human knowledge through the subjects taught, in the light of the Gospel; the second in the growth of the virtues characteristic of the Christian. The Catholic School, 1977, #37. 10. The Catholic school has as its specific duty the complete Christian formation of its pupils, and this task is of special significance today because of the inadequacy of the family and society. It knows that this integration of faith and life is part of a life-long process of conversion until the pupil becomes what God wishes him to be. The Catholic School, 1977, #45. 11. Perfection is a theme which must be part of this systematic presentation of the Christian message. To pass over it would be disloyal: to the Lord, who calls us to limitless perfection; to the Church, which invites us all to perfection; and to the young people themselves, who have the right to know what the Lord and the Church expect of them. The teacher will begin by reminding believing students that, through their baptism, they have become members of the Church. The Christian perfection to which we are all called is a gift of Jesus through the mediation of the Spirit; but the gift requires our cooperation. Our apostolic witness must make this perfection visible in the world, today and in the future. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #95. 12. In the same way, inasmuch as it is an ecclesial subject, the Catholic school acts as the Christian ferment of the world. In it, students learn to overcome individualism and to discover, in the light of faith, that they are called to live responsibly a specific vocation to friendship with Christ and in solidarity with other persons. Basically, the school is called to be a living witness of the love of God among us. It can, moreover, become a means through which it is possible to discern, in the light of the Gospel, what is positive in the world, what needs to be transformed and what injustices must be overcome. A vigilant acceptance of the contributions of the world to the life of the school also nourishes and promotes open communion, especially in some educational environments, such as education to peace, to living together, to justice, and to brotherhood. Educating Together in Catholic Schools, A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful, 2007, #46. 13. Education is not just knowledge, but also experience: it links together knowledge and action; it works to achieve unity amongst different forms of knowledge and pursues consistency. It encompasses the affective and emotional domains, and is also endowed with an ethical dimension: knowing how to do things and what we want to do, daring to change society and the world, and serving the community. Education is based on participation, shared intelligence and intelligence interdependence; dialogue, self-giving, example, cooperation, and reciprocity are also equally important elements. Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion, 2014, #III. 14. Cultural pluralism, therefore, leads the Church to reaffirm her mission of education to insure strong character formation. Her children, then, will be capable both of resisting the debilitating influence of relativism and of living up to the demands made on them by their Baptism. It also stimulates her to foster truly Christian living and apostolic communities, equipped to make their own positive contribution, in a spirit of cooperation, to the building up of the secular society. For this reason the Church is prompted to mobilize her educational resources in the face of the materialism, pragmatism, and technocracy of contemporary society. The Catholic School, 1977, #12.
Religious instruction is the foundation and crown of training in Catholic schools and permeates all subjects and all facets of the school’s life.
15. For the mere fact that a school gives some religious instruction (often extremely stinted), does not bring it into accord with the rights of the Church and of the Christian family, or make it a fit place for Catholic students. To be this, it is necessary that all the teaching and the whole organization of the school, and its teachers, syllabus, and text-books in every branch, be regulated by the Christian spirit, under the direction and maternal supervision of the Church; so that Religion may be in very truth the foundation and crown of the youth’s entire training; and this in every grade of school, not only the elementary, but the intermediate and the higher institutions of learning as well. To use the words of Leo XIII: It is necessary not only that religious instruction be given to the young at certain fixed times, but also that every other subject taught, be permeated with Christian piety. If this is wanting, if this sacred atmosphere does not pervade and warm the hearts of masters and scholars alike, little good can be expected from any kind of learning, and considerable harm will often be the consequence. Divini Illius Magistri, 1929, #80. 16. A Catholic school must be committed to the development of a programme which will overcome the problems of a fragmented and insufficient curriculum. Teachers dealing with areas such as anthropology, biology, psychology, sociology, and philosophy all have the opportunity to present a complete picture of the human person, including the religious dimension. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #55. 17. Only in such a school can they experience learning and living fully integrated in the light of faith. Here, therefore, students are instructed in human knowledge and skills, valued indeed for their worn worth but seen simultaneously as driving their most profound significance from God’s plan for His creation. Here, too, instruction in religious truth and values are an integral part of the school program. It is not one more subject alongside the rest, but instead it is perceived and functions as the underlying reality in which the student’s experiences of learning and living achieve their coherence and their deepest meaning. To Teach as Jesus Did, 1973, #103. 18. Not all students in Catholic schools are members of the Catholic Church; not all are Christians… The religious freedom and the personal conscience of individual students and their families must be respected, and this freedom is explicitly recognized by the Church. On the other hand, a Catholic school cannot relinquish its own freedom to proclaim the Gospel and to offer a formation based on the values to be found in a Christian education; this is its right and its duty. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #6. 19. Recent Church teaching has added an essential note: “The basic principle which must guide us in our commitment to this sensitive area of pastoral activity is that religious instruction and catechesis are at the same time distinct and complementary. A school has as its purpose the students’ integral formation. Religious instruction, therefore, should be integrated into the objectives and criteria which characterize a modern school.” School directors should keep this directive of the Magisterium in mind, and they should respect the distinctive characteristics of religious instruction. It should have a place in the weekly order alongside the other classes, for example; it should have its own syllabus, approved by those in authority; it should seek appropriate interdisciplinary links with other course material so that there is a coordination between human learning and religious awareness. Like other course work, it should promote culture, and it should make use of the best educational methods available to schools today. In some countries, the results of examinations in religious knowledge are included within the overall measure of student progress. Finally, religious instruction in the school needs to be coordinated with the catechesis offered in parishes, in the family, and in youth associations. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #70.
Intellectual formation in Catholic schools is wisdom based and integrated with faith, culture and life.
20. From the nature of the Catholic school also stems one of the most significant elements of its educational project: the synthesis between culture and faith. Indeed, knowledge set in the context of faith becomes wisdom and life vision. The endeavor to interweave reason and faith, which has become the heart of individual subjects, makes for unity, articulation, and coordination, bringing forth within what is learnt in school a Christian vision of the world, of life, of culture, and of history. In the Catholic school’s educational project there is no separation between time for learning and time for formation, between acquiring notions and growing in wisdom. The various school subjects do not present only knowledge to be attained, but also values to be acquired and truths to be discovered. All of which demands an atmosphere characterized by the search for truth, in which competent, convinced and coherent educators, teachers of learning and of life, may be a reflection, albeit imperfect but still vivid, of the one Teacher. In this perspective, in the Christian educational project all subjects collaborate, each with its own specific content, to the formation of mature personalities. The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 1997, #14. 21. Within the overall process of education, special mention must be made of the intellectual work done by students. Although Christian life consists in loving God and doing his will, intellectual work is intimately involved. The light of Christian faith stimulates a desire to know the universe as God’s creation. It enkindles a love for the truth that will not be satisfied with superficiality in knowledge or judgment. It awakens a critical sense which examines statements rather than accepting them blindly. It impels the mind to learn with careful order and precise methods, and to work with a sense of responsibility. It provides the strength needed to accept the sacrifices and the perseverance required by intellectual labor. When fatigued, the Christian student remembers the command of Genesis and the invitation of the Lord. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #49. 22. This is the basis of a Catholic school’s educational work. Education is not given for the purpose of gaining power but as an aid towards a fuller understanding of, and communion with man, events, and things. Knowledge is not to be considered as a means of material prosperity and success, but as a call to serve and to be responsible for others. The Catholic School, 1977, #56.
Intellectual formation in Catholic schools is oriented toward discovering the real truth of things.
23. Respect for those who seek the truth, who raise fundamental questions about human existence. Confidence in our ability to attain truth, at least in a limited way—a confidence based not on feeling but on faith. God created us “in his own image and likeness” and will not deprive us of the truth necessary to orient our lives. The ability to make judgments about what is true and what is false; and to make choices based on these judgments. Making use of a systematic framework, such as that offered by our philosophical heritage, with which to find the best possible human responses to questions regarding the human person, the world, and God. Lively dialogue between culture and the Gospel message. The fullness of truth contained in the Gospel message itself, which embraces and integrates the wisdom of all cultures, and enriches them with the divine mysteries known only to God but which, out of love, he has chosen to reveal to us. With such criteria as a basis, the student’s careful and reflective study of philosophy will bring human wisdom into an encounter with divine wisdom. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #58. 24. The greatest challenge to Catholic education in the United States today, and the greatest contribution that authentically Catholic education can make to American culture, is to restore to that culture the conviction that human beings can grasp the truth of things, and in grasping that truth can know their duties to God, to themselves and their neighbors. The contemporary world urgently needs the service of educational institutions which uphold and teach that truth is “that fundamental value without which freedom, justice, and human dignity are extinguished” [Vertatis Splendor, 4]. Saint Pope John Paul II – Ad limina visit of bishops from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, 1998. 25. The school considers human knowledge as a truth to be discovered. In the measure in which subjects rare taught by someone who knowingly and without restraint seeks the truth, they are to that extent Christian. Discovery and awareness of truth leads man to the discovery of Truth itself. A teacher who is full of Christian wisdom, well prepared in his own subject, does more than convey the sense of what he is teaching to his pupils. Over and above what he says, he guides his pupils beyond his mere words to the heart of total Truth. The Catholic School, 1977, #41. 25. The school considers human knowledge as a truth to be discovered. In the measure in which subjects rare taught by someone who knowingly and without restraint seeks the truth, they are to that extent Christian. Discovery and awareness of truth leads man to the discovery of Truth itself. A teacher who is full of Christian wisdom, well prepared in his own subject, does more than convey the sense of what he is teaching to his pupils. Over and above what he says, he guides his pupils beyond his mere words to the heart of total Truth. The Catholic School, 1977, #41. 26. One specific characteristic of the educational profession assumes its most profound significance in the Catholic educator: the communication of truth. For the Catholic educator, whatever is true is a participation in Him who is the Truth; the communication of truth, therefore, as a professional activity, is thus fundamentally transformed into a unique participation in the prophetic mission of Christ, carried on through one’s teaching. Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, 1982, #16.
Formation in a Catholic school is oriented toward meaning and transcendence.
27. Furthermore, when man gives himself to the various disciplines of philosophy, history, and of mathematical and natural science, and when he cultivates the arts, he can do very much to elevate the human family to a more sublime understanding of truth, goodness, and beauty, and to the formation of considered opinions which have universal value. Thus mankind may be more clearly enlightened by that marvelous Wisdom which was with God from all eternity, composing all things with him, rejoicing in the earth, delighting in the sons of men. Gaudium Et Spes, 1965, #57. 28. Concepts such as truth, beauty and goodness have become so vague today that young people do not know where to turn to find help; even when they are able to hold on to certain values, they do not yet have the capacity to develop these values into a way of life; all too often they are more inclined simply to go their own way, accepting whatever is popular at the moment. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #9. 29. Schools and universities are places where students are introduced to knowledge and scientific research. One of teachers’ main responsibilities is to attract younger generations towards knowledge and understanding its achievements and applications. Engagement in knowledge and research cannot be separated from a sense of ethics and transcendence: no real science can disregard ethical consequences and no real science drives us away from transcendence. Science and ethics, science and transcendence are not mutually exclusive, but come together for a greater and better understanding of man and the world. Educating Today And Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion, 2014, #2. 30. Nowadays, the “way” in which students learn seems to be more important than “what” they learn, just like the way of teaching seems to be more important than its contents. Teaching that only promotes repetitive learning, without favoring students’ active participation or sparking their curiosity, is not sufficiently challenging to elicit motivation. Learning through research and problem-solving develops different and more significant cognitive and mental abilities, whereby students do more than just receiving information, while also stimulating teamwork. However, the value of learning contents must not be underestimated. If the way students learn is relevant, the same applies to what they learn: teachers must know how to select the essential elements of cultural heritage that has accumulated over time and how to present them to students. This approach also applies to the study of the major questions mankind is facing and has faced in the past. Otherwise, the risk could be to provide a kind of teaching that is only focused on what seems to be useful now, because it is being required by contingent economic or social demands, forgetting what is indispensable for the human person. Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion, 2014, #3. 31. Learning is not just equivalent to content assimilation, but is an opportunity for self-education, commitment towards self-improvement and the common good. It allows our students to develop their creativity, strive for constant learning and become more open towards others. Learning can also provide the opportunity to open students’ hearts and minds to the mystery and wonder of the world and nature, to self-consciousness and awareness, to responsibility towards creation, to the Creator’s immensity. Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion, 2014, #4.
Principle V: Imparts a Christian Understanding of the World
In the light of faith, Catholic education critically and systematically transmits the secular and religious “cultural patrimony handed down from previous generations,” especially that which makes a person more human and contributes to the integral formation of students.32 Both educator and student are called to participate in the dialogue with culture and to pursue “the integration of culture with faith and faith with living.”33 Catholic education imparts a “Christian vision of the world, of life, of culture, and of history,” ordering “the whole of human culture to the news of salvation.”34 This hallmark of Catholic education, to “bring human wisdom into an encounter with divine wisdom,”35 cultivates “in students the intellectual, creative, and aesthetic faculties of the human person,” introduces a cultural heritage, and prepares them for professional life and to take on the responsibilities and duties of society and the Church.36 Students are prepared to work for the evangelization of culture and for the common good of society.37
Catholic schools help form a Catholic culture which is “critical and evaluative, historical and dynamic.”
1. Numerous Church teachings, especially in the Second Vatican Council and in subsequent Magisterium, have reflected on culture and its importance for the complete development of human potential. The Second Vatican Council, in considering the importance of culture, asserted that there is no truly human experience without the context of a specific culture. In fact, “man comes to a true and full humanity only through culture.” Every culture is a way of giving expression to the transcendental aspect of life; this includes reflection on the mystery of the world and, in particular, on the mystery of humanity. The essential meaning of culture consists “in the fact that it is a characteristic of human life as such. Man lives a truly human life thanks to culture. Human life is culture in the sense also that man is marked out and differentiated by it from all that exists elsewhere in the visible world: man cannot exist outside of culture. Man always lives in accordance with a culture that belongs to him and which, in turn, creates among men a bond that is also proper to them, determining the inter-human and social character of human existence.” Congregation for Catholic Education, Educating to Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools: Living in Harmony for a Civilization of Love (2013), #30. 2. Moreover, the term culture indicates all those means by which “man develops and perfects his many bodily and spiritual qualities; he strives by his knowledge and his labour, to bring the world itself under his control. He renders social life more human both in the family and the civic community, through improvement of customs and institutions. Throughout the course of time he expresses, communicates, and conserves in his works, great spiritual experiences and desires, that they might be of advantage to the progress of many, even of the whole human family.” Therefore, this includes both the subjective aspect—behaviors, values, and traditions that each person takes on—and the objective aspect, that is, the works of individuals. Congregation for Catholic Education, Educating to Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools: Living in Harmony for a Civilization of Love (2013), #31. 3. A school uses its own specific means for the integral formation of the human person: the communication of culture. It is extremely important, then, that the Catholic educator reflect on the profound relationship that exists between culture and the Church. For the Church not only influences culture and is, in turn, conditioned by culture; the Church embraces everything in human culture which is compatible with Revelation and which it needs in order to proclaim the message of Christ and express it more adequately according to the cultural characteristics of each people and each age. The close relationship between culture and the life of the Church is an especially clear manifestation of the unity that exists between creation and redemption. For this reason, if the communication of culture is to be a genuine educational activity, it must not only be organic, but also critical and evaluative, historical and dynamic. Faith will provide Catholic educators with some essential principles for critique and evaluation; faith will help them to see all of human history as a history of salvation which culminates in the fullness of the Kingdom. This puts culture into a creative context, constantly being perfected. Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, 1982, #20. 4. Students will be helped to attain that synthesis of faith and culture which is necessary for faith to be mature. But a mature faith is also able to recognize and reject cultural counter-values which threaten human dignity and are therefore contrary to the Gospel. No one should think that all of the problems of religion and of faith will be completely solved by academic studies; nevertheless, we are convinced that a school is a privileged place for finding adequate ways to deal with these problems. The declaration Gravissimum educationis, echoing Gaudium et spes, indicates that one of the characteristics of a Catholic school is that it interpret and give order to human culture in the light of faith. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, #52. 5. The social and cultural context of our time is in danger of obscuring “the educational value of the Catholic school, in which its fundamental reason for existing and the basis of its genuine apostolate is to be found”. Indeed, although it is true to say that in recent years there has been an increased interest and a greater sensitivity on the part of public opinion, international organizations and governments with regard to schooling and education, there has also been a noticeable tendency to reduce education to its purely technical and practical aspects. Pedagogy and the sciences of education themselves have appeared to devote greater attention to the study of phenomenology and didactics than to the essence of education as such, centered on deeply meaningful values and vision… There is a tendency to forget that education always presupposes and involves a definite concept of man and life. To claim neutrality for schools signifies in practice, more times than not, banning all reference to religion from the cultural and educational field, whereas a correct pedagogical approach ought to be open to the more decisive sphere of ultimate objectives, attending not only to “how”, but also to “why”, overcoming any misunderstanding as regards the claim to neutrality in education, restoring to the educational process the unity which saves it from dispersion amid the meandering of knowledge and acquired facts, and focuses on the human person in his or her integral, transcendent, historical identity. With its educational project inspired by the Gospel, the Catholic school is called to take up this challenge and respond to it in the conviction that “it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear.” The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 1997, #10. 6. Making use of a systematic framework, such as that offered by our philosophical heritage, with which to find the best possible human responses to questions regarding the human person, the world, and God. Lively dialogue between culture and the Gospel message. The fullness of truth contained in the Gospel message itself, which embraces and integrates the wisdom of all cultures, and enriches them with the divine mysteries known only to God but which, out of love, he has chosen to reveal to us. With such criteria as a basis, the student’s careful and reflective study of philosophy will bring human wisdom into an encounter with divine wisdom. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #57.
While respectful of surrounding cultures, a school’s culture must be distinctly Catholic.
7. The transmission of a culture ought to be especially attentive to the practical effects of that culture, and strengthen those aspects of it which will make a person more human. In particular, it ought to pay attention to the religious dimension of the culture and the emerging ethical requirements to be found in it. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #108. 8. As the Council points out, giving order to human culture in the light of the message of salvation cannot mean a lack of respect for the autonomy of the different academic disciplines and the methodology proper to them; nor can it mean that these disciplines are to be seen merely as subservient to faith. On the other hand, it is necessary to point out that a proper autonomy of culture has to be distinguished from a vision of the human person or of the world as totally autonomous, implying that one can negate spiritual values or prescind from them. We must always remember that, while faith is not to be identified with any one culture and is independent of all cultures, it must inspire every culture: “Faith which does not become culture is faith which is not received fully, not assimilated entirely, not lived faithfully”. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, #53. 9. Catholic schools are called to give dutiful witness, by their pedagogy that is clearly inspired by the Gospel—a fortiori in a culture that demands that schools be neutral and removes all religious references from the field of education. Catholic schools, being Catholic, are not limited to a vague Christian inspiration or one based on human values. They have the responsibility for offering Catholic students, over and above a sound knowledge of religion, the possibility to grow in personal closeness to Christ in the Church. Educating in Intercultural Dialogue in the Catholic school: Living in Harmony for a Civilization of Love, 2013, #56. 10. Indeed, culture is only educational when young people can relate their study to real-life situations with which they are familiar. The school must stimulate the pupil to exercise his intelligence through the dynamics of understanding to attain clarity and inventiveness. It must help him spell out the meaning of his experiences and their truths. The Catholic School, 1977, #27. 11. We can say of catechesis, as well as of evangelization in general, that it is called to bring the power of the Gospel into the very heart of culture and cultures. For this purpose, catechesis will seek to know these cultures and their essential components; it will learn their most significant expressions; it will respect their particular values and riches. In this manner it will be able to offer these cultures the knowledge of the hidden mystery and help them to bring forth from their own living tradition original expressions of Christian life, celebration, and thought. Catechesi Tradendae, 1979, #53. 12. Let it be loudly proclaimed and well understood and recognized by all, that Catholics, no matter what their nationality, in agitating for Catholic schools for their children, are not mixing in party politics, but are engaged in a religious enterprise demanded by conscience. They do not intend to separate their children either from the body of the nation or its spirit, but to educate them in a perfect manner, most conducive to the prosperity of the nation. Indeed a good Catholic, precisely because of his Catholic principles, makes the better citizen, attached to his country, and loyally submissive to constituted civil authority in every legitimate form of government. In such a school, in harmony with the Church and the Christian family, the various branches of secular learning will not enter into conflict with religious instruction to the manifest detriment of education. And if, when occasion arises, it be deemed necessary to have the students read authors propounding false doctrine, for the purpose of refuting it, this will be done after due preparation and with such an antidote of sound doctrine, that it will not only do no harm, but will an aid to the Christian formation of youth. Divini Illius Magistri, 1929, #85-86.
One means of transmitting Catholic culture is through the school’s curriculum.
13. Catholic schools strive to relate all of the sciences to salvation and sanctification. Students are shown how Jesus illumines all of life—science, mathematics, history, business, biology, and so forth. National Directory for Catechesis, 2005, p.233. 14. Educational goals: The responsibility of a Catholic school is enormous and complex. It must respect and obey the laws that define methods, programmes, structure, etc., and at the same time it must fulfil its own educational goals by blending human culture with the message of salvation into a coordinated programme; it must help each of the students to actually become the “new creature” that each one is potentially, and at the same time prepare them for the responsibilities of an adult member of society. This means that a Catholic school needs to have a set of educational goals which are “distinctive” in the sense that the school has a specific objective in mind, and all of the goals are related to this objective. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #100. 15. Individual subjects must be taught according to their own particular methods. It would be wrong to consider subjects as mere adjuncts to faith or as a useful means of teaching apologetics. They enable the pupil to assimilate skills, knowledge, intellectual methods, and moral and social attitudes, all of which help to develop his personality and lead him to take his place as an active member of the community of man. Their aim is not merely the attainment of knowledge but the acquisition of values and the discovery of truth. The Catholic School, 1977, #39.
Literature and the arts are carefully selected to allow students to reflect on man’s successes and failures, his miseries and joys.
16. Literature and the arts are also, in their own way, of great importance to the life of the Church. They strive to make known the proper nature of man, his problems and his experiences in trying to know and perfect both himself and the world. They have much to do with revealing man’s place in history and in the world; with illustrating the miseries and joys, the needs and strengths of man and with foreshadowing a better life for him. Thus they are able to elevate human life, expressed in multifold forms according to various times and regions. Thus the knowledge of God is better manifested and the preaching of the Gospel becomes clearer to human intelligence and shows itself to be relevant to man’s actual conditions of life. May the faithful, therefore, live in very close union with the other men of their time and may they strive to understand perfectly their way of thinking and judging, as expressed in their culture. Let them blend new sciences and theories and the understanding of the most recent discoveries with Christian morality and the teaching of Christian doctrine, so that their religious culture and morality may keep pace with scientific knowledge and with the constantly progressing technology. Thus they will be able to interpret and evaluate all things in a truly Christian spirit. Gaudium Et Spes, 1965, #62. 17. Literary and artistic works depict the struggles of societies, of families, and of individuals. They spring from the depths of the human heart, revealing its lights and its shadows, its hope and its despair. The Christian perspective goes beyond the merely human, and offers more penetrating criteria for understanding the human struggle and the mysteries of the human spirit.(55) Furthermore, an adequate religious formation has been the starting point for the vocation of a number of Christian artists and art critics. In the upper grades, a teacher can bring students to an even more profound appreciation of artistic works as a reflection of the divine beauty in tangible form. Both the Fathers of the Church and the masters of Christian philosophy teach this in their writings on aesthetics—St. Augustine invites us to go beyond the intention of the artists in order to find the eternal order of God in the work of art; St. Thomas sees the presence of the Divine Word in art. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #61
Students are introduced to history as God’s universal plan of salvation.
18. Teachers should guide the students’ work in such a way that they will be able to discover a religious dimension in the world of human history. As a preliminary, they should be encouraged to develop a taste for historical truth, and therefore to realize the need to look critically at texts and curricula which, at times, are imposed by a government or distorted by the ideology of the author. The next step is to help students see history as something real: the drama of human grandeur and human misery. The protagonist of history is the human person, who projects onto the world, on a larger scale, the good and the evil that is within each individual. History is, then, a monumental struggle between these two fundamental realities, and is subject to moral judgments. But such judgments must always be made with understanding. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #58. 19. Every society has its own heritage of accumulated wisdom. Many people find inspiration in these philosophical and religious concepts which have endured for millennia. The systematic genius of classical Greek and European thought has, over the centuries, generated countless different doctrinal systems, but it has also given us a set of truths which we can recognize as a part of our permanent philosophical heritage. A Catholic school conforms to the generally accepted school programming of today, but implements these programmes within an overall religious perspective. This perspective includes criteria such as the following: Respect for those who seek the truth, who raise fundamental questions about human existence. Confidence in our ability to attain truth, at least in a limited way—a confidence based not on feeling but on faith. God created us “in his own image and likeness” and will not deprive us of the truth necessary to orient our lives. The ability to make judgments about what is true and what is false; and to make choices based on these judgments. Making use of a systematic framework, such as that offered by our philosophical heritage, with which to find the best possible human responses to questions regarding the human person, the world, and God. Lively dialogue between culture and the Gospel message. The fullness of truth contained in the Gospel message itself, which embraces and integrates the wisdom of all cultures, and enriches them with the divine mysteries known only to God but which, out of love, he has chosen to reveal to us. With such criteria as a basis, the student’s careful and reflective study of philosophy will bring human wisdom into an encounter with divine wisdom. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #57. 20. The curriculum must help the students reflect on the great problems of our time, including those where one sees more clearly the difficult situation of a large part of humanity’s living conditions. These would include the unequal distribution of resources, poverty, injustice, and human rights denied. Educating to Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools, 2013, #62. 21. To this end, the teacher should help students to see history as a whole. Looking at the grand picture, they will see the development of civilizations, and learn about progress in such things as economic development, human freedom, and international cooperation. Realizing this can help to offset the disgust that comes from learning about the darker side of human history. But even this is not the whole story. When they are ready to appreciate it, students can be invited to reflect on the fact that this human struggle takes place within the divine history universal salvation. At this moment, the religious dimension of history begins to shine forth in all its luminous grandeur. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #59.
Science and technology are viewed in harmony with faith and placed at the service of man and God.
22. In a number of countries, renewal in school programming has given increased attention to science and technology. Those teaching these subject areas must not ignore the religious dimension. They should help their students to understand that positive science, and the technology allied to it, is a part of the universe created by God. Understanding this can help encourage an interest in research: the whole of creation, from the distant celestial bodies and the immeasurable cosmic forces down to the infinitesimal particles and waves of matter and energy, all bear the imprint of the Creator’s wisdom and power, The wonder that past ages felt when contemplating this universe, recorded by the Biblical authors, is still valid for the students of today; the only difference is that we have a knowledge that is much more vast and profound. There can be no conflict between faith and true scientific knowledge; both find their source in God. The student who is able to discover the harmony between faith and science will, in future professional life, be better able to put science and technology to the service of men and women, and to the service of God. It is a way of giving back to God what he has first given to us. The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #54. 23. Indeed today’s progress in science and technology can foster a certain exclusive emphasis on observable data, and an agnosticism about everything else. For the methods of investigation which these sciences use can be wrongly considered as the supreme rule of seeking the whole truth. By virtue of their methods these sciences cannot penetrate to the intimate notion of things. Indeed the danger is present that man, confiding too much in the discoveries of today, may think that he is sufficient unto himself and no longer seek the higher things. Gaudium Et Spes, 1965, #57. 24. The increased attention given to science and technology must not lead to a neglect of the humanities: philosophy, history, literature, and art…. The simplest way to uncover the religious dimension of the artistic and literary world is to start with its concrete expressions: in every human culture, art and literature have been closely linked to religious beliefs. Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #60.
The Catholic school is called to evangelize the broader common culture.
25. The mission of the Church is to evangelize, for the interior transformation and the renewal of humanity. For young people, the school is one of the ways for this evangelization to take place… Since its educational goals are rooted in Christian principles, the school as a whole is inserted into the evangelical function of the Church. It assists in and promotes faith education. Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #66 & 69. 26. Finally, the Church is absolutely convinced that the educational aims of the Catholic school in the world of today perform an essential and unique service for the Church herself. It is, in fact, through the school that she participates in the dialogue of culture with her own positive contribution to the cause of the total formation of man. The Catholic School, 1977, #15
- 1 Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, The Catholic School (Vatican City, 1977) 5-7; Pope Paul VI, Gravissimum Educationis (Vatican City, 1965) 2; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, To Teach as Jesus Did (Washington, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1972) 7.
- Matthew 28:19-20.
- Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with Catholic Educators: Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI (Washington, April 2008); Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi (Vatican City, 2007) 4.
- The Catholic School (1977) 34; Congregation for Catholic Education, Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion (Vatican, 2014) III.
- Congregation for Catholic Education, The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School (Vatican City, 1988) 25.
- Congregation for Catholic Education, Educating Together in Catholic Schools: A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful (Vatican City, 2007) 5, 10; The Religious Dimension of Education 44.
- The Catholic School (1977) 49.
- Canon Law Society of America, Code of Canon Law (Washington, D.C., 1983) 795; Gravissimum Educationis, Introduction; Congregation for Catholic Education, Circular Letter to the Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences on Religious Education in Schools (Vatican City, 2009) 1.
- The Catholic School (1977) 54.
- Educating Together 10, 12-14.
- Code of Canon Law 793 §1; Congregation for Catholic Education, Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith (Vatican City, 1982) 12.
- Lay Catholics in Schools 22; The Catholic School (1977) 53; The Religious Dimension of Education 34.
- Educating Together 50; The Religious Dimension of Education 44.
- Educating Together 5; Congregation for Catholic Education, Educating in Intercultural Dialogue in the Catholic School: Living in Harmony for a Civilization of Love (Vatican, 2013) 86; Lay Catholics in Schools 18; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium (Washington, D.C., 2005) excerpt.
- The Religious Dimension of Education 26, 28.
- The Religious Dimension of Education 25-26, 28-29, 40; Educating Together 48.
- Code of Canon Law 795; To Teach as Jesus Did 107; The Religious Dimension of Education 39; Educating Today and Tomorrow, conclusion.
- Gravissimum Educationis 5, 8; Code of Canon Law 803§2; To Teach as Jesus Did 104.
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Directory for Catechesis (Washington D.C., 2005) 231-233; Congregation for Catholic Education, The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium (Vatican, 1997) 19.
- The Catholic School (1977) 54-55; Pope Pius XI, Divini Illius Magistri (Vatican City, 1929) 15-17, 76; Catechism of the Catholic Church (Vatican City, 1993) 2675; Educating Today and Tomorrow I, 1b.
- Pope Saint John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae (Vatican City, 1979) 23; Educating Together 17, 26.
- The Religious Dimension of Education 78; Educating Together 26.
- The Religious Dimension of Education 79, 83.
- Circular Letter 1; The Catholic School on the Threshold 4; The Religious Dimension of Education 98.
- The Catholic School on the Threshold 9; The Religious Dimension of Education 55, 84.
- The Religious Dimension of Education 95; The Catholic School (1977) 7; Educating Today and Tomorrow III.
- The Catholic School on the Threshold 10; The Catholic School (1977) 12, 45; Educating Together 46.
- The Religious Dimension of Education 51, 63; Educating in Intercultural Dialogue 64-67; The Catholic School (1977) 37; Lay Catholics in Schools 56; Educating Together 24.
- The Religious Dimension of Education 84, 112.
- The Religious Dimension of Education 1; Educating in Intercultural Dialogue 56; The Catholic School on the Threshold 14; To Teach as Jesus Did 102.
- The Religious Dimension of Education 49.
- Lay Catholics in Schools 12; The Catholic School (1977) 26, 36; The Religious Dimension of Education 108.
- The Catholic School (1977) 15, 49; The Religious Dimension of Education 34, 51, 52.
- The Catholic School on the Threshold 14; The Religious Dimension of Education 53, 100; Gravissimum Educationis 8.
- The Religious Dimension of Education 57.
- Gravissimum Educationis 5; Lay Catholics in Schools 12.
- Pope Saint John Paul II (1998); Renewing Our Commitment, excerpt; Educating Today and Tomorrow II-1.