Magisterial Teaching on Catholic Education Today

On the present challenge of Catholic education

“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.”

-John Paul IIAd Limina Address to Catholic Bishops from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin (30 May 1998), 3: Origins 28:5 (18 June 1998), 76.

On parental responsibility and authority over education

“Subsidiarity thus complements paternal and maternal love and confirms its fundamental nature, inasmuch as all other participants in the process of education are only able to carry out their responsibilities in the name of the parents, with their consent and, to a certain degree, with their authorization.”

-John Paul IILetter to Families, 16.

 Catholic parents’ right to state assistance in education

Vatican II declared that “the public power, which has the obligation to protect and defend the rights of citizens, must see to it, in its concern for distributive justice, that public subsidies are paid out in such a way  that parents are truly free to choose according to their conscience the schools they want for their children.”

Second Vatican Council, Gravissimum Educationis, 6.

“[A given state’s] refusal to provide public economic support to non-public schools that need assistance and that render to civil society is to be considered an injustice.”

-Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 241.

 Catholic Schools must be centers of Evangelization

“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.”

-Benedict XVIMeeting With Catholic Educators in Washington, D.C., 2008.