Notable quotations from Pope John Paul II and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
The greatest challenge to Catholic education in the United States today...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 mission of the Catholic school is the integral formation of students, so that they may be true to their condition as Christ's disciples and as such work effectively for the evangelization of culture and for the common good of society.
Catholic education aims not only to communicate facts but also to transmit a coherent, comprehensive vision of life, in the conviction that the truths contained in that vision liberate students in the most profound meaning of human freedom.
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" (Veritatis splendor, n. 4).
To educate in the truth, and for genuine freedom and evangelical love, is at the very heart of the Church's mission. In a cultural climate in which moral norms are often thought to be matters of personal preference, Catholic schools have a crucial role to play in leading the younger generation to realize that freedom consists above all in being able to respond to the demands of the truth...
A Catholic school is a place where students live a shared experience of faith in God and where they learn the riches of Catholic culture...Catholic schools must help students to deepen their relationship with God and to discover that all things human have their deepest meaning in the person and teaching of Jesus Christ.
Transmitting knowledge about the faith, though essential, is not sufficient. If students...are to gain a genuine experience of the Church, the example of teachers and others responsible for their formation is crucial: the witness of adults in the school community is a vital part of the school's identity.
The Gospel message is the definitive response to the deepest longings of the human heart. Young Catholics have a right to hear the full content of that message in order to come to know Christ, the One Who has overcome death and opened the door to salvation.
Catholic institutions should continue their tradition of commitment to the education of the poor in spite of the financial burdens involved. In some cases it may be necessary to find ways to share the burden more evenly, so that parishes with schools are not left to shoulder it alone.
(Source: Ad limina visit of bishops from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, May 30, 1998)
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com