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Back to 2014-05-07-teo_La necesaria renovación de la educación católica

Ramiro Pellitero, Professor of Theology

The necessary renewal of the Catholic Education

Wed, 07 May 2014 08:58:00 +0000 Posted in

The function of Catholic-inspired schools is inspired by the Christian vision of man and society. The right of religious freedom assists families to choose this Education (also in other schools). In the present circumstances, the Catholic school requires a profound renewal. The Aparecida Document (2007) deals with all of this, with proposals that are still very relevant today (cf. nn. 331-340).

1. The task of the Catholic Education is part of the Church's of the mission statement of the ChurchAs expressed in the Aparecida Document (V lecture of CELAM, 2007): "The primary mission statement of the Church is to proclaim the Gospel in such a way as to guarantee the relationship between faith and life both in the individual person and in the partner-cultural context in which people live, act and relate to one another. In this way the Church seeks 'to transform by the power of the Gospel the criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, inspirational sources and models of human life which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation' (Evangelii nuntiandi, n. 19)".

More concretely, the Christian Education - Aparecida continues - is inscribed in "a project of human being in which Jesus Christ dwells with the transforming power of his new life". Christ, as foundation and term, is the principle of explicit and implicit order that must reign in the constellation of aspects and values of the Education, so that it can be called Christian. And thus the Catholic Education contributes, from its own place, to recapitulate everything in Christ.

In this way, the two aspects of Education become intertwined: human promotion and the advertisement of faith. "This means - in the words of John Paul II - that it is inconceivable that the Gospel can be proclaimed without it enlightening, inspiring encouragement and hope, and inspiring adequate solutions to the problems of existence; nor is it possible to think of a true and full promotion of the human being without opening him to God and proclaiming Jesus Christ to him".

It is about a Education centered on the human person that enables him/her to live in community and contribute to the common good. This horizon involves promoting "a quality Education for all, formal and non-formal, especially for the poorest"; a "Education that offers children, youth and adults the meeting with the cultural values of their own country, discovering or integrating in them the religious and transcendent dimension", with freedom from the State and in a quality project educational .

4. Returning to Christ, He is the foundation of all human values and at the same time revealer and transformer of human existence in order to live in a divine way: "that is, to think, will and act according to the Gospel, making the beatitudes the rule of their life". This explicit reference letter to Christ, shared by all the members of the school community - with respect for the religious freedom and conscience of the non-Christians present in it - makes "the Gospel principles become for it educational norms, interior motivations and at the same time final goals". In other words: "Jesus Christ, therefore, elevates and ennobles the human person, gives value to his existence and constitutes the perfect example of life". This is the best news and the goal that the Catholic-inspired school offers to every child and young person: the reference letter to Christ for the configuration of the personality, mentality and whole life.

"Such reference letter, as it becomes progressively explicit and interiorized, will help you to see history as Christ sees it, to judge life as He does, to choose and love as He does, to cultivate hope as He teaches us, and to live in Him communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit."

With this reference letter the person builds his unity, assumes his responsibilities, and searches for the ultimate meaning of his life. With it, he learns to live his faith with freedom, intensity and joy, and this leads him at the same time to the search for truth, to respect for people, to the submission of himself in the service and transformation of society.

5. Nowadays, the Catholic-inspired school needs a profound renewal. In what directions? Aparecida proposes an accompaniment educational on the basis of the foundation in Christ, which permeates the whole Christian school project and which includes the ecclesial identity (even if it is not an officially Catholic school) together with academic excellence, and solidarity and charity with the poorest. All this must be supported by the participation of families in the project educational of their children and the training of teachers in the same horizon.

In synthesis: "The accompaniment of educational processes, the participation of parents in them, and the training of teachers, are priority tasks of the educational pastoral".

6. Some more details complete this proposal. First, "that the Education in the faith in Catholic institutions be integral and transversal in the whole curriculum". Second, that the entire educational community (principals, teachers, staff administration, students, parents, etc.) be active and real subjects of the Education. Third, that the school as such be concerned, at the same time, with the catechesis and the human promotion of young people, families and the poorest. Fourth, "these objectives - the document literally states - are essential in the processes of Admissions Office of students, their families and the hiring of teachers".

7. As for the State, it must ensure that the freedom of Education is real, i.e. that families can "choose the Education of their children that they consider most in conformity with the values they hold dearest and consider indispensable".  

And the Education would not be real without the just economic subsidy : "For this reason, the public power, which is responsible for the protection and defense of the liberties of the citizens, in accordance with distributive justice, must distribute public aid - which comes from the taxes of all citizens - in such a way that all parents, regardless of their social status, can choose, according to their conscience, among a plurality of educational projects, the appropriate schools for their children".

Attention to the last criterion, which also stems from the primary right of families to choose the subject of Education: "Therefore, no educational sector, not even the State itself, can be granted the School of granting itself the privilege and exclusivity of the Education of the poorest".

The renewal of the Education in the faith from schools and colleges and in partnership with families (who are the first educators), parishes and other educational institutions, would do well to take grade of these accents, in order to achieve a level of quality adequate to today's requirements.