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Education

Yet we desire even more than this; our dream soars higher. We are not simply talking about ensuring nourishment or a “dignified sustenance” for all people, but also their “general temporal welfare and prosperity”. This means education, access to health care, and above all employment, for it is through free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive labour that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their lives.

Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis, 2013, #192.

And, in regard to children, great care should be taken not to place them in workshops and factories until their bodies and minds are sufficiently developed. For, just as very rough weather destroys the buds of spring, so does too early an experience of life’s hard toil blight the young promise of a child’s faculties, and render any true education impossible.

Rerum Novarum (“On the Condition of Labor and the Working Classes”), Pope Leo XIII, 1891, #42.


 

First, the vocational training should be offered in such forms and conditions as not to deprive the children of the working classes of at least the elements of a cultural education. A healthy democracy cannot tolerate a purely industrial or trade education for any class of its citizens. We do not want to have the children of the wage earners put into a special class in which they are marked as outside the sphere of opportunities for culture.

Program of Social Reconstruction, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1919, #30.


 

Hence, though the Church’s first care must be for souls, how she can sanctify them and make them share in the gifts of heaven, she concerns herself too with the exigencies of man’s daily life, with his livelihood and education, and his general, temporal welfare and prosperity.

Mater et Magistra (“Mother and Teacher”), Pope John XXIII, 1961, #3.


 

For although many unjust and inhuman economic and social imbalances still exist in our day, and there are still many errors affecting the activity, aims, structure and operation of economies the world over, it is an undeniable fact that, thanks to the driving impulse of scientific and technical advance, productive systems are today rapidly becoming more modernized and efficient–more so than ever before. Hence a greater technical skill is required of the workers, and more exacting professional qualifications. Which means that they must be given more assistance and more free time in which to complete their vocational training as well as to carry out more fittingly their cultural, moral and religious education. As a further consequence, the modern youth is enabled to devote a longer time to his basic schooling in the arts and sciences. All this serves to create an environment in which workers are encouraged to assume greater responsibility in their own sphere of employment.

Mater et Magistra (“Mother and Teacher”), Pope John XXIII, 1961, #94-96.


 

It is of the utmost importance that parents exercise their right and obligation toward the younger generation by securing for their children a sound cultural and religious formation. They must also educate them to a deep sense of responsibility in life, especially in such matters as concern the foundation of a family and the procreation and education of children. They must instill in them an
unshakable confidence in Divine Providence and a determination to accept the inescapable sacrifices and hardships involved in so noble and important a task as the co-operation with God in the transmitting of human life and the bringing up of children.

Mater et Magistra (“Mother and Teacher”), Pope John XXIII, 1961, #195.


 

First, We must reaffirm most strongly that this Catholic social doctrine is an integral part of the Christian conception of life. It is therefore Our urgent desire that this doctrine be studied more and more. First of all it should be taught as part of the daily curriculum in Catholic schools of every kind, particularly seminaries, although We are not unaware that in some of these latter institutions, this has been done for a long time now and in an outstanding way. We would also like to see it added to the religious instruction programs of parishes and of Association of the Lay Apostolate. it must be spread by every modern means at our disposal: daily newspapers, periodicals, popular and scientific publications, radio and television.

Mater et Magistra (“Mother and Teacher”), Pope John XXIII, 1961, #222-223.


 

The natural law also gives man the right to share in the benefits of culture, and therefore the right to a basic education and to technical and professional training in keeping with the stage of educational development in the country to which he belongs.

Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”), Pope John XXIII, 1963, #13.


 

At the same time, however, there is a growing awareness of the sublime dignity of human persons, who stand above all things and whose rights and duties are universal and inviolable. They ought, therefore, to have ready access to all that is necessary for living a genuinely human life: for example, food, clothing, housing, the right freely to choose their state of life and set up a family, the right to education, work. . . .

Gaudium et Spes (“The Church in the Modern World”), Vatican II, 1965, #26.


 

Civic and political education is today supremely necessary for the people, especially young people. Such education should be painstakingly provided, so that all citizens can make their contribution to the political community. Let those who are suited for it, or can become so, prepare themselves for the difficult but most honorable art of politics.

Gaudium et Spes (“The Church in the Modern World”), Vatican II, 1965, #75.


 

Freedom from misery, the greater assurance of finding sustenance, health, and fixed employment; an increased share of responsibility without oppression of any kind and in security from situations that do violence to their dignity as men; better education – in brief, to seek to do more, know more and have more in order to be more: that is what men aspire to now when a greater number of them are condemned to live in conditions that make this lawful desire illusory.

Populorum Progressio (“On the Development of Peoples”), Pope Paul VI, 1967, #6.


 

It can even be affirmed that economic growth depends in the very first place upon social progress: thus basic education is the primary object of any plan of development. Indeed hunger for education is no less debasing than hunger for food: an illiterate is a person with an undernourished mind. To be able to read and write, to acquire a professional formation, means to recover confidence in oneself and to discover that one can progress along with the others.

Populorum Progressio (“On the Development of Peoples”), Pope Paul VI, 1967, #35.


 

When so many people are hungry, when so many families suffer from destitution, when so many remain steeped in ignorance, when so many schools, hospitals and homes worthy of the name remain to be built, all public or private squandering of wealth, all expenditure prompted by motives of national or personal ostentation, every exhausting armaments race, becomes an intolerable scandal.

Populorum Progressio (“On the Development of Peoples”), Pope Paul VI, 1967, #53.


 

With demographic growth, which is particularly pronounced in the young nations, the number of those failing to find work and driven to misery or parasitism will grow in the coming years unless the conscience of man rouses itself and gives rise to a general movement of solidarity through an effective policy of investment and of organization of production and trade, as well as of education.

Octogesima Adveniens (“A Call to Action”), Pope Paul VI, 1971, #19.


 

Christians’ specific contribution to justice is the day-to-day life of individual believers acting like the leaven of the Gospel in their family, their school, their work and their social and civic life. Included with this are the perspectives and meaning which the faithful can give to human effort. Accordingly, educational method must be such as to teach people to live their lives in its entire reality and in accord with the evangelical principles of personal and social morality which are expressed in the vital Christian witness of one’s life.

Justicia in Mundo (“Justice in the World”), World Synod of Catholic Bishops, 1971, #49.


 

But education demands a renewal of heart, a renewal based on the recognition of sin in its individual and social manifestations. It will also inculcate a truly and entirely human way of life in justice, love and simplicity. It will likewise awaken a critical sense, which will lead us to reflect on the society in which we live and on its values; it will make men ready to renounce these values when they cease to promote justice in all men. In the developing countries, the principal aim of this education of justice consists in an attempt to awaken consciences to a knowledge of the concrete situation and in a call to secure a total improvement; by these means the transformation of the world has already begun.

Justicia in Mundo (“Justice in the World”), World Synod of Catholic Bishops, 1971, #51.


 

Today in our country men, women, and children are being denied opportunities for full participation and advancement in our society because of their race. The educational, legal, and financial systems, along with other structures and sectors of our society, impede people’s progress and narrow their access because they are black, Hispanic, Native American or Asian. The structures of our society are subtly racist, for these structures reflect the values which society upholds. They are geared to the success of the majority and the failure of the minority.

Brothers and Sisters to Us, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1979.


 

Finally, we urgently recommend the continuation and expansion of Catholic schools in the inner cities and other disadvantaged areas. No other form of Christian ministry has been more widely acclaimed or desperately sought by leaders of various racial communities. For a century and a half the Church in the United States has been distinguished by its efforts to educate the poor and disadvantaged, many of whom are not of the Catholic faith. That tradition continues today in – among other places – Catholic schools, where so many blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians receive a form of education and formation which constitutes a key to greater freedom and dignity.

Brothers and Sisters to Us, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1979.


 

This can be true of certain categories or groups of the working “intelligentsia,” especially when ever wider access to education and an ever increasing number of people with degrees or diplomas in the fields of their cultural preparation are accompanied by a drop in demand for their labor. This unemployment of intellectuals occurs or increases when the education available is not oriented toward the types of employment or service required by the true needs of society, or when there is less demand for work which requires education, at least professional education, than for manual labor, or when it is less well paid. Of course, education in itself is always valuable and an important enrichment of the human person; but in spite of that, “proletarianization” processes remain possible.

Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1981, #8.


 

Work and industriousness also influence the whole process of education in the family, for the very reason that everyone “becomes a human being” through, among other things, work, and becoming a human being is precisely the main purpose of the whole process of education. Obviously, two aspects of work in a sense come into play here: the one making family life and its upkeep possible, and the other making possible the achievement of the purposes of the family, especially education.

Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1981, #10.


 

The organization of human life in accordance with the many possibilities of labor should be matched by a suitable system of instruction and education aimed first of all at developing mature human beings, but also aimed at preparing people specifically for assuming to good advantage an appropriate place in the vast and socially differentiated world of work.

Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1981, #18.


 

God made human beings stewards of the earth; we cannot escape this responsibility. Therefore we urge every diocese and parish to implement balanced and objective educational programs to help people at all age levels to understand better the issues of war and peace. Development and implementation of such programs must receive a high priority during the next several years. They must teach the full impact of our Christian faith.

The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1983, #280.


 

Where the effects of past discrimination persist, society has an obligation to take positive steps to overcome the legacy of injustice. Judiciously administered affirmative action programs in education and employment can be important expressions of the drive for solidarity and participation that is at the heart of true justice. Social harm calls for social relief.

Economic Justice for All, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1986, #73.


 

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 social reform in the light of Christian values.

Economic Justice for All, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1986, #341.


 

For these reasons the Church must incorporate into all levels of her educational system the teaching of social justice and the biblical and ethical principles that support it. We call on our universities, in particular, to make Catholic social teaching, and the social encyclicals of the popes a part of their curriculum, especially for those whose vocation will call them to an active role in U.S. economic and political decision making. Faith and technological progress are not opposed one to another, but this progress must not be channeled and directed by greed, self-indulgence, or novelty for its own sake, but by values that respect human dignity and foster social solidarity.

Economic Justice for All, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1986, #342.


 

The human person receives from God its essential dignity and with it the capacity to transcend every social order so as to move towards truth and goodness. But one is also conditioned by the social structure in which one lives, by the education one has received and by the environment. These elements can either help or hinder a person’s living in accordance with the truth. The decisions which create a human environment can give rise to specific structures of sin which impede the full realization of those who are in any way oppressed by them. To destroy such structures and replace them with more authentic forms of living in community is a task which demands courage and patience.

Centesimus Annus (“The Hundredth Year,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1991, #38.


 

In our schools and seminaries, our religious education and formation efforts, our colleges and universities, we need to continue and intensify our efforts to integrate Catholic teaching on justice, nonviolence and peace into the curriculum and broader life of our educational endeavors. Education is a work of peace.

The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1993, Section 3.


 

Schools can encourage dialogue between parents and youth, can teach basic values and conflict resolution, and can provide after school programs (especially between the hours of 4:00 and 7:00 pm) for neighborhood youth. Just as clearly, our parish religious education programs can provide the values and support that can help people, especially young people, choose life and reject violence. Our schools and parish religious education programs can be vital safe havens for youth at risk.

Confronting a Culture of Violence: A Catholic Framework for Action, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1994.


 

Any politics of human life must work to resist the violence of war and the scandal of capital punishment. Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all these areas. Catholic public officials are obliged to address each of these issues as they seek to build consistent policies which promote respect for the human person at all stages of life.

Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1995, #23.


 

Family and social factors continue to contribute to poverty and economic stress. It is reported that a child born to a mother who is married, with a high school diploma, whose husband works or has a job herself has an 8% chance of growing up in poverty. A child born to a mother who is not married, without a high school education and without a job in the family has an 80% chance of growing up in poverty. Clearly, the disintegration of families, the absence of fathers, high divorce rates, the failures of education and the reality of joblessness are crucial factors in our economic problems. And just as clearly, strong families contribute to the economic, social and moral health of our nation.

A Decade after “Economic Justice for All:” Continuing Principles, Changing Context, New Challenges, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1995.


 

We urge Catholic educational institutions to redouble their efforts to share our teaching, to help their students develop concern for the poor and for justice, and to contribute to the common good by their research and educational activities.

A Decade after “Economic Justice for All:” Continuing Principles, Changing Context, New Challenges, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1995.


 

Education and formation are key arenas for teaching global solidarity. We strongly support Catholic educators who consistently integrate international concerns into their curricula and programs such as geography, history, and science classes, as well as religious education and formation. Many Catholic educators are finding creative ways to reflect and act on the call to global solidarity…While much is being done, too many educational programs still neglect or ignore the global dimensions of our Catholic calling.

Called to Global Solidarity, U.S. Catholic Conference, 1997.


 

Our entire community of faith must help Catholics to be instruments of God’s grace and creative power in business and politics, factories and offices, in homes and schools and in all the events of daily life. Social justice and the common good are built up or torn down day by day in the countless decisions and choices we make. This vocation to pursue justice is not simply an individual task — it is a call to work with others to humanize and shape the institutions that touch so many people.

Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1998.


 

We bishops commit ourselves and all the members of our church communities to continue the work of advocacy for laws that respect the human rights of immigrants and preserve the unity of the immigrant family. We encourage the extension of social services, citizenship classes, community organizing efforts that secure improved housing conditions, decent wages, better medical attention, and appropriate educational opportunities for immigrants and refugees.

Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2001.


 

We also hear debates between those who advocate greater investment in and greater accountability on the part of poor countries. We need both. We need more debt relief and development assistance and we need more transparency and accountability to ensure that these investments are improving the lives, health, education, and housing of the poorest people on earth.

A Place at the Table: A Catholic Recommitment to Overcome Poverty and Respect the Dignity of All God’s Children, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2002, #VI.


 

Preaching, education, and formation in our communities of faith must reflect the Church’s option for the poor and vulnerable. Through preaching, education, and religious formation, we reflect and pass on to others the beliefs we share as followers of Jesus. If they are to be true to the demands of discipleship, then homilies, faith formation programs, schools, universities, and seminaries must reflect Christ’s concern for those in need. They should also affirm our Church’s teaching about the obligation to serve others, to overcome structures of sin, and to work for greater justice in the world.

A Place at the Table: A Catholic Recommitment to Overcome Poverty and Respect the Dignity of All God’s Children, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2002, #VII.


 

Greater solidarity at the international level is seen especially in the ongoing promotion — even in the midst of economic crisis — of greater access to education, which is at the same time an essential precondition for effective international cooperation. The term “education” refers not only to classroom teaching and vocational training — both of which are important factors in development — but to the complete formation of the person.

Caritas in Veritate (“In Charity and Truth”), Pope Benedict XVI, 2009, #61.


 

The right to life implies and is linked to other human rights—to the basic goods that every human person needs to live and thrive. All the life issues are connected, for erosion of respect for the life of any individual or group in society necessarily diminishes respect for all life. The moral imperative to respond to the needs of our neighbors—basic needs such as food, shelter, health care, education, and meaningful work—is universally binding on our consciences and may be legitimately fulfilled by a variety of means. Catholics must seek the best ways to respond to these needs.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2007, 2012, #25.


 

Parents—the first and most important educators—have a fundamental right to choose the education best suited to the needs of their children, including public, private, and religious schools. Government, through such means as tax credits and publicly funded scholarships, should help provide resources for parents, especially those of modest means, to exercise this basic right without discrimination. Students in all educational settings should have opportunities for moral and character formation.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2007, 2012, #72.


 

All persons have a right to receive a quality education. Young people, including those who are poor and those with disabilities, need to have the opportunity to develop intellectually, morally, spiritually, and physically, allowing them to become good citizens who make socially and morally responsible decisions. This requires parental choice in education. It also requires educational institutions to have orderly, just, respectful, and non-violent environments where adequate professional and material resources are available.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2007, 2012, #84.


 

It is important for our society to continue to combat discrimination based on race, religion, sex, ethnicity, disabling condition, or age, as these are grave injustices and affronts to human dignity. Where the effects of past discrimination persist, society has the obligation to take positive steps to overcome the legacy of injustice, including vigorous action to remove barriers to education and equal employment for women and minorities.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2007, 2012, #86.


 

Yet we desire even more than this; our dream soars higher. We are not simply talking about ensuring nourishment or a “dignified sustenance” for all people, but also their “general temporal welfare and prosperity”. This means education, access to health care, and above all employment, for it is through free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive labour that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their lives.

Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis, 2013, #192.


 

I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor! It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.

Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis, 2013, #205.


 

But water continues to be wasted, not only in the developed world but also in developing countries which possess it in abundance. This shows that the problem of water is partly an educational and cultural issue, since there is little awareness of the seriousness of such behaviour within a context of great inequality.

Laudato Si’ (“Praise Be”), Pope Francis, 2015, Chapter 1, #30.


 

It is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle. Education in environmental responsibility can encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us…

Laudato Si’ (“Praise Be”), Pope Francis, 2015, Chapter 6, #211.


 

Our efforts at education will be inadequate and ineffectual unless we strive to promote a new way of thinking about human beings, life, society and our relationship with nature.

Laudato Si’ (“Praise Be”), Pope Francis, 2015, Chapter 6, #215.

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