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Catholic Education Principles

The task of the Catholic School

“is fundamentally a synthesis of culture and faith, and a synthesis of faith and life: the first is reached by integrating all different aspects of human knowledge through the subjects taught, in the light of the gospel; the second in growth of the virtues characteristic of the Christian.”

(The Catholic School, Rome 1977)

This same goal is expressed by the Queensland Catholic community which desires its schools to be communities of faith

“where the Christian spirit and values will take precedence over all other values, will permeate all areas of learning and school life, determining the whole atmosphere of the school.”

(Project Catholic School, 1979)

The broad philosophical stance reveals a concern for an education that combines sound knowledge and skills with an overall personal development routed in Christian values. Such an education involves a high level of inter-personal transaction between teacher and pupil.

Pope John Paul II has spelt out key implication of this for teachers who work in Catholic Schools:

“The Church looks upon you as co-workers with an important measure of shared responsibility… To you it is give to create the future and give it direction by offering to your students a set of values with which to assess their newly discovered knowledge… (The changing times) demand that educators be open to new cultural influences and interpret them for young pupils in the light of the Christian faith. You are called to bring professional competence and a high standard of excellence to your teaching … But your responsibilities make demands on you that go far beyond the need for professional skills and competence … Through you, as through a clear window on a sunny day, students must come to see and know the richness and the joy of life lived in accordance with Christ’s teaching, in response to his challenging demands. To teach means not only to impart what we know, but also to reveal who we are by living what we believe. It is this latter lesson which tends to last the longest.”

(Address to Catholic Educators, September 12, 1984.)

This philosophy of Catholic Education, expressed in a growing number of documents and policy statements over the last decade, guides the Catholic School in its functioning. Whilst it is accountable to the community at large for the provision of quality education to young citizens, it is also accountable to the Church community for providing this within the context of Christian Gospel values as espoused by the Catholic tradition. The Catholic School is more than an educative institution : it is a key part of the Church, an essential element in the Church's mission. So too the teacher in the Catholic School is more than an employee: he/she ministers in the name of the Church and of the gospel in one way or another.

Every teacher in the Catholic School has an indispensable role to play. It is expected of all teachers employed in a Catholic School that they:

i be qualified as required by State Authorities

ii be committed to regular on-going professional development

iii respect the Catholic educational philosophy of the school

iv develop and maintain an adequate understanding of those aspects of Catholic teaching that touch upon their subject areas

v by their teaching and personal example, strive to inculcate in students an appreciation and acceptance of Christian teaching and values

vi avoid, whether by word, action or known life-style, any influence upon students that is contrary to the teaching and values of the Church community in whose name they act.

All persons employed in systemic schools in the Archdiocese are required to signify their acceptance of the above principles prior to taking up duty.

© 1997 Catholic Education Archdiocese of Brisbane
Document 211/0001
Last Updated 15/04/97