Home, School, and Church as Partners in Religious and Moral Formation
The Catholic tradition views the school as working alongside the church to help parents educate their children. While parents are the primary providers of their children’s religious and moral formation, they do not undertake this significant work alone (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace 2006). Among the most important responsibilities of educators at a Catholic school, then, is sustaining the relationship between the school and the community of faith to which it belongs.
The document The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium makes this point strongly: Christian schools do not provide faith-based learning to students in isolation but partner in this task with other members of the wider faith community. “The complexity of the modern world makes it all the more necessary to increase awareness of the ecclesial identity of the Catholic school. . . . [This] is written in the very heart of its identity as a teaching institution. It is a true and proper ecclesial entity by reason of its educational activity, ‘in which faith, culture and life are brought into harmony.’ Thus it must be strongly emphasized that this ecclesial dimension is not a mere adjunct, but is a proper and specific attribute, a distinctive characteristic which penetrates and informs every moment of its educational activity, a fundamental part of its very identity and the focus of its mission. The fostering of this dimension should be the aim of all those who make up the educating community” (Congregation for Catholic Education 1997).