Curriculum from a Catholic Worldview

Authored by R. Jared Staudt in Issue #6.1 of The Catechetical Review

We can take for granted the fact that the Catholic Church runs a large number of schools throughout the world. It is clear that the Church must offer religious education, but why does the Church teach math, gym class, science, literature, and history? Wouldn’t it just be easier if the Church focused more narrowly on the supernatural; why also teach about the material world and how to read and write? In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded his apostles to make disciples, (mathetes in Greek and discipli in Latin – both words for students) and to teach them (Mt 28:19-20). Jesus, the Word of God, by whom the universe was made, established a Church that from the beginning embraced instruction on the nature of reality as a whole.

The Liberal Arts and a Catholic Worldview
The Church embraced the liberal arts in order to help its members, especially religious, to understand and contemplate the Word of God, as well as to speak and write effectively to share this knowledge. From the teaching of the seven liberal arts at the cathedral and monasteries schools, the universities formed to teach philosophy and three terminal degrees in theology, law, and medicine. The Church’s mission of salvation grew to include the complete formation of the person, uniting faith and reason in the common mission of seeking how to live in the world and order all things to the glory of God.

Catholic education, drawing upon both the natural and supernatural, offers a complete vision of life: a Catholic worldview. Worldview, in a simple sense, describes the way in which we see reality and form our students to understand it and live within it. Teaching with a robust Catholic vision embraces the entire person: body, emotions, mind, and will. The human person, as a sacramental being (body-soul unity), requires development of its potential in all of its dimensions: strength and health of body; control of the emotions in accord with the good; conformity of the mind to reality and development of the mental habits that enable one to understand and express oneself clearly; the development of the virtues of will that lead to happiness; and the encounter with the living God that enlivens our soul and enables a life of holiness.

The Catholic school cannot simply offer the same instruction as a public education, with religious education and the Mass superadded onto the curriculum. Every subject must be taught in a distinctive fashion that reflects the unity of knowledge, having a common source in God—his creation and revelation—and ordered in a wisdom that communicates the ultimate purpose of all things. A Catholic school approaches every subject through the two wings of faith and reason, knowing that every truth conforms our minds to the mind of God. Simone Weil claims that every truth “is the image of something precious. Being a little fragment of particular truth, it is a pure image of the unique, eternal and living Truth which once in a human voice declared ‘I am the Truth.’ Every school exercise thought of in this way, is like a sacrament.”[1]

 

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Kerygmatic Catechesis and the New Directory
By Dr. James Pauley
Free The much-anticipated Directory for Catechesis is finally here! So many of us involved in the work of catechetical renewal have eagerly awaited its publication. This directory is the third of its kind, following 1971 and 1997 directories that each proposed a vision for catechesis intended to prepare Catholics to live in the modern world as well-... Read more
An Invitation to a Faithful, Dynamic Renewal of Catechesis
By Jem Sullivan
Free This article explores c hapters 1-2 of the new Directory for Catechesis. The publication of a Directory for Catechesis by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization could not have arrived at a more providential moment as the universal Church seeks a renewal of Christian faith in local churches struggling through the effects... Read more
Becoming Windows for the Light of the Living God
By Brad Bursa
This article explores chapters 3-4 of the Directory for Catechesis. O ne could liken c hapters t hree (The Catechist) and f our (The Formation of Catechists) of the new Directory for Catechesis to a meditation on windows and how they are made. Identity and Vocation of the Catechist In the early Church, those who followed the Way were often called... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now