What Are the Seven Themes of Catholic School Teaching?

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Catholic school students receive a fusion of educational and social teachings that follow seven themes.
Catholic school students receive a fusion of educational and social teachings that follow seven themes.

Unlike public schools that are not permitted to focus upon a particular faith or cultural tradition, Catholic schools are governed and maintained by the Catholic Church at large, as well as via their own local parish. Catholic schools at the K-12 grade level focus on seven themes that they aim to incorporate into all of their teaching. All of these are social teachings that are integrated into basic core subjects, as well as extracurricular activities.

  1. Dignity of Life and Care for Creation

    • The first two themes of Catholic school teaching are Life and Dignity of the Human Person, and Care for God's Creation. The Catholic Church teaches in its schools that human life is sacred in all circumstances. Abortion and euthanasia are considered to be sins and are not condoned by the Church. Instead, students are taught the importance of life and providing it with dignity. This includes opposition to cloning, stem cell research and the death penalty. It also often includes civilian attacks in war, and most certainly acts of terrorism. Showing respect for God's creation is also vital to the Catholic school curriculum. From recycling to planting trees, students often participate in projects that respect earth and cause everyone to live a faith in line with the planet they believe God has given us.

    Family and Community/Rights and Responsibilities

    • The third and fourth themes are the Call to Family, Community and Participation, and the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable. The Catholic school system teaches its students about social responsibility. Marriage and family are strongly emphasized as a strong pillar of society, and are considered to be central social institutions. Catholics also believe that each young person and adult is called to participate in society and benevolent measures, especially those involving the "poor and vulnerable." Catholic school children are often taught to put the needs of this demographic before their own.

    Dignity of Work and Rights

    • Themes Five and Six are Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers, as well as Rights and Responsibilities. Catholic tradition teaches that the economy must benefit the people, and this is not to be reversed. This includes the right to fair wages, unions, ownership of private property, and acceptable work conditions and hours. Every person has a right to a decent quality of life, and we all have a responsibility to each other, our families, and society as a whole to maintain the opportunity to receive such basic dignities in the workplace and beyond.

    Solidarity of the People

    • Finally, Solidarity is a theme in Catholic teaching. Catholic school teaches the up-and-coming generation that we are all one family on this earth, regardless of differences in race, creed, color, culture and faith. Loving our neighbor is core to the Catholic faith, and is exemplified in school life as students work side by side with those of different ethnicity, and the schools do not require a faith in Catholicism for a student to attend. Catholics believe they are called to be peacemakers, and love and acceptance of all is mandatory for unity and peace.

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