The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education is convinced that the experience in Catholic schools should be understood as an experience of communion. This is expressed in a newly-released document “Educating Together in Catholic Schools: A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful” published on 20th November 2007.
The document notes that contemporary society shares less and less common points of reference, due to individualism and moral relativism. This has an effect on every teaching institution, in particular the Catholic school, because it proposes itself as an educational community that not only frames itself within a determined set of values — those of the Gospel — and transmits them, but also lives and makes come alive an experience of communion in which these values take on the form of educational norms.
From this perspective, “the educational experience of a Catholic school” has to be understood as “an experience of communion,” something “that can’t be improvised, but which requires ecclesial maturity in the relationship between consecrated members and the laity,” and a path of formation. Man is called to fulfill himself in communion with God and others. Education can only truly be carried out in a relational and communitarian context, beginning with the family and then the school, which supports families.
The main message of the document is that “the Catholic school participates in the mission of the Church, and the Church — as Benedict XVI has emphasized — is never an end in itself. It exists to show God to the world, it exists for others. The Catholic school exists for the entire world and is the builder of a communion open to the entire world.”