What is Catholic Education? There are many different ideas about what a Catholic school should be, but what should parents look for, and how do they decide if it’s worth the cost. Is it better to put children in a public school and save their money for college tuition?
Progressive education’s academic elites continue to fail the most disadvantaged with innovation in education the promises provide a better education for students, the latest of which has been Common Core. The Association of Christian Classical Schools (ACCS) has published research that shows how much better classically educated students do on standardized tests compared to those who attend public, religious, and independent schools. In 2017, the national average ACT College Readiness score was 21.0. The average for classically trained students of member ACCS schools was 26.0, or 25% higher. In 2015, the average SAT score for ACCS students was 1252. Independent school students averaged 1160 and public-school students 1044 that same year.
The Regina Academies adopted the tagline, “A Joyful Exploration of Faith and Reason” intentionally. Some might be tempted to prioritize faith, or others reason, but St. John Paul II reaffirmed the Catholic belief that the two must exist together if one is to come to the fullness of truth. Faith without reason leads to superstition, and reason without faith to nihilism and rationalism. The Regina Academies challenge students’ reason in an academically rigorous environment infused with faith.
Today is the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, the patroness of the Regina Academies. In 1954, During the early stages of the Cold War, Pope Pius XII wrote an encyclical called Ad Caeli Reginam (To the Queen of Heaven) establishing the feast to be celebrated by the universal Church. His motivation for proclaiming the feast can be found in the second paragraph of his letter and reminds us that 65 years later we still live with some of the same, and new, “moral evils” now.
The Regina Academies are communities of learning like none other. A classical education at the Regina Academies prepares children to face the challenges of the future with joy, courage, and hope, solid in their faith and committed to serve their families, the Church, and society.
Aquinas wrote that “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” (CCC 460) A classical education forms children in Truth, so that they can come to imitate the Truth and share in Christ’s divinity.
Faith is both personal and communal. As Catholics, the history of the Church is ours. Glorious cathedrals like Notre Dame are ours. It is mine, and it is yours. Deacon Chris Roberts, one of our friends at Martin Saints Classical High School, wrote beautifully yesterday of why the burning of Notre Dame matters, and it was this very point: Notre Dame is our patrimony and is an icon of the Christian West. Notre Dame is “a chapter in the story that makes us who we are.”
As the defining moment of human history, and the event that illuminates the mystery of humanity, the Incarnation is the curriculum of a Catholic liberal education. We cannot confuse the term liberal with the way it is commonly used as a political term. A liberal education in the classical tradition has as its goal human freedom. Jesus himself told his disciples – and us – that if we know him, we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free… veritas liberabit vos in Latin (Jn. 8.32). The second person of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnate Word, came to lead us to truth. The pursuit of truth that sets us free is the goal of a classical liberal arts education.
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