Gravissimum Educationis

The explanation Gravissimum educationis (GE ) was adopted on October 28, 1965 by the Second Vatican Council. With it, the characteristics of education in Catholic schools, colleges and universities are described binding. The new thinking of the dignity of man, a comparison with the encyclical Divini Illius magistri of 1929, which was understood by the council as " Magna Charta " of the Catholic school.


The Council Fathers speak of the importance of education for human and social progress. They refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1959 and in the ( European ) Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1952, in which the right of children and parents is laid down. In line with the UN Charter of 1948 states directly in the first chapter:

" All people, regardless of race, condition and age have, by virtue of their personal dignity the inalienable right to education ... (GE 1). "

Key messages

  • All Christians have the right to a Christian education.
  • Since the parents on their children 's life, they have a most solemn obligation to educate.
  • In fulfilling its educational role of the church is trying to take all appropriate tools, especially to those that are peculiar to it.
  • Among all educational resources the school has a very special meaning.
  • The parents, the first and inalienable have the duty and the right to educate their children and really need to be free to choose the school.
  • Since the church is aware of her very heavy duty ( ... ) it must be close to getting their education in non-Catholic schools with particularly loving helpfulness of the great number of those.
  • The presence of the Church in schools is reflected in a special way by the Catholic school.
  • This mission of the Catholic school must seek to meet any dependent of the church in any way schools, even if the Catholic school, adapted to local conditions, may take several forms.
  • Likewise, the church is dedicated to universities, especially universities and faculties, their solicitude.
  • From the activity of the theological faculties, the Church very much expected.

New approaches

The educational mission of the Church is no longer deployed on the rights of the institution, but from the child's right to education and the right of parents ago. This right and duty of parents to educate their children, heads the council the right to free choice of school from (GE 6). Among them understand the council fathers more than the admission of non-state schools.

" The state authority whose task it is to protect civil liberties and to defend, must to preserve, distributive justice ' ( distributive justice ) see to it that public funds are spent, that the parents for their children's schools by can choose their conscience truly free (GE 6). "

Government funding for free schools is the realization of parental rights and freedom of conscience. However, the council rejects any kind of school monopoly, and on the grounds that this

" ... Contradicts the innate rights of the human person and (...) in many states the ruling today pluralism contradicts (GE 6). Thus, then, the right of Church to establish their own schools (GE 8). "

School as an educational community

In continuation of the post-conciliar documents key points of the Congregation for Catholic Education, understand the Catholic school not primarily as an institution, but as an " educational community " of students, teachers, parents and all who are involved in school life. School is not a more or less accidental coincidence of different classes, conferences, intra - or extra- curricular activities organized by the school management under administrative and functional aspects.


The responsibility for the success of school rests not only with the school administration or the school authorities. All the school communities are each on their part, but jointly responsible for their school and for the upbringing and education of the students. Here the cooperation between home and school plays a major role. Nothing is more detrimental to the education of students as the lack of interest from parents and teachers. This social or common understanding of school then and structural consequences.

Parents, students and school

The special status of family and home in the area school and education is also evident in this conciliar text. Parents are the first and most important educators of their children. Collaboration between school and home is important also from a Christian perspective. Even in a Catholic school is on the day of admission to feel that he is in a new environment of the students. The council has the schools described as one marked by the spirit of love and freedom environment.

Catholic Schools

The growth of the young people should be in line with the levels of education in the school. Over the years, shows up in a Catholic School and more urgent the necessity of human culture and faith to see in their association with one another. From Christian upbringing understanding the school is not only a time pass your exam, but leads to a serious self-examination. Most important is of course the degree. This should match the highest possible level, the aim of the alumni according to their holistic human and Christian education.

"The special task of the Catholic school is to provide a habitat in which the spirit of freedom and love of the Gospel is alive. It helps young people to develop their personality and to grow at the same time the new creation by which he has become through baptism ... "

For characteristic of the Catholic school, it is one that the whole of human culture to the message of salvation is to be connected, so that the world, the living and the man, which the pupils acquire slowly, to be enlightened by faith.

" The Catholic school is a place of religious instruction, if it is a place lived faith. An embossed of service and dialog school culture is therefore an excellent medium of evangelization. "

Other students

Catholic schools are attended by non-Catholic, even from non-Christian students. In some countries this even form the large majority of students. The Council has taken this in this declaration to the knowledge:

" It should be noted that the Church even those Catholic schools at heart, and this applies particularly to the areas of the young churches that are attended primarily by non-Catholic students (GE 9). "

The religious education process

The declaration of the Vatican Council always comes back to the dynamic aspect of the whole human education, in the Christian view, however, is a purely human process of education inadequate. The human person is to be formed pursuant to that model, which takes its scale in Christ. Therefore, this educational concept harks human values ​​, but it enriches them supernaturally, the Council's Declaration has expressed clear it. The quality of teaching is to help students themselves human and Christian to educate, this constitutes the best preparation for being an educator of others.