Difference between Catholic & Public School

If you were to ask the average person, “What’s the difference between what is being taught at the local Catholic school and what is being taught at the public school down the street?” the first answer that would come to most people’s minds would be, “Religion.” It would seem obvious: the Catholic faith is taught in a religion class in the Catholic schools, but not in the public schools. “But,” we might ask, “is the addition of a religion class to the regular academic subjects enough to make a school effectively Catholic?”

The Church makes very clear the answer to that question. In a document titled “Declaration on Christian Education” (a document of the Second Vatican Council) Catholic schools are directed to integrate the Christian faith into the whole pattern of human life in all its aspects. It states strongly that Catholic educators are to strive “to relate all human culture eventually to the news of salvation, so that the life of faith will illumine the knowledge which students gradually gain of the world, of life, and of mankind.” What this means, then, is this: rather than seeing Catholic education as merely the addition of a religion course to the usual academic subjects, we want our students to understand that all truth comes from God, and so they should be taught to make Christian sense out of what they learn in their natural science, math, and history courses, in their study of art, music, and literature. While this principle is clearly stated in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, and in many other places, this vision remains largely unrealized in Catholic education today.

This is why The Atonement Academy was founded. The vision for the Academy includes the complete implementation of the Church’s expectation for Catholic schools; namely, that knowledge of the truth is not something compartmentalized, but is a presentation of a unified understanding of all truth as being objective and from God. We teach that which is true for all people, in all places, and at all times.