The Catholic Classical Vision pt. 3

This series outlines the purpose, structure, curricular content, and communal origins of a Catholic classical education, for the sake of establishing a School dedicated to such an education in the Diocese of Wichita (Kansas). It discusses both the general principles of Catholic classical education as well as some particular points regarding that School. We begin by explaining the purpose and educational vision of the School, then consider the reasons for the order and structure of its curriculum, before discussing each class in the curriculum. Lastly, we describe the community required to achieve the goals of Catholic classical education.

In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear. . . . Christ the new Adam . . . fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling.[1]

      Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going? What does it mean to be human? These questions are asked by every human being. Each of us longs to know their answers, for our happiness is bound up with them. The ancient Greeks understood “Know thyself” to be a command of divine origin, but the questions such an imperative inspires can only be answered fully by the One who made us. And so we turn to our Creator and to the Church, who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, dispenses the wisdom and grace revealed to her by her Bridegroom.

      To understand ourselves, or any created thing, we must study human nature and know its purpose or end-goal (telos). Man is “a creature composed of body and soul,”[2] and the distinctive human capacities of this soul-body union are the intellect (or mind), the will (or heart), and human desires and emotions [1] . God created man “to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”[3] Human nature is formed to fulfill perfectly that purpose—to know God with the intellect, to love Him with the will [2] , and to serve Him with the actions of the body. This is true human happiness. Furthermore, such an end-goal is not limited to a temporal or natural happiness, but is found most of all in beatitude, the supernatural happiness of union with God forever.[4]

[1] Gaudium et Spes, n. 22.

[2] Answer to q. 3, Baltimore Catechism I, Baronius Press Classics, 2013.

[3] Ibid., answer to q. 6.

[4] St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (ST), Ia-IIae, q. 3, a. 8.

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