We will meet with His Excellency in December and would love to be able to show him as many signatures of support as possible. There is no commitment attached to this; it is merely an expression of a desire for a diocesan K-12 Catholic classical school in the City of Wichita.
Here is the link to sign, also posted at the end.
Dear Bishop Kemme,
We write to humbly request that you establish a diocesan K-12 Catholic classical school in the city of Wichita. We believe that such a school would help our kids know and love God because first, the form of Catholic classical education is pervasively oriented towards God, second, the content conveys the highest and best of Catholic culture, and third, Catholic classical education is an antidote to some of the most inimical aspects of secular culture.
The Catholic schools in our diocese do a fantastic job of implementing superb pastoral programs and religious instruction, of hiring teachers that offer powerful witness to Christ’s love, and of facilitating frequent encounters with Christ in the Sacraments. If there is anything lacking in the diocesan approach to education, it would not be apparent from the contemporary vantage point.
The lack that we feel is due to our discovery of an educational tradition that directs the student to God not only in what happens around the curriculum, but especially through it; divine purpose pervades the entire Catholic classical curriculum and all of its components are directed to transcendent ends. Classical education begins in piety, gymnastic, and music, which attune the heart and body to goodness and beauty. Then, the seven liberal arts cultivate the skills necessary for philosophy and theology, which perfect the intellectual virtues so that the student can contemplate beauty, goodness, and truth directly, and ultimately their source in the divine. Every level of organization has a form that points beyond itself, and finally to God.
Not just the form, but the content too points the pupil Heavenward; the classical curriculum is an immersion in the highest and best culture that the Church’s tradition has to offer—literary, linguistic, philosophical, and otherwise. Indeed, classical education is merely Catholic education as it has been conceived for most of the Church’s history; the liberal arts and classical culture were the educational soil from which grew the likes of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thomas More, St. John Henry Newman, Pope Benedict XVI, and many other heroes of the Faith across the centuries. It seems to us the most natural thing in the world that the Church should simply receive the gift that is already hers by heritage; such are these strange times when cultural amnesia has prevented us from adopting it as a matter of course.
We now find ourselves in a culture that not only lacks divinely oriented form and content but is overtly inimical to them. Whereas society and education were previously oriented towards truth, beauty, goodness, and finally God, the regnant philosophy of our age is to dispense with final ends in favor of utility and pragmatism. One can see how easy it is for children to internalize the message that transcendence is a matter for private religion and Theology class while the serious work of school is to achieve economic and social significance on secular terms. We suppose that this may partially explain the crisis of the “nones” and flight from the pews beyond high school.
We invite you to envision with us a renaissance of purpose where math and science are no longer means for analyzing and manipulating the world, but rather for wondering worshipfully at the Logos or divine order throughout it; where literature and history are not objects of study, but rather immersions in Christian culture; where languages launch children not only across the globe but also across the millennia; where poetry, music, drama, and art remind them of their Heavenly home and unsettle them in this one. In all of these ways, classical education is merely catholic education in the fullest sense of the word; for the universality of the Church extends not only to different cultures, but throughout the whole of reality and all of history.
It is for these reasons and many others that we humbly ask you to establish a diocesan K-12 Catholic classical school in the city of Wichita. We believe that such a school would greatly aid us in our chief duty as parents, and you in your role as our shepherd, to guide our children to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23).
In Christ our salvation and under the patronage of Mary, Seat of Wisdom,