The Lafayette Catholic School System, centered on Jesus Christ, educates the whole person in a culture that is:
This third installment of a series of articles which explores the LCSS Mission discusses the term “Catholic Worldview,” and how it helps inform our mission and form our students. (Please click on the links in the mission, above, to view the previous installments.)
A Catholic Worldview is a view of the world through the “lens of divine revelation” (“Catholic Worldview”, n.d., para. 4). Catholicism is a comprehensive way of life that should animate every aspect of how we, as Catholics, view the world. There are many resources that further describe and articulate the Catholic Worldview, and the subject is too large to fully address here. However, below is an outline of some of its key components:
- Image and Likeness of God: Catholics believe that the human person is created in the image and likeness of God and with an immortal soul. “The divine image is present in every [human]. It shines forth in the communion of persons, in the likeness of the unity of the divine persons among themselves” (Catholic Church, 1993, section 1702). Based on this, each person has inherent dignity and should be treated with respect. God also created us male and female. Men and women are different but equal in dignity.
- Supernatural Vision: Catholics believe there is a Creator that lives through the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that all good things come from God. Catholics believe that the material world is a gift and that humans are entrusted with its care.
- Jesus Christ: To Catholics, Jesus Christ is the perfect example for us. Jesus leaves us both his example and the two Great Commandments: (1) “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 New American Bible); and (2) “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 39).
- Truth: Catholics believe that there is a single truth that is revealed to us by God through Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and reason. As Cardinal Francis George is quoted, “The Church is about True and False, not Left or Right.” Therefore, what is revealed to us in our faith or in scientific laboratories are not at odds but are part of a single truth.
- Faith and Reason: Catholics believe that faith and reason are not incompatible, but rather one informs the other. Human reason enables us to understand what is moral and to make good moral judgments, but this is not enough. Faith plays an essential role and “informs” our reason.
- Scripture and Tradition: Catholics do not rely on scripture alone (sola scriptura) for guidance from the divine. In the Second Vatican Council’s (1965) document on divine revelation, Dei Verbum (Latin: “The Word of God”), the relationship between Scripture and Tradition is explained: “Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit” (ch. 2, para. 9). To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands down God’s word in its full purity, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.
- Natural Law: Catholics look to Natural Law for the revealed truth. It is law that is based upon the natural order of things and which we can understand and discern through observation and reason. St. Thomas Aquinas describes in the Summa Theologica (1485) that Natural Law is “the human person’s participation in eternal law through the use of reason.”
- Sacramental Life: Catholics believe that divine life is dispensed to us through the Sacraments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993) defines the sacraments as “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is ‘dispensed’ to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions” (section 1131).
- Christian Service: Catholics are called to fully engage the world they live in and to live out the Gospel witness. To fully live the Gospel witness, we must act. In James 2:14 we are asked, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?”
- Evangelization: Catholics seek what is true, good, and beautiful and are called to spread the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Catholics are also called to articulate the gospel message in a way that acknowledges and responds to the culture in which we live. This calling compels us to understand and seek a spirit of unity through faith among the diversity of cultures of all of God’s people.
Aquinas, T. (1485). Summa Theologica.
Christ the King Catholic Church. (n.d.) “Catholic Worldview.”
Catholic Church. (1993). Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Second Vatican Council. (1965). Dei verbum. [Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation]. Vatican Website.
Catholic Answers. (2004). “Scripture and Tradition.”
Foote, D. (2013). “Romano Guardini: The Essence of a Catholic Worldview.” Crisis Magazine.
Gula, Richard M. (1989). Reason Informed by Faith: Foundations of Catholic Morality. New York: Paulist.
Miller, J.M. (2006). The Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic Schools. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (n.d.) “Stewardship.”
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (n.d.) “Beliefs and Teachings.”
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (n.d.) “Cultural Diversity.”