Is it wrong to not go to a catholic school?

is it wrong to send your kids to public school?

or to choose to go to a secular college?

unfortunately, especially in Canada, they are not many cahotlic universities anymore

Today, we don’t have any choices than to go to a public school.
It is not a sin because there are not a lot in Canada.


There is no sin in the choice of public school or Catholic school or homeschool…

The only sin would be a parent who neglected their God-given vocation to be their child’s (children’s) first teacher.

Just my two cents’…



Okay, here’s the thing. I know you’re in Canada - and the situation is different where you are, as the Catholic school system in Canada works differently than in the US. But, really, the principle is the same as I say here. Decades ago, a large percentage of Catholic parishes in the US had schools. And the schools were free to parishioners. That’s no longer the case. In many rural parts of the US, there isn’t a single Catholic school, and where there are Catholic schools, tuition is out of reach for many families (even when vouchers and/or scholarships are taken into account). Catholic universities are great to send your children to - if your family can afford it or they get scholarships. But, then again, many Catholic universities are not truly faithful to the teachings of the Church, so…

Regardless, it’s not sinful to not send your children to Catholic schools. In the past, when Catholic schools were low-cost or free, it was preferable to send your children there - especially since public schools were virulently anti-Catholic. Though public schools are quite worldly today, at least your children won’t be accused of worshipping the devil by their teachers in front of the rest of their classmates.

It’s wrong to send them to a bad school.
Not all Catholic schools are good, and not all Publix schools are bad.

No. There are many ways to meet the your responsibilities to your kids, pick one that works for your family.

From what I understand Catholic parents have an obligation to raise their children in the Faith, but that obligation is not defined in terms of where they send the children for their education. As other posters have stated now days (at least in the US) many Catholic schools are NOT free and tuition may not be affordable for some families. Catholic institutions of higher education can be 2, 3, 4+ times the cost of a state college or university, and that simply is not attainable for many students (this is true of private colleges and universities in general). I think if you’re considering sending your child to a private school (or a charter school, etc.) where they are going to be taught religious or cultural information that explicitly contradicts the teachings of the Church, as fact (perhaps a non-Christian religious school with strong religious education in the curriculum), then you might want to really consider WHY that is your educational option of choice and think about other possibilities.

Well, I went to public school for grades K-12, and now I’m at a secular, private college. I think it can work out fine! (I think it’s really important for the secular college to have a strong Catholic campus ministry though, especially when you live at the school.)

Can. 793 §1 Parents, and those who take their place, have both the obligation and the right to educate their children. Catholic parents have also the duty and the right to choose those means and institutes which, in their local circumstances, can best promote the catholic education of their children.

§2 Parents have moreover the right to avail themselves of that assistance from civil society which they need to provide a catholic education for their children.

Can. 794 §1 The Church has in a special way the duty and the right of educating, for it has a divine mission of helping all to arrive at the fullness of Christian life.

§2 Pastors of souls have the duty of making all possible arrangements so that all the faithful may avail themselves of a catholic education.

Can. 795 Education must pay regard to the formation of the whole person, so that all may attain their eternal destiny and at the same time promote the common good of society. Children and young persons are therefore to be cared for in such a way that their physical, moral and intellectual talents may develop in a harmonious manner, so that they may attain a greater sense of responsibility and a right use of freedom, and be formed to take an active part in social life.


Can. 796 §1 Among the means of advancing education, Christ’s faithful are to consider schools as of great importance, since they are the principal means of helping parents to fulfill their role in education.

§2 There must be the closest cooperation between parents and the teachers to whom they entrust their children to be educated. In fulfilling their task, teachers are to collaborate closely with the parents and willingly listen to them; associations and meetings of parents are to be set up and held in high esteem.

Can. 797 Parents must have a real freedom in their choice of schools. For this reason Christ’s faithful must be watchful that the civil society acknowledges this freedom of parents and, in accordance with the requirements of distributive justice, even provides them with assistance.

Can. 798 Parents are to send their children to those schools which will provide for their catholic education. If they cannot do this, they are bound to ensure the proper catholic education of their children outside the school.

Can. 799 Christ’s faithful are to strive to secure that in the civil society the laws which regulate the formation of the young, also provide a religious and moral education in the schools that is in accord with the conscience of the parents.

Can. 800 §1 The Church has the right to establish and to direct schools for any field of study or of any kind and grade.

§2 Christ’s faithful are to promote catholic schools, doing everything possible to help in establishing and maintaining them.

Can. 801 Religious institutes which have education as their mission are to keep faithfully to this mission and earnestly strive to devote themselves to catholic education, providing this also through their own schools which, with the consent of the diocesan Bishop, they have established.

Can. 802 §1 If there are no schools in which an education is provided that is imbued with a Christian spirit, the diocesan Bishop has the responsibility of ensuring that such schools are established.

§2 Where it is suitable, the diocesan Bishop is to provide for the establishment of professional and technical schools, and of other schools catering for special needs.

Can. 803 §1 A catholic school is understood to be one which is under the control of the competent ecclesiastical authority or of a public ecclesiastical juridical person, or one which in a written document is acknowledged as catholic by the ecclesiastical authority.

§2 Formation and education in a catholic school must be based on the principles of catholic doctrine, and the teachers must be outstanding in true doctrine and uprightness of life.

§3 No school, even if it is in fact catholic, may bear the title ‘catholic school’ except by the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Can. 804 §1 The formation and education in the catholic religion provided in any school, and through various means of social communication is subject to the authority of the Church. It is for the Episcopal Conference to issue general norms concerning this field of activity and for the diocesan Bishop to regulate and watch over it.

§2 The local Ordinary is to be careful that those who are appointed as teachers of religion in schools, even non-Catholic ones, are outstanding in true doctrine, in the witness of their Christian life, and in their teaching ability.

Can. 805 In his own diocese, the local Ordinary has the right to appoint or to approve teachers of religion and, if religious or moral considerations require it, the right to remove them or to demand that they be removed.

Can. 806 §1 The diocesan Bishop has the right to watch over and inspect the catholic schools situated in his territory, even those established or directed by members of religious institutes. He has also the right to issue directives concerning the general regulation of catholic schools these directives apply also to schools conducted by members of a religious institute, although they retain their autonomy in the internal management of their schools.

§2 Those who are in charge of catholic schools are to ensure, under the supervision of the local Ordinary, that the formation given in them is, in its academic standards, at least as outstanding as that in other schools in the area.

Can. 807 The Church has the right to establish and to govern universi-ties, which serve to promote the deeper culture and fuller development of the human person, and to complement the Church’s own teaching office.

Can. 808 No university, even if it is in fact catholic, may bear the title ‘catholic university’ except by the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Can. 809 If it is possible and appropriate, Episcopal Conferences are to take care to have within their territories suitably located universities or at least faculties, in which the various disciplines, while retaining their own scientific autonomy, may be researched and taught in the light of catholic doctrine.

Can. 810 §1 In catholic universities it is the duty of the competent statutory authority to ensure that there be appointed teachers who are not only qualified in scientific and pedagogical expertise, but are also outstanding in their integrity of doctrine and uprightness of life. If these requirements are found to be lacking, it is also that authority’s duty to see to it that these teachers are removed from office, in accordance with the procedure determined in the statutes.

§2 The Episcopal Conference and the diocesan Bishops concerned have the duty and the right of seeing to it that, in these universities, the principles of catholic doctrine are faithfully observed.

Can. 811 §1 The competent ecclesiastical authority is to ensure that in catholic universities there is established a faculty or an institute or at least a chair of theology, in which lectures are given to lay students also.

§2 In every catholic university there are to be lectures which principally treat of those theological questions connected with the studies of each faculty.

Can. 812 Those who teach theological subjects in any institute of higher studies must have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Can. 813 The diocesan Bishop is to be zealous in his pastoral care of students, even by the creation of a special parish, or at least by appointing priests with a stable assignment to this care. In all universities, even in those which are not catholic, the diocesan Bishop is to provide catholic university centers, to be of assistance to the young people, especially in spiritual matters.

Can. 814 The provisions which are laid down for universities apply equally to other institutes of higher studies.


Can. 815 By virtue of its office to announce revealed truth, it belongs to the Church to have its own ecclesiastical universities and faculties to study the sacred sciences and subjects related to them, and to teach these disciplines to students in a scientific manner.

Can. 816 §1 Ecclesiastical universities and faculties may be constituted only by the Apostolic See or with its approval. Their overall direction also belongs to the Apostolic See.

§2 Each ecclesiastical university and faculty must have its own statutes and program of studies, approved by the Apostolic See.

Can. 817 Only a university or a faculty established or approved by the Apostolic See may confer academic degrees which have canonical effects in the Church.

Can. 818 The provisions of canon 810,812 and 813 concerning catholic universities apply also to ecclesiastical universities and faculties.

Can. 819 In so far as the good of a diocese or religious institute or indeed even of the universal Church requires it, young persons, clerics and members of institutes, outstanding in character, intelligence and virtue, must be sent to ecclesiastical universities or faculties by their diocesan Bishops or the Superiors of their institutes.

Can. 820 Moderators and professors of ecclesiastical universities and faculties are to ensure that the various faculties of the university cooperate with each other, to the extent that their aims permit. They are also to ensure that between their own university or faculty and other universities and faculties, even non*ecclesiastical ones, there be a mutual cooperation in which, through conferences, coordinated scientific research and other means, they work together for the greater increase of scientific knowledge.

Can. 821 Where it is possible, the Episcopal Conference and the diocesan Bishop are to provide for the establishment of institutes for higher religious studies, in which are taught theological and other subjects pertaining to Christian culture.

Several decades ago, there was a directive from the US Bishops that Catholics should, whenever possible, send their children to the parish schools. This was not a universal rule and is not enforced any more. Canon 798 is close to a mandate but in this day and age, a local Catholic school may not always provide a good Catholic education. Public schools never provide for a Catholic education but they can be supplemented by the parents.

Can. 798 Parents are to send their children to those schools which will provide for their catholic education. If they cannot do this, they are bound to ensure the proper catholic education of their children outside the school.

The duty of Catholics is to **support **Catholic education.

§2 Christ’s faithful are to promote catholic schools, doing everything possible to help in establishing and maintaining them.

So, if you don’t send you children to Catholic schools, you should still be supporting them. This could be through parish collections, donations, patronizing school fundraisers, etc.

College is a completely different thing. There are not many Catholic colleges left, at least not in North America. Some have done a better job than others of protecting their Catholic identity. But there is no obligation to attend a Catholic college if another school is a better fit for your educational and career goals.

No, but the tuition that Catholic schools charge should be…

[quote="angell1]is it wrong to send your kids to public school?

or to choose to go to a secular college?

unfortunately, especially in Canada, they are not many cahotlic universities anymore

This is too absolute IMO. The Church actually gives a very clear teaching on this.

Can. 798 Parents are to entrust their children to those schools which provide a Catholic education. If they are unable to do this, they are obliged to take care that suitable Catholic education is provided for their children outside the schools.

This is very easy to interpret. First of all, as pertains to the question o college, the canon specifically refers to children, and no one considers college age adults children. So the canon does not apply with respect to colleges or universities.

As to schools for children, if a parents are able to send their kids to a school which provides a Catholic education, the must do so if they are being obedient to the Church. So not doing so is sinful.

Now, the canon provides an obvious acknowledgement that they may be unable to do so. This could be due to no Catholic schools being affordable, or in their geographic area, or even that the local parish school does not provide a Catholic education. Any of these conditions are the decision of the parents. In any of these cases, parents would not be sinning by sending their kids to a public school or by home schooling.

I will also note that canon 800.2 applies to all of us, not just the parents who choose a Catholic school. You may not be sending kids to a Catholic school, but we all have a responsibility to support Catholic schools, under pain of sin if we do not.

Can. 800 §1. The Church has the right to establish and direct schools of any discipline, type, and level.

§2. The Christian faithful are to foster Catholic schools, assisting in their establishment and maintenance according to their means.

In many cases, I cannot disagree. It seems obvious that canon 798 implies a corollary responsibility on the Church to make Catholic schools readily available to all parents. And availability includes affordability.
I will say there are bishops who are trying to address this problem. Our diocese has a good financial aid program now which is funded by contributions raised by the Diocesan development office. And many of the parish schools extent this program even further. Our parish has adopted a plan that no one will be turned away due to financial difficulties, but there is a level of sacrifice expected form the parents also. Its difficult to fairly administer, but it is doable.

HA! Well said.
However, we must remember that in the past…they had essentially free labor via the good sisters. They’re pretty much gone, except for some excellent teaching orders (the Nashville Dominicans come to mind, most notably).

Secular teachers need a living wage, which THEY don’t get either.
I left teaching in the Catholic School because the school was losing it’s mission, the wages were terrible (unable to support my own children), and I didn’t feel any support from the parents. Nobody seemed to care about the faith. Religion class was always the one class that was “skipped” when something else came along…:shrug:

I know many good Catholic families that do well teaching their children by example, and enrolling them in parish programs. It can be done, but it takes a real commitment. There’s no such thing as one-stop-shopping anymore. And even when there was, we should have had to supplement with community service and retreats…Formation is always an ongoing thing.

I’d say that one is certainly obligated to give preference to Catholic schools to the extent possible, e.g., all other things being equal. This would, I imagine, fall under the general imperative to support the Church (if we’re talking about primary schools attached to a parish) or promoting a generally Catholic culture (if we’re talking about universities).

But usually all other things aren’t being equal. You can’t do the impossible so if there are no Catholic schools nearby then don’t worry about it. Likewise, there is a more important imperative, never to endanger your own soul, and sadly many “Catholic” universities will do just that, hence should be avoided.

Its a sin not to do whats best for you…

Just because a building contains the word “Catholic” doesn’t means its the best place…

Your Bishop has the authority to require all children within his diocese to attend a Catholic school. This, of course, imposes upon him the obligation to create and maintain such schools, and to take such steps as are necessary in order to allow all his children to attend same.

A Bishop might require only those who can afford it to do so.

But in either case, if so required, to fail to obey would be a sin. Otherwise, not.

I can easily imagine a Bishop getting fed up with all the immoral nonsense and covert idolatry that kids get force fed in modern public schools, and solving the problem by requiring same, but as I write this, I don’t know of any Bishop who has issued such a requirement.

That, as far as I know, leaves the matter to your conscience.

Source please?

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