No Catholic Schooling is Sinful?


Is it a SIN to NOT send our children to catholic school? If it is a sin, is it venial or mortal? Is it our moral obligation or our duty, and what is the difference between the two?



Of course it is not sinful NOT to send your children to Catholic School.

Parents are called upon to look out for the best interests of their children. I have heard many horror stories about Catholic schools. And we all know about the insanity and anti-Christian and amoral indoctrination kids get a public school. Personally, if I had to do it again, I would home-school.



We are required to give our children a Catholic education. There are several avenues to this: Catholic school, public school with additional Catholic instruction at home and Sunday school, and homeschooling.

It is a serious sin not to provide your children with a Catholic education.

And, even if you choose to send your children to Catholic school, you still have to be vigilant in making sure that they are, indeed, receiving a Catholic education.



I was told by my priest that it is in fact a sin to not send our children to catholic school without a GOOD reason…hence the reason I am asking others. I guess the bottom line is that I don’t agree with my priest…is that a sin as well?



Do you have a good reason?



I’d suggest you ask an apologist as the rest of us are pretty much just giving you our opinions.



That your priest is saying it is sinful seems dubious to me. Either you have misunderstood him, or he is misstating it.



I went to a Catholic Middle school and a Catholic High School. I don’t see the neccessity to go to one. Catholic Schools teach the same thing as Public Schools. I failed religion in high school along with many of my classmates. We did not learn about strengthening faith and growing closer to God in the Religion classes. We only learned about the history of the church which is already covered in history classes. Youth groups and Sunday school are just as good as any Catholic school… at least that’s what I’ve come to believe through my experience. I don’t see a problem with sending your kids to a Catholic school (I intend to do so), but I also do not think there is anything wrong with not doing so.



To think that not sending your child to catholic school is a sin seems dubious to me as well. Which is why I asked the priest to clarify his position after the homily. He reiterated that it is indeed a sin, unless one has a good reason. He also said that I have a moral obligation, not just a duty. I don`t understand how one can get out of a moral obligation with a good excuse. I just wanted to hear what other catholics understand about this issue, because this is news to me.



I remember there being something about this in a Vatican II document requiring Catholics to provide a Catholic education–but not requiring Catholic school, per se, thus allowing parents to supplement public school with private instruction.

I’ll see if I can find it.



Parents do indeed have a moral obligation to see that their children are raised in the Catholic faith.

That does not mean you have to submit to the tyranny of a Catholic school being lead by a priest who would say such a false thing in a homily.

Your priest is wrong to state that NOT sending your children to Catholic school is sinful. You may be able to provide the same or better religious instruction at home as part of a home-school curriculum or as an adjunct to public school.



From an article supporting homeschooling, it has lots of good information about how we are required to provide Catholic education

What if there are local Catholic schools that are capable of providing well for the children’s Catholic education? Are parents under an obligation to use them?

Again, the answer is no: “Parents are to entrust their children to those schools in which Catholic education is provided; but if they are unable to do this, they are bound to provide for their suitable Catholic education outside the schools” (CIC 798).

Note how the first part of this requirement is phrased: Parents are to place their children in “those schools in which Catholic education is provided” (Latin, illis scholis in quibus educationi catholicae provideatur). Since Catholic homeschools provide such education, they meet this qualification.

The canon does not say that parents have an obligation to place their children in “Catholic schools” (Latin, scholae catolicae) — a concept the Code has not to this point introduced. (Its first mention is in canon 800.) Canon 798 merely requires parents to place their children 3 if possible — in schools that provide Catholic education (and if not possible then to provide for this education outside of school).

The canon doesn’t require that children be placed in a diocesan school or a religious school or a cooperative school run by parents with the consent of the bishop. It just requires a school that provides Catholic education. Even a state-run school that provides for Catholic education would qualify, and a typical Catholic homeschool qualifies as well.

Since the Code places no further restriction on the schools to which parents may send their children, Church law does not prohibit using homeschools to educate children if the parents so choose.



The other poster have responded well. I would just add one thought.

At a Baptism, the parents and Godparents are instructed that it is their responsibility to bring the child up in the faith. The Church lays down no condition as to how. Parents are the ‘first teachers’ of the child and they have that ultimate responsibility. If they can do the job by themselves without Catholic schools, all well and good. The Church offers many helpful ways to assist a parent in accomplishing the task and fulfilling his/her duty. Parents should decide which is best for them and their child (children)



ongoing thread on this topic may be helpful to you



round these parts it would almost be a sin TO send your child to Catholic schools. They are pretty pathetic here. what a shame. I am sending mine to the ultimate Catholic school. My house.



Okay, the way I feel is if you belong to a parish and that parish has a school or if your parish is supporting another school financially then it is a good idea to support that school by sending your child there. It helps the parish financially, and if you are willing to attend Mass and receive the Sacraments from the parish, then why wouldn’t you educate your child there?
Now that being said, I am sure a lot of people will say their catholic school is horrible and does a poor job. However, I think in any given school you will find positive and negative opinions. I also feel when making a choice to educate your child, you have to consider more than reading and math. Here is something about the NEA:
The NEA outlines its position on abortion in its own Resolution I-12 (2003), which states: “The NEA supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom.” And according to the NEA’s own literature, “reproductive freedom” includes the right to have an abortion.
I believe teachers in public school must belong to some type of union, like the NEA. I could not, in good conscious, entrust the education of my catholic children to someone who pays membership to that type of organization. There are things I do not like about my pastor, but he is my pastor and I have to trust in his judgment which includes running the parish school.
Of course, there are reasons, like special education or finances that might have to be considered, but in my diocese there are special needs schools and NO FAMILY should ever be turned away for financial reasons from a catholic education.
These are my reasons for being pro-catholic school, but the question of calling it a sin, I would probably talk to another priest or get more information from your pastor.



Fortunately, I was finally able to discuss this with our other priest. (We are blessed to have two priests). He was very emphatic: it is indeed NOT a sin to NOT send your child to a catholic school! I hope to have an enlightened discussion with the first priest who misinformed me. For the last three days I’ve been living a spiritual crisis, thinking that I was living with serious sin. I’m grateful to have been able to discuss this openly with other catholics. But I still wonder what is the difference between moral obligation and duty. It also begs the question, who ultimately decides how well educated our children are in the faith?



I’m sorry but what happens if you live in a area where there is no Catholic Schools for 50 miles (for me it’s 50+ miles north for Knoxville or 50+ miles south Chattanooga).
Should a good Catholic parent move so their child can attend a Catholic School?

I hopefully believe your Priest meant a Catholic Education, being a school, CCD program or homeschool. That sounds more reasonable.




Catholic schools here are no better. I know. I recently quit teaching in one. I am teaching for the first time in public schools, and I would say that if you were in my class in a public school, you would fare better off as a Catholic than you would in many Catholic school classrooms these days.

The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen said it best,

“If you want your children to lose their faith, send them to a Catholic school. If you want your children to know how to defend their faith, send them to a public school.”

Homeschooling probably wasn’t a big or well-known option in his time.

Sending my newly converted children to Catholic school when I did, was, so far, one of the poorest decisions I’ve made for them.

The benefits at the time were that we could all go to school TOGETHER. We had homeschooled for six years before I had to go back to work. I got to have one of my kids in my classroom. That was nice. But for Religion purposes for my middle schoolers, it was like throwing them to the lions. There was no Catechism or Catholic Education taught in the two years we were there.

I know that “all things work together for those who love God,” but I’m still waiting to see the fruits of that choice.



Your moral obligation is defined in CCC 2221-2226.

The duties of parents

2221 The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. "The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute."29 **The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.**30

2222** Parents** must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they** educate their children to fulfill God’s law. **

2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. **

2224 The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities.
Parents should teach children **to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies.

2225 Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage,** parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children**. **Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith **of which they are the “first heralds” for their children.

2226** Education in the faith by the parents** should begin in the child’s earliest years.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit