The Faith Movement, based in the United Kingdom, seeks to bring clergy, religious and lay faithful together to advance the Catholic faith, educating both believers and non-believers regarding the Church. Their website includes book reviews, and Eric Hester currently has a review of the Acton Institute’s Catholic Education in the West: Roots, Reality and Revival.
At the heart of this most important little book is what The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “the right and duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable. As those responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions.” These rights are enshrined in Canon Law: “Parents have also the duty and the right to choose those means and institutes which…can best promote the Catholic education of their children … Parents must have a real freedom in their choice of schools.”
The authors show how fundamental to all the arguments is the principle of subsidiarity clearly stated by Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno. It ought to be well known, though Catholic leaders tend to give it mere lip service rather than an attentive observation: “it is an injustice and a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organisations can do…. The supreme authority of the State ought to let subordinate groups handle matters and concerns of lesser importance.”
Hester notes that what may seem to be obvious needs for sound Catholic education appear to be radical in today’s England, given the state of Catholic education there.