Q. 1. What is the child teaching regarding what kind of school Catholic children should or must attend? Can they attend a Public School?
A. 1. The 1917 Code of Canon Law, # 1374, clearly stated that Catholic parents could not send their children to non-Catholic Schools. The revised 1983 Code of Canon Law, # 793 to 821 regarding Catholic education, no longer contains that clause.
The following Canon Laws may be of interest regarding this matter:
Canon Law # 793 §1. "Parents and those who take their place are bound by the obligation and possess the right of educating their offspring. Catholic parents also have the duty and right ofchoosing those means and institutions through which they can provide more suitably for the Catholic education of their children, according to local circumstances."
Canon Law # 793 §2. "Parents also have the right to that assistance, to be furnished by civil society, which they need to secure the Catholic education of their children."
Canon Law # 794 §1. "The duty and right of educating belongs in a special way to the Church, to which has been divinely entrusted the mission of assisting persons so that they are able to reach the fullness of the Christian life."
Canon Law # 794 §2. "Pastors of souls have the duty of arranging everything so that all the faithful have a Catholic education."
Canon Law # 795 "Since true education must strive for complete formation of the human person that looks to his or her final end as well as to the common good of societies, children and youth are to be nurtured in such a way that they are able to develop their physical, moral, and intellectual talents harmoniously, acquire a more perfect sense of responsibility and right use of freedom, and are formed to participate actively in social life."
Canon Law # 796 §1. "Among the means to foster education, the Christian faithful are to hold schools in esteem; schools are the principal assistance to parents in fulfilling the function of education."
Canon Law # 796 §2. "Parents must cooperate closely with the teachers of the schools to which they entrust their children to be educated; moreover, teachers in fulfilling their duty are to collaborate very closely with parents, who are to be heard willingly and for whom associations or meetings are to be established and highly esteemed."
Canon Law # Can. 797 "Parents must possess a true freedom in choosing schools; therefore, the Christian faithful must be concerned that civil society recognizes this freedom for parents and even supports it with subsidies; distributive justice is to be observed."
Canon Law # 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."
In conclusion, Catholic parents still have an obligation to send their children to a Catholic school unless there is no such school within a reasonable distance.