A CLASSICAL LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION IN THE CATHOLIC TRADITION
Students at the academy will receive an education based on a classical liberal arts curriculum. Our main subjects are literature, Latin, humanities, mathematics, logic, music, history, religion, and science.
The end of liberal education is to know the whole truth of things; the truth that Christ said “shall make you free.” It is through the encounter and conformity with the truth that can be said to set a man free; free to think independently of the truth he has discovered. As G.K. Chesterton observed, “the whole point of education is that it should give a man abstract and eternal standards by which he can judge material and fugitive conditions.” To know the truth that grants this freedom, and know it for its own sake, is the purpose of liberal education.
The philosophical perspective that goes beyond the mere knowledge of particular facts to a general framework within which those facts may be understood and provides a connected view of things, was considered by the ancients to be the special mark of a liberal education. Liberal education rises above the accumulation of facts to a vista from which these facts may be seen in their proper relation to one another. The liberal artist ascends to the universal principles of things, for it is only within the framework of such principles that we can even begin to have that vision—the view that sees things as a whole, in which the various parts are related, and through which they exist as parts. Only such a view is adequate to the thing as it is, presenting reality as it is. Failure in this vision can be of serious consequence when the object of our concern is man and the means to his good, for without the understanding of man in his totality we are unable to know what actions are more appropriate to the achievement of that good.
The vision of education that informs Gregory the Great Academy can appear at once familiar and strange. Although it is a traditional liberal arts education, its ethos does not always line up with our expectations of many schools today.
At GGA we seek to recover the fullness of meaning behind the educational process in order to overcome the false oppositions that can prevent students from loving and appropriating the good, the true, and the beautiful. For example, much of the movement to recover traditional education is concerned with the right use of reason. This is correct to do. Most of the time, in the face of an epidemic of sloppy and addled thinking, teachers apply the remedy of logic. We too prescribe this remedy, but we believe that it is not enough and that left to itself, this produces more problems. Man does not live by reason alone, not even reason perfected by logic. In concert with music, poetry, and art, reason reaches its fullness and directs our hearts and minds to the Divine Word.