Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What is the Church saying about Religious Education in Today’s Catholic Schools?

Tomorrow night I`m going to a diocesan study evening at Ushaw with a group from St Stephen`s school, Longbenton on the theme of `What is the Church saying about Religious Education in Today’s Catholic Schools?` I`m just curious to see what is said. Tonight I`ll be swotting up on the diocese of Lancaster document about schools `Fit for Mission?` which has been hailed by archbishop Mauro Piacenza of the Congregation for Clergy. The Congregation have universal over-sight of catechesis in the Catholic Church. The archbishop wrote to bishop O`Donoghue of Lancaster in January saying, ‘The Congregation is especially pleased as your pastoral plan is precisely that which was called for in the “General Directory for Catechesis” after the release of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church`

Cardinal Levada of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote in March expressing his approval for the document. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education also wrote “The publication will undoubtedly be a reliable resource for renewing the vitality of Catholic education in today’s society.”

So it sounds as if Fit for Mission? fits the bill for what the Church is saying about Religious Education in Catholic Schools. I look forward to hearing about it tomorrow night.

While searching the net I see there is an official Fit for Mission? blog.
UPDATE 04/07/08 It was all very different to what I expected. Our group was eight strong. There were only twenty-five there in total. The organisers were somewhat surprised to find that most of our group was made up of teachers although it had been advertised to staff. The evening was apparently for the non-professional. However while `Fit for Mission?` was never mentioned much was made of the bishops` conference document from 2000 on religious education in schools. I was satisfied that religious education was seen as being evangelistic for some pupils and catechetical for others. I had heard it said a while back that Catholic schools had nothing to do with catechesis and that religious education should be just information about religions and that catechesis should take place in the home and the parish and not the school. The only thing that concerned me was that we were given a list of things people thought religious education was meant to be about and we were told that `making good little Catholics` was the wrong answer. I`m not sure about the `little` but if a school is a centre for evangelisation and catechesis then the desire to pass on the faith to others and hope they remain or become Catholics should be there too.

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