Religious Education

Placing RE at the core of the curriculum in Catholic schools helps the school to fulfill its mission to educate the whole person in discerning the meaning of their existence, since “Religious Education is concerned not only with intellectual knowledge but also includes emotional and affective learning.”

Without religious education, pupils would be deprived of an essential element of their formation and personal development, which helps them attain a vital harmony between faith and culture.” (Religious Education curriculum Directory p4). Furthermore, religiously literate children and young people are able to engage in a fully informed critique of all knowledge, “leading, for example, to an understanding of the relationship between science and religion or history, and between theology, sport and the human body.” (Religious Education Curriculum Directory p4).

1 To present engagingly a comprehensive content which is the basis of knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith;

2 To enable pupils continually to deepen their religious and theological understanding and be able to communicate this effectively;

3 To present an authentic vision of the Church’s moral and social teaching so that pupils can make a critique of the underlying trends in contemporary culture and society;

4 To raise pupils’ awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities in order to respect and understand them;

5 To develop the critical faculties of pupils so that they can relate their Catholic faith to daily life;

6 To stimulate pupils’ imagination and provoke a desire for personal meaning as revealed in the truth of the Catholic faith;

7 To enable pupils to relate the knowledge gained through Religious Education to their understanding of other subjects in the curriculum;

8 To bring clarity to the relationship between faith and life, and between faith and culture.

Pope Saint John Paul II: RE is “core of the curriculum”.

Catholics teach that God is the “creator of all things visible and invisible”. By this we mean that everything that exists has its ultimate source and origin in God.

Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam.

Catholic schools however are not “creationist”. A “creationist” is someone who believes that the theological truths expressed in the first books of Genesis are also literal scientific and historic descriptions of the beginnings of the world. Some creationists would also insist that the earth is only approximately 6000 years old. This is not the position of the Catholic Church which rejects the creationist interpretation of Genesis. That is, Catholic schools do not teach that God’s creation of the world implies anything about how this creation occurred. The Catholic Church is clear that evolution is currently the best explanation of the origin and diversity of life on earth and that the earth is as old as current scientific orthodoxy suggests (approximately 4.54 billion years old). The Church would say that the doctrine of creation expresses a theological truth – that all existence derives from and depends upon God, whilst evolution expresses scientific truths about the history of the physical universe.