RE in Catholic high schools: Challenge and Hope

Contemporary academic writing on RE in Catholic secondary schools no longer conceptualises it as the serene passing on of Catholic faith to practicing Catholics (catechesis). The Catholic RE classroom will contain a wide spectrum of practising and non-practising Catholics, pupils of other denominations and religions, and many seekers, doubters and agnostics.  So the key is for RE to be truly educational, and to foster the spiritual growth and religious literacy of all pupils.  Nonetheless, the faith formation of the next generation of committed Catholics is a reasonable aspiration of RE in the Catholic high school. Promoting spiritual growth in the Catholic tradition while presenting the reasonableness of Catholic faith will be legitimate aims of RE, all the while opening the faith to debate and scrutiny within the educational environment.  Such a task takes on a crucial role, given that very possibility of lifelong faith commitment is challenged by the current postmodern, secular environment in which the pupils live, work and study.

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