In Catholic schools, Religious Education is both a key learning area and a cross-curriculum discipline that engages all other learning areas in a search for truth, meaning and purpose by exploring questions of ultimate concern—and it does so explicitly from the point of view of Christian faith. It is through the explicit teaching of the Catholic religion, its beliefs, practices and ethical values, that students deepen their appreciation and understanding of the Catholic faith and its application to their lives.
The Good News for Living (GNFL) curriculum framework explores core Catholic Church teaching about God, Jesus Christ, Church, Scripture, Sacraments, Christian Prayer, Christian Life, and Religion, Culture & Society. The approach to the study of Religious Education is commensurate with the key learning areas of the Australian Curriculum insofar as it develops knowledge and understanding, skills for learning and skills for living, in a critical, intelligent, imaginative and respectful engagement with the Christian faith. Nevertheless, the core focus of Religious Education is the Person of Jesus Christ and what he reveals about the meaning and purpose of life as this is explored within the tradition of Catholic faith, teaching and practice.
The Catholic Curriculum, then, is about the “getting of wisdom” as the integration of being and meaning. Religious Education is the unifying cross-curriculum learning area that brings all the other learning areas together. It does this by grounding their common search for knowledge, understanding and discernment in the gift of being human as the image of God. Our humanity as God’s image is itself built up by the gifts of awe, reverence and fortitude. The gift of awe (or wonder) gives rise to a sense of reverence (or deep respect) for the mystery we encounter; and reverence (also called “piety” or “spirituality”) gives rise to fortitude: the wholehearted, open-minded and courageous commitment to live as truthfully, justly and creatively as possible in imitation of Christ. As human beings so formed by awe, reverence and fortitude we are inspired by God to know everything we can about God, ourselves and our world—a knowledge that, as it builds and grows, develops our capacity to understand what we know, and, as our understanding grows, it enables us to discern how to apply our knowledge and understanding to life: how to live, creatively and lovingly in response to the mystery at the core of our being, the God whom Jesus reveals as loving us.