Friday, 14 June 2013

A good initiative for the Bishops.....

....and not too challenging.

Father John Abberton on Stella Maris has a brief cri de coeur post on the parlous state of Catholic Education in the west.
He has posted that, along with homosexual factions within the Vatican and a general lack of adherence to Church teaching on homosexuality, the Holy Father should look next to Catholic Education in schools and, I suspect Fr A would also include, parishes.

Of course, if we had Bishops of any calibre, they would have already sorted this problem, it's not rocket science.

But, it occurs to me that there is one move that could be implemented quickly and effectively.

Maybe 'Catholic Doctrinal Studies?'

The Bishops, collectively, could develop a GCSE level course on Catholic Doctrinal Teaching; there is no reason why it should remain at this level, it could also be developed as a National Diploma in time.

Catholic Secondary schools would be directed to include this course as a mandatory part of the curriculum and application made to resolving the restrictions posed by the national curriculum (believe me, there are ways around this obstacle).

This qualification would provide a useful foil to the standard Religious Education examination that focuses on comparative studies.

Now, provided that the syllabus was designed in a manner faithful to Catholic teaching (and not handed over to a bunch of liturgical harpies) this would be a good way of reclaiming lost ground; not the only way by any means, but a good start.

So what are the chances of their Lordships taking up a scheme along these lines?

Hen's teeth, flying pigs and rocking horse dung spring to mind.



  1. Long ago, in another galaxy, the nuns put us in for Scripture O'Level - as far as I remember it was non-denominational. It concentrated on the Synoptic Gospels - and was knowledge based, with very little opportunity to discuss the implications of the events at Caesaria Phillippi on the Sheban lesbian community.

  2. YES, Iremember this course as well. Everyone in our Convent Grammar school had to take this, even the noncatholics. The BIG religious exams though, were those set by The Conference of Catholic Colleges which we took in March: School Religious Certificate and Higher Religious Certificate. You could not enter a Catholic Training College without them. They were very
    faithful and comprehensive. Part 1 was a sort of General Catholic Knowledge test of twenty questions.

  3. As another Scripture 'O' leveller I think it's a great idea. But would the State allow it? Would Catholic schools have more freedom if they went for the Bacc?

  4. I am interested to know if you have considered the AQA papers which focus on a Catholic perspective. I am aware of a number of schools which take an in depth study of ST Mark's Gospel (Unit 5, Spec A) and also the Roman Catholicism Ethics (Unit 4 Spec A) papers. The latter considers Catholic teaching on a number of ethical issues including an exploration of some of the sacraments which impact upon them. Students are encouraged to know Roman Catholic teaching, specifically from the Catechism and VAtican II Documents in many cases and be able to apply them effectively.

  5. Oona, I'm sorry but I deleted your post by accident. From concern would be the integrity of the course you mentioned, is it purely comparative? What is its doctrinal record and so on. All programmes appear to have failed at present.
    Ed, I do not know those papers but my comments to Oona, above, stand. I worry about phrases such as "an exploration of some of the sacraments which impact upon them". We are not exploring here, we are teaching' exploration may be a facet of that but that is all.
    And all of the sacraments are important and have impact on us all. That would seem to typify what is wrong with Catholic RE, forgive me if I have misinterpreted what you have stated.
    Genty...yes, it is a hurdle but nothing more than that. It could be overcome by, either lobbying to have it incorporated into the 'Catholic' curriculum or by having it as an additional qualification beyond the control of the government.
    Jadis, thank you. Yes, that, I guess is the experience of many; a qualification designed to please the exam board, not the Catholic Church.