In addition to Catholic education being at the heart of our curriculum, children are also given the opportunity to learn about other cultures and faiths: notably Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism. Through their studies, children and young people come to an appreciation of significant aspects of major world religions, recognising the sincere search for truth which takes place in other faiths.
The Church calls us to be committed to respecting people from other religions and to recognise that God is at work within them, our brothers and sisters.
Pupils are encouraged not merely to learn facts about other religions but to also reflect upon them and gain insight from them.
We teach each world faith separately, through assemblies and visits from people of other faiths, and to places of worship, ensuring that comparisons are not made to our own faith as Catholics, so that the integrity and practice of each faith is not compromised.
This provision is mapped into both the whole-school calendar and class timetables.
Why do Catholic schools teach about other religions?
Teaching about other religions is important for several reasons:
- Learning about the religion and cultures of those who do not share the Catholic faith is one of the ways in which Catholic schools embody the call to love one’s neighbour. As the Church says, “The love for all men and women is necessarily also a love for their culture. Catholic schools are, by their very vocation, intercultural.” (Congregation for Catholic Education p61).
- It is required by the Bishops, who state that the Catholic nature of our schools entails “a willingness… to try to understand better the religion of one’s neighbours, and to experience something of their religious life and culture.” (Catholic Bishops' Conference p3).
- Many of the children in Catholic schools are practicing members of other faiths and our schools need to be places of hospitality for these children. It is an act of respect and courtesy that our curriculum helps them to reflect on the nature of their own religious identity. As the Church says, “All children and young people [including those of other faiths in our Catholic schools] must have the same possibilities for arriving at the knowledge of their own religion as well as of elements that characterize other religions.” (Congregation for Catholic Education)
- It prepares the pupils in our Catholic schools for life in modern Britain, giving them an understanding of the beliefs of others. This in turn will improve social cohesion and contribute to the common good by increasing mutual respect between those of different religions.