Anne Davies

Pope Francis has called on parishes throughout Europe to respond with love to the plight of refugees. Part of how this should be done is through what is taught in Catholic schools. Here Anne Davies, a year 5 teacher in St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Beckenham, writes about an initiative which was promoted at the end of last term.

Monday 11 July marked the beginning of a Week of Faith at the Catholic primary school where I teach – a week carefully planned by our Head of RE to encompass what we hoped would be a wide range of fun-filled but thought-provoking activities for the children to enjoy. Assemblies, a visit from a theatre company, an ice-cream sale and a ‘home clothes day’ to raise money for the Mission Together charity and Benediction at the end of the week were all timetabled as a celebration of our faith as we neared the end of a hard summer term.

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September/October 2016

Pippa  Bonner

The author explores the concept of entitlement, and our need to develop a sense of 'discerned entitlement' to participate in God's creation.

Pippa Bonner writes as a member of the Dympna Circle: three women who write articles of a spiritual and therapeutic nature.

Jesus said to his disciples ‘You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask me in my name. My command to you is to love one another.’ (Jn. 15.16-17)

Our relationship with God
Having heard these commissioning words at Mass recently, I have been prompted to ponder again the notion of our relationship with God. I wondered about the word ‘entitlement’ all through Lent and the Easter period. Why does this discomfiting word keep returning to me?

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September/October 2016

D. J. Kearney

John's Gospel uses water as a metaphor for life in Jesus writes Daniel Kearney, a former headmaster and teacher of Religious Studies.

On two contrasting and distinct occasions in John’s Gospel Jesus experiences and suffers a most basic human need: He ‘thirsts’. On the cross, in his final agonising moments, he cries out ‘I am thirsty’ (Jn. 19.28) and, at the onset of his mission, he says to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well ‘give me a drink’ (Jn. 4.7). In other words ‘I am thirsty’. According to C. K. Barrett, the Gospel of John deals with water both as a purification term and as a term for the satisfaction of thirst.1

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September/October 2016

Sean Whittle

From September 2016 there will be some striking innovations taking place in RE in English and Welsh Catholic schools. This is due to the changes to the exam syllabus for GCSE and A Level courses. Here Sean Whittle, an experienced RE teacher, explores the bigger issues at stake in these changes to RE in our Catholic schools in England and Wales.

Religious Education (RE) continues to be an integral and central feature of Catholic schools in England and Wales. Indeed the distinctive feature of Catholic schools is the prominence they give to RE. In a Catholic secondary school this typically equates to ten percent of the curriculum, ranging from two or three hours of RE lesson time per week. This is a hefty amount of curriculum time.

For over a decade now RE in Catholic schools has been basking in a golden period. Evidence from inspection reports is very positive. Inspectors regularly designate high proportions of the RE provision in Catholic schools as good or outstanding. Research indicates that pupils have positive attitudes to RE and that there is ample evidence from school league tables that achievement in terms of public examinations in Religious Studies GCSE and A Level is high for Catholic schools.

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September/October 2016

John Michael Wilkins

ACTA was born in June 2012 when a group of seven priests wrote a letter to The Tablet calling for greater openness and discussion in the Church.  The group will celebrate its fourth Annual Conference on 26 November 2016.  What is ACTA and what is it trying to achieve? John Michael Wilkins is ACTA’s co-ordinator in Southwark.

Background to ACTA
I remember Bishop Cyril Restieaux visiting our school between sessions of Vatican II and explaining to us that the teachings of this momentous Council would not be fully understood, let alone implemented, for many years. So it has proved. ACTA was formed because of concern that some Council teachings are being side-lined. More specifically, there was concern about the implementation of Lumen Gentium. For example:

The laity have the right, as do all Christians, to receive in abundance from their spiritual shepherds the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the assistance of the word of God and of the sacraments. They should openly reveal to them their needs and desires with that freedom and confidence which is fitting for children of God and brothers in Christ.

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September/October 2016

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