A new publication of the Bishops of England and Wales, issued in response to the new Catechism, seems designed to offset the damage done by such previously approved programs as Weaving the Web (see page 4).
Cardinal Basil Hume of Westminster has written the preface to the 32-page document titled What Are We To Teach? Foundations for Religious Teaching In The Light of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In it he calls for "every Catholic school" and "every Catholic teacher" to have a copy of the Catechism, which "should be much used." The Catechism, he says, must be the "basis and point of reference of Catholic teaching in our schools."
Published with the aim of helping "schools and teachers in ensuring that our religion teaching is faithful to the Catechism in both content and emphasis," What Are We To Teach? follows the structure of the Catechism, providing a brief summary of doctrine which can serve as a checklist for any school curriculum. The summaries are cross-referenced to relevant paragraphs of the Catechism.
As summaries, they are necessarily brief, and one may note the absence of explicit mention of the Sunday Mass obligation. (Though surely this will be covered in the third commandment). However, original sin, the virgin birth, the ten commandments, grace, and many other long-neglected topics are explicitly listed to be taught.
One of the most welcome aspects of the document is a list of prayers which are "the basic requirement of all Catholics and are best known by memory," including the Apostles' Creed, the Angelus, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, Grace before and after meals, and the responses of the Mass.
In publishing What Are We To Teach?, the Bishops of England and Wales have called for what Cardinal Hume has described as "a new era in the teaching of the Faith and in the catechesis of our young people."
Simon Matthews, AD2000's British correspondent, teaches Religious Education and Theology in a London Catholic High School. 'What Are We To Teach?' is distributed by the Catholic Education Service, 41 Cromwell Road, London SW7 2DJ, Fax: 44-71-823-7545.