Catholicism and Other Religious Traditions
The National Directory for Catechesis section on Catechesis in the Context of Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue states that ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue require a deep love and knowledge of one’s own faith tradition as a starting point. From that beginning, mature students, at the appropriate age and with appropriate guidance, may benefit from the examination of other Christian faiths, and various world religions and their positive contribution to world history. (See pp.210-216)
Catholic Schools and our Parish Schools of Religion in the Diocese of Belleville must always teach, explain, promote and defend the Catholic Church and the teachings of Roman Catholicism which are based upon the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, which we believe is the revealed Word of God
as well as Tradition. While we must clearly teach our belief that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ for the salvation of all people, other religious traditions must be presented objectively and treated with genuine respect. The schools are to encourage faculty, students and staff members to learn about other religious traditions. When there are students of faith traditions other than Catholicism in the classroom, they must not only be warmly welcomed, but also, when appropriate, given the opportunity to share their faith background.
The unique influence of the Catholic tradition should be woven throughout the curriculum (e.g. history, philosophy, literature, art, music, science) in Catholic schools. The positive contribution of other Christian traditions and other religions should be studied as well.
Adopted: May 20, 1980
Revised: September 16, 2008
The Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton
Bishop of Belleville