The Vision for Religious Education emphasises the complementarity of the two dimensions of Religious Education and articulates a school’s aspirations for students in terms of their religious literacy and faith formation. In that sense the Vision begins with “the end in mind”.
The schools and colleges of the Archdiocese of Brisbane aspire to educate and form students who are challenged to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and who are literate in the Catholic and broader Christian tradition so that they might participate critically and authentically in faith contexts and wider society. The Vision for Religious Education appropriately aligns with the goal for learning and teaching as articulated in the Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) Learning and Teaching Framework (2012): As a Catholic Christian community we educate all to live the gospel of Jesus Christ as successful, creative and confident, active and informed learners empowered to shape and enrich our world. The Vision for Religious Education challenges students to be a religious voice in the world. The Vision gives greater prominence and a renewed orientation to the critical interpretation and evaluation of culture. Through vibrant and engaging Religious Education, students become active constructors of culture rather than passive consumers. In this way, students are challenged to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in their everyday lives. Pope John Paul II (1984) reminds Catholic schools to: Develop your culture with wisdom. Ask culture what values it promotes, what destiny it offers, what place it makes for the poor and the disinherited, how it conceives of sharing, forgiveness, love. Religious Education seeks to develop the religious literacy of students in light of the Catholic Christian tradition, so that they might participate critically and authentically in contemporary culture. Students become religiously literate as they develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret and use language confidently in and for faith contexts and the wider society. Religious literacy should not be confused with religious knowledge. The Vision describes students who can articulate their faith and live it in an open and authentic way. Religious literacy encompasses a set of ongoing activities and interactions among people. These include ways of talking, acting, creating, communicating, critiquing, evaluating, participating, ritualising, theologising, worshipping, reading, reflecting, and writing with others in a variety of religious and secular contexts. For religious educators, this Vision is framed within a broad and expansive understanding of life that goes a long way beyond education as an end in itself. Jesus Christ is the centre of this Vision. While knowledge and understanding of religious concepts is important, the truths and beliefs to which a student adheres must have some consequence in their life. Effective Religious Education requires teachers to be more than purveyors of knowledge and students to be more than consumers of the tradition. Through engagement with both dimensions of Religious Education, students are challenged to be cultural agents in light of the Gospel; authentic witnesses to the mission of Jesus Christ in the world today.