ReligionFr. Joseph Van House, Head of Department
The Religion courses in the Middle School are designed to offer a solid foundation in the basic teachings of Christianity, provide an introduction to both the Old and New Testament scriptures, and address the questions naturally arising in a young man’s faith life. The Form Master periods and retreats provide the opportunity to nourish the students’ faith life more directly. The religion and theology courses are taught on the firm and explicit basis of the School's Catholic identity but also in an ecumenical spirit. Thus all students profit from them, and the Catholic students receive training, encouragement and guidance in the understanding and practice of their faith. Because of the various backgrounds of the students entering the First Form (both Catholic and non-Catholic), the program starts with two years of catechetical instruction: basic doctrine in the first year, structured according to the Apostles' Creed; and Christian living in the second year, involving the study of Christian morality and the Church's worship (sacraments and liturgy). The Bible courses of the Third and Fourth Forms introduce the students to both the reading and the interpretation of the biblical texts. The courses acquaint them with the necessary historical introductions to the books of the Bible and guide them through the most important texts of both testaments. The School requires that all students participate in its religious education program.
The Theology program in the Upper School teaches students to apply systematic and rational inquiry to the content of faith. The first two courses treat basic Christian doctrine (Form V) and morality (Form VI). These courses concentrate on central questions and issues. The particular Catholic character of the doctrine and its systematic presentation are also clearly stated with respect for both denominational boundaries and the spirit of Christian ecumenism. In Forms VII and VIII, special topics of theology are treated: Church history, world religions and their relationship to Christianity, and forms of Christian commitment.