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Draft New RE Curriculum Update: Update from Very Rev Christopher de Souza

9 September 2020
St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

 

Dear Friends,

Re: Draft New Curriculum

Following my letter to you on 28 August 2020, I write to update you on the Draft New Curriculum that is in development through Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.

The important things to note about this curriculum are:

  • The curriculum is still in draft form, consultation is continuing;
  • The curriculum completely adheres to the Catholic faith; and
  • The curriculum does not teach gender theory or gender studies or associated material.

I wish to reiterate that this curriculum does not teach students anything that is contrary to the Catholic faith. The curriculum review process is not complete, and the document is still in draft form. We are currently in draft one of a four draft process.

We, in the Diocese of Parramatta and Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, take the trust you have placed in us to educate your children extremely seriously. We would never teach anything contrary to Catholic Scripture and Tradition.

The final version of the curriculum will only be implemented once the review and consultation process is complete. If changes need to be made, we will ensure this happens.

Media Commentary

Some of the commentary we have seen in the media (print media, social media, television) on this topic is wrong and misleading.

Most public commentators have not sought clarification from the Diocese of Parramatta about this curriculum and instead have relied on secondary sources for their information.

I understand your fear and anger based on these reports. It is your right to be concerned with these reports, if they were true. Yet, they are not.

I wish to be clear and direct on this point. There is no truth to reports that we are developing a curriculum that goes against the Catholic faith.

It’s nowhere to be found in the curriculum, and completely untrue to say this curriculum teaches gender theory or gender studies or associated material. That is just wrong.

Without any shadow of a doubt there is nothing in the curriculum, specifically the ‘Essential Content’ component that is not Catholic.

A lot of confusion, as appearing on social media, rests on the ‘Inquiry Questions’ of the curriculum. To clarify, these questions are not necessarily taught.

It is important to note these questions were derived from our students, who raised thousands of questions during our seven-year survey and consultation process.

The ‘Inquiry Questions’ are not, as has wrongly been claimed, the content of the curriculum. They are questions that might arise and that will be critiqued through a Catholic perspective.

Put another way, students will learn the Catholic response to these questions, if and when they arise in a class.

I again point you to the vast resources developed by Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta on this curriculum. Their website contains podcasts, videos, and discussions on the new curriculum. Please visit www.parra.catholic.edu.au for more information.

Any questions can also be directed to a dedicated email address we have established to help address your concerns feedback@parra.catholic.edu.au.

Yours in Christ,

Very Rev Christopher de Souza
Vicar General
Episcopal Vicar for Education

Editors Note – This article’s title has been updated from “Update on the Draft New Curriculum” since publishing.

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