Secondary Religious Educators in Ontario teach Family Life Education as an integral part of the Religious Education Program. It forms one of the six strands of the Policy Document.
Strand FL: Family Life Education
Christian education in the family, catechesis and religious instruction in schools are, each in its own way, closely interrelated with the service of Christian education of children, adolescents, and young people. (76)
Family catechesis precedes… accompanies and enriches all forms of catechesis. (226) General Directory for Catechesis (1997) 27
Catholic Family Life Education is a multi-disciplinary curriculum area, designed to promote the Christian formation of children and adolescents in authentic human values related to personhood. The role of the school should be that of assisting and completing the work of parents, furnishing children and adolescents with an evaluation of sexuality as value and task of the whole person, created male and female in the image of God.
The bishops of Ontario have identified Family Life Education as a required curriculum strand comprising approximately twenty percent of the Religious Education curriculum at the secondary level, since both areas of study are concerned with the integration of Gospel values into the whole pattern of human life. Classroom instruction in Family Life Education provides opportunities for the holistic formation of students according to a Christian vision of personhood, relationship, and sexuality. This strand draws upon the disciplines of theology, life sciences, and the social sciences. Within these, moral theology, biology, and developmental psychology are especially significant.
Students will study three areas in Family Life Education (Personhood, Relationships, and Sexuality), to support the direction given in the OCCB’s 1996 message to the Catholic education community, entitled “Family Life Education for Secondary Students.”
Family Life Education therefore is a distinctive feature of Religious Education in Catholic secondary schools in its biological, medical, psychological, and moral aspects. It is the intention of Family Life Education to assist students in the development of understanding and personal attitudes toward the Christian vision of human relationships and sexuality as integral to the person, created in the image of a life-giving and loving God. (Adapted from Family Life Education for Secondary Students: A Message to the Catholic Education Community, a publication of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario, 1996, pp. 4-6.)
For this reason, Family Life Education recognizes and affirms the primary and central role of the family in the formation of character, moral development, and attitudes toward sexuality. Likewise, Family Life Education recognizes the need for students to share life related experiences within clearly established boundaries related to the public nature of the classroom setting.
AIDS: A Catholic Educational Approach to HIV– Ontario Catholic Schools Second Edition (ICE)
Ontario Catholic Religious Educators are mandated to provide three lessons per year from the appropriate year in the AIDS curriculum. This is only available as a print resource from ICE. Note: It was written nearly 20 years ago and is currently being revised
Family Life Education for Secondary Students: A Message to the Catholic Education Community, 1996, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops (now ACBO) (print only)
Intimacy and Sexuality, 1994, ACBO (print only)
Vatican Documents and Resources
Apostolicam Actuositatem (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity), 1965
Gaudium et spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) 1965
Humanae vitae (Of Human Life), 1968, Pope Paul VI
“Theology of the Body“, 1979-1984, Pope John Paul II
Familiaris consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), 1980, Pope John Paul II
Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life), 1995, Pope John Paul II
Deus caritas est (God is Love), 2005, Pope Benedict XVI
Spe salvi (In hope we were saved)
Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth), 2009, Pope Benedict XVI
Amoris Laetitia (On Love in the Family), 2016, Pope Francis
Other Vatican Documents
Persona Humana Declaration On Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, 1975, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Donum vitae (Instruction on Respect for Human Life), 1987, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons – Homosexualitatis problema, 1986, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Instruction Dignitas Personae On Certain Bioethical Questions, 2008, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Vademecum for Confessors Concerning Some Aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life, 1997, Pontifical Council for the Family
Ines San Martin writes in Crux about a new Family Life resource: “Amid the frenzy of World Youth Day, which gathered millions of young people in Krakow, Poland at the end of July, the Pontifical Council for the Family, headed by Italian Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia, launched a website with materials both for [secondary] students and educators called “The Meeting Point, project for affective and sexual formation.”
During youth, this task of affective-sexual education enables us to love in a true and human way, open to an even deeper communion, which is communion with God. It establishes the personal qualities that will allow us to have this experience of love, laying the foundations of the reality of the life of the person, as a motor driving the edification of a full, great life that is capable of building true relationships by making the love of God present in flesh and in humanity.
To this end, years ago, the Subcommittee of the Family and the Defense of Life of the Spanish Episcopal Conference began the preparation of these units of affective-sexual education, in order to help adolescents and youth understand the logic of the love which enshrines itself in them, and to develop the capacities, abilities, competencies, habits, and virtues that constitute the grammar of love, so that they may attain the beauty and goodness of the vocation to love that is inscribed in their hearts. Many experts have collaborated on this project, and we are grateful for the generosity, expertise and experience that they have placed at the service of this work.
Since the family is the natural ethos where we learn to love, it is precisely to families that we wish to offer this project. We have sought to help them, to place at their service a tool which might permit them to carry out the precious task of teaching their children so as to enable them to fully live out their vocation to love in its diverse forms, according to the plan that God has reserved for each one of them: in future families, in consecrated life, in priestly ministry, in contemplative life, in the offering of themselves as missionaries…
Additionally, we are conscious of the fact that families are assisted by the school and by the parish community in this educative task. For this reason, this work is organized in six didactic units adapted to the curricular plan of religion classes in the ESO (Spain), so that it may be introduced into the corresponding curricular dynamic. This material may also be employed in different ways in parish catechesis, faith education for adolescents and youth, preparation for the reception of the sacrament of confirmation, etc.
- Other Organizations
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) was co-founded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus. COLF’s mission is to build a culture of life and a civilization of love by promoting respect for human life and dignity and the essential role of the family.- from the website. See the CARFLEO post on COLF for a list of topicsCaritas
Caritas’ mission is to provide drug abusing/addicted people with: the environment, relationships, support, guidance and counselling necessary for them to grow into independent, responsible, functional members of society. Caritas Project is a Therapeutic Community with a multi-dimensional approach to recovery. Its scope includes, in addition to people suffering from addiction, people with mental health issues, behavioral problems, and family issues. This approach encompasses the physical, mental, spiritual, social, emotional and vocational needs in a human being in a highly structured family-like environment. The Caritas 25 month program is well known for its great impact in achieving a total change in lifestyle. Caritas is a registered charity, partially funded by the Ministry of Health and continues to sustain the majority of its work relying on public donations and community volunteerism. The website can be used for teachers as a resource for drug and mental health addiction. It also has a quarterly news which offers articles that could be of use for students doing projects regarding mental health and drug addiction.–Elisa Aquino
Catholic Health Alliance of CanadaThis site is another fantastic resource as it not only focuses on Catholic Faith, but also the issues and concerns around faith from a CANADIAN health perspective.Mission Statement: The Catholic Health Association of Canada is a national Christian community committed to health care in the tradition of the Catholic Church. Our mission is to witness to the healing ministry and abiding presence of Jesus.
Our concern is for health in all its aspects: physical, emotional, spiritual, and social. Because we see health as a condition for full human development, our Association encourages all activities destined to promote wellness, prevent disease, and cure sickness. We commit ourselves to work openly and earnestly, in both official languages, with all people in our society.” From a teacher’s viewpoint, I think this is a great site for “staying in tune” – informed. It provides us with resources that if we would like, we could order items such as: posters, books, health ethics kits etc. OR simply read and download articles of current issues and events. –Loredana Campoli
CARFLEO Links: Family Life and Related Areas