On The Road To Perfection
Episode 94: Religious Education vs Faith Formation
What is the difference between Religious Education, Faith Formation, Catechism Class, and CCD? On the surface, it can appear that they are one and the same;, but there are, in fact, many important differences, Mom and Dad answer the question and talk about what each of these are and entail – and they have a lot of experience with each of them!
Faith formation is very important. Religious Education discusses the religion, the catechist could be teaching about Zacchaeus, but does not form the faith of the listener through this teaching. Faith Formation does discuss the Bible, religion, and the Catechism, but the true formation happens outside of the classroom.
“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children” (CCC 2223). The Catechism does not say “The parents are the primary bus drivers to Religion Class.” It is important for parents to reflect their faith in their everyday lives. The Church is here to help the parents teach the faith, but parents need to be the outwardly Earthly example of our Heavenly abode.
Now, that is a tough job. It is the penultimate duty of parents to catechize their children. Catechize simply means “to echo,” and parents are given to children to echo Christ for their children. Faith is an action. Faith is a statement of belief. But it is a statement that involves our every action, every thought, and every word.
In the vows of Holy Matrimony, parents promise to educate their children. This is reconfirmed at baptism, is refreshed through consistent Eucharist and reconciliation, and the child finally formally accepts the faith at confirmation. None of this can be done without the parents being there to be the otherworldly example to their children in this fallen world.
God wants us to not only know him, but also love and serve him. Religious Education can help us learn about Him, but only through constant example will children get to know Him and learn to love and serve Him.