Good Seed: STANDARDS for CHRISTIAN ANTHROPOLOGY
A labor of love that spanned four years, the Standards for Christian Anthropology, based on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body teachings, provide a solid basis for incrementally transmitting (K-8) a vision of the human person according to God’s loving design. Many are quick to assume this is Catholic sex ed. Instead of addressing matters of sexuality head on, they go deeper, to the foundations of personal identity. It’s a game-changer for someone to be deeply convinced of their personal self-worth, dignity and purpose, knowing oneself to be infinitely and unconditionally loved by God and called to live in a communion of persons in his image. This self-knowledge includes respecting and revering oneself, others and above all God. It affects the choices made by young people about how they will treat others and expect others to treat them, including in the area of sexuality. It’s a unique, theological approach to Christian anthropology that lays out the pathway to a happy, deeply fulfilled life.
Read the article written for the June 12, 2020 National Catholic Register, “Theology of the Body for Schoolchildren“ by Patrick J. Reilly, President & Founder of the Cardinal Newman Society.
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The new standards’ simple yet robust framework provides the guidance that has been sought by educators for some time now. The Standards for Christian Anthropology support the curricula published by Ruah Woods Press and complement the Catholic Curriculum Standards published by The Cardinal Newman Society, which cover English language arts, history, scientific topics, and mathematics. The new standards—a collaboration of the two organizations—situate the person in proper context as son or daughter of God, heir to the Eternal Kingdom, and brother or sister to all. Anthony Esolen, Catholic writer and social commentator, said, “If you don’t get man right, you don’t get education right.” The Standards for Christian Anthropology lay the groundwork for “getting man right,” a foundation for other subject areas.
Finalized on May 18, the 100th anniversary of the the birth of St. John Paul II, its completion was inspired by the most recent document from the Congregation for Catholic Education, Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education (2019), which addresses the current identity crisis affecting many classrooms today. The Vatican document was generated to present Christian anthropology and to encourage institutions of higher learning and research centers to provide professional development and programs for educators. The Standards for Christian Anthropology are a direct response to this call.
We can get an idea of the value of teaching an adequate anthropology to children by considering the life-giving effects this could have on those who learn it. Let’s be clear though: we are not looking to produce something, but rather sow seeds in the hearts of young people that will hopefully grow and bear fruit. The free cooperation of individual persons and the mysterious gift of grace are at play.
These standards are meant to inspire programs that will be transformational, that will touch the hearts of young people and help them form deep convictions about who they are, their self-worth and dignity and that of others. Knowing that they are created in the image of the Triune God and are called to live in communion, they are convinced as well that fulfillment comes through the gift-of-self.
In learning that they themselves are a good gift from a loving God and that his design for us is true happiness; children, young people and adults alike can become aware of their own immense dignity. And as this dignity is rooted in God’s goodness and love there’s a sense of security. The next step flows from the realization of one’s own worth: others are also good gifts of God and worthy of my respect and love.
VIEW our previously recorded (June 9, 2020) 1-hour webinar to Explore these Standards with the Authors…
STANDARDS for Christian Anthropology One Hour Webinar
featuring Dr. Joan Kingsland and Dr. Denise Donohue
This on-demand recording is especially geared for Superintendents, Directors of Faith Formation, or Family Life Office Leaders.
The webinar covers…
• why Theology of the Body Standards
• how they came together
• how the standards are structured
• how to use them
JOIN US AS WE ADVANCE THE CULTURE OF LIFE AND LOVE!