Archbishop Vincent Nichols has commented on the place of Religious Studies in the proposed new Baccalaureate, in a homily given at Westminster Cathedral on 3 March 2011.
“The risk of Religious Education and Religious Studies being neglected in schools in this country if they are excluded from the core subjects of the proposed new Baccalaureate is one that must be carefully weighed”, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said in a homily given at a Mass celebrated at Westminster Cathedral to mark the presence of the Torch of St Benedict in London. The Torch of St Benedict, a symbol of peace, is the main feature of an annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of St Benedict in Monte Cassino led by the Abbot and monks of Monte Cassino.
In his homily, Archbishop Nichols stressed that religious freedom was essential for the pursuit of peace, saying “the Torch of Peace is carried most steadily by the hand of faith. Or, to put it another way, the pathway to peace is that of faith, and faith requires a pathway of religious freedom.”
Quoting from Pope Benedict’s message for the World Day of Peace for 2011 Archbishop Nichols said: “His point was clearly and powerfully made: ‘religious freedom is an authentic weapon of peace’ for ‘a society reconciled with God is closer to peace’ for ‘ ‘we find in God the stable point of reference for attaining authentic freedom, the inexhaustible force which can give the world a new direction and spirit, and overcome the mistakes of the past.’
Archbishop Nichols continued: ” Religious education, too, is a crucial part of this pathway. A religiously illiterate people will find many obstacles on their pathway towards peace. The risk of Religious Education and Religious Studies being neglected in schools in this country if they are excluded from the core subjects of the proposed new Baccalaureate is one that must be carefully weighed. To fail to do so is to weaken the cause of peace at a crucial moment.”
The Mass at Westminster Cathedral was celebrated in the presence of Abbot of Monte Cassino, Pietro Vittorelli and the Archbishop of Spoleto – Norcia, Renato Boccardo. Also present were all the Abbots of Benedictine monasteries in the UK and a delegation of monks from the Abbey of Monte Cassino.
Source: Archbishop's House