🕮 RE Syllabus Glossary      † Theological Glossary

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Of or relating to any of the faiths traditionally held to descend from the biblical patriarch Abraham - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The acknowledgment that God is Father, Creator and Saviour. Through prayer and worship, people as individuals and as a Church, give expression to their beliefs.

Making voluntary contributions to aid the poor.

An ambo is the reading stand (lectern) from which the lector reads the scripture at Mass.

Amoris Laetitia
The Joy of Love 2016 Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis, on the challenges and opportunities of Catholic family life.

Smearing or pouring oil on someone during a sacrament or religious ceremony.

(Greek apostolos somebody who is sent as a messenger or agent.) This refers especially to the twelve followers of Jesus who were sent out to preach the good news of salvation. (Matthew 28:19; Luke 6:13; 9:10).(Woods. L, 2002, A Dictionary for Catholics)

Apostolic Exhortation
An apostolic exhortation is a type of communication from the Pope of the Catholic Church. It encourages a community of people to undertake a particular activity but it does not define Church teachings.

The practice of spiritual things for the purpose of acquiring the habits of virtue.

Assessment in RE helps us to establish and understand where learners are in their learning in a point of time. This informs ongoing learning opportunities and teaching decisions insures learning growth for students.

Assessment AS
Involves students in the learning process where they monitor their own progress, ask questions and practice skills. Students use self-assessment and teacher feedback to reflect on their learning, consolidate their understanding, and work towards learning intentions (goals).

Assessment FOR
Enables teachers to use information about students' knowledge, understanding and skills to inform their teaching. Teachers provide feedback to students about their learning and how to improve.

Asylum Seeker
A person who has left their home country as a political refugee and is seeking a place to live, with protection in another country.

Belief in no God (Komonchak, 1989).

Baptism is the first Sacrament. It makes one a member of the Church. It is an action of the Holy Spirit when one is transformed and born anew. Baptism frees one from sin.

The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus' preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven (Mt 5: 3-12).The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of his Passion and Resurrection; they shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ's disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints. (CCC1716-17)

Tenets, creeds or faith.

A rite in which the people are blessed with the Blessed Sacrament.(Woods, 2002)

(Greek kanon, rule, measure) Used by the Church to describe the full and final list of writings which the Church believes are inspired by God and which belong to the Catholic Bible.

In general, today the term "Catholic" refers to those Christians who profess a continued tradition of faith and worship and who hold to the Apostolic succession of bishops since the time of Christ, in union with the Pope.

Catholic Social Teaching
Catholic Social Teaching is based on the belief that God has a plan for creation, a plan to build his kingdom of peace, love and justice. It is the tradition of papal and episcopal reflection about how we live this vocation (the call to treat everyone as brothers and sisters) for the common good in our world.

A gift that flows from the Holy Spirit; in reference to a religious order Charism refers to the particular character or values that are evident in their apostolic work.

The Church is the whole body of Catholic Christians who follow Jesus in the way they live, worship and express their faith.

Laws which guide how people should behave in their dealings with God and other human beings. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) were given by God to Moses and they form the basis of the relationship or covenant between God and the people of Israel. Jesus summarised all the commandments in the twofold command of love of God and love of neighbour.

A series of comments, explanations, or annotations: a commentary on the Bible; news followed by a commentary.

Confirmation is the sacrament in which, by the imposition of hands, unction and prayer, a baptised person is filled with the Holy Spirit for the inner strengthening of the supernatural life and for the courageous outward confession of faith. (Ott, Ludwig. 2017, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma)

Often called the prayer of the heart. This form of prayer is silent, wordless and is simply being in the presence of God.

A radical reorientation of the whole life away from sin and evil, and toward God. This change of heart or conversion is a central element of Christ's preaching, of the Church's ministry of evangelisation, and of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

Core Content
The knowledge and information that teachers are required to teach and that students are expected to learn in a given unit content area.

Corporal Works of Mercy
The seven Corporal Works of Mercy are the kind actions by which we help other people. They include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, visiting the sick and imprisoned and burying the dead.

Council of Jerusalem
The gathering of the Apostles at Jerusalem to decide on the observance of the Mosaic precepts by the converts to Christianity. They declared: "It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these and you will do what is right" (Acts 15:28-29).

Covenant, Old
Beyond the witness to himself that God gives in created things, he manifested himself to our first parents, spoke to them and, after the fall, promised them salvation (cf. Gen 3:15) and offered them his covenant. God made an everlasting covenant with Noah and with all living beings (cf. Gen 9:16). It will remain in force as long as the world lasts. God chose Abraham and made a covenant with him and his descendants. By the covenant God formed his people and revealed his law to them through Moses. Through the prophets, he prepared them to accept the salvation destined for all humanity. (CCC70-72)

The way God (who has always existed) made everything and gave life to everything. Creation also refers to everything in the universe that exists.

As creator, God is the one who made everything from nothing, who made "heaven and earth".

A summary statement or profession of Christian faith, e.g., the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed. The word "Creed" comes from the Latin credo, meaning "I Believe," with which the Creed begins. Creeds are also called symbols of faith.

Cross Curriculum Priorities
Cross-curriculum priorities enable students to develop understanding about and address the contemporary issues they face.

A distinct group of believers, especially among Protestants. Different denominations exist within a single Protestant tradition, e.g., Lutheran. They are not necessarily different, though they generally are, in their faith, worship, and form of church government.

The excellence that deserves recognition and praise in a person or thing. Highest in dignity is God, whose superiority over all creation is the basis for adoration.

A territory governed by a bishop. It includes all the Catholic people, parishes and institutions.

A process of seeking to understand and accept God's will for a person and/or a community. Discernment takes time, prayer and being open to respond to God's Will.

One who learns from a teacher or living example. In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. He is "the perfect man", who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way. (CCC52, GS #38).

Key statements of Catholic beliefs, teachings and practices of the Church that are written in language accessible to students.

A teaching or doctrine authoritatively and explicitly proposed by the Church as revealed by God and requiring the belief of the people of Good. The Essential Catholic Handbook

Domestic Church
The Christian family which is the core community in the Church and the place where children first hear the faith proclaimed.

Having ownership of everything, and having the right to use, change, keep or throw out what is owned at will. From a Christian perspective, however, the common good of people and society determines how dominion is enacted.

That which pertains to the Church as the community of believers, with stress on their faith and union through love, and on the invisible operations of divine grace among the faithful.

The Catholic understanding of ecology is drawn from Genesis whereby the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in the explanation of the Seventh Commandment, states respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation. (CCC2415)

Economy of Salvation
The great plan of God by which his will and work is accomplished even without the help of human beings. This plan of salvation is described in Ephesians 1:3-14.

Enduring Understanding
The ideas that are central to the Catholic faith, its traditions and rituals. The enduring understanding will be addressed in the core content for the unit content area.

The period in the history of western thought and culture, stretching roughly from the mid-decades of the seventeenth century through the eighteenth century, characterised by dramatic revolutions in science, philosophy, society and politics.

A diocese of an Eastern Catholic Church.

From the Greek word meaning "letter," This word refers to the 21 books in the New Testament that were written as letters to instruct and encourage the members of the early Church.

Essential Questions
Questions that stimulate inquiry and provide a focus for teaching and learning.

A system of moral principles, the rules of conduct or approaches to making decisions for the good of the individual and society.

Eucharist is the central sacrament, and the one to which all sacraments lead. Eucharist recalls and celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the new covenant between God and his people (Year 8 TKWL, Ch11:11.3 Sacraments of Initiation). In this sacrament, the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ and are offered up in sacrifice.

Evangelii Nuntiandi
An apostolic exhortation issued in 1975 by Pope Paul VI on the theme of Catholic evangelisation.

The privation of a good that should be present. It is the lack of a good that essentially belongs to a nature; the absence of a good that is natural and due to a being. Evil is therefore the absence of what ought to be there. (CCC 309, 314)

The second book of the Bible. The book of Exodus tells the story of the freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to the time they wandered through the desert up to Mt Sinai.

A language style that uses images and comparisons to help the reader or listener visualise a situation. It introduces similes, metaphors and other sensory language to create a deeper level of understanding. (KWL, Year 9)

To excuse the sin or actions of self or another. Pardon given to someone to help restore the relationship, e.g. between God and a person or between two people etc.

A record or account of the ancestry and descent of a person, family, group, etc.

People who were not/are not Jews.

Something that is desired or approved of.

Goodness (intrinsic)
The quality of being good.

[A] state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell." (CCC 1033)

The obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth that must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same. (CCC 2089)

Historical-Critical Method
A method of studying the scriptures from the historical point of view so as to better understand literary genres, source history and textual composition; the penetration of ancient languages and cultural settings to advance biblical knowledge. (The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission, 1993)

An instruction or reflection which opens up the meaning of the scriptures and their application to the Christian life

Human Rights
Human rights recognise the inherent value of each person, regardless of background, where we live, what we look like, what we think or what we believe. They are based on principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect, which are shared across cultures, religions and philosophies. They are about being treated fairly, treating others fairly and having the ability to make genuine choices in our daily lives.

Based on or relating to a system of ideas and ideals, especially concerning economic or political theory and policy.

(Latin intercessio, a coming between). Intercession occurs when people pray for others. When the saints plead with God for human beings on earth, they offer prayers of intercession. (Woods, 2002)

A monotheistic religion characterised by the doctrine of absolute submission to God and by reverence for Muhammad as the chief and last prophet of God.

Relating to or characteristic of Islam or its adherents.

The Jewish people, chosen by God to be His people and named after Israel (Jacob), from whose twelve sons the tribes of Israel descend. God formed Israel into a priestly people in their exodus from the slavery of Egypt, when He made the first or Old Covenant with them and gave them the Law through Moses.

Of or relating to the Jews or their culture or religion.

Those who adhere to Judaism both as a religion and a people. Originally the name was restricted to the subjects of the kingdom of Judah. But after the Babylonian exile it became the common name for the race descended from Jacob and for the followers of the Mosaic religion.

The monotheistic religion of the Jews, tracing its origins to Abraham and having its spiritual and ethical principles embodied chiefly in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Talmud.

Giving to each person what is owed to them. This leads to respecting the rights of all people and developing relationships that promote equity amongst people and the common good.

Key Inquiry Question
Key inquiry questions provide a focus for teaching and learning.

A rule of conduct established by a community to keep order among people and protect their rights.

Lay oblate
A person who is associated with a religious institute in order to grow in Christian perfection by following certain rules of the institute but living outside its community structure. Such oblates share in the merits and spiritual benefits of the order or congregation.

Learning Focus
The required learning for a particular unit content area.

A book containing the readings from scripture that are to be read at Mass on weekdays, Sundays, Feasts and special Masses throughout the liturgical year.

A form of prayer, consisting of a series of petitions or biddings which are sung or said by a priest, deacon, or leader, and to which the people make fixed responses.

Following the words of the original very closely and exactly.

A witness to the truth of the faith, in which the martyr endures even death to be faithful to Christ. Those who die for the faith before having received Baptism are said to have received a "baptism of blood," by which their sins are forgiven and they share in the death and Resurrection of Christ.

(Latin missio, a sending) The term literally denotes "sending" and covers a variety of meanings, all somehow expressing the idea of a going forth from one person to others in the task of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, of serving others and of building up the Christian community. (Woods, 2002)

The place where religious men or women live in a community and they dedicate their lives to prayer and service.

The way of life followed by religious men and women who live in a monastery and where they are generally secluded from the world, according to fixed rule and under vows, in order to praise God through contemplation and apostolic charity. The principal duty of those living the monastic life is to offer humble service to God within the boundaries of the monastery. Some monastic institutes dedicate themselves wholly to contemplation; others engage in some works of the apostolate or of Christian charity, in accord with the character of monastic life. (

(Greek monachos, living alone, solitary.) Originally a hermit or anchorite, but already in the early Church applied to men living a community life in a monastery, under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, according to a specific rule, such as that of St. Basil or St. Benedict. (

(Greek monos, one; theos, god.) The belief that there is only one God, a supreme being who is transcendent, omniscient, omnipotent, all good, and creator of all that exists. (Komonchak, 1989)

Muslim (Moslem)
A believer in or adherent of Islam.

Natural Law (also: Divine Law, Revealed Law)
The moral law presupposes the rational order, established among creatures for their good and to serve their final end, by the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator. All law finds its first and ultimate truth in the eternal law. Law is declared and established by reason as a participation in the providence of the living God, Creator and Redeemer of all. There are different expressions of the moral law, all of them interrelated: eternal law - the source, in God, of all law; natural law; revealed law, comprising the Old Law and the New Law, or Law of the Gospel; finally, civil and ecclesiastical laws. (CCC 1950-1952)

A woman vowed to poverty, chastity and obedience who lives in a community and who leads a life of prayer and work.

(Latin, ordinare, appoint). To consecrate a member of the community for the service of the Church through the sacrament of Holy Orders (Woods, 2002).

One who is set aside, marked with a special sign for a particular purpose. Thus, a bishop lays his hands on the head of man to ordain him for priestly office - to stand "in the person of Christ" for His people.

The specific values, knowledge and skills that students address in the unit.

A community of the faithful within a particular church or diocese, led by a priest.

(Latin petitio, request). A request made for something desired. A prayer of petition is one in which Christians ask a favour from God. (Woods, 2002)

One who travels to a holy place to show devotion and gain some spiritual benefit. (Woods, 2002)

The journey made by a pilgrim to a sacred place as an act of religious devotion.

Belief in many gods.

The elevation of the mind and heart to God in praise of his glory, or in sorrow for sin; a petition made to God for some desired good, or in thanksgiving for a good received, or in intercession for others before God. Through prayer the Christian experiences a communion with God through Christ in the Church.

In the Catholic Church priests are ordained to preach the Word, preside over the liturgy and the celebration of the sacraments, and care for the pastoral needs of the Christian community (Woods, 2002).

To praise or glorify openly or publicly.

A commitment made to God or another person vowing that one will or will not do something.

Churches that have their origins in the reformation period during the sixteenth century; having broken away from the Catholic Church.

All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. (CCC 1030-1031)

Real Presence
The teaching of the Catholic Church that Jesus Christ is present at and in the Eucharist in his body and blood, humanity and divinity, under the form of bread and wine. (CCC 1373-1379)

The Reformation is the political and religious event in the sixteenth century that divided the Western Christian Church into Catholic and Protestant.

Religious Education Priorities
Religious Education priorities purposefully incorporate Catholic faith, traditions and rituals embedded within the unit.

Religious Freedom
Religious freedom means you are free to believe in a set of religious doctrines and codes of conduct, free to live according to what you believe, and to work with fellow believers in living out your beliefs. Importantly, it also means being free to share what you believe in the public arena, for the consideration of others.

Religious Rule
The plan of life and discipline, approved by the Bishop or the Holy See, under which religious live in order to grow in Christian perfection and perform the works of the apostolate proper to their institute (

The Rosary is a prayer made up of twenty mysteries that reflect on the life of Jesus and Mary. One of the most recognisable aspects of the Rosary is the Rosary Beads arranged in a circle that are used during the prayer.

Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year.

(Latin, sacramentum and Greek, mysterion). Signifying one of the seven central liturgical rites of the church through which participants experience the paschal mystery of Christ, are formed into the body of Christ and receive or grow in the life of grace (Komonchak, 1989).

Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance
"Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offence committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labours for their conversion. (CCC1422)

Sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments in so far as they signify the effects, especially of a spiritual kind, which are obtained through the church (Komonchak, 1989).

The holy or divine. That which pertains to God, as distinguished from what pertains to human beings.

(Latin, salus, health; Greek, soteria, safe return home). Being saved from danger and enemies. In the New Testament, Jesus is described as the one who saves the human race from the power of evil through his incarnation, life, death and resurrection. We are saved when we are fully united with God and one another (Woods, 2002).

This refers to a formal breach in Church unity brought about when a particular group separates itself from the larger faith community.

The selected Scripture passages underpin the focus of the unit. For the Primary RE Curriculum, it is essential that teachers read the Scripture passage prior to every storytelling experience. In the K-2 Curriculum, some Scripture stories have been simplified for the purpose of RE Storytelling.

(Middle English, scrowle; Old French, escro(u)e, strip of parchment; Frankish, skroda, pece or shred). An ancient book in rolled-up shape. The writing was done on papyrus, animal skin, or parchment, each piece approximately six inches wide and ten inches long. The pieces were sewn together and rolled smoothly around a stick. The reader would unroll the manuscript off the stick onto another stick. Frequently the roll would be over a hundred feet long. Much of the Old and New Testaments was written on scrolls, as were literary and scientific documents. The title was sometimes written on the outside edge of the scroll.

Division based on adherence to a particular set of beliefs and the rejection of others.

Not connected with things religious or spiritual.

The separation of religious beliefs and values from public life.

Social Justice
Social justice means that everybody, including governments, organisations and individuals, should treat all other people with dignity according to their rights as human beings. True social justice does not allow the existence of favouritism, racism or any discrimination against other people. The Church has always been concerned for social justice in its teaching (Woods, 2002).

Statements of Learning
The core knowledge, understanding and skills to be taught in a unit content area.

In scriptural terms, humans have been entrusted with the care and responsibility of all of creation, including the world's resources, all living creatures and one another, and with the understanding of the revelation of God.

In the scriptures, stewardship is used to mean having the duty and responsibility to manage responsibly the creation which God entrusts to humans.

The K-10 Religious Education Curriculum is organised around five main areas of study. Each of the five areas is given equal expression throughout the curriculum.

The principle of subsidiarity protects people from abuses by higher-level social authority and calls on these same authorities to help individuals and intermediate groups to fulfil their duties. This principle is imperative because every person, family and intermediate group has something original to offer to the community. (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church par. 187)

Success Criteria
The success criteria helps teachers to decide whether their students have achieved the outcomes and learning intentions of the unit.

The name given to the two major parts of the Bible; a synonym for "covenant," as in Old and New Covenants. The Old Testament recounts the history of salvation before the time of Christ (46 books), and the New Testament unfolds the saving work of Jesus and the apostolic beginnings of the Church (27 books).

Prayers of thanksgiving are expressions of gratitude and recognition that all we have is a gift from a generous creator.

The Fall
A term used to describe the original sin of Adam & Eve as described in Genesis. (CCC 55)

The General Capabilities
General capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to assist students to live and work successfully in the 21st century.

Theology of the Body
St. John Paul II's integrated vision of the human person. The human body has a specific meaning, making visible an invisible reality, and is capable of revealing answers regarding fundamental questions about us and our lives.

The first 5 books of the Bible are known as the Torah, the 5 books of Moses or the Pentateuch. These 5 books are sacred to the Jewish people.

(Latin, traditio, corresponding to Greek, paradosis: transmission). The basic meaning refers to the transmission in the church, of beliefs, doctrines, rituals, and entities such as the scriptures (Komonchak, 1989).

One of the principal doctrines of the Catholic faith which expresses belief in one God as three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a great mystery of the Christian faith and cannot be fully explained in human language (Woods, 2002).

Unit Overview
The unit overview provides the key focuses of each unit.

A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. (CCC 1083)

(Latin, vocatio, a calling). A calling to follow a particular career or occupation in life. Because they belong to Christ through baptism, all Christians have a vocation to become mature disciples of Christ and to become holy as active members of the Church community. They help spread the kingdom of God through special Christian vocation as lay persons, consecrated religious, or ordained ministers (Woods, 2002).