Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

For religious educators working in Catholic schools and parishes, or planning to work in Catholic schools and parishes, a broad overview of the Catholic Church and its foundational teachings is required. This unit provides religious educators with a survey of the Catholic Church, its foundations, historical development, key teachings and contemporary expressions. The unit will focus particularly on those aspects relevant to the work of Catholic religious educators, namely the teaching of: Scripture, the Sacraments, Catholic Social Teaching and Thought, and the history and development of the Church. The aim of this unit is to enable teachers and others working in ministry to be well versed in the tradition of the Catholic Church.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Investigate the role of scripture in the Catholic Tradition with reference to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and other post-Conciliar documents and their significance for religious educators in various settings (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 2.2)

LO2 - Identify and describe key periods in the history of the Church and analyse their significance for teaching Religious Education (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 2.1, 2.6)

LO3 - Explore approaches to sacramental education in various settings (GA8, GA9; APST 2.1, 2.2)

LO4 - Outline the understandings of justice in the Catholic tradition including Catholic Social Teaching and approaches used for teaching social justice (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 1.1, 2.1, 2.2)

LO5 - Identify and analyse significant documents and resources for accessing Church traditions and teachings (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 2.1)

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.1 - Physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

2.1 - Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 - Content selection and organisation

Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.6 - Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.


Topics will include: 

  • Approaches to Scripture in the Catholic tradition
  • Key approaches
  • An understanding of the Church and its development in historyKey periods in Church history such as the Jesus movement, Patristic Period, Great Schism, Reformation, Trent to the Second Vatican Council, the world Church

  • Sacramental education in various settings of religious education
  • The early Church
  • RCIA
  • Parish based approaches
  • The role of the Catholic school

  • Overview of the Catholic tradition of social justice and teaching and learning approaches
  • Justice in the Catholic tradition
  • Catholic Social Teaching
  • Approaches to teaching social justice within the Catholic tradition

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategy in this unit is informed by various principles that are enunciated in the University’s Strategic Plan (2020 – 2023). In particular, the unit adopts a “student-centric approach that ensures every student has the opportunity and support they need to succeed and graduate at ACU” (Australian Catholic University, 2020, p. 7) (Priority 2.5).

EDRE529 is taught in numerous modes (i.e. face to face, intensive, online, mixed) and involves 150 hours of focused learning. This consists of lectures and tutorials in the face-to-face mode, and recorded lectures (for asynchronous use), video-conferencing and webinars in the online mode. The remaining hours are reserved for private research and cooperative learning through forums and reflective journals, leading to the completion of the required assessment tasks.

Students are introduced to four key aspects of the Catholic tradition that are fundamental to their work as religious educators: Scripture, Church History, Sacraments, and Catholic Social Teaching. There is a particular focus on introducing students to the key teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the ongoing significance of these teachings for religious educators today. By engaging in the learning activities provided in the unit, students develop and deepen their knowledge and understanding of these areas of the Catholic tradition and consider age appropriate strategies for teaching children and young people. The unit is constructed to consider students’ range of knowledge and experience in teaching RE and to build their capacity to do so. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to demonstrate achievement of all five learning outcomes and achieve an overall mark of 50% or higher

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to progressively demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.

Task 1 requires students to develop an understanding of the place of Scripture in the Catholic tradition (LO2) with specific reference to key periods in Church history (one of which must be the Second Vatican Council) (LO1). The principal purpose of the task is to consider the significance of Scripture and Church history for Religious Education by analysing key documents and resources (e.g. The Bible, documents of the Second Vatican Council) (LO5).

Task 2 requires students to develop an appreciation of the relationship between sacramental theology and Catholic Social Teaching. The principal purpose of the task is to give students an opportunity to evaluate Religious Education programs in the light of Church teachings, especially related to Scripture, social justice, sacramental education and Church history (LO4). Students also evaluate principles underpinning the Catholic Church’s teachings on social justice and approaches used for teaching social justice in the classroom context (LO3). In doing so, students develop and deepen their knowledge and understanding of key Church documents and resources (LO5).

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

The assessment task is an extended written task that will address key understandings and appropriate teaching methodologies of Scripture within the context of Church history.


LO1, LO2, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2 

The second assignment is an extended written task that addresses sacramental education and social justice in relation to Religious Education curriculum. 


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Bradley, G. & E. Brugger (Eds.), (2019). Catholic Social Teaching: A Volume of Scholarly Essays (Law and Christianity, pp. Xi-Xiii). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Christie, Gunton, R. M., & Hejnowicz, A. P. (2019). Sustainability and the common good: Catholic Social Teaching and “Integral Ecology” as contributions to a framework of social values for sustainability transitions. Sustainability Science, 14(5), 1343–1354.

Cameron, E. (Ed.), (2016). The New Cambridge History of the Bible. Cambridge University Press. 

Collins, J.J. (2018). A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: Third Edition. (3 ed.). 

DeBerri, E. & Hug, J. (2003) Catholic social teaching: Our best kept secret. (4th Ed.) Orbis Books 

Hovey, C. & Phillips, E. (Eds.), (2016). The Cambridge Companion to Christian Political Theology. Cambridge University Press. 

Kurian. (n.d.). (2012) Worship. In The encyclopedia of Christian civilization. Blackwell Pub Ltd.

Lamb, M., & Levering, M. (editors). (2017). The reception of Vatican II. Oxford University Press.  

Leonard, R. (2019). Hatch, Match, and Dispatch : A Catholic Guide to Sacraments. Paulist Press.  

McGrath. (2018). Sacraments. In Theology : the basic readings /. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,.

Kurian. (n.d.). (2012) Worship. In The encyclopedia of Christian civilization. Blackwell Pub Ltd.

Martos, J. (2014). Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church. Liguori, Missouri: Ligouri Publications

Massaro, T. (2015). Living justice: Catholic social teaching in action. Sheed & Ward. 

Myers. (2022). An introduction to the Gospels and Acts. Oxford University Press.

Sanneh, & McClymond, M. J. (2016). Worship, Liturgy, Sacraments. In The Wiley Blackwell companion to world Christianity /. Wiley Blackwell,.

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