The Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation (Section F)

Hello again,

I hope you have had a chance to complete the exam essay from 2007 Section 5 Question 6. After you have done your work, take a look at this sample answer. You can easily see that the essay question is not as difficult as ome might think.

2007 Section 5 Q 6

Outline the work being done by one community of faith to promote justice. In your answer you should describe the religious moral vision on which this work is based.

One community of faith that works to promote justice is the Christian Community. The struggle for justice and peace is one of the most important ideals of any Christian moral vision. In Ireland, leaders have spoken publicly about the struggle for justice and peace. They have condemned the unmerciful killings of innocent people.

As a result of the struggle, a Christian organisation is putting justice and peace to the forefront. That organisation is the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. Its motto is: “If we wage peace with the intensity with which we waged war, there would be no wars.’

The Glencree Centre was founded in 1974 in reaction to the violent conflict in Irish society. People wanted to believe that there was a better way than violence and vandalism, intolerance and sectarianism. Concern for what was happening in Northern Ireland in the 1970’s was not enough. Reconciliation was the key. The achievement of a peaceful society is of interest and value to us all.

The Centre for Peace and Reconciliation welcomes all traditions in Ireland that have the same hopes for peace-building. It is a non-governmental organisation. Its people see peace-building as a way to understand the nature and meaning of conflicts. The Centre’s programmes are based on the belief that new ways can be found to deal with diversity and conflict in a democratic society. In Glencree, the job of reconciling very old differences requires enormous effort and courage, as well as time and patience.

Since its foundation, Glencree has been the scene of important events and projects. These have been in the fields of education, fundraising, recreation, work camps and hosting a flow of visitors.

The religious moral vision of Glencree is strongly based on scripture’s message of justice. In the Bible we are asked to follow the teachings of Jesus and to act justly towards our neighbours. Jesus’ teaching on justice is rooted in the writings of the prophets Amos, Job and Jeremiah. The prophets continually speak of the love that God shows to all especially the downtrodden and poor. During his ministry, Jesus clearly identified with the poor, the sick, women and the downtrodden. At all times he preached: “You must love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. You must love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mk 12:30). There can never be real love of God without loving others. This is the religious moral vision that acts as the basis for the work of the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation (Section F)


I hope you are enjoying the long weekend. One piece of homework you had to do was 2010 Section 4 Q 6  based on the Morality Section of the course. You should have attempted this by now. Here is a model answer to let you know the standard of writing and kind of answer expected. Compare this answer with the one you did yourselves.

2010 Section 4 Q 6

A. Outline the understanding of forgiveness found in the teaching of a major world religion that you have studied. (18)

In Christianity, forgiveness is at the heart of all relationships. The Bible shows us that the God we know and love is a forgiving God. The greatest example of forgiveness is when Jesus was nailed to the cross on the hill of Calvary with criminals on either side. In St Luke’s Gospel we are told that, nearing his death, Jesus called out to his Father: ‘Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing’.

We also learn from the parable of the Prodigal Son that forgiveness from God is unconditional. The father always remained faithful to his son, even though the son left and showed no respect for his father. On his return, with nothing left, the prodigal son was welcomed with open arms and his father held a fest in his honour.  God forgives all the wrong things we do and embraces each of us back into his family.

B. a. Explain two reasons why reconciliation is seen as important by members of a world religion. (16)

(i) Reconciliation is important in Christianity because it is about bringing the Christian community closer together and closer to God. Reconciliation heals any hurt that people feel and in doing so makes it easier for people to love again without any barriers. The priest represents the community of believers and offers forgiveness on behalf of the community.

(ii) Reconciliation is also important because it is an opportunity to meet the risen Christ. Through this forgiveness we are encouraged to move forward in harmony with ourselves and our neighbours. By doing this, God’s love can be seen in the world around us. The sacrament can therefore be seen as a healing of the relationships that one has broken.

B. b. Describe one way in which a world religion offers its members an opportunity for reconciliation. (16)

One way Christianity offers reconciliation by confessing their sins and seeking forgiveness from God and others. This sacrament can take place individually in a confession box where the priest hears confession privately. The confessor first acknowledges their sinfulness and then recites the Act of Contrition. In this the person thanks God for all his love and promises not to sin again. Then the priest gives absolution showing that the person is cleansed from sins. Finally, the priest gives a penance which usually involves a few prayers being said.

From Selfishness to Altruism (Section F)

Third years,

Here’s a sample answer to the question you answered for homework:

2010 Section 5 Question 6

Profile the way in which a person’s judgement of right and wrong can develop as s/he grows from moral immaturity to moral maturity.

Moral growth is when people learn to distinguish between right and wrong and then decide what the right thing to do is. A person’s judgement of what is right and wrong develops gradually.

Moral growth, which occurs in different stages from moral immaturity to moral maturity, may start off age-related but does not necessarily finish that way. Being at the stage of moral immaturity is usually true for children but some teenagers and even adults can fall into this category. A morally immature person wants rewards and approval from society. They are influenced by factors outside themselves (reward/punishment/peer approval). They often only obey rules to avoid being punished. A morally immature person stays at the level of a small child whose behaviour is self-centred.

The childhood stage of morality can actually be true of older people too. When children do something good like putting their toys away, they get rewarded. When children do something bad like hitting their brother or sister, they get punished. This way they quickly learn whether something is right or wrong. Learning this as children influences their behaviour, both at the time and later on.  

The adolescent stage of moral development means that young people understand very clearly the difference between right and wrong. At this stage, people seek the approval of others – at home, at school and in the peer group. Teenagers are anxious to fit in and want to be the same as everybody else. At this stage approval is fundamental. However, adolescents also learn that school and home have rules. They will be punished if they break these rules. They soon know what behaviour is correct and are very much aware that rules and laws are an important influence on their behaviour.

The stage of moral maturity is expected to be reached at adulthood. This is not always the case. Sometimes a child of ten will make a better moral decision than an adult might make. Moral maturity means moving from selfishness to altruism. To be altruistic means that you think of others before you think of yourself when making a decision. People who are morally mature are aware of their responsibility to respect the rights of others and to think of the consequences of the decisions they make. They are less influenced by factors outside themselves (reward/punishment/peer approval). For example, a morally mature person would never steal from anyone. This is not because they are afraid of punishment. It is because they believe that stealing is wrong and that it affects the victim too much.

Growing from moral immaturity to moral maturity is a gradual process and happens at a different rate for different individuals. A person’s judgement of what is right and wrong develops from selfishness, to reward and punishment, to seeking approval, to following rules and laws and finally to altruism. Altruism (moral maturity) may be reached at the age of 14, 40 or possibly never.


Section B – Foundations of Religion – Christianity: Sample Answer

Hello third years

I hope you have been looking at Chapters 5 – 9 in great detail. The Foundations of Religion –  Christianity (B) is a huge area on the Junior Cert Exam. Keep revising all notes and chapters in this section of the course. Know it inside out. Keep looking at the past exam questions – attempt one or two of them if you have time – (try to make time, please).

Here is a sample answer from an essay type question from 2008. Please re-write this answer into your past papers book. Look at how the answer is divided into logical paragraphs and how the specific question is directly answered.

Best of luck everyone!! See you back at school on Monday – bright and early.

2008 Section 5 Question 2

Examine the way in which Jesus celebrated the Last Supper as both a Passover Meal and Eucharist.

The Last Supper was the last meal that Jesus shared with his apostles before he died. Jesus and his apostles were in Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of Passover. Therefore, the meal they had was in fact a Passover meal. The word Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving’. I will show that this was an important aspect of the Last Supper.

The Passover meal is a celebration of freedom from slavery in Egypt. The Angel of Death ‘passed over’ the houses of the Israelites and spared them. At the Passover a lamb is sacrificed to symbolise the Israelites’ freedom. At the Last Supper, Jesus is the new lamb that is sacrificed. Jesus sacrifices his life for us to be freed from our sins. Jesus is often called the Lamb of God.

Furthermore, the Passover meal is a memorial. The Jews remember the events of their slavery. In the Last Supper, Jesus asks his disciples to carry out the same actions as a memorial of him.

Also, the words and actions used by Jesus at the Last Supper are similar to the words and actions of the Passover meal. At the Passover meal, Jews eat unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Jesus shared bread with his disciples too – but he gave this bread a new meaning. At the Passover meal, Jews bless the bread and a cup of wine. Jesus took the bread and wine and blessed them, making a new covenant with his blood.

Both meals have sacrifice, memory and the blessing of bread and wine.

This Last Supper/Passover meal celebrated by Jesus later became known as Eucharist to Christians. Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving’ and Jesus gave thanks for what he had received and asked for God’s blessing. The Acts of the Apostles tell us that the first Christians gathered in one another’s houses for the ‘Breaking of the Bread’ or Eucharist. The first Christians repeated the words and actions of Jesus by blessing, sharing and giving thanks for the bread and wine. Every Eucharist is a memorial of the Last Supper because every Eucharist makes the life, death and resurrection of Jesus real for us again.

Section D – The Question of Faith – Sample Answer

Hello third years

I hope you have been looking at Chapters 14 – 18 in great detail. The Question of Faith (D) is a big area on the Junior Cert Exam. Keep revising all notes and chapters in this section of the course. Know it inside out. Keep looking at the past exam questions – attempt one or two of them if you have time – (try to make time, please).

Here is a sample answer from an essay type question from 2011. Please re-write this answer into your past papers book. Look at how the answer is divided into logical paragraphs and how the specific question is directly answered.

The next post you will see from me will be on Saturday 7th April 1pm. Best of luck everyone!!


Section 5 Q 4

You are taking part in a school debate about the challenges to religious faith in Ireland today. Outline what you would say about the way in which each of the following could challenge a person’s religious faith:



For my school debate about the challenges to religious faith in Ireland today, this is what I would say about materialism and secularism:

Having religious faith in today’s Ireland is full of many challenges. Catholics have a Christian world view. This means that they believe that God is the creator of the world and that human beings were created in his image and likeness. Christians have a loving friendship with God and evil occurs when people refuse to co-operate with God. Christians believe that God sent Jesus to teach people how to live. People who love God will enjoy eternal friendship with him. This is how Christians see the world.

Materialism can be a challenge to this way of seeing the world. Materialism is a non-religious view of the world. Materialism is the theory is the belief that only material things are real. If something is real then it must have a definite physical size or weight. If we cannot see it or touch it or measure it, then it does not exist. Since we cannot measure God or observe God with our senses, materialists say that God does not exist. For materialists, human life ends when the body dies.

The materialist outlook is very persuasive and has been the basis of scientific thought for over 300 years. Materialists claim that the scientific way of looking at things is the only way. Scientific truth is the only truth. The materialist outlook can undermine people’s confidence in religious truth as a valid form of human knowledge. However, there are vast areas of human experience that we cannot measure, but are still real. We cannot see, hear or touch our ideas, our beliefs or our feelings, yet most people would agree that they are real and are a very important part of our lives. Humans therefore are not simply material beings, we are both material and spiritual beings.

Secularism can also be a challenge to a person’s religious faith. Secularism is the view that organised religion should have no direct influence on society. Secularists are opposed to the influence of religion in public life. Secularism claims that God and religion are simply not relevant any more.

From a secularist point of view, if someone has religious beliefs then it should be a private matter. Religious activity should not enter the public domain. Religion should not in any way be supported by the State. In fact, Church and State should be completely separate. This means that religions or religious groups should not receive any kind of special treatment from the State.

A few years ago, there was a discussion in the media about whether RTE should continue to broadcast the Angelus or not. Some people felt that RTE should stop this practice – they felt that a religious practice like the Angelus did not belong on national radio and TV. Other people disagreed. They pointed out that the Angelus was a reminder to religious and non-religious people like to spend some time in reflection every day. In the end, RTE decided to continue broadcasting the Angelus.

Both materialism and secularism present challenges to religious faith. Nevertheless, religious people can respect non-religious viewpoints without letting them weaken their faith.