Gospel Values: immutable and universal

As a Catholic school in the tradition of Edmund Rice, CBC Fremantle is a community that celebrates the love and principles of Jesus Christ, which are defined in the story of his life and teachings in the first four books of the New Testament.

Through parable and story-telling, the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John help us to understand how Jesus 'walked the talk', living a life of kindness, forgiveness, compassion and inclusion. Christ is the epitome of everything that humanity was ever intended to be and he shows us that we are all capable of love.

Rich and poor, young and old, educated and illiterate, Christian and atheist, man, woman and transgender; every person born on this earth is no better than any other and is worthy of forgiveness.

While Gospel Values are immutable – meaning they are unchanging and enduring – and grounded in the experience of Christian faith, by their very nature they address a universal obligation to live out our ethics and responsibilities regarding each other. At CBC Fremantle, we believe Gospel Values do not belong to one faith or one belief system; rather they seek to unite the world in perfect harmony.

The Gospel message can be summed up by Colossians 3:12-14, which describes the 'clothing' or values adopted by creating ourselves in the image of Christ and making choices in the light of his message.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

As a College community, this message is paramount in our daily interactions. Each one of the qualities mentioned in this passage doesn't relate to diligence or resilience or hard work or straight A grades – although these are worthy characteristics and contribute to the formation of the CBC gentleman – rather, these virtues express themselves in relationships. A significant measure of Gospel Values is found simply in how we treat people and the quality of our relationships with them.

Above all, put love

At CBC, as outlined in the Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) Touchstones, we strive to make compassion, justice and peace a living reality within our community. We seek to create a microcosm of unconditional love, with definable actions that create a culture of forgiveness, kindness and inclusivity. We are all human and we all make mistakes; forgiveness is a key for growth and reconciliation.

Service is also a major factor in engaging in Gospel Values and building relationships. By fulfilling our moral obligation to others, we ground ourselves in humanity and arrive at the reason for our existence. In performing tasks for another, we make that person the object of our love and it serves as an action of 'self-forgetting', directing our mind outwards and away from narcissistic tendencies. Serving others through even the most menial activities – cleaning or washing dishes, caring for children or the elderly, preparing a meal – provides an opportunity to cultivate humility and readies the soul for more learned tasks.

As in the famous 'wax-on, wax-off' scene portrayed in the timeless movie, The Karate Kid, where Daniel thinks he is merely cleaning the car while Mr Miyagi is in fact instilling muscle memory techniques used in defensive Karate, these acts of service can teach far more than what is just in front of you.

The power of community

Pursuing our own interests in isolation provides an immunity from others; in contrast, community is what binds us with others. As an enlightened community, with the privilege of experience and a tradition of social justice and service, CBC has a responsibility to sustain a culture that provides a solid bedrock of Gospel Values in our graduating gentlemen.

The College seeks this ideal with Pastoral Care practices that include behaviour management that is educational rather than disciplinary, as well as positive masculinity mentoring in The Rite Journey program. Taking responsibility for one's actions and emotions, looking out for the 'other' and respect for women are common themes in TRJ lessons and activities that highlight the obligation of a CBC gentleman in the world.

The College's Indigenous Reconciliation and Immersion programs offer students powerful insights into inclusivity and social justice. Along with Retreats for all years, these opportunities engage students in activities that can foster empathy, compassion and understanding of other cultures, philosophical views and faiths, as well as appreciating the plight of the marginalised. They are more than a respite from classrooms; they seek to provide students with a deeper understanding of themselves and how they can constantly strive to become a person of integrity and to challenge popular beliefs and dominant cultural values.

Students are invited to elect to become fully engaged; to become active participants in making the world a better place; to choose to be clothed with 'compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience'; to not stand back and allow injustices and suffering  on their watch, and to, above all, choose love.

CBC Fremantle doesn't apologise for seeking a better world, for dreaming of a future of perfect unity. Instead, CBC embraces world-changing practices where schism in religion, faith, race, class and gender are abolished and replaced with forgiveness and love, as modelled by Jesus Christ and peace-loving prophets from other faiths.

It is our duty and we do it with love.