The Becket Way 
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Strand 4: Catholic Virtues

Strand 4 : The Becket Way – Virtues Curriculum
“I have come so that they may have life, life in all its fullness” John 10:10
Jesus’ words in John’s Gospel express the aim of human life as ‘human flourishing’ (Eudaimonia). Our whole business in this life is to flourish by seeking to form our character through the pursuit of personal strengths called virtues: excellences of character which are theological, moral, civic, intellectual and performative. Therefore, if we can aid the character development of our young people we can help them to flourish.

A virtue is a behaviour that shows high moral standards; someone who is virtuous is someone who behaves in a way that knows right from wrong. The bible asks us to try our best to “add virtue to our faith” and the Catholic Church mentions four in particular: temperance (self-control), justice (knowing right and wrong), prudence (wisdom) and fortitude (bravery in tough/painful moments). We are asked to make these virtues part of our character (the qualities of a person that make them who they are). When people describe us, our aim should be for them to say things like ‘resilient’, ‘disciplined’, ‘wise’ and ‘know what is right and wrong’ rather than ‘popular’, ‘lazy’ or ‘rich’.

So how can do we add virtues to our character? A 19th century psychologists put it like this: “All our life…. Is but a mass of habits….bearing us irresistibly towards our destiny.” (William James) What he meant was that our characters are shaped by our habits. We become what our habits are. What is a habit? A habit is behaviour we repeat again and again without thinking (e.g. saying please/thank you). Once something is a habit, it becomes a part of who we are – our character. Hopefully, our habits will be good ones so that we develop virtuous characters: “Virtue is what happens when wise and courageous choices become second nature.” (Theologian N. T. Wright). One Church leader describes this really well: “There are no magic pills. There are no shortcuts. Discipleship is like any other good thing that’s worth doing, be it learning a language, or getting in shape; we grow as disciples in small steps, a day at a time, over months and years.” (Mike Cosper) It can be hard to form new good habits and stop bad habits - it takes self-control and self-discipline. Teachers can help to shape good habits and challenge bad habits (e.g. through warnings, detentions, conduct card etc)
Virtues Curriculum – The Becket Way
Year 7
Theological Virtues – Faith, Hope, Charity [Love]
Year 8
Temperance
Year 9
Prudence
Year 10
Justice
Year 11
Fortitude