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How many RE teachers actually care about the faith of their pupils? I’d like to know

Some bishops are demanding RE as part of the English Baccalaureate. But why? In Catholic schools, 90% lapse

By on Friday, 1 April 2011

Catholic school children wait for the Pope at Twickenham during the September 2010 papal visit AP Photo Peter Macdiarmid

Catholic school children wait for the Pope at Twickenham during the September 2010 papal visit AP Photo Peter Macdiarmid

Archbishop Bernard Longley has attacked the Government’s decision to leave Religious Education out of the rather weedy-looking and totally misnamed English Baccalaureate, in a lecture delivered under the auspices of the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham. This follows a similar attack by Archbishop Nichols and a “call to action” by the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales, (which, you will recall, is one of the secularised bureaucracies attached to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales).

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) was introduced in 2010 and is awarded to all students who achieve GCSEs (this is nothing like the much broader, far more advanced and highly prestigious French article) at grades A*-C in English, Mathematics, Science, a Humanities subject and a Modern Foreign Language. The CESEW, in its statement demanding that RE be included in it, professes quite a highflown idea of what is to be gained from this subject, which I suspect that many of those who have undergone the reality, in other words, have direct experience of what is actually on offer, will be hard put to recognise. Have a look at this:

“In RE pupils have the opportunity to engage not only with the most profound metaphysical questions concerning human existence and the nature of reality, but also with the most pressing ethical problems of our day. RE itself is a broad based humanity, demanding knowledge and skills in history, textual criticism, anthropology, ethics, philosophy and theology. Thus it seems aptly suited to being part of any qualification which seeks to ensure that our pupils receive a genuinely broad education. We therefore urge the government to ensure that RE be regarded as a humanity for the purposes of the English Baccalaureate.”

It is to be noted that the CESEW doesn’t point to RE as being a way in to religious faith: that wouldn’t be of much interest to the government, of course, but it ought to be for Catholics. However, it is not, I suspect, for the CESEW, or, indeed for quite a few— (I would be interested to know how many)—teachers of RE. Many Catholics suppose (as I did when 20 years ago I crossed the Tiber) that one way to pass on the faith to our children is to send them to a Catholic school. Don’t you believe it. I began to smell a rat when, at the convent school to which my wife and I finally sent one of my daughters, the sister who taught RE told me proudly that she didn’t believe in “indoctrination” (she expected me to be reassured by this).

“Why not?” I said: “don’t you WANT your pupils to believe in Catholic doctrine? I do: that’s why I sent her to a Catholic school. Indoctrination is precisely what I was hoping for”. From her reaction, you would think I had uttered some grotesque indecency.

But I almost certainly wouldn’t have found any very different attitude in any of the other Catholic schools available to us: the school we had chosen was probably the best we could have hoped for. At the first school we had a look at, the sixth former who was showing us round, when I asked whether the chapel was ever open (it wasn’t) and whether the Blessed Sacrament was reserved there, asked me what the Blessed Sacrament WAS.

There is, as the excellent Mrs Daphne McLeod has pointed out, a “total failure to teach the authentic Catholic Faith in Catholic schools, resulting in a staggering 90% lapsation rate among school leavers”. That’s worth repeating. NINETY PERCENT: it’s higher than the lapsation rate among Catholic children who go to secular schools.

And that’s because Catholic education is no longer focused where it should be focused. Compare the CESEW’s idea of what RE should be about with this:

“The fundamental needs of the human person are the focus of Catholic education – intellectual, physical, emotional, social, spiritual and eschatological (our eternal destiny). These fundamental needs can only be truly fulfilled through a rich and living encounter with the deepest truths about God and the human person.”

That, of course, is by Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue, and it comes from that wonderful document Fit for Mission? Schools (p. 17, CTS Expanded edition). When it was published, it was received with great acclaim in Rome, among others by Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, Secretary for the Congregation for Clergy, who said that his outfit had “studied the document with great interest and hopes it will become an example for other Dioceses in the country in their implementation of the General Directory for Catechesis and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

Their implementation of the WHAT? “Other dioceses in the country” have no INTENTION of implementing it; they probably haven’t even HEARD of the General Directory for Catechesis.

As for the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Bishop O’Donoghue directed that all Catholic teachers in his diocese be supplied with a copy of it. I wonder how many bishops followed his example? Not a single one, I bet (please tell me I’m wrong, someone). And I wonder how many RE teachers not only possess a copy of the Catechism, but use it as a constant teaching resource? I would be interested in hearing from any RE teachers out there who may be reading this. This is a genuine question to which I do not know—but greatly fear—the answer.

Meanwhile, forget making RE part of the English Baccalaureate. It will do nobody any good as it is taught now: and it could do considerable harm, if any more children get the idea, as I suspect many already do, that what they are taught is really all that religion is about. Unless, of course, they are Catholic and live in the diocese of Lancaster, whose new bishop, I devoutly hope, is building on what he inherited from Bishop O’Donoghue.

  • Anonymous

    I know, I know, it really IS disgusting. But then, priests do refer to themselves as “presiding” at the liturgy (novus ordo) and they are taught (so I’m reliably informed by ordained novus ordo priests) to put their own stamp on the Mass and (potentially very dangerously) they are encouraged to make eye contact with everyone in the congregation; and raising a few laughs is par for the course at any novus ordo Mass I’ve ever attended.

    So, I agree that it is disgusting – the fact of it not the reporting of it. We were all, I’m sure, disgusted at the MPs who fiddled their expenses but not at the Daily Telegraph for reporting it. Comprenez?

    But “poor lady” is spot on – how did you know? All donations gratefully received. Just send them c/o the Catholic Herald. William Oddie will pass them on, won’t you, oor Wullie????

  • Anonymous

    When I was teaching RE myself, I tried to track down the source of this statistic. Since I couldn’t get a straight answer from any diocesan RE advisers, I came to the conclusion that it is possibly an anecdotal figure, based on the fact that a handful of pupils, at best, will ever attend a school Mass that is optional, as my colleagues across dioceses confirmed when I suggested I buy a new perfume, and the other uncomfortable fact, that in any RE discussion you care to name, a majority of pupils will hold a dissenting position – even in abortion discussions, the “except for rape or disability” cry goes up, leads one to the conclusion that almost every Catholic pupil in Catholic schools have, in fact, lapsed from (left) the Catholic Faith before they’ve left school. And, of course, the policy of encouraging “critical thinking” (against the Church) has worked wonders – the majority view is that “if I agree with the Church’s teaching, I’ll keep to it, otherwise, I’ll do what I want. My choice…”

    Most tellingly of all, nobody in authority, not one bishop or RE adviser, has ever denied this figure. Indeed, Archbishop Ward of Cardiff publicly encouraged parents to send their children to non-denominational schools in order to lessen the risk of lapsation from the Faith.

    Makes you think, Edmund, eh?

  • Anonymous

    The bishops are apostates, Jeannine – they’re not interested in passing on the Faith.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have any faith at all in the theory of evolution, Ian, so couldn’t possibly peddle that lie to pupils.

  • Anonymous

    Marcella, we now have THREE generations of families who have suffered at the hands of the modern catechetical brigade, a category of beings who wouldn’t know a catechism if it came up and shook hands with them.

    I’m in regular contact with one young thirty-something mother who gradually came to realize that she had been denied a proper Catholic education. She knew next to nothing about her Faith, she said, after all those years in primary and secondary school. Her mother had also been a victim of the post-conciliar revolution in Catholic education (Catholic “everything” in fact). So, after reading up and educating herself, including educating herself about the Mass, this young mother started to attend the Traditional Latin Mass regularly, gave up her promising career (which she now sees as “pushing bits of paper around an office”) and (a) removed her children from RE and sex education in their Catholic school (b) finally took them out of school altogether and, using a first class home-education programme, she educates them at home – with wonderful results to date. None of them complain about attending Mass and, believe me when I say that they are showing more knowledge of the Faith, at their own levels, than any pupils leaving, I repeat, leaving Catholic schools.

    Food for thought. I hope every RE adviser and Head teacher reading this, is squirming with embarrassment. Get fighting, for goodness sake, if you’ve a Catholic bone in your bodies. Take back the schools from these heretics posing as “experts.”

  • Anonymous

    Well, “threaten” is an odd word to use. Nobody is in danger of Hell unless they reject God and His Laws. Wouldn’t you want to warn, not threaten, to prevent that dire fate for the souls depending on you for their Catholic education – or do you think better not to mention Hell at all?

  • Anonymous

    Do you expect parents to teach Maths and English and History etc? So why do you expect them to teach religious doctrine? Parents have always had the responsibility for showing good example, taking their children to Mass, praying with them etc. But teaching doctrine has always been the work of the school.

  • Anonymous

    Shocking but not surprising. I could tell similar tales – as could, I believe, just about every RE teacher (and other teachers) in the land. That’s why the hypocrisy is so, well, hypocritical, with the establishment peddling the lie of a Catholic ethos, and dedicated Catholic teachers and committed pupils etc. Baloney.

  • Anonymous


    I think your post is the single most important post in this entire discussion. You have put your finger on the key problem.

    It is, indeed, because young people are not being taught the Faith in its fullness, that these negligent-through-to-heretical teachers and priests will pay a very heavy price at their judgment.

    The young mother that I mention elsewhere on this thread, was in precisely the same position as you. Once it dawned on her that she had been short-changed by her so-called Catholic school (with dismal parish homilies a close second) that she felt a certain anger and was determined that her own children would not be similarly denied the truth. Now, she home-schools – to great effect.

    So, thanks for highlighting this key point. Pupils are not lapsing from the one true Faith, but from the counterfeit faith they’ve been taught.

  • Anonymous

    Do you think that the opinions expressed in Vatican II writings on religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality are binding on the Faithful? I have to presume that you think this, given that you keep accusing me of being an “ultra” Catholic (whatever that means) for pointing out that nothing that is peculiar to Vatican II and which contradicts previous condemnations of popes, no such novelties, can possibly be binding on the Faithful.

    I’m not an “ultra” Catholic – just an educated Catholic. I know my Faith, Weary Convert. You need to get studying!

  • Catherine

    EditorCT Nothing like generalisation? All bishops are apostates? It’s sad to say but I think you need to have a rest. His Holiness the Pope is an apostate? He too is a bishop. I think you should stop complaining and start praying. ‘First take the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s.’ What you are offeirng is not God’s love but self-righteousness on the level of the Pharisees. I’m sorry I don’t mean to write crossly but I think you have the right intentions, but your responses are aggressive and unhelpful.

  • Jeannine

    I don’t think they are apostates —- at least not all of them.

    From a spiritual point of view I do think that Satan & his minions are being extra generous to the bishops with their time.

    From a secular point of view, the bishops are listening to the wrong people &/or they are not very savvy when it comes to money. This current crop & their predecessors certainly have a history of listening & acting upon wrong advice!

    Whatever the case may be, we must always pray for our bishops, priests, & religious that they listen to the Holy Spirit.

    A little side note: Even the Vatican understands that it must continue to evangelize European, English-speaking countries & other 1st world countries for now & for the future. Where else are they going to get the money to carry out various works of charity in the 3rd world countries?

  • Tumulus

    I attended “Catholic” schools in the 70s and 80s, and remember most of the RE classes as exceptional and even embarassingly poor quality even at the time (a view shared by most of my peers who treated the subject as a “doss”). It was only a few years later, well removed from ‘schooling’ that I felt I had mostly by accident, luck and the Grace of God, started on a journey of educating myself about the Faith.

    For me, the humbling process of having to defend a faith I knew little about (and cared little about too) in front of evangelical protestants who had been better taught to despise Catholicism; the faint memory of some lingering feelings of devotion when I was younger (when the pre-Vatican II devotion to Christ’s real presence in the mass still, from time to time, made itself manifest, even in the Novus Ordo); when a chance meeting at uni (doing a play) with an intellectual rogue who I bumped into once at mass, and who seemed to know everything about the Faith although he wasn’t yet a Catholic (I became his sponsor and ‘godparent’ when he was received into the Church); the search for liturgy that allowed me to worship God (starting with a Latin Solemn mass, Novus Ordo, in the local cathedral, which seemed to be a different religion from the dull, unfocussed, unclear, often embarassing and humiliating weakness which I was used to from various suburban parishes where I hadn’t the rebellion to ‘stop going’); reading great books such as “The Stripping of the Altars” which is a gift to British Catholic’s of justice and truth, and aught to be a compulsory read concerning the desperate fight for survival of the Faith in this country against the forces of corruption, sinfulness, and evil; and finally, I have arrived at last able, on most sundays, and extremely fortunately, to attend Tridentine mass. This mass is so open to the worship of God that it is an education in the whole of the Faith from the word go.

    What my experience has taught me though about RE, which should be RI, is that the very basis on why we think schools should even exist, other than to teach the very basics of the three Rs to those whose parents can’t or won’t teach their own, is beyond me. A school does not teach what it says it does. Its curriculum, even if it were the ‘best’ and most modern, is a self-conceit, and the whole idea of ‘schooling’ runs so counter to true education and the handing on of knowledge that is reliable, needed, accurate, heartfelt, true, that it requires ditching by anyone concerned by a desire for real education. Its the thing every school boy or girl secretly knows but has not been given the tools (lack of education) to logically work out for themselves in words and action. So ‘going to school’ is now just a big, life-consuming, life-corrupting ‘debt’ that you pay to your parents and ‘society’ – even the most unruly and humble child knows this, although often they instinctively feel that they have to kick against this ‘debt’, and they are right, although their rebellions and ‘bad behaviour’ have no true direction to mean anything but lead to eventual submission and even lower self-esteem. This ‘system’, this ‘breaking in’ of people (its true there are one or two horse whisperers out there but even their purpose of enslavement is the same) into a weird warehouse where they are tested and categorised like a product, pretends its for the sake ‘education’, but it looks to me like it also ‘thinks’ (and loudly claims with a pride that shocks) its preparing people for ‘life’, ‘industry’,’the real world’.

    Even private schools, where the children are burdened with the additional anxiety of competitive parenting, and promises of elite status and power, the teaching is empty rhetoric. It cares little because how can it care? Does the person saying “have a nice day” when she hands me a hamburger really care about my day and my life? If this is the sort of wishing thinking (actually a sort of witchcraft – even the Hogwarts fantasy can be read as a satire on our ridiculous inability to think logically and face reality) is why people choose to send their children to school, that somehow it cares, then they are very mistaken. And St Paul deals very effectively with human interaction that lacks love – its just a gong booming. Christ is the good shepherd, not a hireling. The burnt out ennui of the private school child who has used up all his or her obedience in the service of relentless parental and institutional authority and pressure is a sorry sight to witness – there’s a faint echo of shell shock, and of witnessing the walking wounded. After their own rebellions these poor people then turn round with a new inspired and truly deranged zeal to ‘lead us’ all with their peerless ‘leadership skills’ and inflated sense of entitlement and leadership narrative over the precipice of ‘more of the same’, of which sending a child to a school where you yourself had had a rotten time, as though its somehow character forming, is the grossest type of repetitive/addictive behaviour. “I had to go through it, therefore YOU must go through it too because I am what I am precisely because of it!” I man really, is this as far as our reasoning powers go?

    If real education is your quest, if handing on the faith to your children is a matter of their (and possibly your) life and death, then you are a deluded to think that a hired hand is going to do that with any love (essential for Faith), honesty (they work in a system, they can never be an autonomous voice in a system, its impossible and illogical and possibly illegal) and accuracy. My experience taught me that education happens outside school, away from the bogus play-acting of “experts” paid to pretend to care. Even facts about Vatican II (which had just happened), or the ‘old mass’, or the history of the Church were never discussed at school, and likewise, a sheep-like generation of parents, ignorant of their duties as parents, and massive worshippers of the institution of the State after their wartime experiences, failed to hand on anything at all except more and more institutional worship and idolatry. But institutions are not worth worshipping the way we worship God – they are not the New Jerusalem – however, for many people it is true, ‘school’ and the controlling idea of ‘schooling’ is an idol they unquestionably worship, like they idolise other institutions of state and society and wealth and power – and surely God is not pleased with this?

    By all means pay a third party (or let the state do it, like they empty your bins once a week, oh sorry, once a fortnight) to teach the three Rs – that I can just about understand, although I would never personally choose to miss the opportunity to teach my children everything I know with love, with faith and with hope. I will teach them to teach themselves too, to follow the intrinsic fascination in the world that we are all born with and that we choose to too easily sacrifice at the altar of societies institutions, which we worship and venerate above God. I will teach them everything I know and then we will freely find out individually or together what we don’t know. There are no limits and I don’t care about the state testing my children – my children do not belong to the State, this same ‘State’ that authorises (and therefore is as guilty of the act itself) the killing of children in the womb by the million, in its twisted fantastical Hogwartian self-deception about what it is, why it is, and what it wishes to ‘teach’ your children.

    The internet is used for good and for ill. The teachings of just about everything are available to research at the ‘click of a mouse’ – so, tell me, why on earth do we insist that warehousing our children in institutions that don’t even bring out a fraction of their true potential yet proudly claim “outside the School there is no Education” (aping the Church’s teaching that outside it there is no salvation), which give a default and truly rubbish peer group ‘education’ instead of any semblence of a real one, that so cuts people off from who they truly are and what they could be, and then have the audacity to claim a sort of magical “ethos” which works like witchcraft and contrary to logic? Why? Are we betraying our own gifts of logic and intelligence? Are we slaves to stupidity and fear? Has Christ really set us free from slavery or are we afraid of the alternative? Why do we worship schooling with a faith and commitment that should be due to God?

    Just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, or Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, all of whom couldn’t recognise Christ at first, although he was standing right in front of them, we are so FULL of self deception that really its truly amazing there’s any faith at all left.

    But if as parents you want to hand on anything and everything (as it is your duty to do according to Church teaching – not to pay others to be the shepherd of your own flock!), the Faith most importantly, desperately importantly, then take your children out of school and do it now. Forget the cries of all the system’s armies and allies, the State’s royal priesthood, (yes, even among your own friends and extended family), the scared, the fearful, the conformists, just do it. Do it for the good of your children, for the good of their souls, for the good of your soul, for the good of their lives, and for the future good of the Catholic faith. Do it now and thank God everyday for the joy and the knowledge it will bring.

  • W Oddie

    ” the Presider-cum-stand up comic ” isn’t a gratuitous insult: it’s an accurate description of the way some priests behave when they are celebrating the Mass. When priests faced God, not the people, they didn’t feel the need to put on a performance.

  • W Oddie

    Absolutely, but you’ll have to let me know where to send them. (And, I hate being called Bill; but as a Yorkshireman i’m used to Willie, so the Scots form is fine).

  • W Oddie


  • W Oddie

    “Lapsation” is defined as abandoning the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. It’s quite simple.

  • comeondown

    We need No religion. I have read reports that this an addiction as bad as drugs, drink and smoking,. . Indocrination at a young age is disgusting. I would not trust any teacher with my children who tried to let them know of something that is made up. If a child is taught at home that evolution is true and can be proved and religion cannot,then they should be respected. And with all the scandsls surrounding the Church at the moment can we trust any of them to teach our children what is right and what is wrong..

  • comeondown

    millions of children die each day, children are born every day with cancer. A good god, I think not. Religion is dying out and all those that make money out of it will have to find another path to follow. Juast watch Marjoe and see how the guilable give money to religious scams.

  • Catherine

    Cambridge University did a survey in 2005 which showed 88% of the world believe in God….so I do not agree that religion is dying out. In fact quite the opposite. I would, however, defend your right to believe what you do, because I believe in freedom of conscience and speech.

  • Bellevuetarn

    I should truly imagine that even fewer so-called Catholic RE teachers than, say, anglican ones would give much of a care for the quantity or quality of belief among their pupils. One look at the ‘catholic’ school near me is enough to answer the question but, you know, indifferntism is one of the marks of the post-conciliar ‘church’ and, if the body goes in the same direction as the head, it is no wonder if we are on he la la yellow brick road to nowhere. This is what the Modernists wanted. They wanted ‘community’ and ‘love’ and ‘unity’ without Truth. Naturally, this was not ever possible and a fudge had to be created to give a semblance of these otherwise desirable wishes. The fudge is seen for what it is. You cannot perpetrate a religious fraud for long. Now, we suffer for their sins.

  • In Our Times

    Dearest Weary, nice try. is where it’s really at now you know & the Unitarians are most refreshing. As is Cuban Salsa. Be kind to yourself!

  • Weary Convert

    Mad, mad, mad. If she peddled this nonsense to schools under “RE” it’s no wonder they defect in droves.

  • Peter – the other one

    If you believe that you’ll believe anything!

  • Peter – the other one

    All I can say is thank goodness you didn’t teach any of my children!

    In my country you were not allowed to teach the theory of evolution in schools until about 15 years ago and that really put us on the back-burner when it came to scientific credibility. It created a huge gap between school and university for those wanting to study palaeontology though obviously private schools and thankfully Catholic schools were able to get round the prohibition to a degree. Ironic when we have probably the greatest source of hominid remains in the World.

  • Weary Convert

    Mr Oddie, why on earth did you ever move from Anglicanism (I think it was) to the RC Church when your opinions and attitudes are so alien to modern Catholicism? You hardly have the excuse of those who were already conservative Catholics when the Council took place and having been assured for generations that nothing could change, were badly hurt when exactly that did happen. But if, as I seem to recall, it is 20 years since you “crossed the Tiber,” you were joining a Church that had already been adopting the Vatican II agenda for another 20 years and more. I suppose I was fortunate in joining when the Council was still in progress and was able to experience the excitement and wonder of an organistaion that had become moribund actually reforming itself before your eyes. I genuinely experienced the “spirit of Vatican II”, something that in the past you have seeemd to deny existed and which, of course, you could not have experienced anyway.

    I see that you now appear to be supporting EditorCT in her ridiculous comments about ” the Presider-cum-stand up comic ” which was clearly not intended to apply to odd cases, as you pretend, but a general insult against the moden Mass. Sadly, you remind me of what one Bishop said of Cardinal Manning, “I was preaching the word of God when ‘e was still an ‘eretic.” or words to that effect. By the way, I’ve not yet seen a comment from you on the Lady’s claim that the bishops are all apostates. Perhaps that’s a bit far even for you.

  • Anonymous

    The fact remains, Daphne, that without opening that “window” to the world, the “liberals” would not have been able to achieve their stranglehold on the Church establishment, including education. Vatican II has been a disaster, most importantly of all, in terms of its disastrous effects on the teaching of the Faith in Catholic schools.

  • Anonymous

    Well, Catherine, thank you for your concern about my mental health – I’m perfectly well, thought, thank you very much.

    If you are happy with the bishops, then I have to revise my opinion of you, as expressed elsewhere, as the exception to the “liberal” rule. Whether it be a refusal on the part of the UK bishops (to a man) to obey Vatican directives on the Liturgy (e.g. to stop using lay people to give out Holy Communion) or whether it is the scandal of “gay” Masses, sanctioned and supported by the English bishops led by Archbishop Nichols (plus one in Glasgow permitted by Archbishop Conti – Quest Masses, one of which I’ve attended myself and has been publicly reported) or whether it is Bishop Stacks’s denial of Our Lady as intercessor…. not to mention Archbishop Conti’s publicly admitted doubts about the very existence of God, as quoted in a Scotsman interview when he took up office, whatever, it is pretty clear that the UK bishops have lost the Faith.

    In return you will tell me that they are great guys when it comes to collecting money for CAFOD and SCIAF.

    Humanism with hymns in both “Catholic schools” and parishes is the norm now. I don’t need a rest, Catherine; you need to wake up.

  • In Our Times

    Before you start lauding up Pope Benedict too much, lets not forget he also played a long standing & pivotal role in systematic abuse cover-ups & personally facilitated much further abuse. He may be the Pope who’s done “the most” to tackle the problem thus far, but it’s mostly because the rest of our increasingly open & psychologically aware society has forced him to. (And I hate to say, litigious society, also. But sometimes hitting an institution where it may hurt the most is the only way forward). Any gratitude felt by many sufferers & their families will not be directed anywhere near the Pope; but to the therapists, lawyers & activists, working tirelessly & Faithfully, to force (only some of it) into the light. The spectacle of apologies, letters & “anniversaries of letters”; the pay-offs, prayers & ceremonies; seem blithe, inadequate & almost gratuitously self-gratifying in their ‘prostate shame’… A cold hard truth I’m afraid.

  • Ian

    “I don’t have any faith at all in the theory of evolution, Ian, so couldn’t possibly peddle that lie to pupils” – Your ignorance is astounding. Evolution by natural selection is scientific fact. Even the corridors of power in your church recognise it.
    Why would you ignore FACTS? You say you have no faith in evolution. Tell me, where did you study science? Which paleantologists/museums/universities/documentaries etc have you consulted in order for you to reject it? DNA shows the puzzle fits perfectly.
    Your dismissive statement is quite worrying – you are rejecting fact over wishful thinking.

    And in answer to sfpg – i think it’s right to teach all children about all religions. What i think is wrong however, is to label a child/attach them to a particular religion ie “you are a muslim child” – i stand by what i said when i stated that this is abusive. It’s abusive to young minds who are far to young to understand. To quote Marcus Brigstock “a child is no more a christian/catholic/muslim than they are members of the Postal Workers’ Union. What is so wrong with letting be kids & letting them decide for themselves when they are old enough to understand.
    We can teach our kids to be decent human beings without unsubstantiated superstition. I teach my kids to treat others as they would wish to be treated, to be kind etc etc – they don’t need scipture to do this.
    Religion is surplus to requirements. Be good for goodness sake.

  • Ian

    “Cambridge University did a survey in 2005 which showed 88% of the world believe in God….so I do not agree that religion is dying out” – I agree that (sadly) religion is not dying out – each indoctrinated generation will in turn indoctrinate the next generation. Your point about 88% of the world believing in god – it’s all an accident of birth though isn’t it? If you are a child born in a religious household, chances are you will be a believer after having said religion rammed into your young innocent mind. If this 88% of the world’s population were to be given the option to think for themselves – i would wager that this figure would be drastically reduced.
    Not too many mormon’s in Saudi? Not too many Shintoists in Dublin is there? Also, if you were born in ancient Greece, Zeus would be your god – it’s all nonsense.

  • Ian

    “Pupils are not lapsing from the one true Faith” You say yours is the one true faith. If every faith around the world regards theirs as the one true faith, which is indeed the one true faith?
    So, you are an atheist in respect of faiths that follow different gods to yours. So, you will understand why there are those that reject yours.

  • Ian

    ” Nobody is in danger of Hell unless they reject God and His Laws” – Incredible. You reject scientific evidence but you actually believe without any evidence, that there is indeed a place called hell.
    You do realise that the earth goes around the sun don’t you?

    It scares me that people with minds like yours are put in a position to educate children.

  • Catherine

    EditorCT I wasn’t commenting on your mental health…as I do not know you. I was trying to say that you are making sweeping comments. How can you say that I am right to teach that the Catholic Faith is right and at the same time you are putting down ALL of the apostles’ successors? If you have areas of concern then you should bring that up with the particular bishop you have the concern with. You are wrong I would not say ‘they are great guys when it comes to collecting money for CAFOD AND SCIAF’ as that is not the first thing that comes into my mind when people talk about bishops. I always first think that they are successors to the apostles. This does not mean they are perfect, but then Peter and the other apostles were not perfect either, but they have been called by God and I believe deserve my respect. I don’t agree that the bishops in this country have lost their faith…and in fact I would go on to say that the bishops I have known have positively encouraged me in faith.
    As I said before I have no doubt that you speak from the heart and for that I respect you but I don’t believe generally attacking people is the best way to build up the Kingdom.

  • Anonymous

    You invited me to take a rest. Rather rude, I thought. When I praised you for teaching the Catholic faith, I was taking your word for it that you were teaching the faith in its fullness. Frankly, I had my doubts, since the RE establishment (led by the bishops) crack down on any teacher who shows signs of orthodoxy and if they are identified as fully believing traditional Catholics, it’s curtains. However, I took your word for it, but now that I see your reaction to the very idea that the bishops have lost the Catholic faith – when the evidence is stark, as any informed Catholic will tell you – I’m not so sure.

    And since you are not offering any rationale for assuming solid faith on the part of the UK bishops – while I’ve given you a number of examples to illustrate why I believe they have lost the faith – I’m really unable to conduct any further conversation with you on the matter.

    You claim to teach the faith and to be encouraged to do so by “bishops” – well, I am very surprised, indeed, and I can’t help wondering, at this stage, precisely what, in fact, you teach, because in every other instance I know of (myself included) when an RE teacher has taught traditional Catholic doctrines and morals, they have suffered. So, until you can supply a detailed list of what you teach, I’m afraid, based on your most recent posts and despite my earlier praise, I remain unconvinced.

    Here’s a news clip about the Archbishop of Westminster on a visit to a Hindu temple. I’d be interested to read your reaction to it.
    Does any of it trouble you, at all? Or are you pleased that the Archbishop is “respecting” the Hindu religion? Would YOU be able to bring yourself to place flowers at the shrine of a pagan god? Would you?

    There’s more where that came from, but I’ll hold fire until I hear back from you whether or not you think the Archbishop has done anything at all wrong, or whether he has broken, objectively, any of the Commandments, or whether, in fact, you think he is an enlightened bishop, making great inroads into inter-faith dialogue. I look forward, greatly, to your responses to these questions.

  • Ratbag

    EditorCT, My parents and grandparents taught my sister and I the ABC, how to read basic words and how to count before we started school AND how to pronounce words properly.

    At home, we read everything from fairy tales, nursery rhymes to Dr Seuss, Enid Blyton, Rupert Bear, Wombles, Ireland’s Own, etc. etc. etc.

    There was a copy of the Penny Catechism at home which I read as well as small books about the sacraments I was to recieve. A Catholic publication was always brought into the house for everyone to read… EVERYONE… from the Sacred Heart Messenger and Crusader to Catholic Fireside and St Martin de Porres Magazine.

    We read them and, years later, we still do.

    My elder sister brought home several books from the school library which was to be closed because the school was changing hands. I read them, especially books about popes, Christ, Mary and the Catholic Encyclopedia.

    My late grandparents taught me the Holy Rosary AT HOME before bedtime whilst minding us as my mum would still be working late and minding my chronically sick father and grandfather at the same time.

    The Servant of God, Father Patrick Peyton, was taught his faith by the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary and the love of the Holy Mass which gave him a good grounding in both faith and life.

    My parents and grandparents also bought Ladybird series of books about the Saints, flags, history, science etc. and life stories of the Kings and Queens of England, Irish history, etc.

    My late Uncle Hubert gave me a book called ‘Treasures of Britain and Ireland’ which I read from cover to cover; I still have it in my bookcase. This helped me in my education and gave me an edge in respective subjects at school, much to the irritation and spite of both the local education committee and my teachers…

    My mum brought my sister and I to the local library to become members BEFORE the local primary school even brought us to one!

    The irony here is that I actually HATED school. I love learning… but school was a joke – especially the RE teachers.

    Do you see what I’m getting at here, EditorCT?

  • Ratbag

    Chris, blow the whistle to the bishop about this outrageous behaviour.

    Is he fully aware of what’s going on?

    If not, he ought to be and stop the rot pretty darn quick!

  • Anonymous

    I do, indeed, see what you are getting at here. You’re blessed with a truly Catholic family by the sound of it. I’d like to know if you think your family is/was typical, Ratbag. Also, I’d like to tell you briefly about a friend of mine, brought up in a lapsed family home, whose interest in and love of the faith was nurtured by a wonderful, she says, schoolteacher. Otherwise, she’d have had no knowledge whatsoever of the Faith.

    Do you see what I’m getting at here, Ratbag?

  • Anonymous


    Faith and reason are not opposed. If God is unchanging, immutable, then He cannot contradict Himself. He cannot send the Archangel Gabriel to Mary to tell her she is to be the mother of the saviour of the world, reveal Christ as the Messiah, then, around 700 years later send Muhammed to tell us that Jesus was not divine and that Muhammed is “the messenger of God.”

    There cannot be more than one God and He, having given us the Church as the sole means of salvation, according to the Fathers of the Church, based on Scripture and Tradition (teachings handed down to us from the Apostles who knew Jesus firsthand…) could not and did not then decide that any old religion that takes our fancy will do. Think!

  • Anonymous

    Plenty of scientists reject the information posing as “evidence” of evolution. It’s not at all “scientific fact” – far from it. Check it out.

    As to your last sentence – I don’t know what kind of work you do, but it scares me that people like you, members of the Evolution Brigade, accept every scientific theory as dogma. What’s the bet you believe using the wrong light bulb is about to bring the world to an end, as well? Global Warming Brigade meets Evolutionists. Crackers.

  • Anthony Murphy

    as someone who has gone to extraodinary sacrifice to become a Catholic RE teacher here in Australia, can I show a bit of solidarity with my English and Welsh collegues and tell you with all candour to go ‘STICK IT UP YOUR JUMPER!’? I spent 3 years studying theology, and now another year in education so your little over-pampered princess can get a Catholic education only to see you not only undermine that in the home, but then get on the internet to make a clown of yourself.

    For interest sake…this statement…
    “Their implementation of the WHAT? “Other dioceses in the country” have no INTENTION of implementing it; they probably haven’t even HEARD of the General Directory for Catechesis.” (Yes William, your words) doesnt seem to mesh much with a slightly higher authority…

    “The aim of catechesis, or handing on the Gospel message, is maturity: spiritual, liturgical, sacramental and apostolic; this happens most especially in a local Church community. The aim of the school however, is knowledge.” (The religious dimension of Education in a Catholic school, para 69).

    Now one wonders how many William Oddies have ever heard of the Congregation for Catholic Education?

    Willy, I like you…I like to read the bluster after a good snifter of port…but we who swam the Tiber 1700 years before you were a reflection in the baptismal font would really appreciate you dialing back the zeal when you are talking about your fellow Cats.

    Best Regards,

  • RJ

    I would think parents have a right to teach their children what they believe to be true, within certain limits. Seems to me you want to deny them that right.

  • W Oddie

    That’s just invective: maybe things are better in Australia: here they’re not. If you want the evidence, look at some of the posts below

  • Anonymous

    This discussion seems to have moved rather far off-topic into the merits of Vatican II etc. Let us get back to the subject of the teaching of the Catholic faith in Catholic schools.

    What I have seen is that there seem to be two kinds of Catholic school – those that do teach the Catholic faith and those that don’t. I recently bumped into the excellent chaplain of a school which as far as I can see fails miserably. I find it difficult to talk to priests to-day as you simply do not know what to expect when you mention anything controversial. I sort of vaguely hinted that things were somewhat awry. He volunteered that the only really Catholic school formerly of that particular order of sisters was not that one but elsewhere.

    This time last year the Catholic Education Service doctored the statement made in the House of Lords by a Government minister so as to completly misrepresent what the Government was saying about sex education.

    Is the present controversy over the Cardinal Vaughan school about teaching orthodoxy?

    From reading the comments on this blog it seems that there are RE (the change from RI says it all) teachers who are doing their best and there are undoubtedly schools who do teach orthodoxy. However is there not a case for identifying which schools are orthodox and which are not and possibly removing the Catholic label from the latter? Perhaps this is something for RE teachers and schools to do – I doubt if the hierarchy will do it for them. It would be extremely useful for parents and grandparents to have this information so as not to be disappointed as I have been. An association of orthodox Catholic RE teachers perhaps? It might lead to the rescuing of some schools who have strayed.

    Paradoxically I recently visited an anglo-catholic boarding school which has an RC head teacher and very anglo-catholic chaplain – properly dressed – and learnt how some five or years ago Christianity was almost dead but they had managed to bring about a real revival. So it can be done!

  • PMA

    The gratuitous and boorish offensiveness of this effusion is matched only by its intellecutal dishonesty and vaulting hemi-demi-semi-literate pig-ignorance. As it consists of nothing but puerile abuse, there is no pojnt intrying to argue with it. But exactly how has ‘science’ shown we are not born in any god’s image? Onluy if we acceptr your cuude and ignorant caricature of belief in the first place.

    The censors and bookburners today are the overgrown adolescent, philstine secularist establishment.

  • PMA

    Another piece of ‘original’, ‘deep’ Ditchkinite ‘thought’.

  • PMA

    Let them decide in due course on the basis of what – bigoted ditchkinite pig-ignorance? And will we have secularist thought-police posted in every home to ensure parents don’t ‘indoctrinate’ on the sly?

    And it’s not only theology that is subject to bigoted, ignorant caricature. The tripe Dawkins shovels out as infallible interpretation of history would disgrace a thirteen-year-old.

  • Anne

    Good for you Mark. Steubenville University in America was so bad that it was about to be closed down.One courageous priest was sent in who realised that the students knew nothing about their catholic faith. He taught them and turned the University into a stunning success where the Blessed Sacrament is adored every day and the students are soo.. catholic now! They also have the wonderful Professor Scott Hahn as their teacher, a convert. Just one good priest did it – and no doubt many prayers! God Bless You.Sometimes I think catholics should have evening schooling in their faith just as the Muslims do.

  • Anne

    Unfortunately Headmasters are just as ignorant of the Faith. I once asked our Headmaster why the Confirmation children had been presented with the Protestant version of the Bible (it did not include the missing books – which are in the full bible.The Bible is of course a Catholic book put together by the Catholic church).He said that he had been advised by someone at St Paul’s bookshop. He knew nothing and did not like being shown up! Incidentally, that was the only time I saw the Bible being presented to children.No wonder they are ignorant. When are the priests going to tell the peop[le to read it and keep telling them and the Cateachism!

  • Anne

    Unfortunately Headmasters are just as ignorant of the Faith. I once asked our Headmaster why the Confirmation children had been presented with the Protestant version of the Bible (it did not include the missing books – which are in the full bible.The Bible is of course a Catholic book put together by the Catholic church).He said that he had been advised by someone at St Paul’s bookshop. He knew nothing and did not like being shown up! Incidentally, that was the only time I saw the Bible being presented to children.No wonder they are ignorant. When are the priests going to tell the peop[le to read it and keep telling them~!