a Catholic school but it is obvious that it was quite a different school from the one Mgr Kevin Nichols (30 January) attended. The only "stories" I heard were from the Bible such as The Ten Lepers, The Prodigal Son, The Healing of the Centurions servant, and many more. We were also told stories of the saints such as Bernadette of Lourdes, Maria Goretti, Don Bosco, and many more. I was taught that the difference between Catholics and Protestants was that we had the Church and the Bible while they only had the Bible. At the hell, doomand-gloom fable, Mgr Nichols is at his best. These stories were never told by my teachers, Mgr Nichols. Yes, we were taught that there was sin, hell, and heaven, but the charge that these teachers terrified the children is despicable.
Did Mgr Nichols never take part in the processions to Ow Lady, processions with the Blessed Sacrament? Did he never sing the beautiful hymns in the classroom that I sang? Did he not receive a commentary on the Mass every Sunday and a sermon directed at children which children could understand. A great deal is said against the Latin Mass yet children learned more and prayed more when they attended Mass then, than children of today, for parents, teachers, and priests were a great more considerate.
Let me also state the idea that other subjects were secondary to religion is contemptible. For the first time ordinary working-class children were given the opportunity to go to University and I can assure Mgr Nichols that in Scotland we did everything to help our children realise that dream. How dare he claim otherwise.
Where the evidence is that the Church at Vatican II ceased to believe it was the One, True, Church? The claim in the Constitution of the Church is that "truth exists in other Churches, but 'subsists in the Catholic Church". This means the same, although it was put in this way to stop any triumphalism and misrepresentation of the phrase "outside the Church there is no salvation".
I am sure that all Mgr Nichols says about religious education is true and valid but in his enthusiasm he misses the point. The point is that per =iv of the population there are as many Catholic women having abortions, as many Catholic couples divorcing, as many Catholic young People engaged in adulterous relationships as the rest of the population. If indeed Mgr Nichols is boasting that children have to be prepared for the "reality" of life, he and his
educational Catholic colleagues are failing completely and utterly. People do not regret changes that bring results, but the point he and his colleagues studiously ignore is that they are not producing results.
John Kearney Basingstoke
IN AN ASTONISHINGLY honest article Mgr Kevin Nichols wrote that the teaching about mortal sin in Catholic schools in the past was "a probably unrecognised manipulation of the emotions of fear and anxiety which proved permanently crippling". (Italics mine). Many Catholic old enough to remember what is referred to will agree For myself I should have thought "permanent crippling" by any church institution would mean there could never again be complacency about its essential goodness.
Of course, and thank God for it, it's all different today. But how? Monsignor Nichols reminds us that the Second Vatican Council altered the relationship between the Church and the world. "If God has truly become man then the secular reality must be taken seriously," and the Church "must adopt human joy and hope, grief and arixiett as its very own." But are we sure this adds up to "catholic. schools"?
In a predominantIs seculai society the "Catholic schools' option is by definition dish. sive. Inevitably it sections off young Catholics at school and dissociates them from the majority world they are growing up in and sooner or later must come to terms with, Why? The Catholic schools option is not divinely revealed truth. In our changed world we should challenge and reconsider it.
If parish and family do their jobs I believe they will provide our children with all the doctrine they need and more important the practical example of Christian living that will make them want to live Christian lives.
Brendan Farrow Broadstairs, Kent