From G K Connelly
Sir, For 30 years Catholic schools have remained within the state system, accommodating themselves to a more and more alien philosophy of education by making compromises which have often been detrimental to their Catholic ethos.
All systems of education transmit the culture of their time — the National Curriculum increasingly so — but Catholicism has to counter the prevailing culture and can no longer be reconciled (it never could) with the liberal, childcentred humanism that maintains the state curriculum.
The Church should be thinking now about how it can extricate its schools from the state system. It should seek freedom from the National Curriculum in order to put a Catholic curriculum in its place.
Major policies have to be considered. Recent exercises in what the bishops call consultation made me wonder whether they were up to it.
Yours sincerely, G K CONNELLY
Harrow, Middx HA2 OHB
From Mr Alex Anderson Sir, It is reassuring that the bishops of England and Wales are now testing the orthodoxy of Catholic education in Catholic schools. Some would say it is not before time.
In a recent chat with my grandson on matters of religious education, I was fasinated to learn that he has a working knowledge of several non-Christian naming ceremonies and similar rites. When questioned about the sacrament of baptism, he displayed no such knowledge, claimed that he has not yet, at the age of 12, been taught it.
Is it common practice that Catholic children in Catholic schools are not at present instructed in their Catholic faith, or am I missing something? Perhaps non-Christian religions are now all returning the compliment by studying the sacraments?
If they are, may I recommend that they (and some Catholics) turn to the Catechism of Christian Doctrine, the old Penny Catechism. There they will discover that the sacrament of baptism is at the roots of Christian entry, is a source of divine grace and is necessary for salvation. It was not instituted to be ignored.
Yours sincerely, ALEX ANDERSON Wirral CH45 1LD From Mr Joe Bevan Sir, Having been involved in the Catholic education of my own children and those of others, via summer camps, one plain fact stands out a mile. I have found that the Catholic religion, taught and practised as it was meant to be, does actually work.
Until this fact is taken on board by the highest in the Church, the Body of Christ is likely to end up as a feeble religious pressure group in a loose association with all the others.
Children are capable of demonstrating quite moving piety and love of the sacraments. This is because they have an instinct for searching out the truth in spiritual matters.
Yours sincerely, JOE BEVAN Dover, Kent, CT16 1HD