SIR,-Lr. McGoldrick's "complete" disagreement with my guess as to parents' feelings about the Marian approach makes me feel it useful to point out that the many categories of children, parents, and teachers are not "completely" covered by those he mentions-i.e. boys intelligent and articulate enough to go to him for help and the mothers of grammar school girls helped by booklets prepared by teaching nuns. My own experience lay with other types.
While girls would accept the Nazareth story in tactful silence. boys, being more logical naturally, more flank, and more persistent once their interest is aroused. will ask the obvious question about Our Lady's words; "But why didn't she think the angel meant she would have sa son as soon as she was properly married to St. Joseph? The angel didn't say now, at once," Fr. Pope, OP., replies (commenting on Our Lady's words): "This can only mean she had a vow of virginity." Then St. Joseph had, too; and their marriage in spite of it was by God's direct inspiration, for His great purpose. But that situation, if insisted on in the present context, might involve questions not suitable or possible for discussion with children.
Again, the Immaculate Conception was mentioned for bringing into the lessons. But this doctrine necessarily involves explaining about the fall of man. And that demands some grasp of the meaning of man's pre-tallen state. And that has become a mere fairy-tale to the generations that have grown up in the mental climate of the "ape ancestor" theory and the rise, not fall, of man.
Remember, both our fallen nature and Mary's immunity from the stain comes through the body. since inheritance cannot come through a soul newly created in every instance. But all this is miles beyond the catechism-by-rote children and parents; and not easy for anyone to put into simple language, or argue about, as eager young minds probe and question.
The difficulties created for parents seem to me, however, only one reason for objecting to this approach. There is a reason connected with Our Lady herself, and the sensitive reserve which must characterise our thoughts of her.
If the Gospel text itself is used in sex teaching, it will bring before spiritually immature minds the difficult fact, that St. Joseph was allowed to have the painful first reaction which required a miraculous dream to correct it.
Saints and spiritual writers have been too discreet to probe this
heart-break of the holy little virginbride, so surely it is not for lay people to talk it over with their young. Can't we let the veil gently drawn by tradition remain over that mysterious suNering allowed to the couple to whom we owe all we most value?
So let's have the courage to call our spade a spade, and leave sacred analogies and anomalies alone. And is plain teaching so difficult? Fr. McGoldrick has given us a fine definition of purity.
And now he has told us of what he considers "really Splendid little 1100W-one an English one (Sheed and Ward). A pity it was not mentioned sooner. so saving American book (Pr. Skitter) in which there are things both as to matter and manner that may confuse and worry the already puzzled parent.