CATHOLIC OPINION UNCONTRIBUTED
Perplexity and vagueness, as well as great interest, are the marks of the prolonged correspondence in The TimeS on the article " Religion and the National Life."
It is much to be regretted that the name of no prominent Catholic, ecclesiastic or lay, appears in these columns to support or further emphasise the consequences of the view of The Times that " in a country, professedly Christian, and a country which at the moment is staking its all in defence of Christian principles, there is a system of national education which allows the citizens of the future to have a purely heathen upbringing." The headmaster of Kings School, Rochester, Mr E. W. Davies, wrote that "the religion that is worth having is caught rather than taught." The explorer, Sir Francis Younghusband, considered that " England wants to be religious. England must make herself religious. . . . Only through power and grace in religion can she first win the war, and then—still harder—create the happier world to be, in which the need for war will never arise."
THE BISHOPS WERE VIGOROUS The Anglican Bishops were generally practical and vigorous. The Bishop of St. Albans outlined the qualifications needed in a teacher of religion : " First, a personal belief in the Faith as held by the commissioning body; second, an adequate knowledge of that Faith; and third, the definite practice of that Faith as a working member of that particular Christian Communion."
The Bishop of Southwark blamed "the combined effect of much of the contents of our popular Press, of most kinds of entertainment, of the manner of life of a great many of our families, and of the ordering of a good deal of our industrial and economic system " for " impressing upon the imaginations of boys and girls the apparent unimportance of religion."
PAGAN INFLUENCES The Bishop of Stepney blamed pagan home influences. The Bishop of Exeter put his trust in the introduction of worship into the school curriculum. " Religious instruction without worship is barren," he said. But his argument detracted from the value of his statement, for he added : " School worship fosters in the child the corporate loyalty to the school for which the teachers are rightly jealous."
Catholic teachers and priests pointed out in the CATHOLIC HERALD enquiry on "leakage," undertaken just before the war, that the identification in the child mind of religion with school was one of the principle causes of a falling away from religion after the child has left school.
The letters from clergymen that The Times printed showed fairly general agreement on the point that the primary religious teaching of the child must come from the home. A billeting officer, Mr V. A. Malcolmson, quoted from experience during the past few months to show the irreligion among the great majority of children that had come under his charge.