S1K,—As " Under 25 " on the subject of caning in Catholic schools has been editorially faded out, please allow an " Under 50 " to comment.
Your remark is just a more
humbly worded repetition of the
usual : " I wouldn't be the man I am now if it hadn't been for some good thrashings, etc." Charity forbids the retort, " Don't blame it all on the thrashings! " Nobody but a faddist would say that moral suasion can cover all eventualities, sIiouldbeivgarbdue but atsh at an part r t can intigles part r t can intigles normal routine is a state of affairs for which I can find no English. Shaw calls it bluntly " flagellomania," and 1 have reason to think " G. K." agrees with him. Elementary, Secondary, Catholic " Public " Schools, Seminaries; lay people, nuns, brothers and priests are all represented in the system, and the wonder to me is not that there is a leakage problem, but that there are any left spiritually alive to tell the tale.
In the " non-sectarian " world the pendulum has swung from Dotheboys Hall to the Psychological Clinic.
We, in the Church, should be able to remedy the first heresy without falling into its opposite.
I choose just a few of the ill-effects of the caning atmosphere, which most people can test by personal experience : 1. Judgment is impaired just at a time when it should be nurtured. God's Moral Law is confused with the teacher's Penal Law (which can be broken if you are willing to pay the penalty). For example : cheating at exams. and not hanging your hat on the right peg are much the same sort
of thing. Deliberate lies are regarded as the prisoner's " Not guilty " (i.e., "It's up to you to find out.")
The effect of this early stultifying of judgment may last a life-time. And here is partly explained why children in the main " bear no malice." Facing a teacher in this world is easier than facing God in the next.
2. " Vices of youth " are intimately connected with frequent corporal punishment. One obviously cannot go into reasons here except to say that, added to concupiscence is a safe and attractive way of retaliating against authority; of doing something wrong with little possibility of being found out. There is also a physical connection.
Again the effect may be life-long. 3. Children are transformed into sadists.
This is not too strong a word. Thrashings " in front of the class " are
thoroughly enjoyed by the latter. This enjoyment is probably matter enough for mortal sin. Fortunately the other conditions are not present.
4. Educationally. How much that one had to learn at school has proved
beneficial? The motive is wrong, the mind warped and often permanently crippled. As a man with rich experience in dealing with the products of all .kinds of Catholic schools has put it : A school has done very well nowadays if it leaves a person educable. As Solomon is so often quoted on this subject it is as well to note that the well-known words do not occur in the
BibThlere are some passages in the New Testament, however, which Catholic teachers would do well to study carefully. Our Lord's attitude is plain enough.
Apart from Him there is also the great psychologist who wrote his Ephesians ; "And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger."
BERNARD MCDONNELL (Head Teacher).
218, Wheelwright Road, Erdington, Birmingham.