By a Staff Reporter The teaching of religion in Catholic schools during the past 20 years appears to have undergone a revolutionary change if the Exhibition of Aids to Religious Teaching, organised by the Metropolitan Catholic Teachers' Association in Westminster Cathedral Hall, is a criterion. Here, on every side, is evidence that the child, while giving nothing away to that child of yesterday who repeated his catechism parrot-like—still the foundation-st one of the rudiments of belief—is building a solid edifice upon that foundation.
This exhibition is the work of the children themselves. The exhibits vary from pictorial illustrations to mathematical diagrams. For instance, one school has sent a cardboard model illustrating the Seven Sacraments; another set of pupils has expressed its religious knowledge in symbols; a third in expertly illustrated notebooks; a fourth with charts on the Mass.
All types of schools are represented and the exhibits are anonymous. A most welcome and really astonishing contribution comes in the form of a guest exhibitor—Italy. The de la Salle Brothers have a stall to themselves showing the quite brilliarit work of boys from the ages of 11 to 14. Using crude paper and coloured pencils or pen and ink, these Italian children whose education must have been conducted under terrible handicaps during the past eight years, have done work of a high standard—in illumination, picture-making, diagram and even their hand-writing is something at which to stand and stare. France, although a late-corner. has also contributed to the exhibition.
So much for the children's own individual expression of what they have 'learned in that scant time allowed by the time-table for reli gious instruction. The exhibition is also showing how films have come into their own in the amplification of religious teaching — including " Your Sacrifice and Mine " — the film in colour of the Mass. This side of the Exhibition is eminently practical and Mr. Brian Hession, AngIican Director of the Dawn Trust who share the responsibility for the Cinema part of the exhibition with the Catholic Truth Society, is there to demonstrate the latest methods and projectors that schools can use.
Another important stride forward which this exhibition is demonstrating is the degree to which an intelligent knowledge of the music of the liturgy has taken in the past
few years. Finally there are the dramatisations by children of the matter in their text books. Lectures and Brains Trusts by prominent personalities have filled the daily programmes all the week and the speakers have included the Rev. W. Raemers, C.SS.R., the Rev. J. Evans. SI., rector of St. Ignatius College; Fr. Agnellus Andrew, 0.F.M., the Hon. Mrs. R. T. Bower, the Rev. F. H. Drinkwater, Canon William J. Wood, the Rev. Kevin Cronin, CM., the Right Rev. F. Adrian Taylor, Abbot of St. Augustine's, Ramsgate. Dr. Amigo, Archbishop-Bishop of Southwark and Mgr. Brown, Bishop of Pella are taking the chair at two of the evening sessions.
THE OPENING CEREMONY
At the closing rally to-morrow night the speakers will be Mr. E. C. Walsh, President of the Metropolitan Catholic Teachers' Association, Mrs. D. Wright, chairman of the Vigilance Sub-Committee of the C.P.A., and Mr. R. F. Barton, President of the M.C.T.A.
Fresh from his visit to Rome, Cardinal Griffin performed the opening ceremony in the Cathedral Hall which was packed with teachers religious and secular. The Holy Father, the Cardinal told his audience, was delighted with the report which he had given His Hon* ness of the activities of the Catholics of England and he sent them a special blessing and affectionate good wishes.
THE CARDINAL'S FOUR PER CENT.
After congratulating Mr. Barton and Mr. Shell! (general secretary of the Association) and Mr. Bateman, organiser and secretary of the exhibition, " sign of the vitality of the Association," he said. the Cardinal contrasted the methods of religious teaching of twenty years ago with those of the present day. " I would not like children to go through the religious training of those days," he said, and admitted in an examination he only got four out of a hundred for catechism. "Which shows that you need never get downhearted when you fail an exam." At the same time, the Cardinal said, the catechism remains the foundation for all religious knowledge. Even if children do not understand the definitions at the time, the knowledge remains there and will be used later on when the definitions are understood.
At Southport, on June 8, the day before the National Association for Local Government Officers opens its national conference, Mass for Catholic delegates will be offered at 10.30 am., at St. Marie's, Seabank Road. Afterwards, there will be an informal gathering in the Parish Hall at Bath Street. The President-Elect of N.A.L.0.0., Mr. C. J. Newman, Town Clerk of Exeter, will be present