Teaching the Religious Lesson by the Rev. Kevin Cronin, CM., M.A. (Paternoster Publications, 5s.).
Reviewed by the Rev. F. H. Drinkwater
THIS book is by the Principal of I Strawberry Hill Training College. and the reviewer can but echo the Bishop of Salford, who commends it to "all who desire to become competent religious instructors," not only school teachers.
It is a handbook of technique, that is to say, it takes for granted all the deeper things such as personal sincerity. knowledge of the Faith, prayers in school, friendly personal relations with the children, cooperation with their homes and so forth.
As Fr. Cronin is a realist. dealing with schools as they are and are likely to be for many years to come, he also takes for granted the classroom and class-lesson system, with the large classes that are the chief hindrance to education; his book shows the young teacher how to cope with these conditions and impart religion in ways which, it may be hoped. even in the case of average teachers will do more good than harm.
The need of clear purpose and good Preparation is stressed, there are excellent chapters on the place of story, blackboard, questioning. activity; and in general Fr. Cronin achieves his aim of providing the teacher with a firm but flexible framework for the "religious period." Bro. Gabriel. F.C.S.. contributes t h e blackboard sketches.
On the best use of the catechismtext this book has perhaps the most serious discussion yet offered. The author's personal preference seems to regard the official catechism as a text-book for the teacher and a constant reference book for the pupil, presumably for those age-groups in which reference books would he a practical proposition.
This may strike us as rather a drastic reorientation. yet what other solution is possible if catechisms go on getting longer and longer? Or would you rather have catechisms very much shorter. and more free from jargon'? Thai would probably be the choice of the ultimate consumer. if he or she were asked. Perhaps in the Catholic Church there is not enough catering for the consumer in such matters as this, though in some other matters too much!
Fr. Cronin at any rate deserves our gratitude for his determined effort to get the Faith taught in school at the children's own level of language, mind and heart.