IT WAS with great interest that I read Claire Richards "Viewpoint" (March 6). I have been involved in Catholic Primary School education now for about 23 years and head of a Catholic Primary School for about 13 of these.
I have witnessed, unsympathetically, every infant teacher over these past 23 years struggle with the work of preparing children, at "age of reason" ie at 7, to make their First Confession as a Canonical condition prior to making their First Holy Communion. Owing to a necessary rearrangement of the classes last year, I found myself landed with this job. Before the second lesson was over, I realised what agonies Catholic Infant Teachers, especially if they had children of their own, must suffer.
I have given one lesson so far in which I struggled to separate out the ideas of "rule breaking" "offending against social behaviour" and sin as a "deliberate, willful, conscious act of disobedience against God" and frankly cannot and will not believe that ANY child is either capable of such a thing or indeed would ever wish it. Therefore — what precisely is this seven year old going to confess when he comes to make his "first Confession"?
Probably at the risk of losing my job, I am going to refuse this year to teach something I do not hold with any longer.
Shepton Mallet, Somerset