Position of Teachers
submit, most humbly, that a teacher or prOfessional educationist is the obvious person to judge whether the language or layout of a textbook is suitable for children's use. Naturally, he would submit his manuscript to a competent theological expert who would vet the dogmatic and doctrinal matter. No Catholic publisher would accept responsibility for a religious text book of that nature without an imprimatur.
In his assessment of teachers Fr. Ryan is not only unfair, but grossly inaccurate. Catholic teachers have made it their business, in the London area at any rate, as no doubt they have throughout the country, to keep abreast of the times. In most of our schools modern methods are in use for the teaching of religion as well as secular subjects.
Again and again the Metropolitan Catholic Teachers' Association has organised series of refresher courses for teachers. On every such occasion, the course has been oversubscribed. Lecturers have spoken to packed halls of enthusiastic teachers. At these courses, the high standard of religious teaching in our schools is reflected in the learned discussion which invariably follows each lecture. Quite recently, at such a lecture, the priest lecturer had to use all his skill to parry the thrusts of very knowledgeable teachersreligious and lay. There was little evidence here that teachers do not know their Faith or are not word
perfect in their Catechism. It is surely very unwise to shake the confidence of parents in those who are responsible for the education of their children by suggesting. as does Fr. Ryan. that all is not well in our a:hools.
I re-iterate my previous request, Iii. Let it be admitted that there is a Leakage Problem. let it be admitted that we are not all agreed on the suitability of the Catechism
in its present form. Can we not treat these problems separately. lest in the quest for the sheep lost through the former hazard. the lambs shall be left to wander in still another fog-a fog of difficult words and archaic language.
RICHARD A. B. BURKE.
St. Joseph's School, Plaistow Lane, Bromley, Kent,
Sue-Cannot we get some useful. practical result out of this discussion ? We may get an improvement in practice from a simplified Catechism. 1 don't know. 1 hope so. Let us not, however, confine our energy to a merely intellectual effort. I rimy be slow-witted, but I must confess that I have been teaching for more than 25 years, before it has fully dawned on me that I can hardly hone to get a child out of his parents' home for Sunday Mass without some consideration of and reference to his parents. There lies the crux.
The four major personal influences on a Catholic child are his parents, priests, teachers and corn
panions. Where there is a strong, mutually respectful triple alliance between parents. priests and pedagogues. I feel certain there will be little leakage. Therefore, what we can aim at achieving, as far as possible, is this. What the parents desire for the child will have full support from priests and teachers; what the priests desire for the child will have full support from parents and teachers; and what the teachers desire for the child will have full support from parents and priests. How much happier, more selfcontrolled and more faithfully practising would the child then be ? Moreover. how much more reliable would be every Catholic home, parish and school ?
W. DERMOT FARRELL. Assistant Master.
St. Patrick's Boys, Wapping, E.1.
Sae-Last week Fr. Geary stated that our report of the meeting of the Cheshire C.T.A. was inaccurate rubbish. We can assure your readers that it was scrupulously accurate: there was an official and properly convened and constituted meeting of the Cheshire C.T.A. this Association has been in operation for some years, and they did unanimously pass a resolution urging re-wording of the catechism in language suitable for children.
That some of Fr. Geary's correspondents have misread the report as being an account of a C.T.F. Conference, is not in any way our fault, nor the fault of the Cheshire C.I.A., but is entirely due to their oen careless reading of a quite lucid account. JOHN loteeerius GAFFNEY.
[The above letters have had to be shortened to their main points.