Dated criticisms

22nd April 2005 at 01:00
It is a pity that Jennifer Baker's criticism (TES Cymru, April 8) of Catholic schools is based on her experience in the Seventies and Eighties.

As chair of governors of a successful Catholic secondary, I know our schools today teach and live their religion by experience and example. It is not possible in the 21st century, if it ever was, to teach religion as a list of "don'ts". As Ms Baker notes, our children live in the real world with its challenges and temptations.

Religious education at our school follows these lines: "The church says...; others say...; I think..." It is a pattern of analysis that will stand pupils in good stead in their lives, whatever they end up doing. Know what your faith is; examine the faith of others; live what you believe.

I am no apologist for all of Pope John Paul's views, but the obsession with contraception misses vital moral issues such as his condemnation of war and capital punishment and his promotion of social justice and fair trade.

These are some of the most important topics in Catholic religious education, and our young people deserve and get the opportunity to debate them.

Some of our pupils reject the church and religion, but from a position of knowing what they are rebelling against.

They also leave with a strong understanding of morality and ethics. This is the reality of modern Catholic religious education.

Dr Martin Price

Chair of governors

St Richard Gwyn Catholic high school, Argae Lane Barry, Vale of Glamorgan

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