Non-Catholic is not anti-Catholic

18th July 2008 at 01:00
Having been educated in Scotland in a non-denominational school, I can say whole-heartedly that I never witnessed any abuse of other children due to their religion

Having been educated in Scotland in a non-denominational school, I can say whole-heartedly that I never witnessed any abuse of other children due to their religion.

In fact, having lived in Northern Ireland for a year, I was stunned by the level of aggression there on a day-to-day basis. Non-denominational in Scotland does not mean anti-Catholic; non-Catholic does not mean anti- Catholic.

However, although I would choose non-denominational schooling for my child and for my own career, I spent a placement in a Catholic primary. As a result, I would argue that Catholic schools should not employ non-Catholic teachers. The parents have chosen the school to provide a Catholic education for their child. It is the duty of the school, therefore, to employ teachers who can deliver that education with belief and passion.

I am a non-Catholic, but I have no right to tell a child that his or her faith is wrong, whatever I believe, and especially in a school which promotes that faith. I could pretend I believe in the same principles, but that makes a mockery of their beliefs and my own.

Would we think it right, on a practical level, for a Catholic teacher to teach in a school which promotes the Muslim faith?

I observed sex education being taught (the teacher and I agreed that she would do it, as I could not teach it from a Catholic standpoint). It removed any preconceptions I may have had regarding Catholic teaching in this area, and my first day on placement spelt out to me why Catholic schools should employ practising Catholics. During a brief period of bible study, a few pupils asked me for help to find stories that demonstrated the sacraments. I turned to the teacher and whispered: "What's a sacrament .?"

Laura Mac, TESS online staffroom.

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