Treating everyone equally

17th September 2004 at 01:00
Leonard Franchi makes some very good points in his letter last week.

However, he then spoils things by reaching, or at least implying, some outrageous conclusions.

He quite rightly points out that many politicians simply want sex to be talked about in schools without any real moral input into any lessons. This is so that they will be able to say - they hope - that they were the ones who reduced the number of teenage pregnancies and abortions.

He is also right that many politicians would be over the moon if separate Catholic schools disappeared.

However, he says that non-Catholic schools teach immoral material to children in terms of sex outside marriage and artificial contraception and implies that this won't be allowed in Catholic schools. Is he seriously saying that Catholic schools should not even be prepared to discuss such issues with children? Is it simply a case of "that's wrong so shut up and do what you are told"?

We live in a world where these sorts of issues exist, whether we like it or not. It is the duty of Catholics to discuss responsibly these issues with young people, while still trying to put across what the Catholic Church's perspective is on them. We cannot simply bury our heads in the sand and hope that they will go away.

We should counter what we might think is inappropriate material but we don't do that just by condemning it. We have to show our young people that there are other and perhaps better ways of living.

I am also slightly mystified about Mr Franchi's "traditional Judaeo-Christian morality". What exactly is this? The last time I wrote to The TES Scotland, again in response to one of his letters, I said that even the Catholic Church has accepted that its teachings have to adapt to the changes that take place over time.

My main disagreement with Mr Franchi is, however, not about what should or should not be taught in schools, Catholic or otherwise. It is with the fact that he says "Christianity isn't a feel-good lifestyle, based as it is on the cross".

I'm sorry but that is exactly what Christianity is. It is the fact that Jesus so loved us that he was prepared to suffer and die on the cross in order to give us a path to a much better life after death that certainly makes me feel very good. Let Mr Franchi show me where Jesus says that we must not enjoy being Christians.

Fire and brimstone is gone, Mr Franchi. Being a Christian is about treating everyone equally and fairly. It is about being concerned about those who are less well off than we are. If we can be happy and "feel good" while doing it, so much the better.

Let's counter what we see as inappropriate material in our society, but let's do it with a smile on our faces.

Tom Tracey.

Merino Road


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