Having read Eamonn Keane's Crisis in Religious Education, I am not surprised at the failure of our Catholic schools to pass on the faith.
To think that 97 percent of our school-leavers do not hold the Catholic Church as true or go to Mass is to withdraw in horror and demand either the schools be decertified as Catholic or that the one not producing good results be closed; to be re-opened when proper arrangements are in place to assure the parents and the Catholic community that authentic Catholic truths are imparted.
Only two percent of students in training at the Australian Catholic University and other Catholic institutes hold to the infallibility of the Pope and the Church's authority in matters of faith and morals. This is a mighty indictment of the performance of Catholic schools and higher education establishments.
What many people do not know is that the methodology underpinning the RE curriculum of the Parramatta, Wagga Wagga, Wilcannia-Forbes and Canberra-Goulburn dioceses is that of leading dissenter and ex-priest Thomas Groome, who teaches at the Jesuit-run Boston College. He has been the keynote speaker addressing the principals of Catholic schools on RE in Australia.
As a catechist I am bound to follow the dangerously flawed curriculum. What of the other RE teachers who do not know the implications of what they are teaching and have not read deeply in religious matters?
As a psychiatrist for over 30 years, I can say that what is learned as a child usually remains for the rest of life. What an awesome responsibility for our bishops and teachers.
ALEX SHARAH (DR)