The abysmal state of religious education in Catholic secondary schools is no longer a question for serious debate. However, practical solutions on how to remedy the problem have not been forthcoming, and so herewith is presented a scheme that ought to head in the right direction.
The main thrust is to introduce into all six years of Catholic high school an accredited subject called "Roman Catholic Studies". This subject is to carry equal weight and be assessed equally with other secular subjects when generating a school leaving score. It should be centred on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, supplemented with Church history and appropriate apologetics to show that, despite some people's perception, Catholicism is not based on irrationality.
Since here the saving of souls is at stake, the design, execution and assessment of such a course need to be under the direct control of the hierarchy and not left to CEO bureaucrats. Teachers of this course must be practising Catholics with appropriate training and the only ones to teach it.
The next crucial step is to re- write the school manifesto and insist that such a course be compulsory for every student at every level in a Catholic high school. Some immediate consequences will be:
* Religion will cease to be a "mickey- mouse" subject and will gain meaningful content. It will have to be taken seriously to get good grades.
* Parents who wish their children to know and practise the faith will be reinforced, while those who are neutral about religion will nevertheless find their children in a better position to make serious faith commitments. Those antagonistic to all religion or just the Catholic faith in particular will of course not enrol their children.
(3) Through a progressive introduction of Roman Catholic Studies from year seven onwards, there will be minimal disruption to secular subjects while objecting parents will not have to withdraw students already enrolled.
In the absence of an urgent introduction of the above or some other meaningful scheme, we may as well kiss our high schools goodbye and sell them to the state as established secular education businesses. As they stand, most are largely useless and counterproductive appendages to the Church, where under the guise of religion, modernistic heresies are taught while an increasingly poisonous anti- Catholic spirit prevails.
T. KALOTAS (DR)