From a Special Correspondent
Addressing teaching nuns at a conference in Hull. Bishop McClean of Middlesbrough stressed that Catholic education was more than imparting information about God: Christ left people to carry on his work — not a library. The example of a teacher was more important than the content of the religious education lesson.
Bishop McClean, who was giving the opening address at the fourth annual conference of the Association of Teaching Religious at Lndsleigh College of Education. attended by 400 nuns, spoke warmly of the pioneering work of nuns in his diocese during the past 100 years.
He quoted some of the questions syhich have been voiced in educational circles for some time. These included the vice that teaching nuns were necessary only where the laity. were unable to undertake the task of education.
Others at the conference were delegates from France, Eire and Northern Ireland. as well as the Provincial of the Christian Brothers and a representative of the Provincial of the de la Salle Brothers. The theme of the conference was "The Theology of the Consecrated Life for Apostolic
1 he rest of the conference lectures were given by three well-known theologians, — Fr. Paul 1lulnutri, S.J., Fr. Barn ttbas A her n. C.P. (whose colourful imagers •St. Paul as Johnnie Quicksilver, or "Mary Poppins in pants" entertained Iris audience) and Fr. James
Certain notes were sounded eonstantly, singly and in harmom..
These included the central importance of the invitation to share in ('hl'Itilk life turd mission. iind the sitiality of faith and eon\ fiction which should animate those who accept this call.
Christian educators should help their pupils to sec the inlurtab1e of the Christian Faith in all aspects of human endeavour. Faith is the insight which enables man to see all things in the light of eternity.
-I-he teacher's task is to awaken people to their human possibilities preparing them to respond to God's action within them. Hence there can he no dichotomy between the spiritual and profane.
All areas of human knowledge are relevant in helping people to come alive to God — given opportunities to produce "Something beautiful for God." "The Glory of God is man alive!"
The Christian teacher must he creative and realistic remembering that Christ himself knew frustration and failure: his response was intensive prayer to his Father and this should characterise the p o s t ola t e of the active religious.
Perhaps one of the most saluahle experiences was the "open forum" sessions when the panel dealt with the questions submitted from Branch meetings of the AssoCiation of leaching Religious or posed from the flour.
The final lecture highlighted Pope Paul's document on Apostolic Life its outstanding and encouraging. ssith his strong affirmation that the evangelical consecrated life remains essential to the Church's mission and holiness.
The nulls who scattered to return to their classrooms all user the country did not depart glossing from comforting pats on the hack. Ihey realised Mica the demands and responsibilities of witnessing Christ's life and mission — a task which would be resumed on their knees.