NCatholic parent should feel it necessary to withdraw his child from religion classes in Inner London schools which introduce the new agreed syllabus of Religious Education. entitled "Learning for Life."
Neither need any •Catholic teacher in a county school have any scruples about teaching religious instruction within such an excellent framework, writes Mr. Duncan Macpherson lecturer in divinity at St. Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, in a review of he new syllabus.
The syllabus has been produced by the Inner London
Educational Authority and Mr. Macpherson describes it as really first class. He writes:
"There are Catholics who imagine that religious in State schools is either Protestantism pure and simple, or else Christianity shorn of solid doctrine or the recognition of the need for church membership. Such views have never represented more than a caricature in any of the 50 or so agreed syllabuses in use in the State schools, but in the case of this syllabus they just could. not be more wrong.
"Educationally speaking it is the most flexible and up to date agreed syllabus ever to have been produced, and mucly:if its excellence reflects the influence of Ronald Goldman's brilliant research into the relationship between religious education and developmental psychology.
"Throughout the syllabus the thematic approach is favoured. The teacher begins with themes within the area of the pupil's own. experience and concern, seeking to show the way in which Christians relate their faith to everyday life. Much of this material is extraordinarily good and With slight adaptation could be used by the catechist in the less open-ended context of the Catholic R.I. lesson.
"The book contains some very useful expositions of the theological, educational and social problems involved in the teaching of religion. The background information on the problems of modern theology and the differing interpretations of the Bible is particularly' masterful. Every school of thought from Protestant Fundamentalism to the 'Death of God Theology' receives lucid, scholarly and unbiased attention. Indeed the syllabus would be worth buying for these introductory articles alone.
"Other articles include perceptive studies on 'Religious Education in a Multi-racial Community. "The Position of Teachers with Religious Reservations.' and introductions to the beliefs of Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.
"Faced with the problem of the increasingly varied religious and cultural backgrounds of pupils in the Inner London area, the conference which produced the syllabus included not only teachers. educationalists and experts from the Anglican and Free Church traditions but also representatives of the Greek Orthodox Church. Judaism and Islam, as well as our own Fr. Hubert Richards of the National Catechetical Centre.
"The resulting syllabus is sufficiently comprehensive 'not only to speak to the convinced Christian and to the seeker after Christian Faith, but to provide opportunities for the non-Christian immigrant as well as those of our own culture who profess no commitment, to explore truth in the widest possible framework.'
"It is not often that a reviewer is unable to find any fault at all in the work under review but 'Learning for Life' is almost beyond praise." Copies of the syllabus, price I 5s., can be obtained from County Hall, London. SEA .
Lectures on world citizenship
BISHOP BUTLER. Auxiliary for Westminster, will be among the speakers in the series of Christmas holiday lectures in Central Hall, Westminster, from December 31 to January 3, organised by the Council for Education in World Citizenship. More than 2,000 schoolchildren from all over the world will attend.
Other speakers will be Prof. Sir Robert Birley; Lord Caradon; the Anglican Bishop. of Woolwich, Dr. Robinson; the Rev. Saul Amias, of Edgware Synagogue; the Rajah of Mahmudabad, director of the Islamic Cultural Centre; Mr. B. Narayan, a Hindu scholar; and the Ven. Sthavira Sangharghshito, president of the Western Buddhist Order.
Tickets (£2 for the four days) may be obtained from the Acting Secretary, C.E.W.C., 93 Albert Embankment, London, S.E.11.