BY MARIAN CURD
AWORKING party has been set up to suggest
improvements in religious teaching in Catholic teacher training colleges. The move, decided on at a weekend conference, followed strong criticism from the students themselves that the present teaching was inadequate and outmoded.
Representatives of some 5.000 students in eleven colleges attended the meeting in the Digby Stuart Training College, Roehampton, under the auspices of the Association of Catholic Teacher College Students.
Coming face to face with their Principals, they presented the results of a two-prong survey, and offered suggestions (a) for a new Divinity Course. and (b) to combat religious apathy-sometimes amounting to non-practising-among some Catholic College students.
Divinity courses, they said, were not on the whole of a sufficiently high standard. Teaching was too personal and not sufficiently eatechetical. and did not take sufficient cognisance of modern catechetical methods.
All students. they said. had to follow the same course, with the result that some students from nonCatholic schools, having a poor religious education, took the same course as, say. a student fresh from several years in a seminary.
Atmosphere in college, they felt, was too enclosed. They appealed for more lay lecturers to be invited from industry, commerce, the professions. As teachers, they said, they would have to face children having little or no personal knowledge of the difficulties which would face them in these occupations.
Religious apathy, in some colleges and among some students. they said, was deplorable. Students who were lax, taking little or no interest in Catholic activities, were consistently anti-clerical and sometimes were even non-practising, were not, it was considered, suitable material for future teachers in Catholic schools.
The principals, under the chairmanship of Mother Richardson, of Digby Stuart Training College, included Fr, Hanlon. Principal of the new Christ the King College, Liverpool, currently building.
Jointly, the principals received the results of the surveys. carried out in two parts by members of ACT'S. The first section collated comments both on the current Divinity Courses, and on Religious Apathy. The second part contained suggestions for improving matters.
A thousand copies of the survey had been sent out, some 350 were completed. and of these some 60 per cent did not favour the current Divinity Courses. The majority of students favoured ACTS suggestions.
Best sellers on C.T.S. stalls
Paper-hack books on Catholic Truth Society stalls in Salford Diocese arc "selling like hot cakes." said Dr. E., Popham, president of the Salford C.T.S., this week. Paper-back editions of "The Cardinal," the film version of which will soon he shown in Manchester, are proving a best-seller in the area.
Dr. Popham said that the membership of the Society in the diocese has doubled in the past year to a total of 2,600. It the present trend continues. they will soon have the largest membership of any Provincial Society in the country.
Committees are now operatingin Blackburn, Burnley, Bolton, Rochdale, Middleton, Manchester, and Salford.