BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT TEACHERS had been described as people who -a. must always be present but never obtrusive, "a sort of universal presence, like God—only more interfering," said Archbishop Murphy of Cardiff on Monday in an address to Catholic teachers.
The Archbishop, who was speaking at a meeting of the Catholic Teachers' Federation at St, Illtyd's College. Cardiff, continued: "That was Elspeth Huxley, and she has something there. A teacher has to be God, and woe betide him if this god has feet of clay. All his influence collapses."
Catholics, he said. could repeat and improve on the Newsome Report observation: "It is the personal contact of the teacher on the child which provides an education and makes sense."
CHRISTIAN SENSE Catholics could say that it was the personal contact of the believing teacher on the believing child of the believing parent that made Christian sense.
"The principle of personal contact you will accept. I think, without much argument. It is a vital pedagogic principle. Human relations are of primary importance in education. Never let yourselves become over-interested in ideas and under-interested in persons .
"When we think of the children looking up to us as God, we just think of it as something sweet. But, in a Christian context. the children are not just sweet; the children are right. We are gods. We have been born all over again. We arc, or we should be. gods living this newness of life really and truly as sons of God . .
"You have to be in love with Christ before you can love these children deep down, as they need to be loved. You have to be conquered by Christ before you can conquer these children. You cannot get through to them: He can, but he needs to get through to them through you.
"The launching pad of all your tutorial flights is the love of God. A platitude, but the world today is crying out for a few people who will have the courage of their platitudes. There are too many itching ears deserting sound doctrine and looking out for 'hurrah words.' avoiding the platitudes, too many paperback theologians who never open a hardback."
Archbishop Murphy continued: "Never underestimate the capacity of children. They are little mystics, at least if they come from good Catholic homes. Thank God for the good Catholic parent. He halves our work and his children add to the whole tone of our schools. Unfortunately, one of the greatest sadnesses in the Catholic world is that the believing parent is often missing.
"We have the believing child, full of all his natural mysticism; we have the believing teacher ready to take advantage of all this and to water this tender shoot of Catholicism. but all the time we know that it is useless: that those beautiful, deep, baptised eyes with all their attractive enthusiasms will eventually glaze over with this cataract that conies from a careless Catholic home."