QTRONG criticism of the way
religion is taught in Britain was made last week at an interfaith conference at Ampleforth College, Yorks.
More than 100 teachers, priests and lay people were told that religious instruction is increasingly becoming a "departmental activity". Too often it results in children being labelled "failed in religion".
The purpose of the conference, organised by the Ryedale Christian Council, was to "consider how children may grow up as Christians".
Mr. Derek Lance, a teacher from the Beckett school, Nottingham, dealt with the problem of presenting "Christ in the classroom" and warned of the departmental approach to R.I.
He said that a symbolic presentation of the Paschal mystery need not be hindered by varying degrees of intelligence. A boy with a high 1.Q. could miss the point of the symbolism which would be "crystal clear to a less intelligent child".
Mr. Kenneth Barnes. a Quaker headmaster, also criticised the "departmental" method of teaching. Ile stressed the importance of rejecting the idea of a separate "spiritual life": God is inseparable from minute-to-minute human experience. The "rejection of the world" could damage religious presentation, he added.
The conference ended with a short service in the crypt of the Abbey Church. Prayer by an Anglican was followed by an unaccompanied hymn, Then Fr. Mark Butlin, 0.S.B., said a final prayer.
Orders want to meet again
AN agreement that future disdiscussions will take place between Anglican and Catholic religious orders was arrived at after the first-ever interdenominational religious conference in this country.
One of the most important results of the conference, held at Downside Abbey, was in showing the "great similarity of the problemsto be faced by religious orders of all creeds in modem times. Dom Cuthbert McCann. one of the chief organisers, said it was "much more successful than we thought it could have been".
Nine papers were read by young religious and subjects ranged from 'The Biblical origins of the Religious life" to "The training of Religious" and "Institutionalism".
Nearly 60 representatives from Anglican and Roman Catholic religious communities from all parts of the world took part in the eight-day conference. The theme was "The Religious Life in the World Today".