PAX CHRISTI in the Manchester area is calling on all Catholic schools to put an end to corporal punishment, stressing that such classroom lessons will only lead to adult relationships "welded together by force".
The Pax Christi letter, sent earlier this month to headteachers of Catholic schools, comes after a parliamentary vote which banned use of corporal punishment in governmentfunded schools. The vote, taken last July, put an end to England's status as the only European country where caning was allowed in schools financed by the government.
Despite the Catholic Education Council's resolution, in 1983, to call for a "phasing out" of corporal punishment in Church schools, there is evidence that a number of Catholic schools have paid no heed to the Council's recommendation.
Pax Christi spokesman Ruth Clancy points out that feedback from the Pax Christi letter reveals that many Catholic teachers, "and a majority of parents" in the greater Manchester area remain vociferous in their support of corporal punishment.
STOPP, the Society for Teachers Opposed to Corporal Punishment, hailed the Pax Christi letter as "an excellent Catholic schools in the Greater Manchester area, according to STOPP spokesman Martin Rosenbaum, do hold a "particularly bad" record with regard to corporal punishement. Three years ago a public Inspector's Report found that St Mary's, Trafford, had given out 100 canings in a half term, Mr Rosenbaum said.