Thank you for sharing your experiences with your children and their school.
As a father of a four-year-old, I'm just beginning to face some of the
contradictions you so fully point out. I wish our Catholic schools here in
Upstate New York were as liberation aligned!
Thank you. Gerald
----- Original Message -----
From: "Alison Croggon" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 10:23 PM
Subject: Re: Ah well
> At 12:31 PM +0100 14/2/02, Martin J. Walker wrote:
> >It may be
> >(I'm very hesitant about this, but the subject keeps coming up on the
> >that the "disappearance" of poetry is related somehow to the outbreak of
> >vicious scapegoating mechanisms (though Nazis "liked" poetry ~ of a kind.
> It's hard to avoid that suspicion. My feeling that there is a
> connection, or a series of connections, both direct and indirect.
> But the need to boil complexities down to a simple "this or that" is
> common to both the rejection of poetry and scapegoating. Muriel
> Rukeyser had a bit to say about that in her comments on the
> "corruption of consiouness" in The Life of Poetry. And kind of
> sideways, I recently read this essay on a famous poem of Frost's,
> which amused me, and also suggests a close relationship between
> nationalistic sentimentality and the refusal of close reading - at
> At 11:32 PM +0000 14/2/02, Jill Jones wrote:
> >But that wasn't the point. I also know a lot of Christians whose views
> >similar to mine, in fact even more 'out there' at times, and if they can
> >those things that must be said, as Alison outlined, then I'm pragmatic
> >to applaud those efforts. It doesn't mean I want them to bring back the
> >inquisition (our methods are fear and surprise, etc).
> I too find all the contradictions fascinating. My kids go to
> Catholic schools - when my eldest child grew old enough for school,
> it was the time when Kennett was disembowelling the State system,
> closing around 300 schools as I recall, and I really didn't feel that
> he (or I) could cope with the subsequent insecurity. The only
> alternative for a sole parent like I was at the time was a Catholic
> primary school and so, a little dubiously (remembering horror stories
> about nuns) I enrolled him. As opposed to a class size of around 30,
> Josh started in a class of 18 in a tiny school of about 100 pupils.
> Intriguingly, of those 18 kids, 11 came from sole parent families.
> At the slightly larger school my kids attended later, of about 200
> students, they had 40 different nationalities, and included among the
> children Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and pagans like us as well as
> The ideology of this school - in the Western suburbs and so face on
> with the various social ills here - came straight out of Vatican II
> and Liberation Theology. It is also kind and practical. I like it,
> and I like the effects it has had on the children. There is nothing
> wrong, for instance, in learning how to say sorry to your friends
> when you've done something wrong. They can sort the rest out later.
> There is a significant difference between grassroots Catholicism (how
> many religious Catholics have 16 children these days in the West?)
> and the heirachy, and it leads to really interesting schisms and a
> kind of practical subversiveness.
> But I have seen a definite turn to the conservatism since Archbishop
> Pel (who, Jill, is actually an official on an organisation that used
> to be known as the Inquisition), and that is filtering down to the
> primary schools. So I was upset when my youngest child was being
> taught about Hell, for instance, which never used to be mentioned,
> let alone taught... And it leaves the (very) liberal priests of the
> Parish in a dilemma, which it is quite painful to witness.
> The older children are now in secondary schools, again staunchly
> Catholic, but also with amazingly explicit ideologies of social
> justice; and in particular, very strongly motivated towards
> recognition of the injustices done to the Aboriginal people (all the
> letterheads and a sign outside the schools acknowledge the people the
> land the buildings stand on belonged to). The school newsletters,
> for instance, come home with messages from the principal saying that
> true Christians do not turn away the homeless and the needy, and that
> the current treatment of refugees is disgraceful; and the daughter of
> a friend of mine (in year 7) insisted her mother vote Green in the
> last election. They tolerate their students dressing like Goths or
> looking like Kylie Minogue. And of course the Presentation schools
> were formed originally as hedge schools in Ireland, when the English
> banned Catholic children from learning to read or write. So behind
> the Catholic is the small-c catholicism, alive and well, and the
> subversive humanistic message of the Gospels pokes through, despite
> the hierachy. Long may it continue...
> Alison Croggon
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