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Maria Plustwik's account of Catholic schooling is sadly accurate. My own family is descended on one side from the Scots and on the other from the Irish. Each side kept the faith through the hardest times, and passed on the strongest tradition to their Australian descendants. Mary MacKillop was first cousin to my great-grandfather, Donald Mackintosh.
I have seven children and 27 nieces and nephews, and also 38 cousins mostly with families. With very few exceptions, our children's faith was destroyed before we could fully understand what was happening. In the next generation, essentially the only ones to retain their faith were the home-schooled. I bitterly regret trusting my children to the Catholic school system, which in Queensland finds scarcely two percent of its graduates practising the faith.
Maria made two particularly accurate comments. Firstly, the damage was done not so much by what was taught but rather by what remained untaught. And secondly, now the children of our children are being taught by a generation who have not learned the faith themselves.
If we parents do not continue to resist this tragedy, aren't we also sharing the guilt ?
Cardinal Pell has organised an efficient fightback. Unfortunately for our children we don't have that here.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 24 No 10 (November 2011), p. 13
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