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Government review of RE in State Schools (letter)

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 Contents - Aug 2005AD2000 August 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Liturgy: opportunity for bishops to take control - Michael Gilchrsit
What the Church can teach the secular world - Archbishp Barry Hickey
News: The Church Around the World
Campus Life: Cardinal Pell's program for a Catholic culture at Sydney's universities - Stephen Lawrence
International poll underlines growing secularist challenge - Michael Gilchrist
Media: Our Lord's name: responding to media blasphemy - Andre Van Der Linden
Feminist translation: Inclusive language and the Trinity: the latest from Brisbane - Michael Apthorp
Benedict XVI's pontificate: the possibilities - Damian Thompson
London's Balham parish, 'an icon of liturgical hope' - Joanna Bogle
John Paul II: a Jewish appreciation
Anglican update: an orthodox fight-back - Fr Christopher Seton
Letters: Dissenter's manifesto (letter) - Imelda Aslett
Letters: Origins of the Bible (letter) - George Simpson
Letters: Lay-led liturgies (letters) - M.T. Kennedy
Letters: An Islamic Holland? (letter) - Henk Verhoeven
Letters: Sacrifice (letter) - M.A. Ross
Letters: Abortion breast cancer link (letter) - Dr Tim Coyle
Letters: Real Presence (letter) - John Schmid
Letters: Small Catechisms available (letter) - Fr Edward P. Evans
Letters: Stem cells (letter) - Brian Harris
Letters: Government review of RE in State Schools (letter) - Maureen Federico
Letters: Brisbane Archbishop bans weekday Latin Mass (letter) - Tom King
Letters: The Mass (letter)
Letters: Appreciation from Nepal (letter)
Poetry: A Heavenly Surprise
Books: More Catholic Than the Pope, by Patrick Madrid and Pete Vere - Fr Glen Tattersal FSSP (reviewer)
Books: More Good Reading from AD Books
Reflection: How we will overcome the shortage of priests - Fr John O'Neill PP

Not long ago I received a letter from the Council for Christian Education in Schools (CCES) that the Victorian Government has announced plans to review the Education Act 1958, which makes provision for Christian Religious Education (CRE) in State schools, and feel seriously concerned that any new legislation may preclude this provision.

The present and former governments have supported the CCES through the valuable work undertaken by trained voluntary teachers and a grant to the High School Chaplaincy.

As a CRE teacher, it is my observation that the energetic and enquiring minds of children are keen to explore their lives for meaning and purpose. This becomes inter-generational with their parents and grandparents providing their own input of religious education.

Are children now to be deprived of a half-hour a week education in the Christian faith that has inspired the great works of art, music, writing, poetry, not to mention ethics, law and a liberal-democratic government system under which we are privileged to live and one of the most enduring forms of education they will ever receive?

While general worship in the Christian churches is sadly declining, children are vitally interested in the real story of Christmas and Easter, and why and how we celebrate these great festivals.

The same can be said of family funerals and even Anzac Day when in the services (including at Gallipoli), hymns and prayers are included? What do they all mean? Pity the child who goes through life with all this remaining a total mystery.

Religion is always making news. Witness the youthful mourners at Pope John Paul's funeral, and the almost universal outpouring of spiritual hunger from believers and non-believers in response to a man who showed us a better, healthier path than what is the norm around us.

We need to be vigilant when we think that our privileges are set in stone. They are not, and can be subject be to the whims of agenda-driven legislators, vocal minority groups and of course the now ever-present relativism of officious "political correctness".

We need to consider that, while bending over backwards on multiculturalism, little or no consideration is made for Christian feelings. Our own precious Judeo/Christian culture may just sink under the melee, as it has already with few authentic Christmas decorations on public display.

Frankston, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 7 (August 2005), p. 17

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