Monday, September 21, 2009

Indoctrination and all that ...

I've just arrived home after a Welcome Mass in a local secondary school for the children new in Year 7 and for their parents.

It was a pretty good celebration as these things go, and despite the fact that it took place in the evening, there was a good turnout from pupils and their parents (at a guess I'd say about half the pupils in the year and their parents were present).

It is amusing though, at such an event, to reflect on those secularists who portray Catholic schools (and others) as representing an illiberal manipulation of the minds of the young. They know so little about the institutions they criticise - little about the good work they do, little about the real extent of religious "indoctrination".

Here's a case in point. At the time for holy communion one of the parents came to me, having stood in line with the other adults and some of the children. She stood still before me. No extending of the hands or opening of the mouth to receive communion. No placing of the hand on the heart to indicate that she had come for a blessing.

"Do you take communion?" I said.
She looked at me puzzled.
"Have you come for holy communion?" I repeated, rephrasing the question slightly and speaking a little more loudly and slowly.
She looked at me quizzically again, paused then said:
"I'm sorry, duck, you've completely lost me."

I said a quick prayer of blessing and indicated - politely I trust - that she could walk on.


Anonymous said...

So what was she doing in line in the first place?

Quack quack comes to mind...

shadowlands said...

I don't think the first commenter should insult the woman. Her heart may be perfect before God,even if her outward movements give some more spiritual types cause for mockery;eg "Thank you God that I know what lining up for communion means,not like this daft duck".
Reminds me of a bible passage,
The Lord obviously wanted her at the altar,and for you to notice her.I shall say a prayer for her too.
I went to Lauds at Prinknash on Saturday,didn't have a clue what to do,but felt like being there.The Priests and brothers were very friendly and helpful,even though I was an ignoramus rite and form wise.I want to get closer to God,and if that means upsetting religious technique experts,so be it! My God turns tables over,to get His point across!

Patricius said...

The lady would appear to be a non-catholic parent who considered her best course of action was to do as everyone else seemed to be doing- i.e. leaving their places and processing to the front. "Duck", as I understand it here, is a regional term of endearment which nevertheless might be interpreted as patronising. In this context "Quack quack" is merely funny. Fr Peter's main point, that Catholic schools are far from being the effective institutions of indoctrination secularist critics maintain is, sadly. all too true.