One of the biggest moral issues which Catholics in Education will have to face in the decades ahead is how to respond to Government diktats requiring the teaching of Zeitgeist Dogma on matters such as Abortion and 'Marriage Equality' and 'plural lifestyles'. I've been out of the teaching game for thirteen years now; like most retired paedagogues I will now bore you with "What I used to do", and invite your speculations on whether you think the Thought Police will, in future, permit the Hunwicke Game.
I used to give both sides of an argument. First, using every rhetorical trick known to me, specks of my saliva penetrating to the furthest corners of the lecture room, I would explain and defend the Zeitgeist Dogma: for example, that a woman has an uncircumscribed "right to choose"; or that homosexual liaisons and marriage are equivalent. By the time I had finished, the students were convinced that this was something that Father H would go to the stake to defend. Then I would do the same job for the proposition that the unborn baby has the right to live ... and so on ... you get the point.
The advantage to this was twofold. Firstly, the students were going to hear the arguments in favour of the Zeitgeist Dogmas soon enough anyway (almost certainly, had already heard them); there was no possibility of concealing these things from the young people, even if I had wanted to, which I didn't. So it might as well be me who enunciated things. At least they couldn't go off with the belief that Fr H, poor ignorant old fellow , had never heard the 'facts' about it all. Secondly, there was still a prejudice at the end of the last century that the young should be encouraged to think for themselves; that counselling and ethical education should be "non-directive". By giving both sides, and encouraging the little blighters to think, how could I be wrong-footed? But I had had the opportunity to give a thoroughly robust, no-holds-barred, account of Catholic moral teaching. And, cunningly, I had controlled the teaching experience.
Non-directive instruction was favoured by the Enemy in the last century because it provided a superb methodology for subverting Christian morality. My suspicion: As soon as They are firmly enough in the saddle themselves, they will attempt to see to it that no alternative morality gets a look-in; and this policy will be justified by the argument that allowing uncensored discourse would be offensive or hurtful to those whose choices might be queried.
Will someone in my position be able to get away with my old games in ten years time, or by then will the Thought Police be enforcing a strict discipline of Completely and Invariably Directive Ethical Instruction?
Or has it happened already?
28 December 2013
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It is very difficult to teach properly about abortion. The best priest I know speaks about it with adults, but refrains from the pulpit in fear of bothering children. Most priests avoid it in order to avoid controversy. And still others go on about it in a very legalistic and dogmatic way. I have only seen one priest preach effectively on the matter and he got us all to do a day of penance over the matter!
I think the only way you will be able to teach the truth about abortion (as well as about marriage and the immorality of homosexual acts) will be if you have Catholic schools which receive no money from the government.
Here in the US, we do have those, but they are mostly run by sisters, and others, so attune with the Zeitgeist that they tiptoe around any issue which offends it. They do tend to be pro-life in a general way and many send students to the Right to Life March, but the issue of gay marriage and the sinfulness of homosexual acts is so explosive that I doubt they touch it.
At least in this country, so long as parents pay for the schooling, schools could exist which teach the truth. Perhaps a few do. We do have a few faithful colleges;fewer lower level schools, I think, but perhaps someone knows of some that I do not. Mostly Catholic parents concerned about this have been home-schooling.
Anywhere that government financing is involved you will not be able to do it at all. Catholic schools in Canada are rapidly capitulating for this reason.
Does the will exist, anywhere there, for a truly independent Catholic school? Do the Oratorians still run schools, and are they independent?
Being free to do this is one of the reasons I homeschool my children.
I pray the Lord give me the grace to become even a shadow of the pedagogue you are, dear Father Hunwicke.
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