Saturday 3 December 2016

We can't make sense of art, literature or history without an understanding of faith

Published 01/08/2016 | 02:30

Faith, they say, is
Faith, they say, is "caught, not taught": so perhaps faith and religion are different aspects of belief systems. Stock photo: Getty

Many of my generation feel that they were over-stuffed with religion in Irish schools - a 'Hail Mary' before every class, Maytime processions singing the 'Litany to Our Lady' - and this, perhaps, explains the reaction against such a surfeit of faith in current educational thinking. A draft proposal by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment now suggests reducing religious instruction to two-and-a-half hours a week in faith primary schools.

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All modernisers think kids should be stuffed with maths and science, rather than religion, which some commentators have dismissed as "fairy tales".

Yet I now feel that I didn't learn enough about religion in my convent schooldays. I'm gratified that I can still recite the Seven Deadly Sins ("Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy and Sloth"), though reciting them doesn't seem to have stopped me from indulging in them. And I'm glad that we had those beautiful Maytime processions.

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