Thursday, 23 September 2010

Ben XVI - education and inspiration

I have the house to myself, a great, heart warming home-cooked daal on the stove, peshwari naan in the oven and a bottle of Old Hooky at the ready. So, I thought I would have a little think about the recent Papal events in these parts.

Being someone who is interested in teaching, education and learning I was interested to hear
BXVI views on these topics most of all. This was the visit of an educated academic for the beatification of an educator, intellectual - two men with a passion for learning.

At Cofton Park BXVI spoke directly about Blessed John Henry Newman's vision for education, commending his understanding that learning has got to be rooted more deeply than any reductive, utilitarian ethos. The critic in me paused here to consider the way in which students today are forced to enter a lottery in order to secure the fate of their Secondary school. For the most part, Catholic schools have opted out of this system, and faced much criticism for it...but, I digress - that debate is more complicated than the remit of this post.

BXVI renews Newman's appeal for an intelligent, well instructed laity. Quoting Newman's words he declared: 'I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it.'

That strikes me as something of a real challenge to the laity, to the person sitting in a pew on a Sunday, to teachers, to pupils, to everyone. To me it is a beautiful challenge both to seek education, and to learn to use words carefully - as precious gifts for sharing with one another. I liked that, it inspired me.

Now, I am going back to my yummy dinner, that beer and some Black Adder.

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