So far, I have focussed very much on the father’s role within the family, and the various ways in which he can influence his children’s upbringing with a view to helping them to keep their Faith.

However, every now and then, one has no choice but to stand up and be counted in the world beyond the home.

Such an occasion has just arisen with us: Charlie came home and told me that in Religious Education, they had started to watch a film ‘Keeping Mum’ with a view to studying how religion is portrayed in the media.

The film is extremely unsuitable for any children, let alone Catholic ones. It features blasphemy, profanity, sexual titillation and the morals of the gutter, all presented as normal and the ‘other worldliness’ of the religious character as something to be laughed at.

I would not have known any of this, except that, as it happens, another Catholic Dad in England had encountered the same thing in his (Catholic) school, and after appealing in vain to the school to change tack, started to blog about it.

So I have had to write to our kids’ (non-Catholic) school, explaining why we believe this to be inappropriate, and asking them to refrain from showing it.

I always find these things difficult: on the one hand, I am genuinely shocked that they could have thought it suitable, and angry that Charlie has already been exposed to profanity and blasphemy in the class room. On the other hand, I don’t want to alienate the school, who have been very good in most other ways, not least handling a previous complaint about an RE textbook, which they immediately corrected – and told the children they had and why.

Moreover, my wife has an intense dislike of any sense of confrontation and is much more involved in the school than I am, so will be the focus of any unpleasantness.

Nonetheless, I felt I had no choice but to write and express our reservations, and ask for a change of policy.

So then it was a matter of drafting a letter. The first was too angry; the second too flabby (you can see an early draft on my blog, if you’re interested, where I will also report on the school’s response, when I receive it). I had to keep re-working it to try to find the right balance of veritas and caritas: truth and charity. For I do not want to offend the school but influence them – but I also need to be very clear about my concerns, the reason for them and the strength of them. All of which is very difficult (at least, for me).

Which all leads to this question: when do we have to stand up and be counted – and how do we find the courage and grace to do that – if we are to keep our kids Catholic?

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