Ransacked Indian School Reopens

THE HINDU, April 17— A grade school that was ransacked by vandals April 11 in the Indian city of Kosi Kalan has reopened, the Indian daily reported.

“Too young to understand what really happened in their school, [students] know something is amiss as they tip-toe past Father Varghese Kunnath who is managing the school. Also missing are the familiar faces of two nuns who — traumatized by the experience — have shifted to their mother house nearby,” said the paper.

She continued, “The presence of police personnel within nearby St. Theresa's Mission and some other Catholic institutions in Kosi Kalan is reassuring to the missionaries, but their presence speaks about the sense of insecurity that has gripped the missions in the wake of what the district magistrate has described as ‘three unrelated attacks’ in less than a fortnight.”

Maintaining that the attack on St. Theresa's School was a “purely criminal act” and just a case of robbery that turned violent, government officials said there was no evidence to suggest that the assailants were motivated by religious fundamentalism.

“Because of the absence of concrete evidence pointing to involvement of fundamentalist organizations in the three incidents, even the archbishop stops short of pointing an accusing finger at anyone,” the Hindu reported. The paper added, however, that what has not been lost on the Church and many others is the fact that these incidents began less than a month after a Kosi Kalan-based religious group called for an “awakening” against “the conspiracy of conversion” by Catholics in the town.

Irish Bishops Say Religion Teachers Must Embrace Faith

THE IRISH TIMES, April 18 — The Catholic bishops of Ireland have warned that teachers without a “faith commitment” should not be teaching the subject of religious education in Catholic schools, the Irish daily reported.

The bishops said religion classes should be entrusted to “those who are committed to the faith” and professionally qualified, the Times reported. “The teaching of religion is not a soft option,” they said.

These and other views on education are included in a new set of guidelines from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

The bishops state that teaching religion “requires a competent knowledge and understanding of the scriptures, systematic and moral theology, liturgy and the ability to communicate these from the perspective of the teacher's own faith commitment.”

Catholic schools should “phase out” the practice of getting “non-formally qualified personnel” to teach religion, the bishops said. They added that the teaching of religion should be given a minimum of two hours a week in the school timetable. “It is not acceptable for any reason that this requirement be reduced in schools where the education of Catholic students takes place.”

The responsibilities of publishers of texts and materials for the teaching of religion is also addressed. Said the bishops, “Those publishers who intend to produce texts and resources for the religious education of Catholic students are required to keep the contents of this document in mind.”