Read With Mother



The other night I was putting the school textbooks into the children’s bags and I opened up the Senior Infants textbook ‘Grow in Love’. It is a religious education book. It cost us €8.99.

Earlier in the day I had read posts from people who were – rightly, in my view – incensed that the State broadcaster RTÉ had shown live Mother Teresa’s induction into Heaven’s Hall of Fame.

Well, here’s what they teach 5 year olds in Ireland’s state-funded schools in 2016, so it’s not as if RTÉ was doing a solo run on this.

Just as you pay your licence fee to RTÉ so that it tells you why you need to give up your auld sinful attachments to pensions and universal benefits, you also pay for your children to learn to admire someone who thought the poor accepting their lot was a beautiful thing.

But it doesn’t stop there: the child is supposed to read it with her family. So you are, in fact, paying for your child to proselytise to you about the virtues of charity…

The Apple order (Cunning Hired Knaves)

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44 thoughts on “Read With Mother

  1. Joe Small

    When you examine his life, Gandhi was a big weirdo too but on the whole, they did more good than bad. Are you sending your child to a Catholic school be any chance? Then don’t be so shocked!

    1. ironcorona

      Mother Teresa thought the poor should suffer because it was good for them.

      She did not do more good than harm.

    2. manolo

      Is it not primarily a public (funded by taxes) school?

      Latin languages have a great differentiation in the to be verb. There is the “this cup is hot” (temporary) kind of to be and there is the that mountain is huge (permanent) type. The schools being public is the permanent type while the catholic bit is (I hope and believe) temporary and only the case due to church interference.

    3. ahjayzis

      I assume she’s sending her child to a publically funded school staffed by public sector workers in a building benefiting from substantial public investment.

      It may be the case it’s one of 90% of our public schools we inexplicably still allow the employees of the Vatican City State to manage, but that’s beside the point.

    4. Turgenev

      Don’t look here at Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu! Look over there at Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi!

      But a religious education book is going to push the current thinking at the top of its religious hierarchy, you have to expect that. And kids who know that if they go to school they should believe what they’re taught – that Jane Austen was a great writer, that Dublin is the capital of Ireland, that the square on the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the squares on the other two sides – may find it puzzling that they’re taught this weirdness in another class in the school.

      The problem isn’t with the book and its craziness, it’s with the concept of schools being run by religious groups. Schools should be state-run and religious teaching should be limited to religious organisations. Otherwise we’re just sending our kids to Catholic madrassas.

  2. Clampers Outside!

    ” Just as you pay your licence fee to RTÉ so that it tells you why you need to give up your auld sinful attachments to pensions and universal benefits ”

    “…give up… sinful attachments to pensions and universal benefits ”

    Sorry now, but if you are getting that from RTE, I don’t think I’ll hold any water with whatever else you get from RTE, thanks….

    * shakes head in disbelief *

  3. Dcossy

    Chances are you’re sending your child to a Catholic school where it is expected that there is religious education.

    Just another person looking to be outraged here…nothing to see….

    Try Educate Together if religious emphasis in a religious school isn’t your thing.


    1. ahjayzis

      *Public school run by catholics, most probably the only public school in her area.

      Either educate yourself or try to be less of an obtuse troll.

      1. Dcossy

        Catholic school run by Catholics, with an emphasis on Catholic education.

        And ‘most probably the only public school in her area’? How can yo even being to make that assertion from her post?

        So a dissenting opinion is now trolling…?

        And Obtuse…cool word, man. Impressed.

  4. fluffybiscuits

    You could caption it

    The top left one

    “This is sadistic cow Mother Teresa”

    Top right

    “Teresa roamed the streets of Calcutta looking for victims. Many of those afflicted who she hunted lived there”

    Bottom left

    “Teresa spent a lot of time talking to an imaginary being in the sky who told her go and ruin the lives of tens of thousands of people”

    Bottom right

    “Among her favourite past times was to re use hypodermic needles and watch people suffer which she got off on”

      1. Caroline™

        I know this sounds naive but I my eyes did pop a bit when someone first showed me the “draw your picture of Jesus on the cross” page. And they have a point about the teaching on Mary. It goes exactly contrary to what they will learn in their Stay Safe thingy. I just think their reaction is a little amusing. Of course it’s all hilarious and academic for me because my kids don’t/won’t go to religious schools.

    1. nellyb

      It’s not complicated really. If no choice, parents can explain religious class as a cultural history class. And a lot of history comes with myths and stories, some of them awfully brutal, like the greek myths.
      There is also a big lesson of not giving blind trust to every teacher. In fact it’s a very good life lesson, kids will thank you for that. Bit of iconoclasm goes a long way :-)

  5. AdvertisingOnPoliceCars

    “you also pay for your children to learn to admire someone who thought the poor accepting their lot was a beautiful thing.” ie Capitalism.

  6. newsjustin

    So wait. You’ve sent your child to a catholic school and bought the religion textbook, which would seem to indicate that you haven’t opted your child out of receiving religious education at the school? You are then shocked that the religious textbook in question presents a well known catholic person, and now saint; in a benign way, simple, child friendly way? Seriously, that’s just silly.

    As for showing part of the canonisation ceremony on TV, you need to understand that in a secular democracy, with a public service broadcaster, lots of things will be broadcast that you have no interest in or that you don’t like. I don’t really care for most of the political party Ard Fheiseanna (sp?) and the rugby. I don’t view them as a personal affront though, because I know other people like them.

    1. ahjayzis

      If the Mater Hospital was run by Christian Scientists instead of the Catholics, and an ambulance took you there and they refused to perform a necessary blood transfusion – is it your fault for not commandeering the ambulance and steering it towards a hospital run by a more agreeable apocalypse cult?

      These are public schools in anything but name and in vast swathes of the country the catholics have managerial control of all available public schools.

      So respectfully, your point is bullsh1t.

  7. Niamh

    When I was in junior infants they regularly played a singalong tape that retold the death of the unicorns – caused by being too giddy and not getting onto the ark in time – in what was, to me, harrowing detail. This around 1992. I mourned those unicorns.

  8. :-Joe

    Ever wonder what Father Ted would be like with the always, at the very least, entertaining Christopher Hitchens being in it….

    Check out this short documentary film he made on Teresa, originally titled “Sacred Cow” but they had to change it for some reason I can’t remember.

    It features scenes in the beginning from the Ireland leg of the catholic church’s world tour and propoganda campaign to have her elected as the next saint.

    This film and her whole story would be just hilariously bizarre if in reality it was’nt so disturbing….



    1. :-Joe

      I forgot to mention that Hitchens has a book called the “Missionary Position”, well worth reading.


      The HUGE influence she had by proxy as a tool of the vatican on the worlds attitude to birth control and abortion cannot be underestimated and remains to this day.

      Ever wonder where all those pro-life nutters from Ireland (akin to the westboro baptist homophobic church) came from? Well they should read that book and help repeal the 8th.

      Here’s another good link , enjoy.


  9. Ivor

    I seem to remember seeing the Hitchens’ programme during my youth and wondering why, if Teresa’s order was so evil, there weren’t a whole bunch of victims actually interviewed. Maybe I’m misremembering or saw an edited version. I think anybody who has read God is Not Great knows that while Hitchens is a great polemicist, he’s no scholar or even an investigative journalist.

    As far as I know, most complaints about Teresa’s order cone from members of a right-wing Hindu Nationalist party. As such, I’d take some allegations with a pinch of salt given that there have been many more people who actually worked with the nuns who describe the claims as nonsense.

    The notion of the poor accepting their lot as a good thing is curious. Serenity would be a viewed as virtue by many people of various faiths and none. Not sure if Teresa had some sort of extreme views on serenity or if Hitchens’ caricature went mainstream.

    1. :-Joe

      Depends how you define a scholar and to call him just a polemicist is very reductive.

      He was a political activist, journalist, writer, author, columnist, essayist, editor, critic, contrarian and a very good orator with a comedic flair..

      Plenty of facts out there bouncing around about Agnes, you should be able to find them easily…


  10. :-Joe

    All the money she was given, literally in the tens of millions… was not spent on improving any of the facilities in her first hospice that were already dreadfully unhygenic and actually a dangerous health hazard making some of the patients more ill in some cases.

    Instead all the money was invested in creating 500 replica hospices around the world with the same level of abuse of the term “caring for the poor”.

    Agnes(her real name) did not care about the poor, she cared about poverty. How it made the vatican look so gloriously pioius having her as their greatest ambassador among everyone including her favourie sort in the rich corrupt dictators, fraudsters and all levels of wealthy society.

    On her death bed she left writings to be read which detaied her inability to have any faith in jesus etc. and that she failed despite trying very hard but asked people to pray for her despite her pain in not being able to reconcile this with the harshness of the world.

    I believe she was a victim herself of a grand delusion, like a member of a cult or a child star gone off the rails in the greatest way possible. It’s been estimated that around a million people died in her care and many of them could have been saved or at least died with real dignity and some comfort.

    The sum of her actions amounts to sadism, fraud, hypocrasy and the delusion of masses into thinking many very harming ideas, actions and damaging beliefs were ok and part of being a good catholic or an advocate of the poor.

    It’s an incredible life story, I’m glad she admitted some of her real self in the end but we’re all better off she’s gone, her legacy is still very damaging to the world’s poor and womens rights in particular and she’s definitely no saint… but nobody ever was or will be. Eamonn.


  11. Kieran NYC

    I found it gas (and a little depressing) listening to people talk about her “miracles” and the process of judging them with a straight face. In the 21st century.


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