Of course, human freedom means that moral teaching must be freely embraced if it is to last. However, it is not enough to put the main burden of imparting good living to the next generation on parents who will be "the main source of exemplary conduct" plus learning by the example of those around us.
We have been living on our capital reserves of morality for a long time now without paying sufficient attention to them; all the evidence is that present-day results are not what we want.
If there were to be no general teaching in schools about moral and religious values, the downward trend would almost certainly continue. We may disagree on the most effective ways of putting moral values before the next generation whilst they are at school, but to remove morality and religion from our schools and leave it to the good people in society has never been sufficient.
The writer was Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle 1974-1992Reuse content