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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Teacher suspended after apocalyptic lesson on good and evil

A religious studies teacher suspended after her lesson on 'good and evil' left a classroom of children in tears has won the backing of Pope Benedict XVI.

Cristina Vai, 55, a teacher for 30 years, was disciplined after several parents complained that children had come home sobbing and frightened.

They said they were scared of her graphic description of battles between good angels and the Devil from the Book of the Apocalypse.

Vai was then left shocked after the headmaster of the school told her of the complaints and said that, after consulting governors, he was suspending her from her position.

She taught five and six-year-olds at the Bombicci primary school in Bologna.

She immediately informed her local MP of the decision and also wrote a letter to Pope Benedict describing the incident.

She explained how she had been a religious studies teacher all her life and was stunned when to receive a reply within days of posting it.

In the letter Monsignor Peter Wells, an assistant with the Pope's Secretary of State, said: 'The Holy Father thanks you with all his heart for your faithful gesture and for the sentiments that have inspired you.

'His Holiness also sends you from his heart an Apostolic Blessing which he also extends in particular to the young children in the class.'

Today Mrs Vai said: 'This is such a wonderful letter and it really puts my heart at ease - now I am convinced that nothing bad will happen to me.

'I was accused of upsetting the children by explaining to them good versus evil and how evil is always punished but that is what is in the Bible there is good and bad in every story and this was not a fairytale.

'The children needed to hear about good and evil so they know the right choice to make.'

Her fight for reinstatement has also won the backing of her local MP, Fabio Garagnani.

He said: 'I hope that with this letter from the Pope matters will be cleared up and it will become obvious that her lesson was in perfect accordance with Catholic teaching.'

School principal Stefano Mari said: 'This was not an easy decision to make. We had parents complain that their children were scared by the way she explained the lesson and so after discussions she was suspended.

'I am aware of the letter from the Vatican but I don't see what difference it makes. My decision was based solely for the benefit of the children but the teacher has decided to make it an issue.'

My feelings on this article can be best expressed by a quote from Thomas Paine. "Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true."

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