Books in my school library?

First off, I attend a Catholic school and today I decided to head over to the library to find a book to read. I went to the Religion section and as I started passing the rows of books, I came to one which took me by surprise, it was The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I took it up to the front desk to borrow it and then I headed straight out and went to my R.E teacher. I asked him what this book was doing in a Catholic school’s library and he told me that it’s a interesting read and its good to know other people’s views. He did agree that it was anti-catholic but suggested that I read it. Fine, but I didn’t even bother to flip a page. I returned it and then went back to the Religion section and found another book which made me faint of shock, The Remarkable Gift: Being Gay and Catholic. I gingerly looked through the pages and saw that the writer (a priest, mind you) was using bible verses that condemn homosexuality and twisted them. One example was that God did not destroy Sodom because of the sodomites in it but rather because the people were unwelcoming. The book also tried to justify that homosexual acts were normal! I shoved the book back in its shelf and I was tempted to rip it to shreds there and then!

Should I sneak the books out and hide them somewhere where no one will ever find them? Is it right to have these kinds of books in a Catholic school?

It is great to see that a Catholic school is encouraging wide reading. Suppression of dissenting views by ignoring them is an unwise tactic.

I would most definitely consult a trusted priest on the matter. Perhaps having the books disappear to avoid leading young, impressionable minds into atheism or error may not be sinful? I’m not sure how much say-so a bishop has with the schools in his diocese, but perhaps contact him as well. And have your parents call the school and complain! Voice your concerns to your principal and as many staff members as possible. Rally support; there’s bound to be someone who will agree with you. Good luck!

I wouldn’t remove them bad as they might be. It is good to know the beliefs of others just as long as we can articulate our Catholic Faith first so we can point out where they fall short. For instance I can’t speak about the book on being “gay” and Catholic itself as I haven’t read it, but I know what the Church teaches on this issue and if I were to read it I could highlight its flaws.

I’ve tried several times to read The God Delusion, but the anger and poor philosophy(I don’t mean the Atheistic philosophy of " there is no God" but poor philosophy in general) which underpins the book means I just can’t drag myself to finish it. For this reason it is a good book to have in a lib to show its banality.

Ideas and books are not in themselves dangerous rather its the inability to recognise and refute poorly presented, poorly understood half truths that is bad for us.

If you want more info or support on an issue like this I would speak to the school Chaplain or your own priest in regards to this problem. He will be able to give you more appropriate advice for this particular situation.


This is hogwash. Alot of parents choose Catholic schools to give their students a faith based education. As they are private institutions who are funded by the parents of their students, they have an obligation to help build up faith and present opposing views in a manner where the Catholic perspective and response can also be reinforced. These books do not belong on the shelf of a Catholic high school,as their contents are likely beyond the ability of an average teenager to properly analyze. They are supposed to be protecting the faith, not encouraging dissent. If some inquisitive student wants to find such views, that is what public libraries are for.

Should they be there? Questionable. Should you sneak them out and hide them? No. They aren’t your books. That’s stealing. One wrong does not make two wrongs right. The ends do not justify the means. Go to the proper channels, tell the librarian your concerns, or the ‘principle’/headmaster(mistress).

Yes, but how old are you? Consider your last paragraph: I didn’t attend a Catholic high school, but I don’t believe most provide any rigorous training in philosophy or theology. Or am I mistaken? Nevertheless, for the sake of students who don’t know how to refute such things, they should be removed. As I noted in my reply to Hokomai, that’s what public libraries are for. For a Catholic school to be providing such material to minors is, in my opinion, scandalous.

Simply telling kids books are bad is a surefire way of getting their attention and more often than not they are going to try and find out what all the fuss is about. Our schools should be presenting the flaws inherent in this garbage not simply hiding and forgetting about it. Though I would agree that a responsible approach to that kind of material is necessary, i wouldn’t advocate simple removal.

It seems to me that providing such books as mentioned in the original post in a Catholic High School Library risks leading at least some students to believe that the information they contain is accurate. Just as the violence and sex we see daily on tv desensitized us to the sinfulness of them (If they are so common, what can be so bad about them?) finding such books in the school library could lead some to think that what they teach is not as bad as they thought.And perhaps some of the students might thimk that the Church approves of such thinking.

What you describe does not sound like teaching and learning to me. Trying to shape minds through ignorance is not a good idea.

If I knew the school had those books in the library, I would certainly not fork over any hard-earned money to pay for tuition!

If a teacher were to conduct an apologetics class using books like this *to show the errors of those books, *then I would be ok with the presence of those books in the school for that class *only. *And I would hope they bought the books used so the authors and publishers wouldn’t get any more money!

While the US is a pluralistic nation in which it is proposed that there is a free market of ideas in which truth will win, I haven’t noticed any signs of that, and Catholic theology states that error has no rights. Just as one does not have a “right” to disseminate a book which purports to defend pedophilia, so one does not have a “right” to diseminate a book defending any other error, such as atheism or homosexual behavior.

These books do *not *belong in a Catholic high school library!

I actually have to agree with this. If it is a Catholic school, yes, it ought to be a safe environment for learning. That said, it doesn’t have to be a sterilized environment for learning. Atheism, the homosexual agenda, attacks on religious freedom–all of these things are things we’re going to hear in the world today, no matter the age. Perhaps we should start preparing people to deal with these things when they are younger, rather than leaving them in the dark so that when they have to confront them they don’t know how. Have books like that in the library, sure, and then encourage people to examine them critically. I don’t think the fact that a book or journal is in a Catholic school library indicates a stamp of approval of all the opinions contained in it. We need to learn to engage the culture, and this means testing everything and holding on to what is good–and learning how to combat that which is not.


You should not in effect steal the books, even to keep them from other more impressionable students. However, I do believe that if you, and maybe some other like-minded students, were to *respectfullly *ask why the books were there, and *respectfully *refute those arguments (be prepared!), that would be a good idea.

You might also know of some parents who might also object to paying for their children to be exposed to this sort of thing with no guidance. While the God Delusion doesn’t bother me so much (quite frankly, I find it totally unreadable), the book on active homosexuality seems to be very undermining of what Catholic parents normally teach their children.

Reread my post carefully. I am not opposed to these views being presented. As I said, these views should be presented in the context of a class where the Catholic response receives equal treatment. The books stand alone by themselves in the library, without any balance of perspective. They are not part of the curriculum, so I don’t see where their absence promotes ignorance. These topics are perfectly worthy of discussion in religion class. Students’ minds aren’t going to wither away because they didn’t get to read Richard Dawkins. :rolleyes:

See my response to Hokomai above. We should indeed be dealing with these things, but these topics should be handled with care and with guidance from theologically grounded teachers, in class. Not by teenage students, on their own, who are, in today’s society, already under enough pressure from the secular world.

Not to mention that providing a book supporting the homosexual lifestyle written by a CATHOLIC PRIEST could be incredibly confusing to a young person.

:shrug:As long as it doesn’t reinforce the godless agenda…

I’m sorry, but I just don’t think this argument holds. If the book is not there, there’s no fuss. I doubt it was there by popular demand. No one has to announce to the students, “We will not be carrying Richard Dawkins’ “God Delusion” because it is a very very bad book and you should never read it!” Its disappearance would go unnoticed. And I already said I DO believe such views should be discussed. But the books in the library are there for independent reading. They are not part of the curriculum (unless you’re doing a book report or something.) The responsible approach is to address these issues in class, not leave them lying about the library to be randomly stumbled upon by a random student who will then read it without anyone properly trained to analyze and present the flaws inherent in it.

I completely agree! I wish I would have been more exposed to contrary views when I was younger so that I could have made my own conclusions about how false they were. Instead, I was shielded and when I left home at 18, I was completely unprepared for the world. I spent the next 15 years in Hell, questioning my faith, dabbling in the occult, and turning my back on what I was taught. Only now, as an adult, could I see how false the world is and I came back to my Catholic faith. I wish I would have had a solid understanding of all the evil out there before it sucked me in.

So you’re perspicacious enough to understand The God Delusion is problematic from a Christian perspective, but you don’t understand the 8th Commandment?

What did the library media teacher have to say when you asked her why they were there? Your parents or other trusted Catholic relatives? What about your priest? These people are better resources in understanding your dilema than us Internet strangers.


Unfortunately, I don’t have any trusted catholic relatives for most of them are either evangelical or cafeteria catholics. I agree that taking the books out wouldn’t be a smart idea because I would be sinning in doing so. If you saw the way the librarians roll their eyes at me when I borrow catholic books, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near them. What other alternative do I have? I don’t want to leave them there!

I agree with your view. I will try and get one of the teachers to remove the books and make sure that they never return to the shelf again.

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