What's Catholic?

Monday 9 February 2015

I went to Kindergarten at Scots College in Mansion Road, Bellevue Hill when I was not quite 5, about February 1930. Scots College was then and presumably still is a Presbyterian school. Ecclesiasticism was strong then.

One of my earliest memories is of the kindergarten, presumably on the first day. The teacher was, I think, a Miss Evans. She looked at the paper before her , looked at me and said:"Freelitch, that's a funny name" and "what religion are you?" I said "Jewish". Her brow cleared. "Oh that's alright, as long as you're not Catholic". Apparently I went home and said "Mummy, what's Catholic?"

In the same vein, some years later, probably about 1935, one of the boys mentioned "Catholic" in class. The form master nearly had apoplexy. The word "catholic" means "universal" he thundered. WE belong to the Universal Christian Church. What you are referring to is the Roman Church. Don't you forget it.

I went to Scots Preparatory School from 1930 to the end of 1936 when I went to Sydney Grammar. The only time I can recall being personally confronted with religious or ethnic difference was when I was about 6 or 7 and was told, purely as a matter of known fact, that I had killed Christ. "I didn't" I said "I haven't killed anybody".

At that stage I doubt if I knew who Christ was.

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