Right or Wrong?

I had attended a catholic primary school before escaping to the relative tranquillity of St Anne’s Prep. The catechism lessons had begun at an early age and have been implanted in my long term memory (‘Who made you? God made me’ etc).

I always had a problem with the idea of theft – what if you stole a Mars bar and then ate it? How could you be forgiven in confession and so forth (the idea of restitution must have passed me by). When Bro Cyril told us in class that there were temptations in the amusement arcade at Trentham Gardens that must be avoided at all costs our collective ears pricked up at once. He described a hellish device called ‘Grip-Tease’ – an ingenious offshoot of the ‘What the butler Saw’ machine for those of a voyeuristic bent. By applying pressure to the two metal grips with both hands, the young(!) lady viewed through the magnifying lens would obligingly remove items of clothing until ‘Naked as Nature Intended’ (remember the naturism films of the early sixties?). Unfortunately for us nine year olds, the amount of pressure required meant we never got past the very first stages of disrobement…

I distinctly remember Bro Cyril encouraging us to sabotage the machine by use of a ruler or similar device. This gave me a fundamental issue as surely the destruction of property was theft? Once more I was tortured by the subtleties of the catholic faith, never to recover I’m afraid.



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