Michael Moloney

Public Forum – Lead us not…

The shameful way schools teach sin and instil guilt

Schools are instilling 'unhealthy thinking patterns' in Britain's infants

60% of primary schools join in Collective Worship.

1 Most adults born in Britain have received a Christian education.  Today, 80% of us identify as non-religious or nominally Christian,1 yet by law schools must join in Collective Worship.2  About half of all primary schools do so.3  In many of these schools, infants are ritually taught to confess sins and repent, often by a cleric.4,5  Teachers do not set out to sexualise pupils, but the NSPCC cites guilt and shame, used by a figure of authority as a method of child sexual grooming.6

2 Deserting his wife and son in the late fourth century, St Augustine wrote The Confessions, decreeing “lust” and “filth” in infants.7,8  He reframed the rite of baptism.  Thanks to Augustine, clerics learn concupiscence (carnal lust) persists even after christening.9,10  Little wonder a new study shows clerics are more liable than others to sexually abuse children.  In November 2020 the UK independent inquiry reported that Child sexual abuse is “far from a solely historical issue.”  More than 100 new allegations are recorded every year.11

Church rites and rituals play a subtle role in clerical child abuse, and in adult mental well-being
St Augustine reframed baptism, he saw “filth” and “the itch of lust” in infants

3 Augustine’s hair-shirt tenet of penance gets the Church of England service to admit sin and beg forgiveness or mercy twenty-four times.  Grace and love are said twice, but the aggrieved victim of any wrongdoing is shut out.5   When we reject our religious teaching, the billions of neural connections made in our infant brains are not set free.12  Guilt and remorse often leave a mark.  Christianity has such a broad hold on early schooling that unhealthy thinking patterns are normalised.  Here, a review of research papers endorsing religious belief, finds critical weaknesses.  In response, psychologists reveal why this field of study is neglected by academia.

Mike Moloney’s upcoming book, St Augustine’s sin, suggests Christian rites and rituals play a more influential role in clerical child sexual abuse and adult mental well-being than has generally been recognised in mainstream social science.  This well-researched book will dismay those who suppose Christianity is a benign influence.  It might make open-minded readers think again.

Click below to read a detailed book review:


  1. Nominal Christians: Some Stats from the U.K. from Broad Application. CT, The Exchange. Retrieved from https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/september/nominal-christians-stats-from-uk-from-broad-application.html
  2. The Education Act 1996 requires all pupils in England and Wales to take part in a daily act of Collective Worship unless they have been explicitly withdrawn by their parents.  Section 375(3) requires the syllabus to reflect that the religious traditions of Great Britain are in the main Christian.
  3. TeacherTapp. Teachers are losing their religion – Part one. (2019).  Collective Worship “…is adhered to in nearly all Anglican and Catholic primaries, and nearly half of secular primaries.” Retrieved Apr 29, 2020 from https://teachertapp.co.uk/teachers-are-losing-their-religion-how-religious-are-teachers/ 
  4. Media company Ten Ten Resources produces prayers for Collective Worship distributed to subscribing schools.  The Penitential Act. “I am sorry for the times I have done wrong, …please forgive me and have mercy on me.”  Retrieved May 1, 2020 from https://www.tentenresources.co.uk/sunday-liturgy-for-families
  5. Church of England. Common Worship and The Confiteor (Confession). Retrieved Mar 11, 2020 from https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/holy-communion#mm7c
  6. NSPCC, Grooming – The relationship a groomer builds can take different forms …an authority figure or a dominant and persistent figure… might use tactics like blackmail to make a child feel guilt and shame. Retrieved May 24, 2020 from https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/grooming/#types
  7. The Confessions of St Augustine (c. 397), Translation by Pusey, Edward B. ‘no one is free from sin in (God’s) sight, not even an infant whose span of earthly life is but a single day’ (Book one, P9); ‘The only innocence in infants is the weakness of their frames; the minds of infants are not innocent.’ (Book one, P10); ‘weltering in filth and scratching off the itch of lust…my infant tongue spake freely to thee’ (Book nine, P128); ‘(infants) being yet little ones and carnal’ (Book twelve, P213).
  8. Answer to the Pelagians, Translation by Roland J. Teske SJ, ‘Who is clean from filth? Not even an infant who has lived one day on earth’ (Book six, P622)
  9. Christian View – https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Concupiscence (Jun 29, 2020)
  10. “Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as … concupiscence”. VII. 1264:The Grace of Baptism ccc
  11. UK Independent Inquiry: Child Sexual Abuse, Roman Catholic Church Investigation-Report, Nov 10, 2020, child sexual abuse is “far from a solely historical issue.” More than 100 allegations of abuse are being reported every year, right up to 2020.
  12. Harvard University, Center on the Developing Child, Retrieved from https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/brain-architecture/
  13. Thomas P Doyle et al. Sex abuse of minors by priests since AD309: Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church’s 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse.  2006 ISBN-10 1566252652

All claims made above and throughout this site are evidence based.  Supporting materials, documents and sources are comprehensively cited and referenced in the book, St Augustine’s Sin: why child abuse bedevils Christianity