Quia surrexit Dominus vere. Alleluia. The Lord has risen! We rejoice indeed - secure in the knowledge that through His passion, death and resurrection Christ has won for us not only the unimaginable joys of eternal life, but His unfailing personal companionship, guidance and support. He truly accompanies each and every one here and now. Just as He walked and broke bread with the dispirited disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus is right beside us as we traipse through this post-conciliar vale of tears disillusioned, exasperated and tempted to despair. Looking beyond our lukewarmness, our cowardice, our Cyrenian-like reluctance to bear this cross - the Risen Lord sees our faith and goodwill. Jesus understands! He appreciates our efforts, however meagre, to defend His very Body - the Church - from the faithless mutilators within. The Good Shepherd will never abandon His sheep. The ultimate Good News!
… Unless, that is, you have had the misfortune of being raised and educated in the post-conciliar age. For beyond the parish pulpit, nowhere is the Good News more stifled and corrupted today than in the Catholic classroom. Deconstructed by episcopal hirelings, in concert with the omnipotent 'experts' (in sheep's clothing) who populate their soulless education bureaucracies, the vast majority of schools have long been ideologically programmed to deny our children the absolute and unequivocal truth about Jesus and His teaching Church; to systematically deprive them of the supernatural guidance, comfort and hope which is their right by Baptism. The refreshingly honest memoir of a recently retired Catholic Principal which immediately follows, serves to confirm this institutionalised Bad News. It effectively explains how, in an ecclesial blink of an eye, the exhortation to "know God, love Him and serve Him…" has been transmuted to "know, love and please yourself"; how the liberating truths of the Catechism - once transmitted by our parochial school systems as a matter of course and the bane of Marxists, Masons and false ecumenists everywhere - have been swapped for the enslaving humanistic mantras of the liberal establishment. Hence the almost surreal fact that our Lost Generations schooled since the Council now inhabit a spiritual wilderness - a personal island surrounded by fog - which leaves them isolated, unprotected and easy prey for manipulation and control by the pseudo-religious, politically correct - and worse.
It is in this tragic light that we need to assess last February's outcry against amendments to the Blair government's Education Bill. Tabled by left-liberal anti-religious MPs, the amendments sought to force Catholic schools to accept a 25% quota of non-Catholic pupils and to proscribe practice of the Faith as a requirement for entry. According to a report in the Catholic Herald [8/2/02], "Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham, chairman of the Catholic Education Service, said the plan was an 'affront' to Catholic parents' right to have a Catholic education for their children." As Mr Caffrey makes clear in his soul-searching evaluation, however, it is the Archbishop's so-called Catholic education system itself, including the wicked ICONS RE programme he recently approved [see CO, Jan. 2002; Nov. 2000], that is the real "affront" - not just to pupils and parents and the previous generations of faithful who built and maintained the schools at great personal cost, but to the memory of the English and Welsh martyrs and, above all, to Almighty God.
Furthermore, apart from the twin plagues of Modernist RE and sex-ed now scarring innocent young souls, it is reported that around a third of the teachers in Britain's 2,400 Catholic schools are already non-Catholics, and that the recruitment of practising Catholic Head Teachers of any stripe, let alone the calibre of Mr Caffrey, is becoming harder by the year, thus making the recruitment of non-Catholic Heads and Deputies inevitable. Certainly, the malicious agenda of parliamentary bigots is a genuine concern. But is it really much different from the Modernist agenda under which this 'Catholic' system is so efficiently and rapidly devouring itself? The rot is so deep-rooted and pervasive, in fact, that even patchwork Catholic reform by faithful teachers, though possible here and there, remains problematic. Indeed, many have long held that if England's once proud and faithful education system is ever to rise again, it must be from the ashes.
Not that one would ever know there was any problem at all based on the deluded commentaries over at The Universe and Catholic Times, where self-serving editors continue to live under a fatal illusion: that God will not be too bothered by their complicity in the sins of their episcopal masters. "At the Judgement," they figure, "we'll simply shift the blame: 'Just following orders, Lord!'" (They are in for a rude - and very hot - shock.) One of the nastiest pieces of dissembling so far this year was the Catholic Times' editorial of 6 January. One might have thought that their front page report on the establishment of an English-speaking International Catholic College in Western France dedicated to a traditional formation for boys [see advertisement opposite] warranted at least a commendation for effort. Instead, the editor chose to pour scorn on the whole enterprise: mocking the value of "boys praying in Latin," questioning the exclusion of girls, suggesting that the traditional system envisaged is "redundant" - and on and on, until the real reason for his sour response tumbled out. "Finally," he wrote, "what kind of message is this sending to all the great Catholic teachers in our schools who, by their daily example, are beacons of the faith to our young?" We have, he concluded, a "much admired Catholic education system already in place." Against this dreadful Modernist lie, we simply adduce Mr Caffrey's expert testimony and rest the case for the Catholic prosecution.
In the US, meanwhile, a recent report in The Wanderer revealed statistics indicating a massive abandonment year by year of Catholic parish and diocesan schools "in favour of the growing Catholic homeschooling movement, the new phenomenon of independent, private Catholic schools, or public schools while supplementing religious instruction with new homeschool programs." Whereas corrupt catechetics and sex-education has helped precipitate a drop of around 60% in the number of enrolments in parish and diocesan schools since 1964 (despite an almost 40% rise in the US Catholic population during the same period!), 368,000 pupils already attend nearly 900 independent private Catholic schools, constituting about 15% of all American Catholic pupils. At the same time, a recent study has further estimated that about 5.4% of homeschooled families are Catholic (compromising another 66,000-91,000 pupils). In addition, there is the unmeasured but growing phenomenon of Catholic parents resorting to public schools and then homeschooling religious instruction using materials from the burgeoning Catholic homeschooling publication industry. "Together," the report noted, "these three market alternatives combine for about 17-20% of Catholic students in the United States."
Let us finish on that
uplifting note of parental faith, determination and sacrifice. It
is further evidence, if any were needed, that doctrinally corrupt
and decaying educational establishments will never prevent
devout parents from passing the baton of Catholic truth to their own
flesh and blood, just as it was handed on to them - unblemished and
entire. We may reasonably assume that Hell will freeze over before
the sort of commonsense reforms proposed by Mr Caffrey are even acknowledged
by liberal quislings - who have already set two generations wandering
aimlessly along their own Emmaus roads to nowhere, empty and disillusioned,
blinded by the Modernist fog and fudge inflicted on them, unable to
recognise the Divine Companion by their side. Yet successful options
like those above (and Chavagnes below) give us great heart
that many among the next generation will be spared the hopeless predicament
of their post-conciliar forebears. They, at least, like the two disciples
who conversed and broke bread with the Risen Lord, will come to see
the truth about Jesus, and so the need to get off the Emmaus road
and get back to Him. "There, in His arms, the only place for us in
these dark days," as Father Crane once wrote, our children shall again
"find love that is boundless and with it strength to persevere, the
fruit of hope restored."