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August/September 2006

Persecution on the Front Line!

Dear Mr. Pead,

I am a teacher of RE in a Catholic school in England and I have recently been approached by another Catholic school to be their Head of RE.

Although I wasn’t seeking the position, the financial implications were appealing, not to mention the freedom I was being offered to help the school become more Catholic.

This is what the Headmaster of the school is trying to do, and he is a very good man. I was honoured that he thought so highly of me, and I felt an obligation to him and Catholic education to step up to the challenge. I also think that I have many good ideas that I would like to implement.

I was invited for interview and prepared thoroughly for it, and I began to feel very excited about the prospect of doing the job. It was clear that the Headmaster, knowing that I attend the Traditional Latin Mass, felt that I was the right man for the job.

The interview itself went very well. I was one of only two candidates, and when I came out of the interview the Headmaster said that he felt it was excellent and that I had said all the right things.

At 11am, he told the other candidate and myself to leave, and that we would be told of the governors’ decision over the phone. At this point I felt certain that the job was mine.

However, when one, two, three o’clock came and went I started to have some concerns, especially as, whilst I was waiting, I was reading Daphne McLeod’s article! ["Will Your Grandchildren be Catholic?" May 2006].

At 3.30pm I received a call from the Chair of Governors at the school informing me that they had not appointed either of us to the post and that she was sorry. She informed me that the Diocesan Adviser would be happy to speak to me and offer feedback. I duly phoned her and she offered me this response:

"It was considered, given the nature of the school, with the proportionately low numbers of Catholics, that your style of Catholicism was not suitable and that a more liberal approach was necessary."

I then asked the Adviser if there was anything else wrong with my interview and if there were things I could improve upon for next time.

To this she replied:

"I think you should read some of the books that have been written on the ICONS programme to understand the philosophy behind them. This will enable you to give fuller answers to some of the questions using a Catholicism that is more in line with the 21st century."

I was initially shocked at the honesty of the answer. There was no pretence, I simply didn’t have the ‘type’ of Catholicism they wanted me to have.

On reflection, I don’t really know why I was shocked given what we know about the modern Church, but I suppose first-hand experience of persecution - and I think this is not too strong a word - is a different feeling to just reading about it.

I’m writing not to justify myself, or out of anger, but simply to highlight that Daphne McLeod is exactly right in her assessment of things, and I would like other Catholics to know what is happening.

I know I could have done a very good job at the school, and I feel frustrated that I will not be given that opportunity at this time, but I equally accept Our Lord must have other plans for me.

More to the point, the Headmaster at the school is trying to combat Modernism and apostasy but his hands, to a large extent, are tied.

Who is sanctioning this proscription?

[Name and address withheld]


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