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April 2010

"Catholic Education"
Servile Creature of the State

JIM CAFFREY

It would appear from the comments made by Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Education, on Radio Four's morning programme of Tuesday 23 February, that Archbishop Vincent Nichols is in something of a hole from which he needs to extract himself.

Enforcing perversion
Speaking to John Humphrey's in interview about his forthcoming legislation on Sex and Relationship Education in schools, Mr Balls twice categorically stated that Archbishop Nichols was in full agreement with him that the education should be made compulsory in Catholic schools, from age five upwards, and that the sex education provided would, by definition, have to include presenting "both sides" of the argument in relation to contraception, abortion and homosexuality.

Mr Balls used some weasel words to the effect that Catholic schools would be able to protect their own "ethos" but he was adamant that within that ethos they would be compelled to teach about contraception, abortion and homosexuality so as to satisfy the requirements of "choice," "diversity," and "tolerance." In this connection parents would lose their traditionally "inalienable" right to have their children withdrawn from lessons which they considered to be unsuitable, inappropriate or immoral.

Being pressed on what sanctions he could foresee for any Catholic school not complying with the new law, Mr Balls talked about the pressure of complaints from parents who would want their children to be taught the newly legislated sex curriculum and the fact that the requirements of the law would be inspected (enforced) by Ofsted, the government's inspection body for schools.

Finally, Mr Balls even said that, in the last analysis, schools could, indeed, fall foul of the law.

Outlawing Catholic conscience
Having mentioned Archbishop Nichols twice in the interview, and congratulating him for the teaching of sex and relationships in Catholic schools, it is quite clear that not only is the Archbishop in a hole over this matter but he has dragged many genuinely faithful Catholic pupils, parents, teachers and headteachers and governors into the hole with him. Why? Because, despite their tragically diminishing numbers, there are still those loyal to Christ and the teachings of His Church who could not, in all conscience, present the wickedness of contraception, abortion and homosexuality in their schools in the relative terms of a lifestyle choice.

The tragic fact of this debacle is that the consciences, formed in Catholic Truth, of these "good and faithful servants" are now to be placed under the threatening sanctions of an unjust law which has been allowed to invade the very place of work where, traditionally, they have always been protected.

Irrelevant and servile
However, having taught in the Catholic education system for thirty-five years, 21 years as headteacher, this scandalous state of affairs carries no surprises for me. I have had an "insider's view" of the creeping decay in the system for a very long time.

A decay whereby the secularist and anti-life agenda of the likes of Ed Balls has been able to advance against the feeble opposition of the hierarchy and those in positions of authority in Catholic education.

Moreover, the lukewarm commitment of supposedly Catholic teachers, governors and parents to the authentic ideals of Catholic education, as espoused by papal authority throughout the last century, has rendered the whole system vulnerable to the attack by atheistic "sex educators" which we now see taking place.

The truth is that whereas the Catholic teaching profession and the whole network of Catholic schools since the 1960's should have been a unified and distinctive intellectual powerhouse at the forefront of the Church's evangelisation mission, proudly proclaiming the gifts of doctrine and tradition entrusted to them by our forefathers in the Faith, they have, in fact, been reduced to a subservient wing of the state schooling system under a religious heading which is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Deafening silence
For example, where has been the unified outcry from those in Catholic education against the contraceptive culture that has engulfed the young of the past three generations?

There has been none.

Where has been the outcry against abortion, the killing of seven million babies - "the culture of death" as expressed by Pope John Paul II - by the supposedly intellectual elite?

There has been none.

Likewise, where has been the Catholic outcry against the increasingly oppressive influence of the homosexual rights lobby, now at the centre of government, who demand that schools should teach that homosexuality is both normal and healthy?

Again, there has been no protest.

Duplicitous parasites
The absence of protest suggests that the Catholic system is riddled with apathy, dissent and disunity about the very ideals which are its foundation.

Even allowing for the overburdening and bureaucratic demands of the State, why should this be so? Why is the lapsation rate from Catholic schools close to nintey per cent?

Could it be that the majority of Catholics, including teachers, governors et cetera, have bought into the contraceptive culture and are now much nearer to State ideology than the teaching the Faith they claim to profess?

It is quite commonplace now for 'Catholic teachers' to cohabit and, by definition, contracept: thereby actively dissenting from the teaching of the Church within whose schools they seek employment and remuneration.

And it is widely acknowledged that substantial numbers of supposedly Catholic parents dismiss Church teaching in regard to contraception while adopting a contraceptive lifestyle.

Corruption and decay
The same can be said about the issues of abortion and homosexuality, both intrinsically evil manifestations of the anti-life ideology now so pervasive in British society and government, about which, despite honourable exceptions, most leaders, teachers and parents in the Catholic education system have remained largely silent. A silence which indicates a certain level of ambivalence about these critical areas of Church doctrine. Or, worse still, a silence betraying a mindset of agreement with abortion and homosexuality in certain circumstances.

In regard to the practice of homosexuality, it was no surprise to hear the response of Bishop McMahon of Nottingham who reportedly said he had no problem with teachers in a civil partnership teaching in a Catholic school.

The Bishop's statement, whilst undermining the teaching of the Church he represents, once again is symptomatic of the decay in the education system he, ironically, leads.

Courage or collusion?
I believe the Catholic education system has been weakening year on year since the 1960's. More and more of its hard won autonomy has been handed back to the State. So it is imperative now that the Bishops together give the courageous leadership that is required to regain the distinctive nature of our schools for the benefit of our children, grandchildren and the Catholic community at large.

Archbishop Nichols and his brother bishops should renegotiate the arrangements made with Ed Balls before it is too late. Rather than becoming compromised by a Minister of State who is no friend of the Church, His Grace should heed those who seek to remain loyal to the magisterium and who wish to follow him loyally, too.

This calls to mind the year before my retirement from headship in 2001 when I was one of very, very few Catholic Heads who publicly refused to support Comic Relief's Red Nose Day, on the grounds that its accounts clearly revealed that it (the charity) gave vast amounts of money to contraceptive and abortion providers in Africa and pro-homosexual groups in the UK.

I said that not one penny raised by the generosity of the pupils in my school would go to fund the killing of African babies, although a statement from the Bishops' Conference said it was in order for Catholics to support Red Nose Day.

The "reward" I received for my adherence to the teachings of Holy Mother Church was to be required to meet Archbishop Nichols for the purpose of receiving a reprimand, even though I supplied a full set of Comic Relief's accounts verifying the truth of my position on how the money had been spent.

This is what I mean. For the sake of collaborating with those who are no friends of the Church, loyal Catholics are diminished in the process.

Deadly poison
If the bishops dug an unnecessary hole for themselves over the Red Nose Day debacle, so I believe a much larger hole has been opened by allying themselves with New Labour's law to enforce compulsory sex education in Catholic schools.

I maintain that unless Mr Ball's law is repudiated in an act of truly courageous Catholic leadership by Archbishop Nichols and the other members of the hierarchy, the Catholic school system of our country - born of the holy faith and hard-earned pennies of so many fine Catholics of years gone by - will, indeed, sink into terminal decline.

Just as poison will kill the body, so sex education will kill our schools.

 

 

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