An account of dissent and political correctness at an Archdiocese of Westminster CCRS study day for teachers by Patrick Lawler

POSTED BY Patrick Lawler

“One of the teaching days on the Westminster CCRS course I attended was specifically for teachers in ‘Catholic’ (you’ll see why I place it in parentheses as we go along) diocesan schools, mostly primary schools, as it turned out but with a few from secondary. The theme of the day was “What makes a successful Catholic School?”

The state of ‘Catholic’ schools (Primary and Secondary) can be illustrated by the following points, all of which are real responses, views and official policies I read and heard on the day. I am not making any of this up:

[moderated comment:  Please note later comment recevied from "Westminster CCRS" who states "While I cannot comment on the student exchanges during the session Patrick attended, I can vouch for the orthodoxy of the tutor. The purpose of the Westminster CCRS is to educate teachers in the truths of the faith as taught by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church and we take this task very seriously.

The opinions expressed by those attending the course are challenged if they are not in line with the official Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. However, we cannot police the opinions people bring with them to the CCRS sessions; we can only aim to use the academic method to lead people to the truths of the teachings of Roman Catholic faith."  HOWEVER, please see note that  "Westminister CCRS" may not be officially connected to Westminster CCRS but just using this name]

  • It may not be said or taught at any time and in any context that the Roman Catholic Church is the One True Faith.
  • All religions and faiths are equally valid and worthy of respect.
  • Sodomite ‘marriage’ is to be celebrated and approved of.
  • Children are “sexual beings” from an early age and sexual experimentation and questioning are to be encouraged and accepted.
  • There is no such thing as “normal” in terms of sexuality, marriage or family structure; these things are fluid, changeable and not subject to any fixed morality.
  • There is no such thing as absolute Truth; truth is relative.
  • There is no such thing as objective morality; morals are relative.
  • One’s own conscience is the ultimate guide, not a fixed system of rules “imposed upon us by a patriarchal Church”.
  • As long as one has love and good intention, one need not attend Mass.
  • The Eucharist is symbolic.
  • The Koran is a holy book.
  • Islam is a religion of peace.
  • Hell does not exist.
  • Satan does not exist.
  • All people are saved.
  • There is no such thing as sin (apart from being “judgemental”, obviously!).
  • The Labour Party is the champion of the “Poor and Oppressed”.
  • The European Union is an unalloyed good.
  • The United Nations is an even bigger unalloyed good.
  • Abortion is a woman’s choice; no patriarchal “Church run by celibate old men” has anything of value to say on the matter.
  • Contraception is a really, really good thing (no patriarchal “Church run by celibate old men” has anything of value to say on the matter).”

M Donnelly:  Patrick, thank you for your article.  Based on this, it looks to me like there are serious issues with the CCRS course which need addressing urgently.

67 comments to An account of dissent and political correctness at an Archdiocese of Westminster CCRS study day for teachers by Patrick Lawler

  • ms Catholic state

    No teacher will tell these to my children…..or there will be hell to pay! I don’t care what the bishops say.

    In fact….parents, teach your children to correct and inform their teachers should they err….and to walk out of any disturbing or shameful classes.

    Also Catholic schools should require all prospective teachers to sign a statement saying they will uphold the teachings of the Church. Should not enough ‘Catholic’ teachers be found….the school can always employ respectful non-Catholics who will sign such a statement. Maybe prospective Catholic parents should sign such a statement too. Something for parent governors to consider…..

  • Paul

    Well sounds like the Devil got involved in that day. Oh wait he doesnt exists does he! Seriously Catholics need to stop allowing these so called progressive theologians from destroying what is left of the faith in this country. Already the twenties and thirty year olds are being sold this trash and has caused them to practically abandoned the faith of their fore fathers. I wish these intellects as they consider themselves go serve another Church and stop. Bishop Fulton Sheen pray for us……

  • Doh

    Patrick, are your bullet points actual quotes from a person or document, or your interpretation of one of these?

  • Charles

    Patrick Lawler

    I am appalled at what you have reported. There are clearly serious issues within the Westminster Archdiocese where I live. I am happy that I live in a North London parish where there are good holy priests who preach the Gospels as they should be preached.

    The points that you have reported are against the teachings of the Church. These dissenters are just making things up as they go along to suit themselves. They are anti Catholic. They are also anti Religion.

    Thanks to Mrs Donnelly for keeping this blog going. We would not have known how serious things are without you reporting on this blog.

  • Rifleman819

    Who expressed these views…those on the course or the organiers?

  • Thomas Mannion

    Any proof? These are big claims to make and I don’t think are substantiated.

    Some of these things you mention are legitimate, Islam is a religion of peace for example. If people thought the IRA was an accurate representation of Catholicism we would be in trouble. Also The Eucharist is symbolic in the true sense, meaning it impinges on the deepest level of reality. Saying the Eucharist is symbolic does not detract from the real presence or from the fact that the bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood of Christ. The Eucharist is also more than symbolic because the Eucharist is inexhaustible.

    If this is true and you are concerned perhaps rather than writing it here you should write to Cardinal Nichols and the CDF as well as the Catholic Herald?

    • Thomas – I am taking Patrick’s account as eye witness testimony – that he was there and heard and read these things.

    • Rifleman819

      Thomas Mannion

      “Islam is a religion of peace”

      Oh yes ….of course it is…naturally…………without doubt.

      A totally legitimate assertion which is overwhelmingly true and accurate.

    • Russ

      “Some of these things you mention are legitimate, Islam is a religion of peace for example.”

      Thomas I can only assume you don’t know what is actually in the Qu’ran, Hadith and early Muslim commentaries. Please explain what you mean by peace when Allah in the Qu’ran identifies unbelievers as ‘the worst of creatures’ (Sura 98:6), and commands Muslims to slay pagans (Sura 9:5) and to fight Jews (who are by the way, considered the descendants of apes and pigs: Suras 2:65, 5:60, 7:166-167), and fight Christians until they are subjugated and paying the jizya (a ‘protection’ tax levied on Jews and Christians – Sura 9:29). ‘Fighting is prescribed for you [Muslims] even if you dislike it’ (Sura 2:216). In Islamic eschatology, the end of the world will not come until Muslims kill all the Jews, and ‘the Jews will hide behind the rocks and the trees, but the rocks and the trees will say: Oh Muslim , oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. (Sahih Muslim 6895)

      In the Qu’ran, Allah recommends Muhammad as ‘an excellent example of conduct’ (Sura 33:21) which goes a long way towards explaining the violence and depravity in those places where his example is taken seriously. The Qu’ran permits men to beat their wives into submission (Sura 4:34), and as the excellent example of conduct, to be emulated, Muhammad had relations with his pre-pubescent 9 year old bride (one of the 9 wives he had simultaneously- Sahih Bukhari 5068) when in his fifties (Sahih Bukhari 6130; Sahih Muslim 3311). He said he was ordered to fight people until they become Muslim or were subjugated and paying the jizya (Sahih Bukhari 25; Sahih Muslim 33; Sahih Muslim 4294) and according to Sunan ibn-Majah 2763 anyone meeting Allah without marks on them as a result of fighting will have a deficiency.’, and the best kind of jihad is that of a man ‘whose blood is shed and horse is wounded.’ (Sunan ibn-Majah 2794).

      In Islam there is nothing approaching ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’ (Mt 5:44) Christians do evil things, sometimes in the name of their religion, but there is no justification for such acts in our authoritative texts, as there is in Islam. Outside the fold of Islam, there is no love, no respect; it is inherently supremacist: Muhammad said ‘I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.’, and ‘Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you and when you meet any one of them on the roads force him to go to the narrowest part of it. (Sahih Muslim 5389) and ‘If anyone changes his Islamic religion, kill him’ (Sahih Bukhari 9.84.57)

      It is deeply troubling that Catholic teachers would present any of the views in the original post, but I had to challenge the foolish idea that Islam is peaceful and that the Qur’an is a holy book. 61% of the Qu’ran deals with the Kuffar, the unbelievers, and how to treat them. Considering that it asserts repeatedly that Allah is a Father to nobody, and that Jesus is not his son, that Jesus is not divine and that He was never crucified, according to 1 John 2:22-23 Muhammad is an anti-Christ. To present his ‘revelations’ as good and equally valid in a Catholic school is, frankly, despicable.

    • Sonja

      I can confirm writing to Vincent Nichols — results in no response or acknowledgement. I recently wrote to him politely raising points of dissent of ACTA.

  • Joanne

    Patrick, I don’t know where to begin. This is the New World Order being taught to young Catholics now. We have homeschooling in the US which is the only safe way to educate Catholic children. It’s harder to do in secondary school and the universities are filled with leftist activists. I’m lucky I was born & educated before The Apostasy. These children will never know the True Faith and although they are baptized, they are almost certain to lose their souls to Satan. This should have been stopped a long time ago before the NWO became so bold. The Vattican II popes, bishops & clergy are responsible for the heresy we have now. Obama & his henchmen have destroyed America. May God and Our Lady save us!

  • Eric

    I’ve been finding similar issues on the Northampton Diocese CCRS course. The highlight of the introductory day was when the Priest who would be teaching the classes on ethics and morality told us that it was ok if we disagreed with the Church’s teaching as long as we had a good reason for doing so.

  • Michael B Rooke

    The account is so much of a secular agenda the question must be asked is Protect the Pope being set up.

  • John M

    Perhaps these are simply views expressed by a range of people present on the course. Not everyone who attends a CCRS course is a Catholic, and even with those who are Catholic you get the occasional view that is not in line with Church teaching.

    However that is a very huge list consisting of some quite shocking statements. I would hope that whoever was running the course charitably pointed out what Church teaching is on such issues and made it clear that as a teacher in a Catholic school you are required to teach in accordance with the teachings of the Church.

  • Westminster CCRS


    Dear Protect the Pope,
    It has been brought to my attention that a potential act of defamation has been posted on your site by Patrick Lawler about the Westminster CCRS course.
    While I cannot comment on the student exchanges during the session Patrick attended, I can vouch for the orthodoxy of the tutor. The purpose of the Westminster CCRS is to educate teachers in the truths of the faith as taught by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church and we take this task very seriously.
    The opinions expressed by those attending the course are challenged if they are not in line with the official Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. However, we cannot police the opinions people bring with them to the CCRS sessions; we can only aim to use the academic method to lead people to the truths of the teachings of Roman Catholic faith.

    [Moderated comment]

    I am very disappointed that Protect the Pope has published this potential act of defamation without checking the facts or seeking the truth of this story. I’m sorry to say that this is yet another example of the negative approach that this website takes without regard for the truth or the damage that can be done by publishing stories without any research or investigation into the credibility of the author.
    I would kindly request that you remove this story and issue an apology for the potential defamation contained in this story on your website.
    I will be forwarding the story you have published and my response to Bishop Campbell as a member of the Bishops’ Conference who has responsibility for the CCRS nationally.


      I’m sorry to read your response, Westminster CCRS. It reads like bullying. The word “defamation” in particular gives that impression, and the threat, in the context of this blog and its authorship and recent history, to inform Bishop Campbell. Of course, what is published here is published openly, for Bishop Campbell or any other to see, and it seems to me that there would be no need for you to advert to your intention to inform him, unless it were to intimidate. After all, Bishop Campbell knows this blog well. I’m afraid that your comment immediately made me think of this post by Fr Hunwicke, which you might already have read and which I commend highly:

      You would do better to respond to the substantive points made, rather than to attack Mrs Donnelly and Mr Lawler. If these points lack merit your rebuttal should be straightforward – and would be welcome.

      I also think there is absolutely no question of defamation here. Whom do you think has been defamed? In what way?

    • Thank you for your post. I am sorry to hear that you consider that the Blog post you mentioned was potentially damaging to your reputation.

      You will, of course, understand that Protect the Pope is a Blog which attempts to develop debate and discussion about directions in the Church and for that reason comments can be published about specific events within the Church and how they are conducted. That is the context in which the Blog posting in question was published and it was published in good faith on the basis of the information given by Patrick.

      I am glad that you have taken this opportunity to put your own version of the events and that you can so speedily confirm that, while you cannot comment on the specific session which Patrick attended, ‘on behalf of the Westminster CCRS’ you reject all of these statements. (AMENDMENT: PLEASE NOTE IS HAS NOT BEEN CONFIRMED THAT “Westminster CCRS” CAN OFFICIALLY SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THE WESTMINSTER CCRS COURSE.)

      I have removed the comment which you made about Patrick as I know that he will not be able to reply until tomorrow – at which time I will put it back in. (PLEASE SEE LATER POST)

      Given the comments by Patrick I have no doubt that Bishop Campbell will be saddened to hear of the issue but glad that you are so speedily able to reassure him.

      • Westminster CCRS

        [Comment moderated at the request of the author “Westminister CCRS”]

        • In this second post by “Westminster CCRS”, which has been moderated out at the request of “Westminster CCRS”, “Westminster CCRS”, has indicated that (his/her/their)? previous comment was not for “public consumption”. I can only say that in posting (his/her/their)? first comment I acted in good faith as it did not indicate that it was not for posting.

          Furthermore as the email used the extension of Westminster, which I had found on their website, and the post included specific information about Patrick which only someone involved in the course was likely to know, I thought that it was an honest engagement. However, it does raise the question of how can we know if someone is genuinely who they say they are or not. I have already indicated that I will not post from people claiming to be priests or other official roles if they are not prepared to substantiate their claim (privately) when asked to do so. Notwithstanding their email extension and the fact that the e-mail address is used for an ‘events’ advert by the Westminster diocese in 2010, I am beginning to have doubts about whether “Westminster CCRS” is genuine.

          “Westminster CCRS” is further asking that I remove the whole post and all the comments. I am concerned about doing this because it leaves questions unanswered. I have however respected their request not to post their second comment, although should they wish to post further comments, (subject to them helping the pursuit of the truth spoken in love and the removal of the doubts above), I will post them. I have also decided not to publish the part which I moderated out last night as this was not already on the post and because I do not think it helps the debate.

          I think it is important to be able to discuss the things which Patrick raises so as to better understand the context within which we are called to practise, live and teach our faith.

          I look forward to “Westminster CCRS” confirming that they are genuine. If I do not receive this confirmation, then I will mark the post as such. (AMENDMENT: I have not yet received this confirmation)

          • (X)MCCLXIII

            Dear Mrs Donnelly,

            Of course you did no wrong to post the original comment from Patrick Lawler. It was fair comment, based on his direct personal experience. The only other possible explanations available to you on its receipt must have been very unlikely, and the comment from “Westminster CCRS”, which I saw before your moderation, confirmed that Mr Lawler was present at Westminster CCRS events, that he was not in sympathy with heterodox opinions expressed by teachers at Catholic schools, and that his presence was unwelcome to the course organisers. “Westminster CCRS” has inadvertently confirmed that you were quite right to post his comments.

            And you did right to post the comment from “Westminster CCRS”, embarrassing though it must have been in retrospect for its author. It is unfortunate that it shows the organisers of the Westminster Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies in such a bad light, but even without their representative’s apparent attempts at intimidation you did right to give them the opportunity to reply, however ineptly.

            Mr Lawler made comments that deserve to be discussed openly and in good faith. I notice that this discussion is happening here this evening. That is a good thing, and “Westminster CCS” should not be allowed to prevent it.

            What we have here is an attempt to bully you (and hide the fact). It looks like it won’t succeed. I’m very glad of that. In my opinion your conduct of this blog has been exemplary.

          • Thank you (X)MCCLXIII – however, please note concern that posts from “Westminster CCRS” may not be genuinely from Westminster and (he/she/they)? may not be their representative.

    • Dear Westminster CCRS

      I am rather disappointed at the defamation you have engaged in. Do you really think the following is fair or charitable?

      “I’m sorry to say that this is yet another example of the negative approach that this website takes without regard for the truth”

      Going by your own approach I full expect an apology from you for the defamation you have engaged in. The only defamation I have read at this stage on this entire page has been on your behalf and directed towards the Protect the Pope blog.

      Do you really this is suitable conduct for any body associated with the Church? Do you even think your conduct could be considered Christian?

      • Please note concern that posts from “Westminster CCRS” may not be genuinely from Westminster.

      • (X)MCCLXIII

        Dear Petrus:

        “The only defamation I have read at this stage on this entire page has been on your behalf and directed towards the Protect the Pope blog.”

        You obviously didn’t see what “Westminster CCRS” had to say about Patrick Lawler! (I did, but gave it no credit.)

    • BJC

      Westminister CCRS

      (1) “The opinions expressed by those attending the course are challenged if they are not in line with the official Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church”

      Can we have some examples of this on the day, because Patrick seems to be implying this didn’t happen.

      (2) “I’m sorry to say that this is yet another example of the negative approach that this website takes without regard for the truth or the damage that can be done by publishing stories without any research or investigation into the credibility of the author.”

      Seeing as you seem to be familiar with this blog, can we have some examples please, because I can’t think of any. The only negativity I can think of is the negativity of liberals about this blog, who hate to be challenged and to have the truth of the Church’s teachings supported by so many of their fellow Catholics. It’s almost like an intense pain to them that we won’t join in their general rebellion against Humanae Vitae and an all male priesthood etc.

    • katherine

      Readers of Protect the Pope please note a much used tactic by the Archdiocese of Westminster is to move the spotlight, so we are now being invited to focus on the relationship between Mrs Donnelly and Bishop Campbell; we are also being invited to question the validity of the articles and question the motive of the writers. Westminster CCRS if you care SO much about the truth please for once answer the charges rather than reflect attention elsewhere.

  • Bernadette

    I was appalled when I read Patrick’s Horrendous list, but thank God for the post from
    Westminster CCRS.

  • Doh

    Puzzled as to why you posted then wiped the last post Mrs D. Also why Patrick hasn’t answered questions as to the basis of his assertions.

    • Hi Doh – sorry I put up the post from Westminister CCRS with a comment about Patrick in it – but I want him to be able to reply to this before posting this bit. I took it down just to amend this

  • John Vasc

    As Mrs Donnelly has said, it would be very helpful for Patrick to expand on which of these points were expressed as the ‘official policies’ of schools, or of the diocese, and from which quarter they were expressed.

    ‘Libel’ is an unnecessarily overheated word to use (since nobody has been named.) We need a bit more detail for a reasoned discussion, that’s all. No names needed.

  • I’m not in the slightest bit surprised at Patrick’s post. For the last few years since I copped myself on and came to understand and embrace the real Catholic Faith, I have come to realise that everything Michael Voris goes on about is happening all around me here in the South of England, in Scotland where my daughter is and definitely Ireland where I come from.

    Frankly, Westminster CCRS, I for one do not believe your protest of innocence. We’ve all been part of it to a greater or lesser extent over the last 50 years, but we cannot now fail to see the fruits of all the rot. Instead of badmouthing this blog, make a thorough examination of conscience and face up to your part in the apostasy.

  • iggy o'donovan

    I take it Patrick is giving us direct quoths from a speaker at the conference or from an official document circulated. If not further clarification is required.

  • Patrick Lawler

    To answer the questions:
    Doh: The only direct, verbatim quote in my post is the one in speech marks, “Church run by celibate old men” and was said by a participant to me in relation to abortion and contraception. The rest are my summaries of views and attitudes I encountered that day – some from course participants and some from the course leader. I do want to be clear; I am definitely not saying that these things were TAUGHT as any part of the substance of the day, that is not the case.

    Rifleman819: As I’ve said above and, to be fair to the course leader for that day, that person is only directly associated with ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ and ‘the Koran is a Holy book’. Further, not all of these views were expressed ‘publicly’ in a whole group setting, so I am not proposing that person heard and agreed with every point I have listed. However, there is one glaring and crucial exception; “Extra ecclesiam nulla salus” – EVERYONE present either openly did not accept it or, while somewhat uncomfortably accepting it, maintained it simply could not be taught in “Catholic” schools because:
    i) It is exclusionary and would offend or upset people (ditto mentioning Hell and/or sin)
    ii) It simply can not even be said because “Ofsted would come down on us like a ton of bricks” (direct quote from a participant)

    Thomas Mannion: It is true. As to why I have not written to Cardinal Nichols, the CDF or Catholic Herald; it is possible I am simply too cynical, i.e. I don’t think it would do any good.

    Eric: If you are experiencing something similar, I entreat you to share your experiences, anonymously, if you prefer, also, anyone else reading this who has experienced anything similar in an educational or parish catechetical situation – it is all too easy for me to be dismissed as one lone fruitcake, liar or Torquemada (the victim of false, Protestantised history, by the way).

    Michael B. Rooke: I understand your skepticism; I worked for a number of years in secular, State schools as a teacher, Second in Department and Department Head – all the views I have written above are found in staff rooms throughout the country (I used to hold most of them myself) and, obviously, one would not be surprised that this is so in that environment. However, these are teachers in “Catholic” schools.

    John M: As I said above, not all of these were expressed ‘publicly’ and I am not saying for a moment that the course tutor heard, accepted and approved all of them, that person did not…..some, yes…..ALL, no.

    Some of the points I raise in the initial post are, of course, open to diversity of opinion; Catholics of good will and honest intent can (and do) disagree over the role and nature of the Labour Party, the U.N. the E.U.
    etc, none of these are matters of Faith and Morals (except in such instances as the promotion of abortion, contraception and homosexuality, which all of them do). Further, it is plainly and obviously the case that a great many (most, all?) “Catholic” schools perform well AS SCHOOLS, enjoying better exam’ results, better behaviour and discipline than many State schools and giving a great many children a good start in worldly life. However, when essential dogmatic teachings of the Faith – extra ecclesiam nulla salus -are either dissented from or simply ommitted due to fear of official retribution, there is a very serious problem.

    I will respond to the Westminster CCRS comments shortly.
    St Michael the Archangel defend us in battle.

    • Rifleman819

      Patrick ,
      Thanks for the context and background

    • Lionel Andrades

      However, there is one glaring and crucial exception; “Extra ecclesiam nulla salus” – EVERYONE present either openly did not accept it or, while somewhat uncomfortably accepting it, maintained it simply could not be taught in “Catholic” schools because:
      i) It is exclusionary and would offend or upset people (ditto mentioning Hell and/or sin)
      ii) It simply can not even be said because “Ofsted would come down on us like a ton of bricks” (direct quote from a participant)

      Is the denial of an ex cathedra dogma, along with related passages in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Vatican Council II not a mortal sin of faith. Does it not change the meaning of the Nicene Creed for us ?
      No Bishop or Diocese websites is affirming the Catholic Faith on this issue and even Protect the Pope is uncomfortable with it.

      • Michael B Rooke

        Catholics faithful to the Magisterium believe as set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

        889 In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a “supernatural sense of faith” the People of God, under the guidance of the Church’s living Magisterium, “unfailingly adheres to this faith.”417

        890 The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium’s task to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church’s shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. the exercise of this charism takes several forms:

        891 “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals…. the infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council.418 When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,”419 and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.”420 This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.421

        892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful “are to adhere to it with religious assent”422 which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.

        2035 The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed.77

        2036 The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the natural law, because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation. In recalling the prescriptions of the natural law, the Magisterium of the Church exercises an essential part of its prophetic office of proclaiming to men what they truly are and reminding them of what they should be before God.78

  • Patrick Lawler

    Having re-read my original post, I realise there are two direct, verbatim quotes, the second being the other one in speech marks, “imposed upon us by a patriarchal Church”, sorry I missed it first time. This, also, reminds me I left out two other, related points I picked up from several course participants that day:
    * It’s only a matter of time before we have Women Priests.
    * Jesus didn’t make women apostles because he was constrained by the cultural norms of First Century Holy Land.

  • What does “real responses, views and official policies” mean in this context? That does not sound like “opinions expressed by those attending the course”.

    I feel that Mr Westminster CCRS (an unusual name) is digging himself into a hole here, as I am sure that Bishop Campbell will not tolerate any bullying of his deacons or their wives.

  • bernadette

    If I have understood correctly, having followed the story so far, I think It is clear what has happened. Patrick has been invited to take part in this CCRS session. (It is unclear in what capacity – as a primary school teacher, as a secondary school teacher or, as a parish catechist.)

    As someone has already observed, these days are very much a “dragnet” of all sorts of people from varying backgrounds, e.g. the agnostic Primary school teacher who has just started at a Catholic Primary school and has been told they need to attend these 4 weekend sessions for the year..; the NQT R.E. specialist at a Catholic secondary school who has been given as part of their CPD, the target of boosting their Catholic knowledge. Their diocese has probably also started to insist that, from now on, all non-Catholic new teachers must do the CCRS ( A good move in my opinion). Our local CCRS course is made up of mainly primary school teachers of all sorts of backgrounds, and a minority of Secondary teachers, many of whom are church-going, Bible-believing non Catholic Christians – e.g. Salvation Army/Methodist/CofE. A snap-shot of these days would show that on the whole, the primary teachers are completely new to all this, feel very defensive at being told they have to do it, and a small vocal minority have tended to be reluctant to buy into “this Catholic stuff”. This is the scenario, I believe, Patrick may have walked into.

    It is just a fact that committed Catholics are not entering teaching. So, we have a choice: ignore the problem/encourage the current teachers to take the CCRS ( those who do, say they have got a great deal from it and did not realise the Church’s teaching was so rich)/Stand by and criticise the whole thing for not being perfect.

    Welcome to the New Evangelisation. It is raw. The labourers are few and all we get is attack and criticsm from both the secular and Catholic media, sadly. But we have a vision. In time, that vision will bear fruit. The young student teachers whom I mentor have grown so beautifully in their own faith through the CCRS ( eight months ago, one of them was not attending Sunday Mass and now, is) that they want to share this with the young people they teach.

    Yes, you will get a variety of “interesting” views on these days. Our job is to remain focused on the teachings of the Magisterium and to present them with enthusiasm and joy. I try to remember the Parable of the Sower and the seed when I wind up with people who are negative and eschew the beauty of Catholic teaching. We won’t win over everyone. Jesus only asks us to keep labouring, that’s all.

    Patrick- I would be very happy to talk to you or e-mail you to put your concerns in context and, of course to take seriously your observations. You clearly have a sincere faith. I give Mrs Donnelly permission to pass on my e-mail address to you if you would like to correspond. I leave that with you.

    Mrs Donnelly, I leave it to your discretion whether you wish to publish this or not. Maybe enough has been said already. My prayers for Nick have been ongoing this Lent.


  • John M

    “I’m sorry to say that this is yet another example of the negative approach that this website takes without regard for the truth or the damage that can be done by publishing stories without any research or investigation into the credibility of the author”.

    What is that all about? It would be useful if Westminster CCRS could clarify just what other posts on this blog they take exception to and explain what this has got to do with Westminster CCRS. I can understand them taking exception to comments posted about their course, but what has anything else posted on this blog got to do with the administration of a course run for Catholic teachers?

  • Kieran

    Could it be clarified that the points above were taught by those teaching on the CCRS, or whether the points above were expressed by those attending the CCRS.

  • jacobi

    So it is not clear whether the tutor agreed or disagreed with these comments. What is clear,however,is that they were allowed to be made, apparently unchallenged. That suggest lack of control of the meeting to say the least.

    The religious ones are, heretical

    The political ones are totally inappropriate in this context and the Chair, or tutor, should not have allowed them. Incidentally they are also, politically, highly questionable, to say the least.

    If this is typical, then the Westminster CCRS are failing abysmally in their assigned role of teaching the Truths of the Faith.

    And yes, a very good idea, Mr/Ms CCRS spokesperson, lets all get our letters of protest of to Bishop Campbell of the Bishops’ Conference who has responsibility for the CCRS nationally!

  • jacobi

    A further comment, Mrs Donnelly, if I may.

    The factions in the Church anxious to close down this blogg do not have any control over you directly. The obvious move on their part is therefore, futher pressure on your husband. If this is the case please consider letting “us” know!

    And you are in our prayers at this time of undoubted stress!

  • Doh

    To sum up, some bloke has published his view of what someone else said (and I very much doubt that anyone said ‘Sodomite marriage’) so I revert to my original comment of Daily Wail rant. And to balance that rant, another bloke, who may or may not be ‘official’ has issued vague threats. Just for the record, I very much doubt that an ‘official’ would have answered a post on here, and definitely wouldn’t have released details of the ‘authors’ doings at the gig he was reporting on.

    Prejudices exited all round to no real end IMO…….



      Patrick Lawler said “sodomite marriage”. Those in favour of it certainly did not. Why does this have to be spelt out?

      And can’t you do better than “Daily Wail”?

      • (X)MCCLXIII

        Incidentally, Mrs Donnelly is quite rightly pointing out that she can’t confirm the bona fides of “Westminster CCS”. I hope he isn’t part of the Westminster CCS system, whoever he is, although in the moderated part of his post he made certain comments that can only have come from someone with some connection to the course that Patrick Lawler attended (for example, he might be another attendee).

  • John M

    Yes, our prayers are with you and with your husband. It must be an incredibly stressful time for you both. It is admirable the way you have kept this blog going and dealt with all criticism and attacks with charity and tolerance.

    The best way to deal with bullies is to face them down, bullies expect people to capitulate, and they get quite rattled when people don’t respond as they expect.

  • Hi, I am a student enrolled on the CCRS course online. What the diocese says is correct, nothing is taught contrary to the faith. Discussions are encouraged to bring students in line and to an understanding of the one true faith. There is no dissent in teaching and this is clearly an attempt to incite trouble outside of its context. In the online course, the students type on a forum, we interact and discuss the topic, our tutor controls the discussion and corrects any form of dissent or misunderstanding.

  • SteveD

    If the first item on the list is accepted, that the Church is not the One,True Faith, then it would be necessary to accept most,if not all, of the others since the Church would then not be teaching the truth but only a set of opinions. Everything hinges on point one. If a teacher doesn’t believe it, he/she cannot pass on the faith and shouldn’t be allowed to teach religion in a Catholic school. I realise that we would have to close most of them and do not believe that this would be in any way detrimental to the faith of most Catholic children many of whom (in my experience)appear to be taught that the faith does indeed comprise a set of opinions and optional rules and whose main purpose involves improving the lot of the poor rather than in saving souls.

  • Patrick Lawler

    Terry R.Lynch: One can do the CCRS through distance learning via LIFE LIGHT, or there is another online course advertised on the Westminster website, though neither of these are Westmister Archdiocese itself. Further, I can assure you that doing the course via distance learning or online (same thing?) is a world away from being in a room with thirty other people and hearing the tuts, sighs and muttered comments every time you express an orthodox Catholic truth; having people callyou “bigoted” “judgemental” “narrow-minded” “fanatical” “racist” and quite a few other things for voicing Catholic teaching on marriage, homosexuality, false religions, Hell and sin; being cold-shouldered in the breaks and sitting with the one (sometimes two) brave souls who aren’t afraid to be linked by association to your antiquated and out-of-step-with-the-modern-world views.

    The reason I put that first on the list is because, as you correctly say, ALL the following statements flow from that. THAT is the elephant in the room and, as I said in my previous post, THAT is the ONE thing on the list that was was publicly stated and agreed upon by ALL present, except me. And the real take-home point of all this is that the majority of the teachers in “Catholic” schools who were in that room on that day did NOT believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true religion and that ALL other religions are, of neccessity, FALSE. While the minority who DID believe it, did so in an apologetic manner and agreed that it should NEVER be taught or even mentioned to the children attending “Catholic” schools.

    As for “Westminster CCRS” (whoever it was): What’s your name? I’m out in the open, why are you hiding? It may or may not be someone official from the Archdiocese, but they certainly have a vested interest in trying to bully “Protect the Pope” and lie about me (three names come to mind immediately, chaps). This is completely in character with the cowardly, dishonest and inept way I was kicked-off the course with no warning via email just one week before the next training day after completing the first year of the course with flying colours (my first paper was fairly weak,- “Pass”- it had been a long time since I had done any academic writing, my next two were both “Distinction”).
    Being a lazy sort, I have never bothered to delete the email exchanges I had with Westminster CCRS after I was blacklisted. I still have them. All of them. (including the one that prompted the return of my money even though I hadn’t asked for it back)

  • Michael B Rooke

    Frequently the course coordinator within a dioceses for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) is named on a particular website.

    In the case of the Westminster diocese the coordinator is not named and the information provided is


    You can start the CCRS course at anytime or complete the course via Distance Learning without having to attend study days.

    It is recognised that some students may not be able to attend modules offered in accredited Centres. Details of how to follow the CCRS through distance learning can be obtained from:

    “Windward”, Vicarage Road
    Warwickshire CV47 8NA
    Tel: 01926 810798

    The question is, is the person who wrote as Westminster CCRS the same person or persons as

  • Sally

    These views seem to be expressed by the attendees rather then the course organisers. I think some clarity is needed here. The course organisers can’t be held responsible for people discussing their views even if they are heretical. However If these views were said by the speakers or lecturers then that is a different matter and need to be challenged.. Patrick Lawler I suggest you clarify these matters immediately to avoid defaming anyone unnecessarily.

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