Is it right to maintain schools that are Catholic in name only? Bishop Campbell

In his New Year Pastoral letter the Bishop of Lancaster, Michael Campbell, looks at a number of hard questions facing the Church in 2012 to do with the sustainability of our parishes and schools, including the pressing question, ‘Is it right to maintain schools that are Catholic in name only?’

‘In 2012 we will need to address some demanding questions that will grow larger the longer we putthem off:

Is it right or sustainable to expect our Mass-going population of 21,000 to support our schools and colleges in which often the majority of pupils, and sometimes teachers, are not practising Catholics? Isit time for us to admit that we can no longer maintain schools that are Catholic in name only?

Faced with fewer priests and smaller congregations where should our parishes and schools of the futurebe located? What will they look like? Where should we consolidate and merge others?

We will not be able to find answers to these questions by human effort and planning alone, but only through a faith that seeks the will of the Father, through the grace of Christ and with the assistance ofthe Holy Spirit.’

Bishop Campbell sets these difficult questions in the context of the historical changes which the Church is undergoing:

‘We are living through a time of great transition for the Church in which Christianity changes from a religion adhered to by the majority out of social convention to once again being a way of discipleship deliberately chosen by some, but not all; chosen by the faithful out of conviction.’

At the beginning of this New Year I would ask you to join me in grappling with the two-fold task of planning how our diocese’s parishes and schools adapt to these new circumstances and secondly to make ourselves ready to launch into the challenge of the New Evangelisation.

Firstly; Our people have been ‘on the move’ for some time – parishes in wonderful neighbourhoods that 25 years ago were teeming with large, young families are now quiet and empty, while parishes inoutlying areas seem to be thriving. Older parishes with extensive church buildings struggle to keepthem in repair as their numbers shrink, while other parishes cannot find room for meetings, education and worship.

As the number of priests reduces, so we have to be creative and careful in their appointments, so that all can benefit from their essential ministry. Besides, the state of the economy and the demands on our resources make it imperative that we takestewardship of our finances, properties and buildings very seriously – as they serve the most important thing – the mission of the Church.

At times, we are tempted to say, ‘Forget about all this planning for the future. Let’s just keep things as they are and let nature take its course.’ That is certainly very tempting because it’s comfortable and undemanding, but Our Lord does not call us to be comfortable and concerned about our own self interest, He calls us to live and love as He lives and loves – to the point of sacrifice!’

Bishop Campbell then highlights the importance of the upcoming Year of Faith as the opportunity for the New Evangelisation:

This leads us to the second task; the Year of Faith. Pope Benedict has called us to celebrate from October 2012 a Year of Faith to help us all to appreciate the precious gift of faith, to deepen our relationship with God and strengthen our commitment to sharing that faith with others. All of us know someone – a friend, family member, classmate, work colleague or neighbour – who used to be a practising Catholic, but isn’t any more. For some who initially heard the incredible proclamation of Christ alive in the Church, the message has become stale. The promises of the Gospel seem empty or unconnected to their busy lives today. So, what is our response?

Surely our love and concern for them means that they should be the primary object of our missionary or evangelising efforts, our energy and resources. The Church only exists to evangelise – that means buildings, churches, parishes, schools and colleges are only valuable insofar as they help the Church in that mission of salvation!! How can we as parishes, schools and colleges – as the Diocese – support this sorely needed New Evangelisation?

Protect the Pope comment: Bishop Campbell raises some very important, urgent questions that have be ducked for too long. It doesn’t make sense that the Catholic Church is maintaining, at great expense and vast commitment of resources, Catholic schools were the majority of children, and teachers, are non practicing Catholics or even  non-Catholics. In most Catholic secondary schools the majority of children come from lapsed Catholic families, with a tiny minority of the children practicing their faith.  And these faithful children are often bullied and ridiculed for going to Mass or for being altar servers.

What sense does it make that some of our Catholic schools enroll over 90% Muslim pupils? Isn’t it time that we sold these schools to the Muslim community or to the UK State? With our shrinking financial and human resources and imperative to proclaim the Gospel of Christ isn’t it time that the Church in this country pulled out of mass education and focused on providing a smaller number of explicitly Catholic schools for practicing Catholic children?

It is a scandal that every year tens of thousands of children leave Catholic secondary schools who have never practised the Catholic faith, have no intention of practicing the Faith, and do not have a living relationship with Christ. It is not that the majority have rejected the Faith, its that due to the impoverished quality of catechesis and Religious Education over the past forty years that they have never encountered the Catholic faith in any real sense. This situation is unsustainable.


39 comments to Is it right to maintain schools that are Catholic in name only? Bishop Campbell

  • Simon Fisher

    This is a difficult issue which I agree has been dodged for years. My view would be to consolidate through reducing the number of schools the diocese maintains and then ensure that those that remain provide our children with a catholic education taught by catholic teachers.
    By doing this we can create an environment where our young people are able to develop their relationship with Christ without fear of ridicule.
    Clearly there are some very difficult decisions to be made.

  • ms catholic state

    Catholic schools can often be a liability to the Faith. Impressionable Catholic children mix with children from lapsed Catholic families who often deride and belittle the Faith (something you will not see Muslim children do). Often parents battle against the posionous attitudes their children pick up in Catholic schools.

    Yet Catholic schools could be harnessed for great good and Cathechesis in spreading of our Faith. It is too early to give up on them yet. The Pope is calling for the re-Evangelisation of the West. Surely we should begin in our schools. How about little, cost-free initiatives that God would bless abundantly….like ensuring that Confessions were heard at least once a month in our schools….and weekly Benediction and Rosary etc. And simple but direct Cathechesis explining the mission, nature and history of the Church. As someone said….our children are Sacramentalised but not Cathechised. Maybe delivering unsold Catholic newspapers etc rather than having teen magazines in our schools etc?! Are our priests concentrating more on the Converted in the parishes rather than on the children of the lapsed in our schools. Surely this is where the harvest is greatest and the workers are needed.

    • ms catholic state

      Oh and I forgot….promoting Catholic websites like this in our secondary schools, instead of those Connexions websites. It costs nothing….the question is, do our clergy, head teachers and governors have the will?! And isn’t it up to our bishops to direct them to ensure they do.

    • Lindi

      Confessions , Rosary , Benediction – I agree but the problem is that such things are deeply unpopular with the leadership in schools. Perhaps , I am being unfair . Possibly it is a matter of ignorance of such things. I think change has to come from the top.

      • ms catholic state

        Lindi….if initiative doesn’t come from the top, then we at the bottom will do what we have to. And God will bless our efforts abundantly. We still have Mass and the Sacraments…so we are not that badly off. We should impress upon evey Catholic child that they are to spread the Catholic Faith and make converts. Not fasionable I know….but if that doesn’t fire the faith in them, nothing will. And the children of faithful Catholics must inform the children of lapsed Catholics that they too are called upon to spread the Faith.

        Let’s try some bluntness. Subtle and delicate efforts haven’t got us very far :)

  • Karla

    I think before they decide anything they should look at the admissions process – is it right that a Catholic school should have 90% Muslim pupils, or non Catholic pupils that make up a majority? I don’t think so. The purpose of a Catholic school is to form the CATHOLIC faith in the pupils. Catholic schools have to go back to the root of the purpose of Catholic education, if they do that I bet you will see major improvement in mass attendance etc.

    Strengthen the Catholic identity of the school and abundance in many forms will follow.

    • Lindi

      I agree with you that it is impossible for a school which has 90% Muslim pupils to be a Catholic school – it just isn’t. As regards the purpose of a Catholic school to form the Catholic faith in pupils – I think that in most cases that isn’t the schools’ aim. Look at the mission statements – in many cases ” Catholic ethos ” is the popular description of what the school is about.
      I think any change has to come from the top – bishops / head teachers / school governors. Trouble is many are not Catholic ! ( apologies to bishops !) Seriously , I would love to see a growth in orthodox religious orders of men and women take up the reins of Catholic education again.

    • CathChap

      AIUI, that is what most schools do at the moment. Places are offered to Catholics first then Christians then non-Christians. If the school is popular with Catholics they fill all or nearly all the places. If it is less popular, then they let anyone in to keep the roll up.

      It is kinda inevitable that those latter schools will be less Catholic than those full of Catholics. I am not sure that is a bad think though. It might not be a pure Catholic environment but it lets Catholics see non-Catholics and non-Catholics see a little of Catholicism which must be a good thing.

      If you want all Catholics schools to be at least 90% Catholic that will mean fewer Catholic schools (not enough children of Catholic parents to go round), longer journeys to school, more traffic congestion, neighbours sending there kids to different schools, and denying non-Catholics a glimps of our faith.

      • Lisa

        Cathchap, your statement is incorrect: ‘Places are offered to Catholics first then Christians then non-Christians. If the school is popular with Catholics they fill all or nearly all the places’. Places are offered to people who have been baptised Catholic first, and who go to mass every Sunday. Now, some of these people are genuine Catholics, some are not. I would love to believe that the majority of these people were genuine, but why is that once the kiddies get into the school, they are rarely seen in mass? And why is that the majority of these children turn into lapsed Catholics? I agree with Pope Benedict – it does not matter how small the Church is as long as it is genuine. What makes a school Catholic is the people. Being baptised Catholic is no guarantee that the person is in fact a Catholic. And I am sure that when schools employ teachers that is what they look at: is the person a baptised Catholic? But that means little, if anything. Now, there is one school where all the REAL practising Catholics want to get their children into: the Cardinal Vaughn. And guess what? They have much healthier admission procedures. That means that the majority of students and staff are practising Catholics – this is what makes the school Catholic. REALLY and TRULY Catholic. Not like the pretend ones we see everywhere. :)

        • And Lisa we all know what happened to the parents of Cardinal Vaughan!! – they had to fight the Archbishop of Westminster and his appointees tooth and nail to keep those very healthy admission procedures!! even to the point where they were forced to take the matter to a court of law, and in the end it was the State who fought the Catholic Church for the Catholic parents to keep the Catholic ethos in the school. Beggars belief!!

        • CathChap

          you are right. Baptism of the child and/or parent(s) is the key. Perhaps we should do what the C of E does and have regular attendance as a criteria insted? – discuss….

          the Pope is right that “it does not matter how small the Church is as long as it is genuine.” BUT, making new Catholics is only one of the purposes of a school. I would also hope that it takes seriously its role to educate, and to contribute to a just a peaceful society where different faiths and those of no-faith are able to live harmoneously together. Having a small number of “uber-Catholic” schools and a load of non-Catholic schools where kids get exposed to no Catholicism at all (not even the watered down sort) is not a recipt for understanding between faiths.

          My own kids are at a non-denominational school for the simple reason that that is where all their friends go and it would have been cruel to have ended so many friendships. It is positive that there are children with parents who are Muslims, Athiests, Anglicans, Baptists etc at their school. Religious hatred is harder to form if you have played and worked with the “other”

          Are we really so insecure in our faith that we have to wrap our kids up in a Catholic box to protect them from outside influences? Surely a child who chooses to be a Catholic despite being exposed to alternative world views is more a genuine Catholic than one who is only a Catholic because they don’t know anything else (and who may abondon it the moment he enters the outside world)?

          • Lisa

            CathChap, I agree with you when you say that we Catholics should mix with everyone (including our children). Indeed, Catholicism is not a private club, we are called to help everyone, Christian or not, and sometimes God’s light shines more strongly in people who are either atheists or belong to other religious traditions. However, I have children and would like them to keep their Catholic faith, as my faith has been the rock in my life. It is a fact that in ‘general Catholic schools’ (not the Vaughn) cathechesis is watered down. Children will leave school without understanding what the Eucharist really is – if they did, why would they ignore it or reject it? They will leave school without knowing who Padre Pio is – call me extreme, but I believe that is an important fact, as he is one of the greatest saints of all times. Catholic schools should be for practising Catholics only. They should not teach hate – after all, what has hate got to do with Catholicism? – they should teach respect and love for everyone, but above all they should teach the Catholic faith – and that does not happen now, usually not to ‘offend’ non Catholics. Hence, I believe that we need more real Catholic schools, where students and staff are practising Catholics, and not just Catholic by name.

  • This pastoral letter seems like it’s paving the way for tough changes. I love this line:

    “‘We are living through a time of great transition for the Church in which Christianity changes from a religion adhered to by the majority out of social convention to once again being a way of discipleship deliberately chosen by some,but not all;chosen by the faithful out of conviction.’”

    It couldn’t be more true.

    I have spent my entire career working with, or in, Catholic schools and I know they are a mixed bag. Some are amazing; others are probably a complete waste of Church resources.

    The only think I would take issue with above is the Bishop’s idea that “the majority of pupils,and sometimes teachers,are not practising Catholics.” I don’t think that this is a rare thing. In fact, I think it is the case in the vast majority of Catholic schools. When I worked at Castlerigg, we surveyed Key Stage 4 students who had chosen to come to Castlerigg to gauge their faith background. Nine percent reported that they were practicing Catholics, and a third of these reportes that they only went to church because their parents forced them. So, among Year 10 & 11 students – who had chosen to come on a retreat – six percent were practicing Catholics.

    And as for staff, outside of RE, Chaplaincy and Senior leadership the number of practicing Catholics barely reaches double figures in most schools.

    The point isn’t that Catholic schools are a lost cause, but rather that we need to start seeing them as a great missionary opportunity rather than as a pastoral activity in which we look after a healthy flock.

  • Lindi

    Surely there are differences between schools which have a majority of non Catholic children and one which have a majority of practising Muslims ? I can’t see how the latter can be Catholic. In the former , surely that is where evangilisation can take place. The suggestion of having Catholic schools purely for children of practising Catholics is untenable – unless you are going to charge exorbitant fees !

    • CathChap

      why are Muslims any less of a target for evangelisation than anyone else?

      This isn’t very much to do with money as you might imagine. The state (taxpayer) funds all running costs and 90% of capital costs.

  • Veritas

    Many Catholic schools were originally started by Religious Orders with a very strong ethos where the Headteacher was regarded with awe by parents & students alike. While this sense of awe (often, let us admit it, mixed with an element of fear)prevailed the majority of parents and students were prepared to outwardly conform.

    But, along with the widespread loss of faith throughout western Europe over the last 60 years, there has been a huge decline in a lack of respect for any authority – secular or religious alike.

    There have been huge mistakes made over the last 40 or 50 years. But all was not always sweetness and light beforehand, even though it is tempting to look back with rose-tinted spectacles.

    For example there were huge numbers of converts to the Catholic Church in England & Wales in the 1940′s and 1950′s. But if you analyse the figures carefully, you will find that some (not all of course – and perhaps only a minority) of these were prospective husbands or wives of Catholics. In some parishes (and sometimes in a whole diocese) the Parish Priest or Bishop would refuse to grant a Dispensation for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic. The non-Catholic would then be given “an offer they could not refuse”: ie convert to Catholicism or you don’t get married.

    Even in what were considered Catholic countries, not all was well. Long before the pontificate of Pope John XIII, France was seen as a “Pays de Mission”, a Mission Territory where so many of its people were not so much lapsed Catholics as complete pagans: I do not use the word “pagan” in a pejorative sense but to refer to people who never had the Catholic faith to begin with. Indeed a famous book was written in the late 1940′s entitled “France – Pays de Mission”.

    Incidentally, the authors of this book (which led to many “pastoral initiatives” in France in the 1950′s and 1960′s) based their proposed solutions on the pastoral initiatives that (supposedly) had led to the huge growth rate of the Catholic Church in Rwanda and Burundi (then part of the Belgium Congo) in the 1930′s and 1940′s. With the benefit of seventy years of hindsight after the publication of “France: Pays de Mission”, one can see that these pastoral initiatives were not the definitive and perhaps not even the main cause of the growth of the Church in Rwanda and Burundi.

    Things need to change. But we need to avoid any sort of panic.

    Compared to all other Christian groups in our country we are in a relatively healthy state. I would compare us to being in the Fracture Clinic of a hospital rather than on life support in the Intensive Care Unit!

  • How about Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist who are Catholic in name only?

    Lumen Gentium, No. 14 of the Second Vatican Council speaks of those who remain within the Church but only in a “bodily manner.” Worth pondering Archbishop Nichols.

  • theresa

    When I was At school In1940s, we had prayers A.M Angelus@12 prayers at end of day.Half an hour Catechism or Bible Study or Church Music in Latin we had St.Agnes’s Guild with a card,marked and given to Priest who took this in Church ,delivered every Friday to the home by girls. priest read a continuous story of Our Lady talked to us. We had a Youth Club {Sailor’s Rest},lots of rooms,Legion,netball,Scottish Dancing etc etc. Catholics only attended,all ages.
    this was wartime. At least 6 teachers minded us during Mass.
    We loved our Church,Priests,Teachers.Very few ever missed Mass and this was in the poor
    district of town,fathers in forces and dieing. This is why the elderly seldom miss
    Mass and we know what is going on on the alter

  • Sheer neglect of teaching the Catholic Faith has brought about the problem. It would seem that closing schools is a good solution but I am not so sure. I beleive that things are happening at grass roots, through the power of the Holy Spirit. I have seen in my local primary school what a good headteacher can do. She changed the policyto that of the Cardinal Vaughan schools meaning practicing catholics came first whether inside the catchment area or not. She then introduced subtle changes towards the Faith in the RE programme. Our eleven O`clock Mass is now full of primary aged children where there were few just a short time ago. It can be done. These burdensome schools can become Catholic. New teachers coming in are more likely to be practicing Catholics also. There is a movement towards the Church among young people who missed the propoganda of the seventies and eighties. Be of good heart Christ is returning.

    • John Kearney has it absolutely right – the young are hungry for the Truth. The bishops / priests / parishes who continue to sell “The Ta&£et” and have other apostate carry-on such as very poor catechesis for First Holy Communion children / parents, new-age indoctrination, extra-ordinary ministers taking over the priest’s role, etc. etc. have got to be booted out.

  • Chris

    This debate is long overdue! We needto start with diocesan religious education inspections. Invariably they are conducted by ex-headteachers who sadly do not have a firm of grasp of the Catholic faith. Rarely is the EPR policy 9the sex ed policy)invetsigated. The idea that its real purpose is to educate for chastity is foreign to many of these people. Why are we not investigating the number of vocations (including marriage) that these schools are producing. After all teachers are now rigorously held to account against targets for everything! (I speak as an RE teacher). Secondly we need to address the woeful standard of liturgy in our schools and parishes. The emphasis on outer participation as opposed to inner participation is reducing the Mass to entertainment.

  • A few hours of regular listening to Catholic radio stations could make thinking Catholics out of us all. You can learn more from them than anywhere else – any gaps in your catechesis can soon be sorted. One example is Radio Maria – it has station in many countries around the world (see list below) but there’s not one Catholic radio station in Ireland or the UK. The main problem is the hierarchy and many of the lay people running parishes are only Catholic in name – they do not believe, promote or follow the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Rep., Congo Brazzaville, Democ. Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia

    India, Indonesia, Philippines

    Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Romania (Hungarian lang.), Russia, Serbia, Serbia (Hungarian lang.), Spain, South Tirol, Switzerland, Ukraine

    Lebanon (twin radio)

    Papua New Guinea

    Canada (English lang.), Canada (Italian lang.), Mexico, U.S.A., U.S.A. (Houston-Spanish lang.), U.S.A. (New York-Italian lang.), U.S.A (New York-Spanish lang.)

    Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama

    Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela

  • William

    I hold a senior post in a local Catholic High school and have worked in Catholic schools for over twenty-five years. Whilst I agree that a debate about the future of Catholic schools is overdue, I must disagree with many of the sweeping generalisations that have been written above, many formed through no real eveidence. One point I am afraid is not for debate and that is with regard to resources. The article on this website suggests that “It doesn’t make sense that the Catholic Church is maintaining,at great expense and vast commitment of resources”. The school I work in has not received a single penny from the diocese in the ten years I have worked there ~ not a penny. CathChap is correct in saying that the entire running costs of the school are met by the state; she also suggests that the Church has to find 10% of capital developments ~ the fact is the Church doesn’t have the money and so governors fund this 10% from DFE income.

  • Karla

    A small victory for Christians: Tesco has said it will stop sponsoring London’s gay pride march

    The company has apologised for creating ‘misunderstanding and mistrust’ and will change its policy in 2013. That is good enough for me

    This must of had something to do with customer feedback.

    • sam mace

      WRONG, Tesco has issued a statement saying they are sponsoring pride next year at least.

      • Lisa

        Sam, you misunderstood Karla’s post. Read the link and you will see that Tesco will indeed sponsor the family area in the Gay Pride march in 2012, but that will be the last time they support Out at Tesco’s public events.

  • Karla

    Catholic teacher Michael Merrick responds to the Bishop’s concerns:

  • CathChap

    Two more points I’d like to make:

    1, The education of children is primarily the responsibility of parents. Any review of school provsion needs to start with some research of what they want. It would be a mistake to make schools as we think they ought to be if those schools were not popular because if noone choose to send their children to them all efforts to improve them would be futile.

    2, It is clear that for many here, Catholic schools are not what we would like them to be. There are many Catholic schools that are insufficiently Catholic. Some of them can be made more Catholic and in others where many parents are not Catholic, that will be difficult or impossible to do. Do we close the schools in the latter group or allow them to continue as “Catholic-lite” schools? Personally I would be in favour of only closing them if they actually caused harm. However imperfect our schools are if we think that they are better than non-denominational schools shouldn’t we try and retain them?

  • Teresa

    The government is also placing obstacles in the way. Withdrawing free transport to faith schools is one such obstacle. Well off non-Catholics can apply whilst hard pushed Catholics may be forced to use nearby state school (although I am sure where there is a will….). Our secondary school is a bit off the beaten track but it is immensely popular as it has very high academic achievement levels and an excellent orchestra. It also has a high level of non Catholics. A friend’s child is one of only 4 in her class! Some schools are clearly victims of their own success.

    Canon Law does place importance on achievement but in the context of a full Christian life. The government sees achievement much differently, and in fulfilling government requirements and targets, maintaining Catholic ethos often takes second place. I think the issue is a complex one with integrity of Catholic schools being attacked from various angles both within and without.

    Canon Law states that the Church has rights and duties to educate people so that they may reach the fullness of Christian life, and in arranging that all the faithful have access to a Catholic education. But bishops and pastors cannot do it alone and Canon Law places rights and duties on ALL the faithful (including those who do not have children in a school) in ensuring delivery of Catholic education and maintaining Catholic ethos in schools. (Can 793=>) Although parents are primary educators, schools are an important place of teaching and evangelisation.

    I have not got all the answers but should we not be looking at wakening up the laity rather than chopping down the barren fig tree without giving it some attention and a second chance? Looking at the admissions procedure is certainly a priority, but there is a vast amount more work to be done.

    • CathChap

      Free transport to faith schools was indefensible because it was unfair and unjust because it only applied to faith schools but was given regardless of parental means. Poor families whether they are sending their kids to a faith school or a non-faith school continue to get transport assistance in a non-descriminatory way.

  • Teresa

    PS – it is a scandal that some Catholic schools have a mostly Muslim intake. I don’t know enough to say whether or not they should be sold and it would depend partly where they were and what other provisions there are locally for Catholics. However I imagine to the Muslims concerned it is preferable to send their children to a Christian School rather than to a secular one.

    Which is more dangerous to the young Catholic faithful – a Muslim majority or a mostly apathetic or dissenting majority? At least the Muslims believe in God. …That is a question. I don’t know the answer.

    • Josephus

      Before we all jump on the good ship Scandal, can somebody do the due diligence and ascertain whether there are in fact catholic schools with a mostly Muslim intake?

      I’m just glad God wasn’t as scandalised by those dreadful Ninivite’s when he sent the racist prophet Jonah to call them to repent. Daily Mail, anyone?

      Not wishing to sound pedantic, but in the interest of sound catechetics, Muslims might believe in a God but it is not the God. Small but crucial point. Surprised Nick hasn’t seized upon you heresy and denounced you to the entire blogosphere! Surely only a matter of time…

  • “some Catholic schools have a mostly Muslim intake”
    Surely this cannot be true? Please could someone supply FACTS?

  • William

    Deacon Nick ~ some Preston schools ~ how many?

  • William

    Deacon Nick ~ can I suggest that it might have been wise to have established the exact figures before fanning the flames of a raging debate regarding the future of Catholic schools. I am sure that there will be many Catholic Prestonians anxious to know how many school and, ideally, which schools. Regards.

  • In Croydon the Coloma Trust runs both a Catholic School (Coloma) and a non-denominational school (the Quest Accademy – which used to be Selsdon High). If I give money in the collection plate …which school does it go towards financing? Answers on a postcard please. Also these groups of schools which have accademy status are not accountable either to the Church or the local Authority and have no board of governers as such which worries me. But then again they seem to get better exam results at the Quest Accademy than Selsdon High did so you cant argue too much with that – all be it they are so controlling at the Quest A they got internationally famous through a ridiculous aborted policy of preventing the children from ever touching each other.

    What they teach kids about God and Sex and the Catechism at either I have no idea but I remember the Coloma campaign against playboy clothing which was spectacularly unsuccessful in a hilarious way
    and also them being told to change their admissions rules

    I have to say I just dont like the idea of “priority to children of parents who get involved in church activities” it sounds like undermining the welfare state to me…
    Only went to a Catholic junior school myself.
    We did all the sacraments and that but were too young to move onto the sordid stuff about sexuals…
    However, for all the faults of the Catholic church, when people say to me “why aren’t you more against it?” …well, I suppose the answer must be that I don’t recall having a bad experience.

  • Jim McPake, Carlisle.

    Jim McPake, Carlisle (Guest) 04/01/2012 21:48

    111, 226 Catholics in the diocese only a scrape over one in 5 bother to go to mass….and the vast majority of them are past 60….soon there will be nobody left.

    Get them to pay up before they die….after all they have sat on their thinking parts these last 40 years as the church was destroyed around them….and what did they do about it..??

    Nothing.Least they could do is make the material situation for us who will be around to rebuild when the rot finaly stops a wee bit easier.

    At least some one should be pointing out to them that every “initiative” since Vat II has been an unadulterated failure. Check out the bumpf that people are writing here in relation to the Bishops letter…..loads of Blah Blah Blah….same old crap that we here all the time.

    It is not rocket science….the SSPX have one school and are actually opening churches….with a fraction of the numbers of Lancaster Diocese….they are fit for mission, and they never commissioned that document….meanwhile the Diocese gets sicker by the day…!!!! They might have to wait a bit yet before they kiss hands with the Pope….but at least they will be here….which is a lot more than can be said for the diocese as things stand right now.

    Bin the Novus Ordo …now….I only ever go at funerals, which are usually too too sick making as Waugh was wont to say….

    Talking of Waugh… about reading extracts from Alcuin Reads, A Biter Trial, book on the Waugh / Heenan letters at every mass…???

    Let the poor dears know what’s been done to them before it’s too late…???
    Lancaster has the document these last 4 years or so….but the rot hasn’t stopped, numbers are still falling here in Carlisle….

    The SSPX are growing…if it weren’t for the little local difficulty with the Pope….I know several people who would shake the dust of the diocese off their feet tomorrow.

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