Friday, 6 February 2015

Why do Catholic Schools exist?

It is a sad reflection on the state of Catholic education that it makes the news and draws attention on social media when an Archbishop says that Catholic schools “exist to affirm and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ as held and taught by his Catholic Church.”  

It feels that in this country we have really given up on trying to hold Catholic schools to account when it comes to teaching and living the fullness of the Catholic Faith.  Hedged in by political correctness and financial accountability to the secular state, any re-imagining of Catholic education as a tool for actually passing on the Faith or as an evangelising process for the huge percentage of those in our schools who do not practice has long been given up on.  (There are no figures but I would make an educated guess that it must be around 90-95% of most Catholic school pupils do not practice their faith by regular Sunday Mass attendance.)

God bless Archbishop Cordilione for making some attempts to claw back Catholic from the sad reality schools to what it actually says on the sign at the gate Catholic School.  I had the privilege of meeting him a couple of years ago.  He spoke very clearly on what is and isn't the Catholic Faith.


David O'Neill said...

As chair of School Appeal Panels I see more & more the lack of catholicity within our Catholic Schools. As part of the problem Catholic schools are meant to be inclusive. This gives one of three results either all children are taught the Catholic faith or children are allowed to absent themselves or (often the case) the Catholic faith is watered down so as not to cause offence to other faiths. In the main these 'other faiths' tend to be Muslim & God help anyone who upsets them.
If a school is 'Catholic' it should be entirely Catholic in every aspect of its teaching. I hope the day never comes when we become a 'mix & match' faith but unless Catholicity is returned to our schools this will happen.
Holy Michael Archangel defend us in day of battle!!

Gregkanga said...

I commend the Bishop for being a courageous leader regardless of the depth of the mess and the opposition. This is true leadership and responsible spiritual fatherhood. In Australia, Catholic education has been one of the main contributors of the emptying of parishes and the thwarting of the Church's evangelizing mission. Into the Deep at, a monthly newsletter by orthodox Catholics has been the sole voice in Australia for over 10 years, holding the hierarchy to account for the parlous state of Catholic education in this country. Last month's issue, number 145 page 7, has an article, Declining Mass Attendances - The Real Reason, it's worth reading. There is not a single bishop in Australia with Archbishop Cordilione's courage and leadership to diagnose the problem and deal with it. Sad really.

Jacobi said...

Catholic schools exist to teach children a sound education appropriate for their day and age, but on the basis belief in and knowledge of the Catholic Faith and Catholic practise.

This is essential in any generation if the Faith is to continue. That is blindingly obvious, which is why the first thing the relativists did after Vatican II was to dismantle Catholic Religious education, and in spite of several attempts, it has not been, and does not look likely to be, re-established in our so-called “Catholic schools”.

The responsibility lies with our bishops who have failed to diagnose this problem during the 70/80s and still have done little to put things right. As such, they are responsible for the complete shambolic mess the Church in these isles is in. They have proved to be incompetent or worse still collusive in this melt-down.

If the Catholics have lost the will to continue the Faith it is because our ineffective or incompetent bishops have allowed this.

Gregkanga said...

Jacobi, I concur with your comments. The buck always stops with the bishop of a given diocese. However, what increases their culpability is the fact that for over 20 years these bishops have ignored warnings and objective critiques by religious education teachers in the system. They would rather listen to the 'experts', the disciples of the dissident Thomas Groome. As a conference, these bishops have been quite arrogant, headstrong and contemptuous of their critics, especially disgruntled Catholic parents who hold them to account.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be little more than lipservice to the name of Catholic education these days. I visited Stonyhurst recently. There was no sanctuary lamp burning in the main church there (which is also a parish church for the surrounding area.) I am told the same is true of the students' chapel. Jesuit withdrawal has been so severe that it is whispered the next spiritual father may not even be a priest but a layman. No faith can survive in such a climate of abandonment. The Jesuits withdrew from teaching to pursue a radical activist agenda from the 1960s onwards. Since then numbers of practicing Catholics and rhe Jesuits themselves have plummeted. In the case of Stonyhurst that means allowing 400 year old Catholic tradition, for which many men gave their lives, to splutter out and die,

Dr Frederick Jones said...

With shepherds like these who needs wolves?