Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bishop stands up under fire

I have simply lifted this from John Smeaton, the SPUC director's excellent blog:

Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster came under fire at a meeting of the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Select Committee.
Fiona McTaggart MP challenged the bishop on the fact that his recent guidance to Catholic schools (Fit for Mission? – Schools) indicated that they should not support fund-raising appeals with an anti-life ethos. He pointed out that it was not feasible to expect Catholics to support organisations – despite the good work they might do – if their leadership adopted policies contrary to basic Christian principles. The bishop emphasised that the values upheld by Catholic schools in his diocese were values shared by those of other faiths, such as Moslems, at Catholic schools.
The Bishop was also criticised for saying in the document that schools in his diocese should see it as their prime duty to teach the Catholic faith and to evangelise. Committee members said they thought this meant non-Catholic pupils were to be proselytised. The Bishop denied this – pointing to the distinction between genuine evangelisation – proclaiming the truth to others – and proselytisation, which was characterised as coercive.
Barry Sheerman MP, the Committee Chairman, asked if Church leaders were not worried that it seemed that church schools had become adept at keeping out poor and needy children.
The Bishop said that Catholic schools [within the state ‘comprehensive school’ system] should not be selective, and said he would intervene if schools were found to have been selecting children on the basis of their social class. He maintained, however that admission quotas for different class or religious groups should not be imposed on schools.
On the question of interfaith schools, the committee chairman asked whether there had been a change in policy under Pope Benedict XVI (or, as Barry Sheerman impolitely put it: under the “present occupant of the Vatican”!) Bishop O’Donoghue said the policy had not changed as far as he was aware – not in his diocese.
If you want to write to congratulate Bishop O’Donoghue for his brave defence of values, particularly pro-life values, during his questioning in Parliament today, write to him at: Bishop’s Apartment, Cathedral House, Balmoral Road, Lancaster, LA1 3BT


Physiocrat said...

I suppose because the British government is so utterly incompetent at its basic functions that it has to go meddling in what is not its business, seeing as Catholic schools are paid for by money taken off Catholics and then handed back to them after government bureaucracy has creamed off a chunk. This is not meant as a plug for any other party as the Conservatives, LibDems and Greens are just as bad.

Volpius Leonius said...

I for one will be writing, been a Catholic can seem very lonely at times in this heathen country so when one of us makes a sacrifice for Our Lord the least the rest of us can do is offer him our support.

George said...

Now we need ALL our Catholic Schools in England and Wales to take the Bishop's document 'Fit for Mission' and make it their mission to implement it's recommendations. I would urge all Head Teachers, Heads of RE, Governors and Parents to read through the document. CTS are making it available as a booklet I believe. Let's put the CATHOLIC firmly back into our schools. I bet that 'education' committee got more than they bargained for during that meeting, let's hope they ponder over the Bishop's wisdom - I wish I had been a fly on the wall! God Bless Bishop Patrick.

Anonymous said...

God bless him, indeed. What a pity that the fullsome support of his fellow bishops for his strong initiative is deafening in its silence.

It's quite obvious that the so-called Catholic Education Service is at odds with Bishop O'Donaghue's firm stance in support of true Catholic education. One assumes, therefore, that the episcopal leadership of the CES is likewise lukewarm in support. I was present at a talk recently where the episcopal chairman of the CES ignored the very supportive comments by another speaker for Bishop O'Donaghue's paper. That spoke volumes - and that bishop is a leading contender for Westminster (if popular comment is to be believed).

Red Maria said...

More about it here

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

God bless him. He has done well.
So, I wonder what happens next...

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