From the Scottish Catholic Observer… 24 November, 2017…
Challenge those who attack Catholic schools, Archbishop says
Archbishop Tartaglia said celebrations of the centenary of Catholic education in Scotland should include a robust defence of Catholic schools
The Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia is encouraging Catholics to get involved in upcoming celebrations to mark 100 years of state Catholic education in Scotland—and to challenge those who attack Catholic schools.
In a letter to headteachers and members of clergy from across Scotland, the archbishop described the centenary as an ‘opportunity to rejoice’ over the successes of Scotland’s Catholic schools and education. “2018 serves as an opportunity to rejoice in the academic, cultural, civic and social achievements of pupils who have attended Catholic schools in the last 100 years,” he said. “It is a chance to mark publicly the ways in which Catholic schools are not just good for Catholics, but good for Scotland.”
He spoke of the ‘positive contribution of Catholic schools’ to society in Scotland, which he described as being ‘well documented.’
“The continuing support of the Scottish Government and all of the main political parties is encouraging for the future of denominational schools,” he said. “However, while this is a time to reflect and thank God for 100 years of serving our local communities, we cannot be complacent that there is universal support for Catholic schools.
“We need to ensure that we continue to challenge the negative voices which exert pressure in the media and in the political arena, suggesting that there is no place for Faith schools in the public provision of education in a modern Scotland.
“What better way to do this than by marking this centenary as a celebration of the distinctive nature of our schools and by telling the story of the people and communities who have benefited from Catholic education in Scotland.”
Archbishop Tartaglia invited parishes, families, schools and communities across the country to ‘consider the ways that they can add to this story,’ as he revealed that a planning group has been set up to look at possible activities and coordinate events for the anniversary celebrations.
The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has authorised the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES) to ‘propose plans’ to be used in the centenary year that mark the education partnership between Church and state.
In his letter, the Archbishop asked that headteachers and priests let parish councils, parent and pupil councils, pastoral planning teams and associated schools’ groups know about the SCES planning group.
“I encourage you to begin a discussion of how your local parish community can support and contribute to the events of this year,” he said, adding that SCES is welcoming submissions of archive material of local school history, stories and photographs of parishioners.
SCES have revealed a number of national events will take place across all of Scotland’s eight dioceses in 2018, while other celebrations will be organised at a diocesan and local level.
The launch of the centenary celebrations will take place in February next year, when a specially commissioned icon of ‘Jesus Our Teacher,’ created to mark the 100th anniversary, will begin its tour across the country, starting in Galloway Diocese.
Glasgow Archdiocese will mark Catholic Education Week, which runs from January 28 to February 2, with a high schools’ Mass in St Andrew’s Cathedral, while a Catholic Education Week dinner will take place at the city’s Central Hotel on February 2.
On March 3 a Catholic education open forum will take place in Argyll and the Isles Diocese and in April a ‘Leadership of Catholic Schools Conference’ will take place in Salamanca.
The Caritas Award ceremony will be on June 7 next year in Glasgow, a highlight in the year for Catholic schools, and a school pilgrimage along the St Andrew’s Way will take place from June 14-15.
Parents will have the opportunity to come together in August for the National Parent Gathering in Paisley and a planned pilgrimage to Rome led by Archbishop Tartaglia is on the cards for October 15-19. Open to all associated with Catholic Education in Scotland, prices cost £850 per person.
Also in October, the European Catholic Committee (CEEC) will visit Scotland and the Scottish Parliament will also mark the centenary.
For the first time, a second Catholic Education Week will be held in November, including a National Teachers’ Mass in Glasgow and a spiritual retreat for teachers. [Emphases added] Source – Scottish Catholic Observer
Not a whisper in the above report about the reason why Catholic schools were built in the first place; not a hint of why the 1918 Education Act was necessary. The generic language used to describe Catholic education masks the fact that Catholic schools were built for the key purpose of teaching the Catholic religion, imparting the Catholic Faith, across the subjects of the curriculum – and have manifestly failed to do so since the introduction of content-free programmes of religious (non) education, and other novelties which have polluted Catholicism. Informed Catholic parents in Scotland have now taken this “rule of thumb” (interweaving the Faith into all subjects) into home-schooling, given that the Catholic schools see their mission as excelling in “the academic, cultural, civic and social achievements of pupils” (see above, paragraph 2) and not, as originally, to see to it that students’ world-view is rooted in their Catholic Faith. Even the image used in the Scottish Catholic Observer report has a pupil studying a Bible – not a Catechism. Below, some examples of the kind of material available to Catholic schools by using a sound Catechism – such as the excellent Baltimore series…
Hence, Catholic schools, like non-denominational schools, are now committed to catering for secular values – despite protestations to the contrary. Hence, as we have reported in our newsletter, we find “safe spaces” in Scottish Catholic schools for “LGBT pupils” with gender-neutral pupils, uniforms and language soon to follow, as the instances of such in England indicate. Click here to read a previous post on this subject.
Teachers who have taught in both sectors, say they see little difference between Catholic and non-denominational schools these days. So, is the centenary of state Catholic schools in Scotland really anything to celebrate? Should we not, rather, be mourning the passing of true and traditional Catholic education?