The third LGBT+ Catholics Westminster Pilgrimage to Rome ended yesterday, Sunday, 10 March 2019. On Ash Wednesday, the 16 pilgrims, including parents and family members, alongside LGBT_ Catholics with Pilgrimage Chaplain, Fr David Stewart SJ, attended the morning General Audience with Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square. At the end of the Audience the group was invited to meet Pope Francis.
The Pilgrimage Leader, Martin Pendergast, a member of the LGBT+ Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council, introduced the group to the Holy Father, explaining that they formed part of the LGBT+ pastoral ministry outreach of Westminster Diocese. Each pilgrim received a gift of a rosary from Pope Francis who shook hands with the group’s members.
Later, on Ash Wednesday afternoon, the group was able to take part in Pope Francis’ Mass and Imposition of Ashes in the Church of Santa Sabina. In the evening they was warmly welcomed at an Ecumenical Liturgy of the Word & Blessing of Ashes with English-speaking Anglicans, Catholics and Methodists, in the Church of St Ignatius.
The programme included a conversation with Rome-based journalists, Christopher Lamb (The Tablet) and Robert Mickens (La Croix International) giving their perspectives on Pope Francis’ Church reform strategy, not least following the recent Vatican Sexual Abuse Summit. They were also addressed by the American moral theologian, Professor James Keenan SJ, on the Pope’s response to the 2014/2015 Synods on Marriage & Family. He focused on Pope Francis’ key-principles of ‘accompaniment’ and ‘moral discernment’ as vital considerations in addressing LGBT concerns.
The group celebrated Mass in the room where St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, died; and also in the Titular Church of Cardinal Vincent Nichols – The Most Holy Redeemer & St. Alphonsus. Cardinal Nichols’ Pilgrimage Morning Prayer, remembering victims of homophobia and transphobia was said in the St.Bartholomew-on-the-Tiber Church, which commemorates martyrs of our own times and is run by the San Egidio Community. Source – Independent Catholic News
As our blogger, Westminster Fly, who sent me this news wrote: “The Westminster LGBT brigade are untouchable now…” And he threw in an additional short report for good measure. Click here to read it.
Photographed below, Pope Francis greets the LGBT+ chaplain, Fr David Stewart SJ.
I’m speechless – what about you? Do you agree that these militant homosexuals are “untouchable” now that they have the Pope’s full, undisguised support and “the visuals” to prove it? And ask yourself what the plus (+) sign means in LGBT+ – It might be that, as we reported in the current newsletter, March, 2019, just as the early homosexual rights group in Scotland (Scottish Minorities Group) promoted the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), so the contemporary LGBT movement is still supporting if not actively promoting, paedophile rights. Is there a detective in the house who might contact Stonewall to ask them? Click on the image of the Catholic Truth Private Eye below to find contact details for Stonewall… After all, we don’t want to imply anything untoward, so we really ought to check up on the meaning of that plus sign in LGBT+
Church establishes yearly Day of Prayer for victims of abuse
The Bishops of Scotland [pictured above] have established A Day of Prayer for those who have suffered abuse, to be marked on the Friday following Ash Wednesday.
The Church issued resources to every parish in Scotland to be used this Friday, March 8, during a ‘holy hour style Service of Acknowledgment, Prayer and Reflection,’ or during Mass.
A spokesperson for the Catholic Church said: “The Bishops of Scotland have established A Day of Prayer for those who have suffered abuse to be marked each year on the Friday following Ash Wednesday.
“This allows the Church to renew its apology to anyone who has suffered and to stress its commitment to the essential work of safeguarding across our parish communities.”
In February, Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen Diocese, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, attended a Vatican meeting of Episcopal Conference Presidents from across the world in Rome to discuss the Protection of Minors.
The format of the day of prayer on Friday—after the SCO went to press—included prayers for victims of abuse of all kinds and a penitential rite to seek forgiveness for abuse committed by Church personnel.
The Church has proposed that during Mass on Friday the intercessions provided could be used either as intercessory prayers or as an extended Penitential Rite.
An opening hymn reads: “We cannot measure how you heal, Christ be beside me, Christ be our light, Be thou my vision.”
In Dundee, the service took place at 7pm in St Andrew’s Cathedral.
In Motherwell Diocese St Columbkille’s Church in Rutherglen held a ‘Day of Prayer’ for those who have suffered abuse.
A spokesperson for the parish said: “Our parish community will acknowledge and pray for all those who were the innocent victims of some in the Church whom they trusted to protect them.
“We shall pray that survivors of abuse will experience healing, justice and renewal in their lives.
“We shall also pray that the Church, which has been scarred by the grave sin of abuse, will, through repentance and reparation, resolve always to protect the young and the vulnerable.”
The Divine Mercy Novena at 3pm in Rutherglen’s St Columbkille’s would help provide a ‘focus for acknowledgement, prayer and reflection.’ END.
Read the current edition of Catholic Truth, which you can download on the Newsletter page of our website here, to uncover the years and years of neglect on the part of the Scottish Hierarchy, where dissident and sexually deviant priests have been (and continue to be) allowed to live as they please, without suffering so much as a rebuke. Not even discipline-lite. All, of course, except Father Matthew Despard who had the temerity to write a book exposing the level of homosexual clergy within the Church in Scotland 5 years ago and remains suspended from priestly ministry for his trouble.
Yet now, we find these same Bishops subjecting faithful priests and laity to an annual reminder of the abuse scandals – as if the clergy don’t feel tainted enough – whereas, what the Bishops should be announcing is that they will be making a Lenten retreat of repentance for their own negligence in so many ways, such as allowing dissidents platforms to spread their poison, and failing to discipline priests who have been promoting the LGBT+ agenda, and in certain cases continue to do so at the present time.
They’re good at superficiality, the Scottish Bishops – that’s for sure. And this is just one more example of it. Makes a change, I suppose from the annual “Lentfest” – where the faithful in the Archdiocese of Glasgow were encouraged to use the six weeks of Lent, not to do penance for our sins but to get better acquainted with the arts and to, well, enjoy ourselves. That seems to have fallen by the wayside – or at least, I didn’t find any mention of it just now on a quick visit to the archdiocesan website. So, hopefully, the penny has dropped that having fun isn’t really true to the spirit of the, er, penitential period of Lent. I heard a priest tell a really comic-tragic story about this Lenten “fun” mentality just last week during his sermon, when he mentioned a young woman who had decided to throw a party on Ash Wednesday to mark the start of Lent and the main dish was some kind of fancy Ham dish. Truly, it was impossible to keep a straight face. Father didn’t bother to try.
This annual service to remember clergy abuse is pointless. It is but one more way to scandalise the faithful and to belittle Christ’s Spotless Bride, the Church, which has not, and cannot sin. Only the members of the Church can sin, and we make up for those sins through prayer and penance, certainly, but not in a manner which suggests that “the Church” is to blame. Churchmen certainly are to blame – priest abusers and their negligent bishops – but not “the Church”. Such priests should always be removed from active ministry and again, this would be the case if only the Bishops would invoke Canon Law. Unless the Bishops add a prayer acknowledging that they are refusing to use their authority to rid the Church of these deviant priests, then such a “Day of Prayer” is nothing but a pretence. Indeed, this annual reminder service is not only misleading – it is, in and of itself, a cause of scandal.
Or maybe you disagree? Let’s hear it!
Below, the text of the Pastoral Letter sent from the Archbishop of Glasgow to be read in all parishes tomorrow, Sunday, 3rd March, 2019. Underneath the Pastoral Letter, is the text of the ad clerum – that is his letter to priests – on the same subject. Compare the two – and weep!
Pastoral Letter for Sunday 3rd March 2019
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are approaching the time when, each year, young Catholics make First Confession and receive First Holy Communion.
It is incumbent upon the whole community to pray for these children, to support them in their journey of faith and to show them good example of Catholic faith, practice and discipline in the celebration and reception of the Sacraments.
I call especially upon the parents and guardians of these young Catholics to be mindful of the promises they made when they presented their child for baptism. The Church considers you as “the first and best teachers of your children in the ways of faith”. There is no doubt that the influence of parents, siblings and family is central to the faith formation of children. So, please, pray with your children, accompany them to Sunday Mass and be a good example to them of practising Catholics. Please cooperate with your Parish Priest, with our teachers in Catholic schools, with Parish Catechists and with all who are currently preparing your children.
The Sacraments are Sacraments of Christ, of the Church and of faith. Our faith teaches us that the Sacraments confer grace when they are received with the right disposition. When we go to Confession, our sins are truly forgiven through the grace of Jesus Christ. When we receive Holy Communion, we are nourished by the true Body and Blood of Christ. When we receive the Sacraments, the Lord deepens our belonging to his Church.
Please help your children to receive the Sacraments with faith, devotion and reverence. Let your families and friends rejoice with you. Let your enjoyment always be worthy of the “holy things” that you and your children have received.
I hope and pray that this Season of the Sacraments for your children will bring us all an increase of faith and of the immense joy of profound encounter with Jesus Christ our Lord. May Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for children and families, and bring them to Jesus.
Yours devotedly in Christ,
Most Reverend Philip Tartaglia Archbishop of Glasgow
18th February 2019
Dear Monsignor, Canon, Father,
Dear Rev. Deacon
Ad Clerum Letter on Preparation for the Sacraments
As you know, I have written a short Pastoral Letter on the Season of First Confession and First Holy Communion addressed to parish communities and especially to the parents and guardians of the boys and girls they have presented for these Sacraments. My letter to them encouraged them to prepare their children as well as possible for the Sacraments, to give them good example of Catholic faith and practice and to cooperate with Parish and School in the programmes and initiatives designed to prepare the children for the Sacraments. Finally, I wished them and their family holy joy in this Season of the Sacraments.
With this Ad Clerum letter, I wish to address a few words to you. I want to express my support for you in your attempts to prepare the children and their families for the Sacraments. We all know that in this time of apathy, indifference and superficiality, good preparation for the Sacraments is both rather challenging and very necessary. It is such a joy and such a consolation for priests and deacons when children and their families respond to our promptings with sincere faith and regular practice.
At the same time, my dear brothers, you know as well as I do that the faith of many families is weak and that, for them, the celebration of the Sacraments is alarmingly superficial. Much to our frustration, their personal circumstances andometimes mean that they cannot or will not cooperate with the preparation initiatives that we would like them to engage in.
I ask you to have compassion for these families and not to be too demanding with them. The whole weight of contemporary culture is against them. They are the ones who above all need the love and encouragement of their Priest and Shepherd.
I have always taken the following as a pastoral rule of thumb in discerning the threshold for the reception of the Sacraments. If the child is baptised, is a pupil at a Catholic school, if the parents request the Sacraments for their child, and if the child sincerely wants to receive the Sacraments, I believe that the minimum threshold for reception of the Sacraments has been reached. This minimum threshold is not to place an obstacle to the grace of the Sacraments (cf. Council of Trent, Decree on the Sacraments in General, Can 6).
Of course, we want more, and that is why we invite parents and candidates to engage in various initiatives. The Sacraments are Sacraments of faith (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Liturgy, 59), and we want as much faith as possible to welcome the encounter with Christ, which is the core of the sacramental event.
These are our neediest brothers and sisters. Jesus died for them. He loves them. He reaches out to them through you. I do not wish to supplant your pastoral judgment. You are there on the spot and you know your people as the Good Shepherd does. Please consider carefully what you are asking them to do. Please do not place unnecessary obstacles or hurdles in their way. Please give the child and the grace of the Sacrament the benefit of the doubt, for Jesus Christ alone is the Saviour, and we are the priests and servants of his mysteries of grace.
With the greatest respect and esteem for your priestly and diaconal service,
Yours always in Christ,
Most Rev. Philip Tartaglia Archbishop of Glasgow
Well, doesn’t that take the proverbial biscuit? In essence, Archbishop Tartaglia tells parents to practise the Faith, show good example to their children as they prepare for First Confession and First Holy Communion, only to tell his priests not to expect too much, and by too much, he means ignore the fact that they’re lapsed. Just let the children receive the Sacraments and get back to your golf. Honestly, it really does take the biscuit. But don’t take my word for it – let’s examine what, precisely, the Archbishop of Glasgow is saying to his priests in the above ad clerum…
In paragraph one, he mentions his Pastoral Letter acknowledging that he is encouraging parents to do what he later (in his ad clerum) admits they just cannot do, which is to “prepare their children as well as possible for the Sacraments, to give them good example of Catholic faith and practice and to cooperate with Parish and School in the programmes and initiatives designed to prepare the children for the Sacraments… ” [para 1]
He describes “this time of apathy, indifference and superficiality” [para 2] without mentioning the part he and his priests have played in creating and perpetuating this apathy, indifference and superficiality. Think, for example, of the many dissenters given platforms in Glasgow – even to the point of having a female Anglican vicar speak in the Jesuit church, St Aloysius College only a few weeks ago.
The entirety of paragraph three is a damning indictment of the Catholic Church in Scotland, and the Archdiocese of Glasgow in particular: “…you know as well as I do that the faith of many families is weak and that, for them, the celebration of the Sacraments is alarmingly superficial. Much to our frustration, their personal circumstances and low level of Catholic formation sometimes mean that they cannot or will not cooperate with the preparation initiatives that we would like them to engage in. ” [para 3 – emphasis added]. Who, pray, is to blame for the fact that children are now coming forward for the Sacraments, from homes where the parent(s) have not, themselves, been adequately taught the Faith? As he laments this scandal, the same Archbishop is allowing the Scottish Catholic Education Department to push homosexual/transgender propaganda in Catholic schools. Is the Archbishop really that incapable of joining up the dots?
In paragraph four, the blindness becomes even more apparent: “I ask you to have compassion for these families and not to be too demanding with them. The whole weight of contemporary culture is against them.” Talk about missing the point! The whole reason why these families are faithless is because of negligent priests in pulpits and teachers in schools – overseen by “liberal” bishops; it is precisely because nobody has been remotely demanding with them. Can he really not see that? And as for this nonsense about contemporary culture – Muslims, Jews and Hindus live, move and have their being in the very same contemporary culture and they can be picked out on any street as they, literally, wear their religion for all the world to see. So, don’t gimme “contemporary culture” – gimme instead, an open admission of negligent hierarchy, clergy and allegedly Catholic teachers.
The rest of the Archbishop’s letter to priests can be summed up thus: don’t bother your heads if the parents are not practising; don’t put obstacles in their way – if they want their child to dress up in a pretty Communion dress, kilt or nice suit, and have their “special day”, don’t go and be a spoil-sport by talking about off-putting things like Commandments (to keep holy the Sabbath) or Church laws (like regular Confession, Sunday Mass etc)
Left unsaid in the ad clerum: do you really want to have to say you had no First Communicants this year? Think of the field day Catholic Truth would have with that little nugget…
Consider: what SHOULD priests do when presented with non-practising families; child is baptised and attends Catholic school – should they be permitted to make First Confession, Communion and, later, Confirmation? Does it make sense to be confirmed in a Faith you know little to nothing about and don’t actually practise – except when weddings and funerals come around? Let’s hear it…
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced that sex education will be compulsory in all schools in England from 2020. Three new subjects – relationships education from primary school, relationships and sex education at secondary school, and health education for all ages – will form part of the school curriculum, with teachers deciding how frequently to hold age-appropriate lessons. The new statutory guidance will also spell out for the first time the end of parents’ right to opt their children out of sex and relationships education classes in secondary school.
The above short interview is very revealing. 100,000 parents sign a petition objecting to the introduction of ridiculous topics like transgenderism in an attempt to brainwash children as young as five years old, and the Education Secretary, a very slippery customer indeed judging by this interview, isn’t at all fazed. Even being the father of three children himself, knowing the innocence of a five year old, hasn’t made any difference to his shallow “follow the crowd” mentality. I’ve just celebrated the sixth birthday of my lovely little Great Niece today – and she is as innocent as they come. The thought of some “liberal” loony aka nut telling her that if she wants to be a boy, no problem, makes my blood boil (and no, that’s NOT due to climate change…)
Then the interview questions switch to Brexit. I’m not sure I believe anything Damian Hinds says on either topic – what about you?
Police now jailing people for laughing at men in women’s clothes
February 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – There was a story that circulated during the Cold War about a Soviet judge who was seen walking back to his chambers, chuckling heartily. His colleague approached him and asked him what was so funny. Oh, just a hilarious joke I heard, the judge replied. “Well, go ahead and tell me!” his colleague replied. “Oh, I couldn’t do that,” said the Soviet judge. “I just gave someone ten years for it.”
I was reminded of this little anecdote when I spotted a story in the Edinburgh News last week, gravely titled “Edinburgh labourer shouted abuse at transgender woman.” It turns out that one Graham Spiers, a father of two and a construction worker employed at the St. James construction site, was walking past a pub in Bonnington, Edinburgh, with a few buddies, when they passed a transgender woman—a biological male. Although the journalist writing the story goes to great lengths to make it sound as if Spiers was “screaming” at the apparent victim, Spiers and his friends were specifically accused of “pointing and laughing” at the person.
The man being laughed at suspected that he was being mocked for his appearance, as fiscal depute Rosie Cook told the Edinburgh Sheriff Court that the “complainer thought [the laughing and pointing] was in reference to her gender transition.” The transgender person then did what anyone would do if someone laughed at them: He promptly called the police, who take such things very seriously these days. The Edinburgh News, straining to make it sound as if the beery chuckles of a few construction workers really were a big deal, referred to the incident as an “unprovoked verbal assault on her.”
The sheriff informed Spiers that his sense of humor had “no place in today’s society,” and that his laughing and pointing were so unacceptable that he was required to pay the man he had laughed at five hundred pounds “in compensation” for inferring by his laughter that the man did not look like a woman. The Edinburgh News referred to the incident as a “confrontation” despite the fact that the groups simply walked past each other, and Spiers was actually arrested five days later his misplaced mirth. The lawyer for the transgender complainant stated solemnly that Spiers now understands that his actions had been “disturbing for the complainer.”
Sheriff Robert Fife also piled on, informing Spiers that, “Your offensive comments were not funny at the time and are not funny now. Your children should grow up understanding gender differences and would be ashamed at your behavior that comes from a different era has no place in today’s society.” Fife then told Spiers that in addition to the cash he had to pay to the biological man for laughing at him, he also had to pay an additional fine of another five hundred pounds.
Consider this situation for a moment. A construction worker laughs at a biological man attempting to become a woman. Sure, we can agree that laughing at someone is a rude way to deal with any situation, but it was laughing. And Spiers was laughing because the man posing as a woman was very obviously not pulling it off, which happens to be true for most of those who are attempting to force the rest of us to play along with their delusions. And for that—for laughing—he was quite literally arrested, told by law enforcement that he had no right to find such a thing funny, ordered to pay the transgender person an exorbitant amount of money for hurting his feelings, and then pay more on top of that.
It is disgusting enough that law enforcement would arrest and charge someone for this triviality. That alone indicates that freedom in Scotland is truly dead. But the fact that law enforcement then lectured Spiers on being a throwback from a different age (that different era being about a decade ago, for the record) and telling him his children should be ashamed of him? And that Spiers was expected to cower and listen to this tongue-lashing from his betters so he could get re-educated and realize that men could now become women and that laughing at their attempts was forbidden by law? That should absolutely repulse any liberty-loving person and terrify everyone who values freedom.
As I wrote last week, the transgender movement has to impose their ideology on the rest of us with the power of the state because it is not a grassroots movement. Most ordinary people still find the entire phenomenon absurd, and there are even a few construction workers out there with the gall to chuckle at a man attempting to be a woman after they’ve had a few beers. But be careful: Your chuckles might end up putting you in handcuffs. Click here to read the above article at source
Comments invited – but only if you can keep a straight face and no smart alex comments along the lines that you think the lunatics really are running the asylum… You might say that, I couldn’t possibly comment…
Pauline Gallagher, an RE teacher in Glasgow Archdiocese, argues that LGBT guidelines make it difficult to keep teaching true to the Gospel
AS a dedicated RE teacher in a Catholic school in Glasgow Archdiocese, I want to share fully the Church’s teaching and the Gospel with my pupils.
In Scotland today, as the authorities prepare to embed LGBT-inclusive education across the curriculum, those who disagree with the unquestioned promotion of the LGBT agenda have lost confidence.
We are marginalised and branded as old-fashioned. Injustice towards marginalised groups, such as LGBT people, is real. I know this. I witnessed and abhorred it as a teenager in Glasgow in the 1970s.
However, the old voiceless, intimidated groups have been replaced by new ones; faithful Catholics for example.
I am concerned about the legacy of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign and the new LGBT materials which will be delivered in Scottish Catholic schools early in 2019.
I support inclusion, yes, but not without open debate and a full encounter with Gospel values and of the Youth Catechism on this issue. However, protecting and promoting Church teaching in its entirety is easier said than done.
Catholic schools have a distinct character and duty. This distinction has Gospel values as its cornerstone.
I have been an RE teacher for 30 years. Maintaining this spirit has been both a privilege and a challenge.
Catholic RE teachers propose rather than impose the Gospel. This is what Jesus did. God is love and love does not force.
When pupils ask their RE teacher a question about morality, including sexual morality, we should be free to share with them Catholic teaching even if it is not politically correct.
Pupils love engaging in the marketplace, or battlefield, of ideas. They may not agree with us but they respect our right to speak. They are happy when a strong set of Gospel values is witnessed to.
They prefer this to woolliness. They understand that difficult truths, shared out of genuine concern, are a sign of love. Children feel secure with clear boundaries. Rebellious teenagers are no different.
In Catholic schools this should mean responding to pupils’ questions as a faithful follower of Christ.
However fidelity to the Gospel has been growing steadily more difficult in recent years.
Many topics concerning human sexuality are considered too risky to engage with. LGBT issues, in particular, are off-limits. Meaningful dialogue is stifled to avoid ‘triggering’ anyone.
This is frustrating; pupils keep asking questions and, sometimes, we have to avoid giving them the answers we would like to give. At a time when they need us most we are spectacularly failing them.
Why is purity a bad word? Why is sin a banned word?
The Catechism teaches that homosexual feelings are not sinful but like all sexual attraction are subject to the call to chastity inherent in the sixth commandment. The new LGBT materials are extensive, scriptural, quote the Catechism and, as their point is anti-bullying, emphasise Catholic social teaching.
Church teaching on sexual morality, on the other hand, is minimised and unclear in these materials.
This is a missed opportunity since the Youth Catechism alone deals comprehensively and eloquently with the sixth commandment.
RE teachers in Catholic schools in Scotland no longer have freedom of conscience. To be politically correct, we have to be compliant or vague.
Jesus was never vague. He was passionately inclusive yet crystal clear when pointing out sin.
The Catechism is like this. Teachers and pupils have no need to fear or avoid it any more than we need to fear Christ himself as long as we have honest hearts.
Jesus was gentle with sinners because everybody sins, everybody makes mistakes. This is why he told us not to judge each other.
The Church in Scotland is full of men and women of integrity and valour struggling to deliver the Gospel while trying not to offend anyone.
Their task is rendered even more difficult due to a priesthood made fragile by scandal. This is truly a cross of great weight for our bishops, priests and all those in the Scottish Catholic Education Service.
Many priests are exceptional in their fidelity to Christ and his doctrine. But they need support.
All Catholics, and those of us involved in Catholic education in particular, need to stand with them.
We are leaving our clergy ever more alone; we should wake up and stop walking on PC eggshells.
It could cost us dearly to rebel. Do we fear the loss of Catholic schools?
Yes! But I would argue that we are en route to that destination anyway if we take the path of further dilution of Gospel values. Our distinctive character is growing faint.
Scottish Catholics need to take a sgian-dubh and cut the fetters with which our bishops, priests, and RE teachers are bound. Source – Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO) [emphases added]
—The author can be contacted at: email@example.com
Congratulations to Pauline Gallagher for her courageous article. Catholic teachers challenging the modernist stranglehold in Catholic schools have been known to suffer, even finding themselves visiting the local jobcentre. So, we must pray that Pauline’s right – indeed her duty – to bring her perfectly legitimate concerns to the attention of the wider Catholic community without fear of reprisal, is respected. Her SCO article reflects the concerns expressed in the Catholic Truth article published on page 4 of the current, January newsletter, LGBTI Issues in Catholic Schools, which you can read by clicking here
One key point of discussion for this thread might focus on the following comment from the above article: “Catholic RE teachers propose rather than impose the Gospel. This is what Jesus did. God is love and love does not force.”
This idea of “not imposing” Catholic teaching/the Gospel, seems now to be rooted in the contemporary philosophy of Catholic education – I first heard it formally stated in a newspaper article by the then new (now former) Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Commission, Michael McGrath. However, this way of thinking stands in stark contradiction to the traditional purpose of Catholic schools which was to pass on the Faith, to nurture the Catholic religion in pupils; parents were required to take their children to Mass, inculcate devotions, while Catholic dogma and morals were systematically taught at school, just as every academic subject is taught. The Faith was to be taught across the curriculum so that pupils would leave school with a Catholic world-view. Catholic home-schooling programmes continue to pursue the traditional method, with much success.
The modern, rather apologetic attitude, this reassurance of “not imposing” the Faith suggests that it is optional, that the Catholic Church is not God’s means of salvation. The ecumenical times in which we live, the fact that we have both teachers and pupils from non-Catholic backgrounds in attendance at our schools partly explains this major omission, although it must be noted that from the beginning, certainly in Scotland, Catholic schools could not even have been established without the help of non-Catholic staff. And, in my own experience at Open Evenings with prospective non-Catholic students (including Muslims) visiting, those parents understand that their child will be exposed to Catholicism; as one Muslim parent told me, that was why she had chosen that particular school!
Pauline adds that Jesus Himself did this – i.e. He “proposed not imposed” the Faith, because “love does not force”. But, surely, it’s not about “forcing” – nobody speaks of proposing to give family and friends gifts and cards at Christmas. It’s not an imposition to offer gifts. The gift may not be accepted – the recipient may choose to return the gift, buy something else with that gift receipt, but few would consider the offer as an imposition, of being forced to accept a gift. And the Faith IS a gift – from God. He has given us free will in the expectation that we will accept this great gift. There really is no right to refuse. And that is because, in fact, Our Lord did NOT simply “propose” the Faith – his very last words on this earth were a clear instruction to His apostles: “All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Certainly, we cannot “force” the Faith on anyone, in the sense of coercion; but we must avoid the sin of omission by failing to teach the elementary dogma that – as the Fathers of the Church have taught from the beginning – outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation (Catechism of the Catholic Church #846). One famous educational psychologist, whose name escapes me at the moment, said that children can be taught anything, as long as the teacher has thought it through carefully. In other words, this dogma CAN be taught, without “offending” anyone – the current (and perhaps only) mortal sin!
Of course, given the weakness of the Scottish Catholic Education Commission for many years now, it is extremely difficult for any Catholic school to truly offer an authentic Catholic education in the sense traditionally understood. Goodness, as Pauline indicates, it is almost impossible for Catholic schools to teach purity and the abhorrence of sin, let alone imbue young people with a Catholic world-view.
For now, though, congratulations to Pauline Gallagher – I will email her the link to this blog so let’s assure her of our prayers and support, with gratitude for her courageous article, sincerely hoping that she will be able to make a real difference in the work of restoring authentic Catholic education in our schools.