Present in the public gallery watching this recent discussion in the Scottish Parliament, we see Leo Cushley, the Archbishop of St Andrew’s & Edinburgh, Barbara Coupar, the Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES), and a group of students.
Not one item on Elaine Smith’s list singles out Catholic schools as being any different from any other school in Scotland or anywhere else in the UK.
Yet, (or which explains why) one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) after another, praised Catholic schools to the skies.
The buzzwords are all there – inclusive, diversity blah blah, how Catholic schools are teaching about all religions, nothing to worry about here. Hiding in plain sight as ever, of course, the fact that the one religion not being taught in Catholic schools is Catholicism. Nobody asked why Catholic pupils are leaving Catholic schools able to name the five pillars of Islam but unable to name the precepts of the Church. I mean who teaches that Sunday Mass attendance is obligatory, any more? Or that sex outside of marriage (between one man and one woman) is sinful? Who teaches that any more? Nothing to see here, move along…
One useful comment in the video comes from Baptist, John Mason, MSP for Glasgow Shettleston – scroll to 39.50, to hear him argue that there should be room in “the public square” for the expression of faith-based values, just as humanists are allowed free rein to express their views.
John Swinney, MSP, SNP Minister for Education, the one and same John Swinney whom we saw squirming in another video as he defended the disgraceful sex teaching materials in use in Scottish schools, also sang the praises of Catholic schools. Pause for thought, right there, folks… He makes a point of telling us that his own son attends a Catholic (shared campus) school, no problem. And why would there be a problem? His son, like every other pupil in any Catholic school in Scotland, is never going to be taught that “outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation” – and other key dogmas. Not in a million years. Which is about as long as it is likely to take to end the current crisis in the Church and get back to teaching the Faith, entire and true, without any watering down to accommodate “society”.
If you haven’t yet booked your ticket for the Catholic Truth Education Seminar scheduled to take place next May, we strongly recommend that you do so as soon as possible – there is, after all, plenty to discuss…
As a matter of courtesy, I’ve emailed the link to this conversation to the three MSPs named in the above commentary – Elaine Smith, MSP, John Mason, MSP and John Swinney, MSP / Minister for Education in the Scottish Government. So, remember the House Rules – no personal remarks, no politics – stick to the issue(s).
Catholic Primary headteachers reject secular arguments as they gather for annual CHAPS conference.
Catholic schools are inclusive, not divisive, headteachers emphasised this week as the Archbishop of Glasgow urged them not to shy away from their Catholic ethos.
The recent debate in the secular world over closing Catholic schools was one of the subjects of discussion at the annual Catholic Headteachers Association of Primary Schools (CHAPS) conference at the Dunblane Hydro on October 3-4.
The conference included a workshop at which teachers discussed the inclusion of children of other faiths in their schools.
Debunking secular argument
Sr Isabel Smyth, secretary for interreligious dialogue for the Bishop’s Conference of Scotland, lead the workshop.
She said that the fact there are many pupils of other faiths attending Catholic Schools ‘absolutely’ debunks recent claims in the media that Catholic schools are the cause of bigotry in Scotland.
“If you look at our Catholic schools, many of them are multi-faith and a lot of the children don’t belong to any faith whatsoever.
“If we teach and promote a Catholic ethos at its best then we are doing what’s best for the country,” she said.
Present at the workshop was Clare Harker, headteacher of St Albert’s Primary School in Glasgow…
More than 90 per cent of the school’s pupils are from a Muslim background, a small percentage are Catholic and the remainder are made up of other faiths and none.
Mrs Harker said she wanted to make sure that ‘everybody is very clear that Catholic schools aren’t just the preserve of Catholics and that they’re not about proselytising or indoctrination, they’re about a way of loving—and I think that’s what Catholic schools are doing.’
She added: “I think people very much choose to come to our school because of the ethos and presence of God and God-like values.”
In his homily during Mass at the conference, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow asked the teachers to ‘deepen’ their schools’ Faith, for people of all faiths and none, stressing that the ‘religious ethos is something that attracts parents.’
Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles was a keynote speaker at the conference.
He said: “I’ve spent most of my life in and around Catholic schools. I went to one myself and for 27 years I worked in Catholic schools as a priest. Now, as a bishop, I’ve been involved in Catholic schools for the last three and a half years.
“I’ve never once, in all my time, heard anything sectarian or anything divisive within a Catholic school.”
CHAPS chairman James Kerr, headteacher of St Paul’s Primary School, Whiteinch, said the idea that Catholic schools cause separation among children of different faiths is ‘absolutely the total opposite of what a Catholic school is.’
“We recognise the faith journey of people of other faiths and of no faith,” Mr Kerr explained.
The curriculum for Catholic education in Scotland, ‘This is Our Faith’, governs the teaching of religious education in Catholic schools. In the curriculum there is a section dedicated to inclusion of other faiths in Catholic schools.
Mr Kerr added: “We are in the business of making saints, and saints come from all kinds of backgrounds. “ [Emphasis added].
“It’s not an easy journey for us, but Jesus didn’t have an easy journey either,” he said. “For headteachers there are challenges, but the bottom line is that you know ultimately you are doing God’s work.”
Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow called on headteachers to be ‘lead catechists’ and ‘chief evangelisers’ in schools.
Speaking on the day, Archbishop Tartaglia told the headteachers: “You’ve heard often enough that Catholic teachers are called to be evangelists in their schools, they’re called to the mission of evangelisation, and Catholic headteachers occupy the post of chief evangelisers in their school community.”
The archbishop called upon the headteachers to ‘take the next step’ in being ‘more conscious, more informed, more living in Faith and leading in Faith’ in their schools.
“I love all my headteachers, but I can see when I go to a school when it’s on the button and when it isn’t,” he added.
“And what I’m asking you to do is to kind of take that step to make it more conscious, deeper, more felt, lived so that the boys and girls that are in your care will have a great experience of being a Catholic Christian.”
Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles, attending his first CHAPS conference, said: “It was great to see so many committed headteachers from all across the country who are here and interested in their Faith and are passing that Faith onto young people in their care.”
Barbara Coupar, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, agreed with the archbishop that Catholic headteachers must ‘take the next step’ in ‘building the Faith dimension’ in schools.
She said: “There are a lot of things we are doing very well, but one of the things we take for granted is the underlying Catholic dimension of our schools and I think that we’re at the point where we need to be a bit more up front about that and articulate it more.” Source
I found the above report confusing. It seemed to be extolling the virtues of “the Catholic ethos”/”religious dimension” throughout, as evidence of the success of Catholic schools in their inclusiveness and diversity, and then, bang, right at the end, this from Barbara Coupar: “… one of the things we take for granted is the underlying Catholic dimension of our schools and I think that we’re at the point where we need to be a bit more up front about that and articulate it more.”
Oops! is “the underlying Catholic dimension” the same thing as “the Catholic ethos”? And what does “we need to articulate it more” mean, in practice? Help!
Education Secretary John Swinney will today announce he is to repeal the controversial ‘Named Person’ laws which were rejected by the Supreme Court two years ago.
The Herald understands he will scrap parts 4 and 5 of the Children and Young People Act of 2014, which provided for a ‘named person’ to ensure the wellbeing of every young person in Scotland. Click here to read more and here to read the report from the Christian Institute.
President of Scotland’s Catholic Bishops asks First Minister to protect freedom of conscience
The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert has written to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to express his
Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB
concerns at the attacks launched against the SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron (right) following her vote against an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill that would have lifted the legal protections presently afforded to the unborn child in Northern Ireland.
In his letter on behalf of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Bishop Gilbert calls on the SNP leader, on behalf of all those “who cherish freedom of conscience within the public square” to provide an urgent reassurance that freedom of conscience will be protected within the SNP and valued in Scottish public life, at every level.
The full text of the letter is shown below.
Letter to the First Minister
Dear First Minister,
I write following recent public comments made by Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP Member of Parliament for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow.
On Tuesday 9 July, Dr Cameron voted against an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill that would have lifted the legal protections presently afforded to the unborn child in Northern Ireland. It is a long-standing parliamentary convention that votes on such ethical issues are considered matters of conscience and, thus, are not subject to the party whip. Indeed, this was confirmed in writing to Dr Cameron prior to the 9 July vote by the SNP Chief Whip, Patrick Grady MP.
In the days following the vote, however, Dr Cameron has been subject to a significant degree of hostility from many quarters, including ordinary members and officer bearers of the Scottish National Party, some of which she describes as being “nothing less than vitriolic” in nature. She adds that according to local officials it may “now be incompatible to hold pro-life views and be a SNP MP, candidate, to pass vetting or be elected in any capacity”. She further notes that, despite prompting, she has presently received no public re-assurance from the leadership of the SNP that this is not, in fact, the case. I therefore am writing to you as Leader of the Scottish National Party to seek such a public re-assurance. [emphasis added – Ed.]
I believe I write on behalf of all who cherish freedom of conscience within the public square and hold in high regard those in public life who remain true to their conscience, even at the expense of personal popularity or political advantage.
“Moral courage is readiness to expose oneself to suffering or inconvenience which does not affect the body,” wrote the co-founder of the Scottish National Party, Sir Compton Mackenzie, in 1962, “It arises from firmness of moral principle and is independent of the physical constitution.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter First Minister.
I await your reply with anticipation. In the meantime, please be assured of my continued prayers and good wishes.
On this occasion, we are pleased to thank the Bishops of Scotland for their public support of Dr Lisa Cameron – and we await the response from Nicola Sturgeon with nothing akin to bated breath 😀 Predictable assurances of respect for freedom of consciences to be expected.
To offer your support to Dr Cameron MP, you can email her email@example.com – for more contact details and information click here
Leading the news in the print and broadcasting media across the UK today…
More than 1,100 people died from drugs in Scotland last year, new figures indicate, the worst level since records began.
There were 1,187 drug-related deaths registered in 2018 – above 1,000 for the first time and up 253 (27%) on the previous year.
The National Records of Scotland statistics indicate Scotland’s drug death rate is nearly triple the UK rate and the highest in the European Union. Click here to read more…
Causes of, and possible cures for, Scotland’s massive drugs problem – according to the media chatterati – were varied and imaginative in the news debates today, including the provision of taxpayer funded facilities to allow addicts taking illegal drugs to consume, er… legally; this, with a view to making it easier to provide health care since we’re now to regard drug addiction as a public health issue, not a criminal activity. The quaint old-fashioned idea that it may well be both, has, very conveniently, been set aside. How this will impact on the drug dealers, of course, is never mentioned. They may be able to argue the case for their own mental health disorder, a compulsion to sell drugs – who knows…
Not a single Roman collar to be seen among all the commentators and alleged experts, not a bishop’s mitre. The Catholic Church in Scotland has nothing to say, it seems, on the devastating news that there are record numbers of souls going to meet their Maker following an overdose of illegal drugs, not a single possible solution or even a nod in the direction of our Godless society as, perhaps (just “perhaps”, mind, nobody’s being “judgemental” of course not – perish the thought!) being the reason why so many people are turning to drugs.
Without any direction in life, and without any authoritative teaching about the definitive meaning of life, the realities of Heaven and Hell, divine revelation and the importance of exercising true Faith (not demanding God to come and show himself in a science laboratory), not to mention the confusion caused by presenting upside-down morals as normal, just maybe this terrible turn in a once Christian society has led people into despair.
Lack of religious and moral leadership doesn’t seem to have occured to anyone reporting on this scandal; and it certainly doesn’t seem to be occurring to the clergy that their negligence in preaching what God has revealed in both Faith and Morals – and that in the public square, clearly and unambiguously – might be a contributing factor in this dreadful drugs crisis. For, the same Catholics, lay and ordained, who are perfectly happy to take soup and sandwiches to the homeless and addicted wouldn’t dream of taking them, at the same time, an exhortation (NOT a mere “invitation”) to turn to God, in His Church, as the means given to us to live fulfilling lives in this world, and to save our souls for eternal life in the next.
Or maybe that’s all pie in the sky (literally!) – maybe the drugs crisis IS simply a health crisis? What do you think?
The Challenge of Educating Catholics to be Soldiers of Christ
in a World of “Equality & Diversity” – Fight or Flight?
Father Sebastian Wall SSPX
Passing on the Faith…
St John Ogilvie (Scottish Martyr) –
Model “Soldier of Christ” for Catholic Youth Today
Panel of teachers and pupils, past and present, to discuss key issues affecting Catholic schools today.
Audience participation, as always at our meetings, guarantees a very lively conversation…
Saturday, 23 May, 2020, 10am – 4.30pm
Rutherglen Town Hall, 139 Main Street, Rutherglen, G73 2JJ (South Lanarkshire, outskirts of Glasgow city centre).
There are a number of free car parks around the Town Hall, and there is a very good public transport system.
The seminar will be informal, with opportunities for everyone to share their experiences of Catholic schools. Leading the conversation will be teachers, pupils (past and present), and parents. Some Home-educating families will exhibit some of their resources and will answer questions about the practicalities of home-schooling.
Entry: £20 / Concession £10 (senior citizens, students, unwaged), which includes tea/coffee/biscuits morning and afternoon, and a light lunch: soup, sandwiches, tea and coffee.
If you wish to book to stay on for the evening meal, this will be served at 6pm approximately. Menu: Golden lentil soup served with a dinner roll, Traditional steak pie; tender iced beef topped with puff pastry served with chef’s selection of potatoes and vegetables. Traditional apple pie served with cream. Teac, coffee and dinner mints – £34.50 per head, incl. VAT. A vegetarian option will be available. Please inform of any dietary requirements. Bar available throughout. Please add your meal(s) payment when paying to attend the Seminar. All monies must be paid by Friday, 1 May, 2020. Cheques should be made payable to Catholic Truth and posted to Catholic Truth, PO Box 30017, Glasgow, G67 9FS. Or, to pay by bank transfer, write to the above address (with return address for us to reply)- or email firstname.lastname@example.org – to ask for our bank details.
Registration/morning tea, coffee, biscuits, will be at 10am, followed by the Rosary at 10.30.a.m, when the Seminar will begin. Please attend promptly to register.
Note: as always at our events, there will be no entry without a pre-booked ticket; email tickets are available, but if you prefer a ticket by mail, please email your postal details to email@example.com – Cheques to be made payable to Catholic Truth. If writing to book, please contact us at Catholic Truth, PO Box 30017, Glasgow, G67 9FS.
Feel free to ask questions or to offer your ideas in the comments below.
Tell us, for example if there are particular issues which you would like to have included in the Seminar discussions.
Quite a big difference when they fall over themselves to decry imaginary prejudice against Muslims and homosexuals.
Of course, only silence from Archbishop Tartaglia and co.
It is Gabriel Syme’s last point that should catch our attention. Why on earth would the Scottish Bishops, so quick to rush out statements of concern about refugees, asylum seekers, perceived discrimination against every non-Christian and anti-Catholic group you care to name, why on earth do they remain silent about this grave injustice against Catholics?