The Future of the Catholic Truth Blog 

From the Editor…

Some time ago, I announced that I had decided to close the blog. Being the official administrator I had the casting vote, so that was that.   There were a number of reasons for this decision, chief among them that I felt there were not enough people signing up and contributing to the discussions.   Following my announcement, I received a number of representations, by phone and email, both from individual bloggers and from readers who sought to change my mind.  I appreciated all the arguments in favour of keeping the blog open, but I remained resolute in my decision. Right up to the moment when our hard-working blogger, Petrus, put some points to me that really did take me by surprise.   In short, it was his story, which he emailed to me only yesterday and which is published below, that made me change my mind.  As a trusted adviser said when I told her, “we’ll never know how many other ‘Peters’ are out there, to whom the blog has, similarly, made a huge difference in their lives.”  So, read on and tell me if you think I’m right to reverse the original decision to close, instead keeping the blog open… OR am I a Scots version of  Theresa May, dithering and changing my mind at every turn?  Don’t answer that!   Anyway, below, read Peter’s pitch to keep the blog open – and tell us if you think he has a point.  Also, feel free to offer ideas for future topics or suggest any improvements you’d like to see;  if it’s within our power, we’ll be glad to oblige. Just don’t suggest sacking Petrus – that’s out of the question! 

From Petrus… 

At the Catholic Truth Conference of June 2012, I gave a keynote address outlining my journey from Modernist Catholic, to Church of Scotland elder, back to Modernist Catholic and finally to the Traditional Catholic faith. In this address, I outlined the role the Catholic Truth apostolate played in that process. In this article, I want to specifically focus on the role the Catholic Truth Blog has played in that journey and my subsequent eleven years attending the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively.

Back in 2008, the blog wasn’t the first contact I had had with Catholic Truth. I had already subscribed to the newsletter for over eight years. Not only did I subscribe to the newsletter, I had a couple of letters published and exchanged emails with the editor – the first occasion being when I read criticism of Catholic education in the newsletter. I’d just qualified as a teacher in a Catholic school and was livid that a Catholic publication would slate Catholic education. In this email, I took great pleasure in telling the editor that those involved with Catholic Truth were excommunicated because they denied the authority of an Ecumenical Council!

Despite my initial condemnation of Catholic Truth, and my Modernism, I volunteered to meet with the editor. However, a priest put me off by defaming the professionalism of the editor, telling me that she had a “failed teaching career” (nothing could be further from the truth). So, I pulled out. In fact, I just didn’t turn up!

During my three years as a Protestant, I lost interest in the newsletter and subsequently missed the launch of the blog. It was only when I returned to the Faith that I returned to reading Catholic Truth. By this time the blog was up and running. I took this as an opportunity to prove my re-found fidelity to the Catholic Faith and set out to put these schismatics to rights!

However, it didn’t quite work out as I planned. The clarity of the comments, alongside the charity of the bloggers had a profound effect on me. I began to wonder what went wrong with my Catholic formation and made a decision that I wouldn’t allow this to happen to my children. The bloggers exercised tremendous patience with me. The best piece of advice I received was to attend the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively for six weeks and I was assured that I would never want to return to the Novus Ordo Missae. This advice changed my life.

Not only has it changed my life, it’s changed the life of my wife, who, whilst not contributing to the blog, is a regular reader. Its coverage of issues in education was instrumental in our decision to home educate our children. Thanks to the blog, only our oldest child has been to a Novus Ordo Mass, but thankfully he has no recollection of it. So, the influence of the blog extends beyond me personally.

I became a regular blogger because it was the only place I could receive support and guidance as a Catholic, outside of the Mass and the Sacrament of Confession. Eleven years later, I am still there, perhaps not as much as I once was due to family and work commitments. It’s not all been plain sailing, I’ve had more arguments and fallings out with the editor than I’ve had hot dinners! [Ed: always his fault 😀 ) However, if I’m honest, I have to say that without the Catholic Truth Blog I might not be where I am now. Without the friendship of the editor and the extended Catholic Truth team, family life in our household would be vastly different… and not for the better. I wouldn’t hesitate in saying that the Catholic Truth Blog has been the most important contribution to authentic Catholic life, both in Scotland and far beyond, in the last twelve years. Please, God, long may it continue!

 

Comments invited…   

Ireland: Home-Educating Mother Jailed

CarlowwomanjailedToday, I  received an email from Dan Arnold, who was recently (Aug 23) elected Chair of Home Education Network (HEN), the oldest, biggest, and best-known home-ed representative group in Eire. He asks for our support in the case of a home-educating mother, a traditional Catholic, who has been imprisoned for what amounts to refusing to ask the State’s permission to home-educate her children – a right enshrined in the Irish Constitution.  You can read the background to this case here    The point is well made in this report  that The state could go to any school gate on any day and pick up an unfit parent, one that is addicted to intravenous drugs, whose children go to school hungry, unwashed or otherwise neglected. The state could spend their energy and money getting help for those families, who I see around me every day in Dublin city; children so sad and malnourished, drinking cans of Coke as they walk in the school gates, with eyes already dulled by years of mistreatment. I worked in a disadvantaged school and when I once asked the principal why didn’t social services get involved more in the many, many neglectful families, she said “where would they start?”. Instead, the state is picking on easy targets, fantastic parents who are taking a stand for families everywhere, Monica O’Connor and Eddie O’Neill. This is an absolute disgrace. How much in taxpayers money will go into Monica’s prison time, thousands that could be put elsewhere and actually do some good? I am so angry about this, I am just disgusted. I urge you all, whether home educators or not, to stand in support of Monica, sign the petition here, write to your TDs, email, ring them, do whatever you can or have time for to help us protect the rights of our families.”  

As I read about the predicament of Monica and Eddie,  I found myself thinking of the Ashya King scandal.  It seems that “the State” – in Ireland as in the UK –  holds to the erroneous opinion that it owns the nation’s children, with parents being cast in the role of caretakers, not to say something of a nuisance when they choose to differ from the “experts” – medical or educational – in the best interests of their offspringRead the Press Release below and tell us if you agree.  Source

PRESS RELEASE JULY 2014 Embargo 9am Wednesday 3 September 2014

A Carlow mother of 6 has been imprisoned for not paying a fine relating to the Constitutionally protected right to home educate her children

 Monica O’Connor, 47, from Tullow, has 5 sons and a daughter, ranging in age from 6 to 27 years. Her husband Eddie O’Neill, 49, is also threatened with serving a prison sentence.

Article 42 of Bunreacht na hEireann, the Irish Constitution, acknowledges that parents are their children’s primary educators. Section 2 says “parents shall be free to provide this education in their homes..”  

The former National Education Welfare Board (NEWB), whose functions were assumed in January by the Child and Family Agency of Tusla, summoned the couple to Carlow District Court, where they were fined €2,000 in June 2013 for “failing to cause” 2 of their children to attend school. The NEWB insisted that home educating families must apply to have their educational provision assessed for each child, in order to avail of their right to home educate. The couple maintain that this is akin to asking permission, which can be refused, so therefore is not a right. The family were sent School Attendance Notices to compel their then 12 year old son, Oran, and 9 year old daughter, Elva, to attend local primary schools.  

The children have all learned at home for their primary years. The 2 eldest sat Leaving Certificate exams after 4 and 21/2 years of secondary schooling, respectively. The eldest, Darragh, 27, works in the bar of golf club in Hawaii and has maintained himself since leaving home to study 3 Bar Skills and Hotel courses with Failte Ireland, aged 17. The second son, Oisin, 20, completed a FETAC 6 in Acting and is auditioning for theatre work. The third, Emmet, 19, is finished the 2nd year of a 4 year Music Degree in Dublin Institute of Technology, gaining entry without a Leaving Cert. He started formal education aged 16, completing a FETAC 5 in Music and gaining entry by audition and entrance exam.  

The younger 3 continue learning at home with their parents.  

Today Gardai escorted Monica O’Connor to Mountjoy prison for not paying the fine. She could serve 5 days in respect of each of the 2 children. 

A 16 minute documentary on youtube “Homegrown Knowledge” features the younger 4 children speaking about how they like to learn at home.  

A petition has been started on change.org calling on the Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, to intervene on the family’s behalf.  

Further details on facebook page “Home Education Support Fund”.   

Monica 086-8366569 Eddie 086-3538849

Scotland’s First Catholic Home Education Website Launched…

Image

At the request of one of our readers, Catholic Truth is proud to mark the Feast of the Holy Family with the launch of what we believe to be the first Catholic Home Education website in Scotland. Catholic Home Education Scotland aims to support parents who are home-educators as well as parents who have concerns about the education system but who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to home-school.

Click on the image of the Holy Family to take a tour of this beautiful new website and share your thoughts with us about the whole concept of home-education. Note: this is a website launched by a family determined to hold fast to the entirety of Catholic Tradition, allowing no compromise with Modernism in any way – catechesis, liturgy, you name it.  It’s all or nothing.

But, are they right? Doesn’t every Catholic parent have a duty to support the Catholic school system?