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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

School may have to admit kids who are “not interested in the faith”

Catholic school governors in London are upset because they can't continue to favour families to do the mojo.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the governors of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, described by the paper as “one of London’s leading Catholic comprehensives”, having a bit of a dingdong with the Diocese of Westminster, which they say is forcing the school to discriminate against practising Catholic parents.

Oh, diddums!

According to the chairman of the governors, Sir Adrian Fitzgerald, the school’s new admission criteria no longer allow the school to favour children from committed Catholic families. “He is so angry that he has complained to Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pope’s right-hand man in matters of doctrine,” says the Telegraph.

Fitzgerald says that the Vaughan is no longer allowed to favour “families who go to Mass every Sunday, parents who have their children baptised within a year of birth, children who have made their first confession and first Holy Communion, families who are actively involved in their parishes or the wider life of the Church, and parents who have shown their commitment to a Catholic education for their children”.

Well, as long as public money goes into these places, schools shouldn’t be able to pick and choose.

And, anyway, wouldn’t they want non-Catholic kids, so they can convert them? Wouldn’t taking kids from practising Catholic homes just be preaching to the converted?

Perhaps taking kids from non-Catholic homes is too much of a challenge. Or perhaps those directly concerned with the indoctrination of the kids might find themselves challenged by views that don’t quite fit the ridiculous dogma.

There’s also a parish priest who – hiding behind anonymity – pulls no punches in his criticism of the diocesan authorities.

He says, “What is the point of having Catholic schools, supporting and encouraging the Catholic life of the parishes, if they are going to be filled with children who are not a bit interested in the Catholic faith?

“I have never come across such a spineless, lily-livered bunch as our bishops – they just don’t want to stand up for anything that might cause offence.”

That may be so, Father Anonymous, but the fact is that it’s a school, and it has a catchment area, and schools are for the community around them, and it may be the nearest school for many families, and they may just like to have their kids in a school – which is using taxpayers’ money, let’s not forget – that’s handy and close to their homes.

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