Thursday, 8 March 2012

Catholic Schools - they just don't get it

I think that just about every Catholic Secondary School in Great Britain is named after the Sacred Heart, Our Lady, a saint or a leading Catholic cleric.

So far so good. But they miss out on a tremendous opportunity to catechise and excite the senses of those in their charge because, they fail to give any details regarding the saint or the personality they are named after.

Do those pupils attending the St John Lloyd School know anything about him?

Or those pupils in Coventry attending the Bishop Ullathorne School, would they be able to compose a short essay on the life of the great man?

But quite obviously, after the recent Papal visit the pupils of Cardinal Newman School in Hove will be au fait with HE John Henry?

Not according to their website, not so much as a photograph or painting of  Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, or a snatch of verse from the 'Dream'.

This would go rather well on their site I thought...

                             This child of clay
                             To me was given,
                             To rear and train
                             By sorrow and pain
                             In the narrow way,
                            From earth to heaven.

An opportunity missed, a chance to enlighten passed by; and would not a brief biographical note lift the school out and place above others when the time for comparisons came?

But, upon closer inspection of the Cardinal Newman School website I came across something that was, how shall I put it? Not quite the round shilling?

This is what was stated on the website ................

"Anglican Eucharist
On Wednesday February 29th at 10a.m we are having one of our regular Anglican Eucharistic services. Over 300 Anglican students have been invited to attend and we will warmly welcome members of their family who can be there too. Please sign in at reception if you come. The service itself will celebrate the long standing and significant contribution the Anglican community has made to the Christian ethos and the success of Cardinal Newman Catholic School".

Yikes! Thought I, this is not right in any shape or form. Just what is an Anglican Eucharist?
I am reasonably happy for Anglicans to go along holding their own brand of service in the hopes that, one day, God's grace will enter their souls and they will make a move towards conversion to the one true Faith but, in the meantime, I see no merit in holding such a service in a Catholic School.

I have no idea how it all panned out but I have a horrid sneaking suspicion that there may have been a joint "service" with the Catholic priest celebrating Mass and the Anglican Vicar having a Eucharistic Service - just the sort of thing one wants to confuse young minds and encourage indifferentism.

So, a brief foray into Catholic School websites to determine if they had paid their dues to their patron has turned into something even more disappointing.

Perhaps Bishop Conry might like to pay Cardinal Newman School a visit and perhaps all Bishops might like to commission a review of all schools in their Diocese to make certain that they really do portray the Catholic Faith and are, indeed, Catholic.

I shan't be holding my breath.


  1. The christian brothers schools tend to be very careful to maintain their link to Blessed Edmund Rice and have prayers and an annual novena

  2. The bridge on the river Kwai is an exceptionally annoying film- Hollowwood projecting US-stle beurocratic vices (Not that we havent our own) onto British soldiers, and a british military virtue -escaping- onto Americans, whichto put it mildly, was not one of their strong points (which they had and have aplenty).

    Nonetheless, it portrays part of what's happened to "Catholic" education: the gradual working to the bad guys' agenda, because it makes more sense of your life than the emptiness you are in.
    At the diocesan level, as a(weak and sinful) exadministrator myself, I can understand the fatal attraction and fascination with the smooth and orderly running of the education machine, the biggest "thing" the church has got.

    All this is but the old Adam, the devil got but to tweak here and there.We have put strange gods before the Almighty, whoever the Lord our education system obeys, it's not CHrist, and the surprising thing is that it's no worse.
    We are sheep.
    Sheep need shepherds.

  3. I think you will find +Conry knows the school very well. The diocese has an important admin hub within spitting distance in the very same road.
    Not only is there no info on Blessed John Henry, Cardinal Newman on the school website, but there is next-to-nothing in the RE section except teaching everyone to love one another. Same old, same old.
    Not many pupils appear to migrate to the Sacred Heart mother church for Sunday Mass. But then one doesn't know the Catholic pupil ratio at the school.
    I wonder if the pretty chapel where I made my first Confession (it was a convent) is now a faith centre (the school has a version of its newsletter in Arabic). No pictures of it on the website. There used to be school Benediction on Friday.
    However, the note about the Anglican service does seem to imply it's specifically for Anglican pupils.

  4. Mike - I had never thought of that film in that light but you are right, of course.

    Genty - Bless you for your kindness to Catherine.
    I actually rang the school just to confirm that it was indeed "Roman" Catholic.