Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Catholic School, Muslim services

I do not think that you will find any chapels in Muslim Schools

Is that right?

A Catholic School offering Muslim students the facility to practice their faith?

A Catholic School providing a Prayer Room for Muslims, is that so very wrong?

Deacon Tony Flavin provides a Prayer Room at his school, (not sure which one), and is pleased that young Muslim males and females attend prayers there.

Well, for the record, in a secular educational situation, I have provided Prayer Rooms for Muslims most willingly.

But, I do not think it right that a Catholic School or College should do so.

If you allow Muslims a space, would you also do the same for Sikhs, Seventh Day Adventists, Hari Krishna followers, Wicca Groups, Scientologists, Mormons and so on?

I suspect, depressingly, that most Catholic Schools would fall in line with any requests from such faiths. But then, I have a very low opinion of most Catholic Schools.

We do have one or two (but only one or two) flagship Schools where the essence of clear doctrinal teaching and ethos is promoted. Cardinal Vaughan is one; the London Oratory is, I suspect, another.

There may be a few more. Count the fingers on one hand; that is the state that we are in.


It would be interesting to have your views on the subject; am I being a racist right winger?

I hope not.

Please vote according to your view in the sidebar on the right.


  1. i suspect it would not happen in the SSPX run schools over here in Australia

  2. I see that the followers of the "Religion of peace" were at it again in London. May God have mercy on the soul of their victim ,and may justice be done and seen to be done. I think i would have taken steps to have neutralised these two murderers before the police arrived.

  3. If a Catholic school does that, it is not a Catholic school. The Muslim parents chose to send their children to a Catholic school; if they don't want to do so, they ought to start their own, homeschool, etc. in the meantime, if your Catholic school is not truly Catholic but actually anti-Catholic, you must homeschool, cooperating with other Catholic families if possible.

  4. No catholic school or any other catholic premises should ever be used to promote false religions. If you are not for Christ then you are against Him. We have seen Stonewall being invited into catholic schools and now this. The people responsible have clearly lost the faith or to be charitable they might not have received it in the first place. How long are we going to have to wait before we get real catholic bishops to sort this mess out?

  5. Since madrassas are known to be generous in providing prayer facilities for RCs, it's only fair we should reciprocate. I am sure that religious equality must be the thinking behind Mr. Flavin's school provision. No doubt the enthusiastic use of the prayer room will be matched by attendance at the school's own chapel.

  6. Wow! Such fun! The school was asked, by pupils, if there was somewhere where the Muslims could pray without having any Iconography. The vestry fits that bill and gives them a secure, peaceful place to pray.

    "Sikhs, Seventh Day Adventists, Hari Krishna followers, Wicca Groups, Scientologists, Mormons" would use the chapel, as do the Anglican's Pentecostals, Methodists, Baptists, the one Mormon AND the Seventh Day Adventists.

    Genty is absolutely right, there are always boys in the chapel at lunch and break, Adoration, Stations of the Cross and Rosary are always well attended. When the Muslim gentlemen cannot use the room they are fully understanding and always polite.

    As The Vaughan and the Oratory are one hundred per cent Catholic there would not be a requirement for them to provide such an area.

  7. Tony Flavin appears to be associated with St Josephs, Beulah Hill, and St John Fisher Purley. If he manages to act as salaried school chaplain/spiritual co-ordinator for other schools as well, then he deserves the Queen's Award for Industry.

    As a local, I am quite surprised that both these incredibly over-subscribed schools (one of which is the alma mater of Fr Finigan, and other worthy priests) are at all in need of non-christian pupils. Their admissions policies are on their websites, and are the usual "Catholics First, then other Christians" cascade.

    In both areas there is a healthy Christian population, so even their sixth form entry should be quite well subscribed... It is well known locally that a senior cafe/cathlite politician did a lot of schmoozing to try (unsuccessfully I am sure) to help his progeny jump the queue at one of them a couple of years ago.

    Some questions need to be asked about the need to promote false gods in these schools.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. addimng my email address: -

    While I am happy to engage in generic discussion, I feel Dilly's post makes it more subjective, which is a turn I did not expect this discussion to take.

    Out of respect for the two schools, I shall withdraw from this conversation on line and would respectfully request that Dilly's post is edited accordingly.

    I am happy to discuss this further with anyone who wishes to, but not about individual, named, establishments on such an open forum out of respect for the schools and the pupils.

    The issue yes, the subjects, no.

    Thank you

  10. A Catholic school should be Catholic, not because it is some sort of private club of like-minded individuals but because it recognizes and teaches the objective reality of the Faith. This is not a matter of seeking permission from the State or approval from Hollywood / Ealing, nor is it some sort of rad-trad crankiness; it is a matter of witnessing to the children of all Faiths.

  11. Richard

    I am happy for the names of the two schools to be edited from my post, although Mr Flavin has publicly associated himself with them in various fora on the internet, including his parish website, and via his Twitter account.

    It remains a matter for discussion that those worshipping false gods are ostensibly permitted to do so in the vestry of a Catholic Chapel. If the Blessed Sacrament is reserved there it is a disgrace and a scandal and it is astonishing to me as a practising Catholic that this is permitted, encouraged, and even boasted of.

  12. Bruvver Deacon Tony is beginning to see de advantages of posting under a psuedonym.

    I think Dilly is right, you don't want to use a Cathlic chapel for anti-Christian worship. Can't they use the bike sheds or somefink?

    1. I expect the muslim girls can use the bikesheds - as they won't be allowed to use the same room as the boys.

  13. Dilly @ 2.31pm - thanks Dilly but I do think your comment is valid and valuable to the debate. I will leave it uncensored if I may.

    Deacon Tony - does your Archbishop know of your moves to provide Muslim students with prayer facilities? Who has rubber stamped this action?

  14. As a Lay Chaplain in a Catholic Secondary School I support and agree with what Deacon Tony is offering those Muslim students at his schools. And do have a similar situation in the school I work in.

    The disagreement seems to fall into 2 areas:

    1) An issue with Muslim students attending Catholic Schools
    2) An issue with allowing Muslim students a place to pray/worship in a Catholic School.

    Regarding Issue 1 - This may be an issue for some Catholics but I would like to raise 2 points:

    a) The issue of allowing Muslim students in Catholic Schools is a decision taken by Governing Bodies in line with Diocesan and National Policies - Chaplains do not have a say on admission criteria.

    b) In my experience of over 10 years working in Catholic Schools - students of a faith background are much more beneficial to and respectful of the values of the school community than students of an atheist background.

    Regarding Issue 2 -

    If we agree that the Chaplain does not have a say or voice on admissions criteria, then all that remains is their duty of care is to the entire school community while they are in the school. The chaplain has to uphold the faith whilst supporting those who have none. The life and actions of the chaplain are themselves a witness to the faith and the gospel values.

    Therefore, if a chaplains denies members of the community a prayer space they are not supporting the needs of those members of the community, and the actions of the chaplain are not holding true to the Gospel messages of Christ especially those of tolerance, love and respect as seen in The Good Samaritan.

    I do not expect people to have changed their opinion based on this rationale, but I hope it gives you an insight to my approach to the issue.

    1. Neil

      Why, when your Catholic school website boasts that there are "four applicants for every place" are you admitting muslims at all?

  15. Thanks to Neil for this rational response. For those who see that Dn Tony is behaving in an anti Catholic way, I wonder what it is they are frightened of?

    Christians, Moslems and Jews are all Abrahamic faiths and believe in the One God.
    What happened to the Second Vatican Council's teaching on Religious freedom and Inter religious dialogue?

    Creating a safe space where all prayer is encouraged and visible, where respect of the other is not only spoken of but practised and lived is worthy of our Catholic Faith.

    How easy it must be to work in a school where these issues can be ignored and children expected to intuit how to behave towards others when they leave school to enter the real world which is not only un-Catholic but positively hostile to our religion.

    JPII argued for Catholic schools to be places where non Catholics could be evangeslised. Evangelisation is about an encounter with the Living Lord. I wonder would He stop people praying to the Father?

  16. Rebekah O'Keeffe, I do not think that anyone is 'frightened'. You are using the language of the liberal Catholic trying to justify actions that are totally in error of Catholic teaching. You should also not quote Vatican II ad glib, there is nothing there that calls on Catholic Schools to embrace Islam (or, appear to embrace Islam).

    Neil D'Aguiar, there is not an issue regarding Muslim students attending Catholic Schools (as far as I am aware). There is an issue regarding areas being set aside for Muslim prayer. I repeat the question I posed to TF: Does your Archbishop know what you are doing at Richard Challoner?
    As far as chaplains and 'duties' is concerned, their first duty is to enable and facilitate the Catholic Faith and to not allow false religions a place in the school.

    1. Richard

      It has been brought to my attention via friends that Deacon Flavin is trying via Twitter to discover my identity. I am a teacher (which is why I only post in the hols or after the 11s and 13s are gone), and parent in the Archdiocese of Southwark. Luckily my job is not dependent on the Archdiocese, as he and others who have come here to post in support of him seem to have the Catholic Education and Youth Services more or less "sewn up".

      I am so disturbed by the views expressed by these people - who do all seem to be connected socially - that I am beginning to see how an incident like the Stonewall thing could happen in Southwark.

      I am appalled to see that a member of A Call to Action - the group whose activities were outlined recently by Protect the Pope - is posting here and pooh-poohing legitimate concerns. I have just read her profile here - and she is happy to state she is involved in catechising in a Southwark parish. Nowhere near me I hope.

  17. The thoughts of Deacon Flavin and Rebekah O Keeke are symptomatic of the smoke of satan which Pope Paul V1 lamented had entered the church. To equate the god of Islam with the christian God is diabolical.Which god do they think the Woolwich terroists were invoking when they hacked a British soldier to death? How bad do things have to get before the church carries out Our Lady of Fatimas request that the pope together with the bishops of the the world consecrates Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.

  18. Dilly, I am sorry for the angst being caused to you, I will check on the Call for Action link. Richard

  19. “Which god do they think the Woolwich terrorists were invoking when they hacked a British soldier to death?”

    That’s what the EDL said, so there’s your colours firmly tied to the mast, and before you say “how dare you” the evidence is right above.

    Dilly I shall not bother with, he’s just being silly and needs to man up.

    I note with great interest the many post by fake profiles, which cowards use to throw stones, like cowards do.

    And before Richard tries to delete this post by the time you read this it will be screen capped and posted elsewhere.

    Mine is a Church of martyrs and heroes, not whining cowards.

  20. Tony Flavin, it's offensive but it stays as it says a great deal about you as a person. I have purposely kept the Woolwich incident out of this debate, it is a shame that you did not feel the same way.

  21. Richard, just to make sure it is A Call to Action, not Call to Action as this is an American group who have been excommunicated. We have not.

    I did not just glibly mention Vat II, but as you seem to need references, please see Gaudium et Spes 23, 28; Nostra Aetate 3 (Rod George this is for you...They adore the one God)

    Also in Scripture, 1 Cor. 10:32-33, and when Christ meets people, He meets them where they are. Pope Francis,(Echoing Gaudium et Spes, and JPII)just this week called for us to find a common starting point from where we can begin to dialogue.

    The bishops of England and Wales issued this document in 2007 Catholic Schools, Children of Other Faiths and Community Cohesion.

    As for those who killed the soldier in Woolwich, I don't believe they were following any God.
    Many have killed invoking the name of God (Crusades for example) doesn't mean they have faith.

    I am sorry if I have caused Dilly angst, it was not my intention. However Richard, I wonder if you will show the same concern for the angst caused by Dilly to others on here?

  22. Has the man shown any love to anyone Rebekah? I think not.

    Richard, let me explain, slowly, I responded (need a definition?) to your pseudonymous, cowardly friend Rod George when he raised the matter of Woolwich. Or had you not read that.

  23. The comment box is now closed on this subject, thank you.