|Pope Benedict XVI meets the future Saints of the Church?|
We expect Popes to say such things. We expect Popes to be holy and to be a living example to others to seek Christ. As Fr Blake today highlights, however, we no longer expect Catholic schools to say such things. Nor do we expect Catholic schools to lead their children to holiness.
As he says, following the release of two reports by the Catholic Education Service itself, that praise Catholic schools for their excellence and from which we glean that everything is going according to 'plan'...
"The problem is not whether our Catholic Schools fulfill the criteria set by the Government but whether they produce disciples of Christ: men and women who value prayer, the sacraments, attendance at Mass and the Word of God, who are capable of building effective families, of nurturing their own children in the faith, of building the Kingdom of God."
How right he is. Governments are all too keen to present sex education as something that schools must provide, according to the Government's own vision of sex education, because, it asserts, of a lack of education in this area of 'learning' from parents. "What parents fail to do, we must do! We must help these poor, ignorant children to wear condoms!" says the Government, certainly the previous Government, and no doubt this one too, in response to those ever rising 'unwanted teenage pregnancies', abortions and STIs among the young.
The Government, however, is not going to come to the Church's aid in teaching children the Faith of Christ, which is both a tool in the battle against unwanted teenage pregnancies and evil in general. Unfortunarely, the Government is not saying, "What parents fail to do, we must do! We must help these poor, ignorant children to wear the breastplate of salvation!" Neither, unfortunately, is the Catholic Education Service or the Bishops of England and Wales. While Oona Stannard, in her preface to the report, says, "We can confidently confirm that Catholic schools are part of the solution, not the problem," you just know that the 'problem' that she is talking about is not the problem of the near collapse of Catholic identity, nor the problem of alarming rates of pregnancy and STIs among the young (Connexions's presence in Catholic schools is a give-away sign that Catholic schoolchildren are not exempt from this trend), but the problem of how to facilitate social cohesion in multi-cultural, modern Britain. Even Bishop Malcolm McMahon, the Bishop whose very remit is Catholic education, wishes to discuss only that, "These two publications make it very clear that Catholic education continues to make a very important contribution to the future of our society." My Lord, if you do not mind me asking, what about the future of the Catholic Faith?!
|Bishop Malcolm McMahon visits Our Lady's Convent School|
You can just imagine Oona, grinning like a Cheshire cat, over the CES report, because Catholic schools are 'successful', places of 'academic excellence' that foster 'harmonious community' relations, while not even considering the vaguely sinister lack of Catholic formation, catechesis and general Catholic education taking place in Catholic schools, leaving Catholic children unaware of the very Faith with which Catholic schools have a moral duty to provide, especially in the absence of parents who pass the Faith down to their children. The catholicity of Catholic children, or lack thereof, does not seem to bother Oona Stannard for a moment and it doesn't even seem to bother the Bishops of England and Wales.
In the previous post, I discussed the alarming rate at which Catholic parents, since the 1960s, decided to have smaller families and to buy into the secular vision of the family, one which is inherently materialistic and devoid of the Church's teaching on the sanctity of human and family life - how this culture will be passed down to children and their children will grow up lacking either a strong Catholic identity or loyalty and faithfulness to Christ and His Church. That is, as we can guess, how a religion dies. Catholic schools really are 'part of the solution, not part of the problem', or, at least, they would be if they were not feeling so very complacent and so seemingly at ease with being 'part of the problem'.
|Oona Stannard, with Ed Balls and Archbishop Nichols|
What is the good of producing an entire classroom of Catholic schoolchildren who are able to interact harmoniously in a multi-cultural society, benefit society at large and even achieve academic excellence, if they all go on to procure or help to procure abortions, have many and varied sexual partners, never pray, never go to Mass, never go to Confession, use contraception for their whole adult lives, commit adultery, get divorced, become depressives and alcoholics, commit suicide, abandon the Church, die unrepentant and go to Hell for all eternity? That is hardly a recipe for Catholic excellence. It's just a recipe for another generation of Catholics that the Church will lose forever.
No, these schools will have done these children no favours at all if that is what the future holds for them. How do we teach the Catholic Faith to these children, even if we are to urge them not to make the same mistakes as we have made? The Government are not going to come to their aid, for the Government cannot. The Catholic Education Service is not going to come to their aid, since there is clearly not much Catholicism in the CES. The Bishops of England and Wales cannot come to these children's aid, because, well, they're busy. The only answer that I can see is that we send Michael Voris of Vortex fame, or clone him, and then send him, to give his presentations at assemblies, in every Catholic school in the land! "Welcome to the Cortex, where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed!" I'll happily wear the toupee....