It is saddening to hear this from The Catholic Herald...
'The High Court has ruled that the Diocese of Westminster acted lawfully over the appointment of trustees to a prominent west London Catholic school.
The Court of Appeal handed down a majority judgment (full text) about the governing body of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School today, ruling that the Diocese of Westminster acted within the law when it refused to re-appoint two parents as foundation governors. The judges also ruled that the appointment of Paul Barber, the diocesan education director, to the schools’ governing body was legal.
The Vaughan Parents’ Action Group described the judgment as disappointing.'
The whole affair leaves a rather bitter taste in the mouth, doesn't it? Can it really be that there are 'victors' in the Diocesan camp rejoicing over the outcome of this Court dispute? Is Oona Stannard wearing an even wider grin today than she was in that photograph with archetypal political villain, Ed Balls, and the Archbishop of Westminster? How can anyone be glad about it when the rights of Catholic parents to be the primary educators of their children are, in their view, being trampled upon, not by a Soviet State but a frighteningly Orwellian...Diocese?
I don't know. The reason I've not blogged much about this before is because there are many bloggers, Damian Thompson being one of them, as well as James Preece, who are much more informed and aware of the situation at Vaughan than me. The unwieldly throwing around of temporal power exemplified in the bizarre prodding incident documented by many and a 'might equals right' attitude seems to have become the default setting of Diocesan practice in the modern Church. This was, ironically, what also emerged from the horrors of the Murphy Report and this seems to be what is emerging today. The voices of Catholics who are concerned, above all, about the welfare, spiritual and temporal, of their children appear to be dismissed at a Diocesan level.
I don't know, as yet we don't know, where Archbishop Vincent Nichols stands on all this. The task of making a public statement on the outcome of today's High Court dispute has fallen to Auxillary Bishop George Stack. As it happens, I had a nice letter back from His Grace in response to my letter, signed by myself and Sean Wright of Juventutem London, urging His Grace to appeal on behalf of the Church and Her poor in Westminster Piazza that their rights and the rights of believers to offer them food and drink be respected. I know it is important to respect confidences so I shall not reproduce His Grace's letter, but suffice to say it was very nice, assuring me that 'dialogue' with Westminster City Council is the way forward on the issue, rather than 'leglislation'.
I must say that I was thrilled to even get a letter from the Archbishop of Westminster and I'll keep it as long as I live. My letter was written on 28th February and the reply came on the 7th April. I assume that His Grace was as equally responsive to those Vaughan parents who must have written to His Grace over this traumatic period asking for his personal intervention and for his support in the dispute at a school with a distinctively Catholic identity (even giving special priority to children whose parents attend Mass regularly), that remains resolutely against the State's more relativistic and secular agenda for education. His Grace is, we can safely say, an Archbishop who wishes to fulfill his Apostolic mission by working in dialogue and negotiation with all concerned in order to advance the Holy Faith and foster reconciliation wherever dispute arises.
Yes. Whether it be in the field of Catholic education, under attack from a corrupt State that wishes children to be sexualised from the tender age of 5 or the defense of the homeless, under attack from a nefarious City Council, dialogue and negotiation are His Grace's way. Yet, there has, only recently, been one vitally important campaign that has won the Archbishops favour and which has inspired His Grace to take a stand and make a public show of support in a dispute of great concern to Catholics in the Diocese of Westminster. Click here to find out which campaign has Archbishop Vincent Nichols's public seal of approval.
Say a prayer for the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. Vigils and prayers are efficacious, but I guess if you don't have the right 'Connexions', in modern education, things are always going to be more difficult.