Sunday, 23 October 2011

This and that: mostly about Catholic schools ...

Whilst in some quarters, the Westminster Diocese's education service is making headlines over its handling of Cardinal Vaughan school, in Twickenham it is the plans to build a new secondary school that are causing quite a different stir: here and here. The exact motivations of the lobby group opposing this proposed school cannot be determined from the media coverage, but there were protest activities against the Papal visit in the same area in 2010. In the context of both of these situations, there is an interesting account on the Catholic Education Service website about Catholic Schools: Mission and Governance. Whilst it notes that
For Catholic schools under the trusteeship of the diocese the Trusts under which Catholic schools are established contain within their objects a requirement to provide education for Catholic children.
it also points out that the Catholic character of such schools is supported in a number of other ways.

And, in a completely different context, another story about Catholic schools: Cardinal ‘fasts’ over court ruling and Hundreds of young people supported Cardinal Joseph Zen on third day of Hunger strike in Hong Kong.

A point made in discussion during yesterday's London event of Aid to the Church in Need was that, since the fall of dictatorial regimes in north Africa and the Middle East, the situation of Christians in those countries has deteriorated. There is a real concern that the new governments that will succeed the dictators will embrace an Islamic fundamentalism that will discriminate against Christians in those countries. Reference was also made to the experience of Christians in Iraq. There is a tempting prudential judgement that it would have been better for Christians had the dictators remained in power. But it really is damaging to Christian testimony when those communities appear as being "sheltered" by regimes whose actions with regard to other citizens are contrary to Christian teaching on the dignity of the human person and the freedom due to each and every person. There is a more authentic witness when Christians are persecuted. I think it is Hans Urs von Balthasar who wrote somewhere that it is the normal condition of the Christian that he or she should be subject to discrimination or persecution and, in consequence, the absence of such persecution should be a cause for an examination of conscience with regard to the quality of Christian witness being given.

PS. The Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign website is here. It is interesting to look at the list of supporters at the foot of the page, as this, and the content of the page itself, gives some context to the "set up and backed by local people" lead.

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