Friday, January 25, 2008

MPs take aim at Bishop of Lancaster

Update: praise for Bishop O'Donaghue from the Vatican: he groundbreaking education document 'Fit for Mission', produced by the Bishop of Lancaster has received further praise from the Vatican. The document had previously been praised by the Congregation for Clergy. It has now also been singled out by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as a "reliable resource for renewing the vitality of Catholic education in today's society". The cardinal commended Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue on behalf of the congregation for his "initiative and work done to strengthen the values inherent in the Catholic school". Cardinal Grocholewski highlighted the publication's "comprehensive" use of documents from the Holy See to support the Catholic ethos in schools on a diocesan level. The implementation of the Fit for Mission? Schools programme will be developed throughout Lancaster over the course of this year. The diocese's education centre will facilitate and co-ordinate further consultation and implementation of the action plan among primary and secondary schools, and colleges. The consultation will culminate in a diocesan conference in November 2008 to discuss the progress of the initiative over the year. Bishop O'Donoghue, currently on a pastoral visit to India at the invitation of the Syro-Malabar community, said: "I am absolutely delighted with the letter from Cardinal Grocholewski. "It is so encouraging to learn that Fit for Mission? Schools has been commended by the Congregation that has authority over all Catholic schools and colleges throughout the world." He added: "I see it as yet another sign that our efforts at Lancaster are moving in the right direction. "We are honestly trying to make our schools and parishes fit for mission - striving to communicate the Gospel with a freshness and energy to young and old." [Gabriel Communications]

Briefing 07/01/08. This quotation is very interesting:

The Observer quotes MP Barry Sheerman: 'A group of bishops appear to be taking a much firmer line and I think it would be useful to call representatives of the Catholic church in front of the committee to find out what is going on,' he said. 'It seems to me that faith education works all right as long as people are not that serious about their faith. But as soon as there is a more doctrinaire attitude questions have to be asked. It does become worrying when you get a new push from more fundamentalist bishops. This is taxpayers' money after all.'

This is aimed at Bishop O'Donoghue's call for properly Catholic schools. We have explained before the absurdity of the state complaining that Catholic schools use government money: the deal was to make the huge network of Catholic schools free at the point of delivery with government funds to extend free education. The schools are owned by the Church, and the Church continues to subsidise them, and it's a bit late for the state to complain about it.

But the real point here is that Sheerman and his friends want to enforce doctrinaire secularism in all schools before the Muslims get state schools of their own. He is not really worried about Catholic fundamentalists. He's desperate not to distinguish between one religion and another, so he's kicking the Church to ward off Islam.

The whole Observer article is here. More on the very positive reaction to Bishop O'Donoghue's initiative from Fr Finigan here.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen