Catholic Schools Vs Catholic Education

Catholic Schools Vs Catholic Education

First Minister praises Catholic schools
First Minster Nicola Sturgeon praised Catholic schools during a meeting with Archbishop Philip Tartaglia and other faith leaders on Friday January 13.      muslim-schoolgirl

The SNP leader was chairing an annual meeting of Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) which brings leaders from a range of denominations together, including the Glasgow archbishop, who is president of the Scottish Bishops’ Conference, and the director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office Anthony Horan.

Speaking about a new community cohesion initiative, the First Minister commended the work of Catholic schools and singled-out St Albert’s Primary in Glasgow’s Southside for praise. Acknowledging the fact that the majority of pupils at the school are Muslim children—drawing most of its pupils from areas of traditionally high immigration—Mrs Sturgeon praised headteacher, Clare Harker. “It is fantastic that a school with a Christian Catholic ethos finds a way to respect the values of the children there,” she said.

The First Minister also said churches had a key role to play in community cohesion. “The trust you have in these communities can promote understanding,” she told the faith leaders. “We are at a pivotal moment and we need to try in our small way to give international leadership to diversity as strength and not just weakness. There is scope for us to work collectively.”

Among those at the meeting with the archbishop (above) were Rev Matthew Ross (Secretary of ACTS), Rev Alexander Ritchie (United Free Church of Scotland), Major Steven Turner (Salvation Army), Norman Graham (Baptist Union of Scotland), Rt Rev Russell Barr (Moderator of the Church of Scotland), and Most Revd Bishop David Chillingworth (Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church).

Mrs Sturgeon also spoke about the challenge, for both government and wider society, of providing social care for an ageing population, particularly in relation to dementia. “We need to learn from you, to understand what the churches can bring [in relation to care for those with dementia],” she told the church leaders, adding that ‘you [the churches] are trusted, particularly regarding older people’s care.’

The SCO has been running a campaign since October to make Catholic churches ‘dementia friendly,’ with two churches signing up to the scheme in recent weeks.

At the end of the meeting, Mrs Sturgeon praised the work of volunteers and the third sector, and highlighted the value of the meetings with church leaders. “It is a good opportunity for me to hear from you and how we can work together,” she said. “I value this tradition.”

Anthony Horan, director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, said: “The meeting is an opportunity for leaders of a number of Christian denominations to speak with the First Minister and to give her visibility as to the work they are doing in their local communities and wider Scottish society. It was extremely pleasing to hear the First Minister commend the value of Catholic schools.”

Speaking after the meeting, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland is a place where we celebrate our differences, while recognising the many things that unite us and where people of all races, faiths and background feel safe and respected.

“It is important that everyone is open to each other’s values and it is essential that we safeguard our shared vision of a multicultural, open and tolerant Scotland. Our faith communities play a significant role here, and abroad, and we welcome their contribution and input into our nation’s civic life to enrich us all.”


Catholic schools were established to teach the Catholic Faith with conviction, as part of the process of educating Catholic children at home, school, and in the parish – e.g. via preaching.

Manifestly, that is no longer the aim of Catholic “educators”.

If the Muslim community can so successfully target and take over Catholic Schools and if a Protestant First Minister of a Protestant Scotland can “commend the value of Catholic schools” then, self-evidently, they are not doing what they are supposed to do.

Maybe it’s now time to hand them all over to parents who actually care about what their children believe and who want them  to be properly taught how to live in the world in accordance with their religious beliefs. Yes? Muslims seem to fit the bill nicely. 

After all, if the Catholic hierarchy don’t give a toss, and if Catholic parents don’t have a clue, what’s the point of keeping up the pretence?  

Having a bunch of buildings labelled “Catholic schools” is not remotely the same thing  as providing a Catholic education.  Home-schoolers provide a Catholic education without the buildings.  Well?  Is it right to seek to justify Catholic schools when they self-evidently do not provide a Catholic education?  

Comments (58)

  • Margaret Mary

    I remember reading about the targeting of St Albert’s school in Pollockshields at the time. It is incredible that a school with a majority of Muslims (or any other religion) could possibly be described as a “Catholic school”. The whole thing’s a joke.

    I definitely agree that Catholic schools and Catholic education are two different things and there’s no way that St Albert’s is giving a Catholic education with a majority of non-Catholic pupils, no matter what their religion.

    Also, has anybody considered that Muslims do seek to bring converts into their religion? I understand that primary school Muslims are not likely to be earnestly debating their beliefs but they will make an impression on the few Catholic children in the school just by the fact that they dress in a religious dress and pray five times a day, and so maybe confuse them about religion. We’ll get even more of the indifferent attitude that one religion is as good as another – especially since that’s already the attitude of the Catholic adults, from the archbishop down.

    I found that report very depressing. There’s no sign of the ecumenical and interfaith project ending anytime soon. Saying that, I’m not really sure that we should give up the schools, because what about when sanity returns? What would happen then?

    January 22, 2017 at 4:53 pm
    • Lily

      Margaret Mary,

      I can’t disagree with anything you say, except I don’t think we can justify keeping the schools just because we hope (or know!) that the Faith will return. We’re still taking money from the public purse under false pretences. I think it’s better to put an end to them and then rebuild when the time comes.

      January 22, 2017 at 6:43 pm
    • editor


      That’s a very good point about the influence of the Muslim children’s example and conversation with the rest of the school population – hardly likely to be asking how to pray the rosary, are they.

      January 23, 2017 at 3:43 pm
  • Michaela

    I’ve said for a long time that the Catholic sector should be closed down in the UK as they are no use whatsoever. They teach the same stuff as non-denominational schools and kids are taken to synagogues and mosques, etc.

    A few years ago, a Welsh bishop said that stats showed that children attending non-denomination schools were more likely to practise the Faith than those attending Catholic schools. I would wager a bet that’s still the case. They’re a waste of space, so I say close them down.

    January 22, 2017 at 11:38 pm
    • editor


      That Welsh bishop was actually Archbishop Ward of Cardiff, and what you say has been quoted by Daphne McLeod, of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, many times. As someone who has taught in both Catholic and non-denominational schools, I would say he was absolutely correct in his assessment. There is undermining of doctrine in Catholic schools which you won’t find in a non-denominational school.

      January 23, 2017 at 3:44 pm
  • RCA Victor

    “The SCO has been running a campaign since October to make Catholic churches ‘dementia friendly’”…

    Wow, what a setup line for a wiseguy from New York! Here’s a newsflash for the SCO: the Catholic Church has been dementia-friendly since Vatican II – it’s called the “diabolical disorientation”!!

    Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Scotland, who is named after a fish, is “celebrating our differences,” even as the Muslims continue their plan to eliminate said differences and establish Sharia law through mass immigration. So Islam continues to fill the cultural vacuum created by the abandonment of the Catholic Faith by the Judases in clerical garb.

    Political correctness, which is now clearly the “mission” of “Catholic” schools, can be reliably counted on to achieve one thing: it causes people who embrace it to make complete and utter fools of themselves, and to lose touch with reality. PC also fills the individual vacuum caused by the abandonment of reason.

    January 23, 2017 at 3:04 am
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Absolutely hilarious! You really DID make me laugh out loud! That’s gotta be one for the March newsletter, blog column!

      January 23, 2017 at 11:26 am
  • Benedict Carter

    Catholic schools may give a decent secular education, but nil education regarding the Catholic Faith. Rather, they actively work against it: I have a friend whose fourteen year old daughter attended St. Bernadette’s Catholic School in Bristol. She came home one evening with her homework for that day’s Religious Education lesson. The task was to complete a Marie Stopes abortion clinic application form, with which she had been supplied by the teacher.

    Are we not already in the catacombs?

    January 23, 2017 at 9:37 am
    • lupine22

      Seems a lot of teachers these days have no qualms about abortion !

      January 23, 2017 at 6:44 pm
  • Therese

    Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Scotland, who is named after a fish, is “celebrating our differences,” even as the Muslims continue their plan to eliminate said differences..


    January 23, 2017 at 2:32 pm
  • RCA Victor

    I had my two younger boys in a Novus Ordo Catholic school back in the late 1990s. One day I brought them in to start the school day and noticed a poster on the wall next to the classroom door, listing “The Ten Most Successful Women in the USA” or something like that. Guess whose name was on the list: Hillary Clinton!

    Even before I returned to the Church in 2000 I knew better – so I complained to the Principal and the poster was removed. This was the same church in which Bill Gates, the biggest private funder of abortions in the world, was praised from the pulpit in 2006. That was the last straw for me, and that was the last time I set foot in that church.

    Was it Bishop Sheen who pointed out that children who attended modern Catholic schools were more likely to lose the Faith than those who attended public schools?

    January 23, 2017 at 3:52 pm
    • St Miguel

      Totally agree….I once offered a school prize for any local CATHOLIC secondary school pupil who could recite the “Hail Holy Queen”….also that august school with a charter mark had “some” pupils going to Confession who did NOT know an Act of Contrition prayer or what a Novena was….AND it had a Catholic School Chaplain….I rest my case M’Lud.

      January 23, 2017 at 6:43 pm
      • editor

        St Miguel,

        Well, here’s a story about a guy, Jim, who worked in construction and who didn’t know what a novena was/is.

        He had a very bad habit of stealing from his workplace – mostly wood.

        After confessing this for a number of weeks, without managing to overcome the temptation, the priest told him that for his penance, he wanted him to make a novena.

        “Well Father” said Jim: “I’ve never made a novena but if you want one made, I can get you the wood”!

        January 23, 2017 at 8:14 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      “Was it Bishop Sheen who pointed out that children who attended modern Catholic schools were more likely to lose the Faith than those who attended public schools?”

      Archbishop John Ward of Cardiff (Wales) said the same thing, see my reply to Michaela above. Having taught in both Catholic and non-denominational schools, I’d say that both Fulton Sheen and Archbishop Ward were right. No doubt about it, sadly.

      January 23, 2017 at 8:16 pm
  • Athanasius

    RCA Victor provided a very important lesson earlier in this discussion when he recalled a situation with his two boys at a Novus Ordo school that necessitated some solid action on his behalf as a Catholic parent.

    It is the duty of the Church’s hierarchy to ensure that Catholic schools remain faithful to the teaching of the Church. In this they have manifestly failed. It is also the duty of Catholic teachers to ensure that they help to form their young charges solidly by word and example in the Faith. Again, these have manifestly failed. The result is a ‘Catholic in name only’ education system which, by it’s ecumenical/interreligious apostasy has become the smiling assassin of young Catholic souls; the majority leaving these institutions robbed of all knowledge of the supernatural life.

    And why has this happened? Because, to return to RCA Victor’s important point, Catholic parents were first to fail in their duty. Had the parents been zealous for the Faith themselves and mindful of the very serious duty they bear before God to educate their offspring in that Faith, then the bad shepherds and the bad teachers would never have gained a grip on the system.

    I remember Professor William Marra once exclaiming to Catholic parents “it’s your baby!” It’s not the bishop’s child and it’s not the teacher’s child, it’s your child and you have the primary responsibility to protect that child’s soul from error. This was his message to Catholic parents who thought they could just offload their responsibility to form and sanctify their children in the Faith onto the clergy and the teachers.

    So while I do blame the Bishops, the priests and the teachers for betraying the misplaced trust of some parents, it must be clearly stated that Catholic parents themselves are largely to blame for the mess the education system is in today. Had they been more zealous for the sanctification of their children’s souls then the school system we see today would not have happened.

    January 24, 2017 at 2:40 am
    • Michaela


      I respectfully disagree. I remember Daphne McLeod writing about this in The Flock some years ago and she made the point that parents are not held responsible for their child’s learning in any other subject. No parent feels the need to check up on whether their child’s teachers are teaching Maths, English, Science, History etc. properly. They take it for granted. The role of the parents in Catholic education was always in the practice of the faith, taking them to Mass etc. It was never catechism lessons. My parents had no idea that the Catholic teachers were being trained to teach the faith in a value-free way, that they were actually teaching that one religion was as good as another. If they weren’t told, how were they to be held responsible. I don’t know anybody whose mother grilled them on what they were getting in religion lessons, it was taken for granted.

      The people who are to blame for the loss of the Catholic faith across the board, in schools as well as in parishes, are the bishops and priests. The parents could only play catch-up when the rot had set in.

      January 24, 2017 at 10:52 am
      • Athanasius


        No, you’re wrong about that. It is primarily the duty of parents to see to it that their children are properly educated in the Faith; they are not permitted to abrogate that responsibility to others in the hope that all will be well. Taking the kids to Mass, etc., is only part of the parental duty. It is completely ridiculous to suggest that they are then free from blame for not knowing that their children were being taught heresy at school.

        I know many vigilant parents who caught on to what was going on in modern Catholic schools precisely because they had personally taken time to educate their kids in the Faith and the kids in turn came home to them from school and told them of the contradictory teaching they were receiving from teachers.

        Yes, the bishops and teachers have a lot to answer for in relation to the decline of Catholic teaching in schools, but parents will answer more for their failure to keep abreast of what their children were being taught.

        Secular subjects like maths, etc., are not the same thing as parents are not expected to be qualified in these subjects. They are, however, supposed to be experts in the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith that they have been taught and have practiced for decades.

        January 24, 2017 at 7:49 pm
      • RCA Victor


        I don’t know where Mrs. McLeod got the idea that parents are “not held responsible for their child’s learning in any other subject.” I suppose it depends on how you define “not responsible,” but when my boys were young I went over their non-religious homework with them several times a week. Moreover, I home-schooled two of them for a year, and found myself having to correct numerous politically correct errors of a devious sort, not to mention numerous factual errors, in the curriculum we had chosen.

        It seems to me that such a claim is equivalent to saying that parents are not responsible for what their children eat for breakfast or lunch – only for dinner! Or, how about setting a watchdog out in the yard for 6 hours a day, but leaving the house unguarded for the other 18?

        January 25, 2017 at 4:48 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Parents are not experts in maths, science, geography or any other subject, although, since everyone’s been to school, everyone thinks he/she is an expert in education. I soon stopped answering the question the hairdressers always pose in beautification services (so to speak) “What do YOU do?” The minute a teacher divulges her profession, everyone lays into schools, teachers, courses, you name it. I soon learned to say “Oh, I’ve done loads of things… what about you, have you always been a hairdresser? How long does it take to train? Are there good promotion prospects? Where do you live?” and the favourite “Are you going out tonight?” (I mean, who gets their hair cut unless they’re going out socialising – right?! 😀 )

        That’s what Daphne McLeod meant. Of course parents can help with homework and ask questions about every subject, but it’s not the first time that I’ve had to tell a child that his dear old dad had actually got it wrong, that “doctor’s practise” is actually “practice” as I’d taught him. That would wipe the triumphant smile off his smug little face 😀

        The point Daphne was making was that, just as in normal times parents could send their offspring to a Catholic school and assume they were being taught the Faith properly, so they would no more have to suspiciously quiz and question them about the religion lessons than they would about any other subject. That’s all she meant and she’s right.

        Those parents who uncovered inadequate through to false teaching in religion – assuming they were practising, committed Catholics in the first place – DID do something about it. I’ve met plenty. The fact that the entire Catholic population didn’t rise up in protest is hardly surprising, that is the nature of this diabolical crisis – we were all fooled, remember – well not all, but I sure was, and I believe a majority of Catholics were in good faith when the changes came into force. Satan didn’t show his hand – although I have no doubt that there were saintly souls who did catch on right away. However, it’s a bit rich to expect parents to have saved the day in the face of faithless popes, bishops and priests leading us astray. I mean, gimme a break!

        As for your problem with the home-schooling programme you chose; that’s a pity. I know parents who use the Seton programme, which I’ve seen and which is excellent, so it’s a pity that you made the wrong choice. Seton is American, however, so obviously they make lots of spelling mistakes all the time: defense instead of defence, that sort of thing. Still, one gets used to it… 😀

        January 25, 2017 at 5:53 pm
      • RCA Victor


        You mean, as in “maths” instead of “math”? 🙂

        Thank you for clarifying. As I said earlier, I was not a practicing Catholic at the time, having been removed from the Church around 1956, but it seems that once people caught on to the stealth operation, the party line had already coalesced against them, and those who resisted (both clergy and laity) were dismissed, belittled, marginalized or persecuted – or some combination thereof…

        As for Seton, I did come across that one while looking at curricula, but we decided on a free one which came complete with computers. What a mistake that was!

        January 25, 2017 at 11:31 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor

        I’m so glad you mention the “math” vs “maths” – I’ve always meant to ask an American that.

        Since the word is “mathematics” we say “maths”

        So why do you folks say “math” – it doesn’t sound right to me (not that that means anything, I was terrible at maths and arithmetic at school so whether there’s an “s” on the end of the short form or not, is really highly irrelevant, or so my old math(s) teacher would say! With the arithmetic teacher hot on her heels!

        As for the rest – yes as time went on, things changed and the rebels were more openly hostile. In the beginning though, they were careful, covering up their true agenda so that the pew Catholics were fooled. By the time most of us woke up, it was too late – the rot was firmly established.

        January 26, 2017 at 12:44 am
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Hard at work all day, I’ve just come across this cartoon and immediately thought of your comments about teaching – worth abandoning any task to post this – laugh? I thought I’d never start!

        January 26, 2017 at 5:21 pm
      • RCA Victor


        LOL – Hilarious, IMHO! BTW, …hmmm…could these also be new acronyms for as-yet unheard of varieties of LGBT-ism!?

        Speaking of which, I wonder what your PC Prime Minister will do when some surgeon (rhymes with Sturgeon) comes up with species reassignment surgery? Just imagine all that diversity she will be celebrating!

        Then, of course, we will no longer be allowed to say such things as “It’s a dog’s life,” or “That’s a horse of a different color,” or describe anyone as “sheepish.”

        January 26, 2017 at 10:16 pm
  • Therese


    Sorry to disagree, but I do think it’s the parents’ duty to ensure that their children are educated in the Faith. Being poor at Maths will not endanger your soul (thank God fasting for that!), and education in English Science and History etc is comparatively unimportant to being taught the Faith. I can’t understand how parents weren’t aware of their children’s ignorance in such a matter; it was their solemn duty to ensure that they do all they could to pass on the teachings of the Church.

    Unfortunately, too many didn’t know enough to teach their children. For example, a dear lady I know of my mother’s generation has 8 children; as far as I’m aware, only 2 continue the practice of the Faith, and she blames “the school” for failing to teach them. She is a most devout person, daily communicant, daily rosaries plus many other daily extraneous prayers from various hoax “seers”, but she attends her grandchildren’s weddings outside of the Church, and closes her eyes to those of them living in sin, because she doesn’t want to fall out with the family. Too many parents have had that attitude, I’m afraid, and we can’t blame the schools for that.

    None of this excuses the bishops and priests who also failed to do their duty.

    Of course, I’m not talking about the present crop of parents; they’ve never been taught the Faith, so they can hardly be expected to pass it on, and the same goes for the teachers.

    January 24, 2017 at 1:41 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      Sorry to disagree with you but it was always clear that if the parents took their children to Mass and taught them to practise the faith, the schools would teach the religion, the doctrine. The Church actually states that the faith has to be taught in a systematic way (I got that from one of editor’s posts once, and it stuck in my brain! I just wish everything else would stick as well, LOL!)

      Parents are not trained to teach in that way so obviously they can’t teach the faith as it needs to be taught to understand it. The home-schoolers have bought programs to help them. At the time of the Council the faith was strong and children had been well taught the faith so how were parents to know what was going on behind the scenes.

      It was only after several generations of parents hadn’t been taught the faith and were now raising their own children, thinking that what they’d been taught was the faith, that the problem became clear. I think it’s extremely unjust to blame parents who love their children and only want the best for them.

      January 24, 2017 at 1:48 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        I forgot to say that what you say about the woman who goes along with living together etc in her family, that’s a common thing these days, even people of the generation who were taught the faith have lost their moral compass, thinking God is so merciful that he will save everyone no matter what they do. I don’t think that’s evidence that parents didn’t care about their children’s faith, because they did, they just trusted the authorities too much. Teachers and priests were “up there”, not to be questioned. You might as well say that everyone who went along with the new Mass are to blame for the crisis, but we all thought we could trust the authorities.

        January 24, 2017 at 1:52 pm
      • Athanasius

        Margaret Mary

        You start from a fundamental error, which is that the Catholic Faith is difficult to understand. It is not difficult to understand, it is very simple, no experts required.

        The Catechism provides the basics that all children need to know and that can and should be done by informed parents regardless of whether or not the same process goes on at school. Before proper schools existed the Faith was passed on for generations through the family, parents teaching their children from infancy.

        It has never been the Church’s teaching that the Faith is so complicated that it must be left to experts outwith the family to teach it to new generations, that’s a modern error. The truth is that parents became far too comfortable with other people teaching their children, not to mention far too trusting. It was an abandonment of the primary duty of parental vigilance that came back to bite many of them.

        January 24, 2017 at 8:02 pm
  • Therese

    Margaret Mary

    I’m wondering just how strong the Faith was at the time of the Council, if Catholic parents didn’t know that it was their duty to check that their children were being well-educated in the Faith. It just doesn’t make any sense to me that a parent wouldn’t discuss the Faith with their children – surely such discussions would have brought to light any gaps in their knowledge/understanding? I always understood that it was every Catholic’s duty to continue to educate themselves in the Faith; it wasn’t enough just to parrot the Catechism – there were words in it that I didn’t understand; it was a superb start, but a start only. That it what I mean by a parent’s duty – to encourage further study, by encouraging their children to read solid Catholic books and authors, (books which they’ve read themselves), to understand what the Church teaches, and why it teaches it. That takes more time and effort than can be given in an educational establishment, and some level of time maturity is necessary to allow for the Truths of the Faith to be grasped. Some parents managed to do it, so it wasn’t impossible.

    I’m not a parent, Margaret Mary, and although that has its sadness, it also has its blessings. The grave responsibility of teaching the Faith to the soul(s) entrusted to one is the most serious one I can imagine, for it has eternal consequences.

    You might as well say that everyone who went along with the new Mass are to blame for the crisis, but we all thought we could trust the authorities.

    I do say that. We did “go along”; we were ignorant of our responsibilities, and we let the wolf into the sheepfold, where he has had a happy time rending the flesh of the sheep. Are we as guilty as the “authorities”? I don’t think so, but we did fail, Margaret Mary. We did fail. And now we see the results.

    January 24, 2017 at 2:32 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      I know very good parents who didn’t suspect a thing because the faith was so strong at the time of the Council, at least it was taught properly.

      I Googled to find a quote from Mrs McLeod of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, and I found this interview which contains the quote (about how the Church had a well educated laity, as never before). I copied some of it –

      If everything was going so well and the Church in this country was thriving, why was religious instruction in schools and parishes changed so drastically?


      It was not changed at the Second Vatican Council, as many believe. The bishops there were well satisfied with the religious knowledge most Catholics learnt at our schools. Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York said in 1964: “Never before has the Church had such a well instructed laity.” No one demurred as this was patently true. On December 8 1965 the Council ended with Mass in St Peter’s Basilica and all the bishops went home. On January 6 1966 Paul VI set up commissions to implement the Council Decrees – one on the Liturgy under Archbishop Bugnini and one on Education under Fr Johannes Hofinger SJ. Unfortunately Fr Hofinger, an Austrian priest, was a devout Modernist – the heresy described by Pope St Pius X as “the synthesis of all heresies”. So he chose fellow Modernists from each country to make up his commission on religious instruction. The English representative was Fr Hubert Richards, who went on to set up Corpus Christi College to instruct teachers of religion. Every priest and lay teacher who taught religion in Catholic schools had to attend Corpus Christi College.

      I went there full of high hopes that we were going to improve our religious instruction, only to be shattered by the lectures in the first morning, which were teaching heresies – even doubting the Divinity of Christ. I was surprised no one else protested, but they said: “These are priests and nuns put here to teach us by the cardinal. We don’t argue with priests and nuns.” So they all dropped sound religious instruction and started teaching Modern Catechetics.

      I protested as much as I could, but no one listened. I wrote to Cardinal Heenan to tell him what was being said and he replied with a brief note saying that no one else had complained and I just didn’t like modern methods. He advised me to wait and see what wonderful young Catholics this teaching would produce. I am still waiting.

      Commercial firms like Coca Cola investigate problems, as they did some years ago when the numbers of their customers dropped. Why don’t our bishops, faced with a dwindling Church and a shortage of priests, instead of the thriving and growing Church we once had with packed seminaries, check to see what has led to this disaster?

      They would discover it dates from the cataclysmic change in religious instruction given in our schools and parishes, and they would be able to bring back sound teaching in line with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium.

      I do think parents would have spoken about the faith to their children but they would still be taught the main things in a way that allowed them to give the expected answers, e.g. about the Real Presence etc. It’s only over time, I think, that the doubting was encouraged and so on. I’m no expert, so maybe editor will say more on this when she appears.

      January 24, 2017 at 2:54 pm
      • Athanasius

        Margaret Mary

        “I know very good parents who didn’t suspect a thing because the faith was so strong at the time of the Council, at least it was taught properly.”

        If they didn’t suspect a thing it was because they weren’t paying attention to their children’s formation of soul. There’s no way a truly informed Catholic parent, being properly vigilant, could have missed what was taking place. I do not accept that argument at all.

        I think a much more likely scenario is that many mother’s went out to work, either by choice or through necessity, around the time when the conciliar revolution began in earnest and this led to some degree of neglect of the children’s spiritual welfare. It was easier just to pass the buck onto the schools and assume that all would be well. We see now in our own day the dreadful consequences of this abrogation of parental duty.

        January 24, 2017 at 8:12 pm
      • editor

        Sorry, Athanasius, I’m afraid the parent-bashing doesn’t cut it. In sending their children to Catholic schools, parents were not “abrogating their parental duties”, they were doing what the Church required of them, to ensure that their children received a thorough and academic knowledge and understanding of the Faith, in the systematic way essential to properly understand the Faith; the parents were expected to teach their offspring by example, and by taking them to Mass etc. The cycle of home-school-parish working together has always been the model of Catholic education.

        It’s a travesty of justice to criticise parents for abrogating their duty and neglecting their child’s spiritual well-being. I almost fell out of my chair when I read that, having spoken to many heartbroken parents.

        I was an adult when my youngest brother was still at school, both primary and secondary. I was in the Legion of Mary for most of my young life, and thus active in the Church from around 11 years of age – with my parents’ approval and encouragement. I read a lot about the Faith and talked about it both at home and with friends. My parents were 100% Catholics, and everyone in our home practised at that time. My parents did everything they could to instil a love of the Faith in each one of us (and my mother was not a “career” woman – she stayed at home to care for us). They (and I) did talk to my youngest brother about the Faith…. We all assumed that he was being taught the Faith, and there was nothing, in conversation, to indicate otherwise. If you think parents ought to have grilled their children then perhaps we failed there, but I don’t know anyone who did that, or admitted to it! And absent such grillings, the conversations at home just didn’t happen the way you appear think they should – and I see Therese holds to the same view. If only it were that simple…

        “Hello, son, what did you do in RE today?”

        “Well, mum, you know how you taught us that the Pope is the Supreme Pontiff and Vicar of Christ on earth? Well the teacher said today that’s not the case. Here’s what she said…”

        Didn’t happen like that.

        In a situation where a child might answer a question faultily, the first assumption would NOT be that the school teachers were trying to kill off his Faith or that they were all heretics, the obvious assumption would be that the child had got it wrong. I remember catching my youngest brother eating a sausage roll one Friday. When I asked him what he was doing, he looked guilty and said he’d just forgotten it was Friday. It didn’t even cross my mind to ask him if the teachers in school were not teaching about the fast or saying something negative about it – that didn’t even cross my mind.

        So, I really do reject the simplistic idea that if parents had been more on the ball, they’d have prevented their children from lapsing. Obviously, to those parents who DID spot the rot early on, kudos. But that doesn’t mean those who trusted the schools should be criticised. As a reasonably intelligent teacher trainee at college, I sensed something was wrong but I’d put it no stronger than that. Maybe those trusting parents and my unworthy self, are all thick. Maybe.But there was no malice in our ignorance. It took time for some (maybe most) of us to realise how serious things were and I think sympathy, not criticism, is more appropriate for parents who love their children and do not knowingly neglect them in any way. Reading through some of the posts on this, it felt a bit like the Catholic Church Named Person Scheme.

        Fast forward a few years to when I was Head of RE in a school in the south of England – a supposedly top Catholic school – when I received a request for a meeting from a parent of a sixth form student. He was heartbroken to have discovered that his daughter had imbibed every modernist piece of claptrap in the book, over the years since she’d been attending allegedly Catholic schools, and that was DESPITE his (and his wife’s) best efforts to make sure that she knew the Faith. They’d picked that school precisely because of its “Catholic” reputation. I smiled a wan smile.

        With all due respect, I think it’s very unjust to attack parents for neglecting their children when they love them and do their best to teach the faith as best they can – whether we like it or not, the fact is that the whole reason for having Catholic schools WAS to teach the Faith in a systematic way. Not because it’s complicated or difficult, but because – as it says in one of the key documents on Catholic education (name escapes me at the moment) – Catholicism can only be properly understood as a whole. Each doctrine is related to the other(s) so careful teaching IS important – if not, there would never have been any need for Catholic schools, even/especially when the Church was at its strongest.

        Having met parents who do blame themselves for their lapsed children, I refuse to join the chorus. The blame is to be squarely laid at the feet of, first of all the popes who have refused to obey Our Lady in her request for the Consecration of Russia but who, instead, ignored the 1960 deadline and continued with the plans for Vatican II; and at the feet of the popes who have refused to enforce Canon Law against dissenters who have been given free rein to lecture teachers and priests alike, with the full support of the Church authorities at every level. The bishops and priests who quite deliberately set about re-training teachers and pseudo-training new applicants, to ensure that their modernist agenda was diabolically implemented, and that means implemented in such a way that it would take time for the wider Catholic population to realise what had happened – these are they who are to blame. Entirely.

        Let’s pray for the victims of the false catechesis of the past 50-odd years, including parents.

        January 24, 2017 at 9:30 pm
      • Athanasius

        Well Editor, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one. Parents in my view do not get off so lightly for not keeping a close eye on precisely what their children were being taught at school re the Faith. The parental responsibility was there long before the school system came into being, so Tradition contradicts you.

        I’m not saying parents are solely to blame but I think it is fair to state that a very great number became indifferent in the matter of religious education, and remain so today. As for parents who get persecuted for raising serious questions about the teaching in schools today, that is very true. But it’s also true to state that too many of them buckle under persecution instead of taking appropriate action to preserve the faith of their children. Easier said than done, I know, but absolutely incumbent upon them nonetheless. I know many parents who wouldn’t stand for it and made alternative arrangements for their kids.

        If parents had been united in belief and zeal to start with we wouldn’t be in this mess today. No, parents do not get off the hook on this one.

        January 24, 2017 at 10:20 pm
      • editor


        “Tradition” – you kidding? I think you will find that the custom of Catholic schooling is not a matter of dogma – i.e. “Tradition” in the sense that you appear to mean. I remember someone once telling me that parents bringing baby buggies into Mass never happened “in Tradition”! Well, no…hardly – baby buggies are a very recent invention, as are wheelchairs. Clearly, not a matter of dogma but a domestic matter, to be decided parish by parish. Nothing remotely to do with “Tradition”. For the record, prior to the Council, we had baby buggies AND wheelchairs in the end aisles, and nobody thought a thing about it, least of all our very strict (and thus unpopular) parish priest. Anyway, that’s merely intended to illustrate the distinction between Catholic Tradition and “traditions” which are merely local customs.

        We will certainly have to agree to disagree on this one. I’d love to know, though, how on earth you reach the conclusion, stated so confidently, that “a very great number [of parents] became indifferent in the matter of religious education” – how can you possibly know that? You conclude: “If parents had been united in belief and zeal to start with we wouldn’t be in this mess today.”

        Are you being serious? I’ve just checked the calendar and it’s not April 1st. What a very harsh thing to say about parents, when you have no concrete evidence, merely supposition based on a false premise, to support (or rather not support) what you say. I think I outlined quite clearly that parents DID keep a close eye on what their children were taught. Heretical teachings were not taught in the way you seem to imagine, but I’ve no intention of regurgitating what I’ve already said.

        Let me put it this way: if all the Catholics who are allegedly so desperately concerned about the crisis in the Church today really ARE concerned, we’d be looking for a larger venue for our Conference. And that’s today, more than half a century after the end of Vatican II, with NONE of us now in any doubt about the diabolical nature of this crisis. Yet, still, we have an apathetic laity – some of whom may well be “teaching” their children “the Faith” without turning them out as properly equipped, committed, apostolic Catholics. In other words, going through the motions. So, I’m really not interested in bashing parents who – at worst – were naive in trusting Catholic priests and teachers in the aftermath of Vatican II. That’s now history. I’m tending to focus on the here and now and trying to work out what makes the talk-shop Catholics tick.

        As you say, let’s agree to disagree. Agreed.

        January 24, 2017 at 11:44 pm
      • Athanasius


        “We will certainly have to agree to disagree on this one. I’d love to know, though, how on earth you reach the conclusion, stated so confidently, that “a very great number [of parents] became indifferent in the matter of religious education” – how can you possibly know that? You conclude: “If parents had been united in belief and zeal to start with we wouldn’t be in this mess today.”

        I know that “confidently” because of the global apostasy figures and a comparison between the greater number who are quite comfortable with the Novus Ordo revolution and the relatively small number who take action, often under persecution, to find the safety of Sacred Tradition. The latter, in my experience, have a greater zeal for the Faith and a greater grasp of their parental responsibility as the primary faith educators of their children.

        The mess we see today didn’t just happen because liberal bishops, priests and teachers changed the teaching. No, a large protion of the blame rests with those parents who abrogated their responsibility to remain vigilant and take whatever action was necessary to ensure that both they and their children’s souls were not compromised. In this regard too many were indifferent, quite happy to leave it in the hands of the clergy and educators and be blindly obedient to whatever these liberals imposed.

        And they can’t say they were unaware of what was taking place in Catholic schools, the revolution was in the Novus Ordo chapels in front of their very eyes. Only a complete idiot could sit through a modern Mass and still believe that the schools were teaching sound doctrine to their children.

        January 25, 2017 at 1:21 pm
      • editor


        From a “complete idiot”… 😀

        Parents were told that only the teaching methods had changed, not the content of the curriculum. It’s again simplistic to argue that parents should have connected the dots about the new Mass with schools, when none of us could possibly have realised the connection.

        I prefer to remember that Catholics were in good faith about the new Mass etc – we were told that the Mass was the same, except now it would be said in English. And that the schools taught the same only using modern methods. My closest friend in those early days was a primary school teacher and she was at pains to stress that to me. She insisted that the teaching content was unaltered, only the methods were changed. All of this is a matter of record.

        It boils down to this – and perhaps this only applies to me, not to those of you who are determined to attack parents for neglecting their children; perhaps you were on the ball yourselves, unlike me, who was one of those “complete idiots” to whom you refer, who could sit through the Mass and think the schools were teaching sound doctrine. Thus, it boils down to the fact that I cannot criticise anyone for not connecting the dots, when it took me twenty years to do so myself. Most of us went along with the changes in good faith, never thinking that the hierarchy and clergy could possibly take the Church down a road that would end in such ruin. I didn’t do so maliciously and so it would not be right for me to make that assumption about anyone else. You, however, may have deeper insights than I do, you may have been well ahead of the dumbbells like me, so I am happy to leave the matter there, conceding game, set and match to you.

        I will add only this, however, regarding your comments about the “traditional” versus “novus ordo” parents. All I know is that the bookings we’re taking in for our May Conference are coming mainly from people we don’t know and the majority of those we DO know, are novus ordo Catholics. Whether or not the “traditionalists” are better versed in the catechism answers – well, you may be right about that. What they are NOT good at, not remotely in my experience, is connecting the dots between knowledge of the Faith, understanding of the Faith and being zealous for the spread of the Faith. And that, remember, is the whole point of Catholic education.

        January 25, 2017 at 5:37 pm
      • lupine22

        I, as a parent of three boys,believed that my children were being taught the way I was taught,my parents were taught and my grand parents were taught. Priest coming in to class and asking pupils questions on the Cathechism…..i.e. “who made you, why did God make you” etc.We had a good schooling in that respect….local Catholic Secondary school has “Catholic” 6th year pupils who do NOT know simple prayers and who have been through the local Catholic Primary school feeders.Pathetic lazy teachers and so called chaplains who have off shouldered their vocational duties…..I can only conclude that a large number of N O priests by their very words, actions and omissions do not BELIEVE in the Blessed Sacrament, heaven, hell or purgatory…now buoyed up by a Pope who just blathers about Mercy……(who am I to judge)..although he says he will Judge Trump shortly !!

        January 25, 2017 at 10:04 am
      • RCA Victor

        Margaret Mary,

        Mrs. McLeod is wrong. If you read In the Murky Waters of Vatican II, you will discover that everything was indeed changed at Vatican II – through the designed ambiguity of its documents. It was a deliberate strategy, as the modernist theologian Edward Schillebeeckx admitted afterwards, to exploit the planted ambiguities in the implementation phase. It was radical change mostly disguised as the status quo.

        The point is that, because of these ambiguities, very few suspected that a revolution was afoot – until it came crashing down on them, justified by those very ambiguities. I was not in the Church during those years, and I must admit I would have been fooled as well. It was very sloppily done, and full of deceit and abuse of power, but it succeeded, and Vatican II was its blueprint.

        But this success raises a more important question: the question of false obedience. If the Faith was so strong before the Council, why did the vast majority of the faithful obey the revolution? Apparently, because it came through the hands of those they trusted. That’s not faith, that’s naivete. But who could blame them, thinking themselves secure in a Church against whom the gates of Hell could not prevail?

        January 25, 2017 at 5:00 pm
      • St Miguel

        Well explained RCA Victor and we see all around us Invincible Naivete.

        January 29, 2017 at 8:45 pm
  • Therese

    Margaret Mary

    I do agree that there was great trust and respect given to priests and educators, and parents had confidence that their children were “in the right hands”,because in previous times that trust was well-founded. Hindsight is great, I know, and I don’t mean to be harsh and judgemental (who am I to judge….) I just get sick of older people not taking any responsibility. Of course, not everyone has the ability or the aptitude to teach, which is why it is so important to ensure that children actually are “in the right hands”. Are we all innocent of the devastation that has occurred over the last 50+ years? I don’t think so.

    You are right that erroneous teaching about the Real Presence was drip fed; the children were fed a little bit of poison at a time.

    January 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm
    • Laura


      I think parents of that generation who are really enlightened about all that has been going on actually do feel guilty and blame themselves. By the time they realised, it was too late, though. Nobody could have guessed at the time that the faith was being removed from Catholic schools. They kept the externals for long enough, statues, crucifixes etc and just made sure that trainee teachers were taught differently from the pre-conciliar generations. They were as much victims as the kids! That’s why I think that the real blame lies with the bishops first and then the priests of that first post-conciliar generation. Lay people were expected to toe the line. Not many parents dreamt that what we now know happened was about to happen in their families. Ideally, I agree that you are right, parents should have been more on the ball but judging from what I know happened to parents later on when they questioned sex ed, parents got slapped down if they asked uncomfortable questions.

      January 24, 2017 at 5:29 pm
  • Therese


    I agree with much of what you say, but I think the main point I was making is encapsulated in your last sentence. Parents who were slapped down when they asked uncomfortable questions should have “slapped” back, instead of bowing down to their intellectual “superiors”. Not an easy thing to do, I admit; no-one wants to be unpopular or to be considered a trouble maker, but the moral welfare of their children was at stake, and they knew enough to be unhappy about what their children were being taught.. That’s why I think we should accept some of the blame. It’s in the past and we can’t do anything about it now, but unless we see where we’ve gone wrong we can’t ensure that it won’t happen again.

    January 24, 2017 at 9:01 pm
    • editor


      Again, if only it were that simple. A parent I know (you actually met her last June when you were here, and you will meet her again, God willing in May, so she can tell you this – and much more – herself) was more than “slapped down”. When she courteously expressed some concerns about her daughter’s religious lessons, offering some sound materials to the Head for her consideration to, hopefully, replace the unorthodox Alive-O programme, she wasn’t just “slapped down”, the priest sent for her the night before her 7 year old daughter was due to make her First Confession and told her that said daughter would NOT be making her First Confession, unless she, mother, signed a document retracting her criticisms of Alive O.

      There’s a real persecution of parents who raise any concerns at all. Parents assume that their children will be taught the Faith when they attend Catholic schools. We ought to assume that the parents are doing their best to do their bit. Yes, the parents are the first educators, but the teachers are in loco parentis so they take on that responsibility and we ought not to minimise their guilt. I’m sure you don’t mean to do that, so….

      Just sayin… 😀

      January 24, 2017 at 9:42 pm
      • Therese


        Not simple by any means, and I certainly don’t minimise the guilt of the educators – although more in the past than now, as the modern crop of teachers cannot teach what they do not know.

        There are no easy answers, I agree, and if I’ve given the impression that there are, it was unintentional. There isn’t a harder job on the planet than being a good parent, and they certainly had a right to expect the support of the Church in the education of their children.

        We needed a leader who would unite us; we got one in the person of Archbishop Lefebvre, but alas not enough of us recognised this at the time. Me included.

        January 25, 2017 at 12:19 pm
  • editor

    I watched a report on Newsnight tonight (BBC2) about this story in Birmingham. At no point in all the talk about the Equalities Act did anybody refer to the rights of Catholic to run our own schools as we see fit.

    No right for Catholics. No wonder so many people are converting to Islam!

    January 24, 2017 at 11:50 pm
  • gabriel syme

    All Catholic high schools in Scotland will have a “safe space” for LGBTI pupils, MSPs have heard.

    (Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee convener Christina McKelvie) added: “The young people we spoke to did raise some issues about Catholic schools.

    “We would like to get some insight into that whether there is a recognition of these issues especially about LGBTI young people and what the Catholic Education Service are doing to address that without making young people feel as if they are committing a sin.

    Barbara Coupar, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said Catholic schools “propose the gospel, not impose the gospel” and had taken on board guidelines against hate crime.

    “That’s why we’re going to down this avenue of ensuring that within all of our Catholic secondary schools that they would be able to go to someone, a trusted adult, a safe space within the school, where there would be someone who would have had that opportunity to be trained, for want of a better word, in order to be able to meet the needs of the young people in their care.”


    I think Barbara Coupar needs to be a bit clearer about this. Of course it is right that any school pupil should be free from bullying and have access to a guidance teacher (or similar) to discuss personal issues with.

    However, the quotes from Christina McKelvie are concerning as it would seem that, as far as Catholic schools go, its MSPs who now decide what is and is not sinful. I hope that is not the case. If they are talking about persons experiencing same sex attraction then fair enough – the attraction in itself is involuntary and not sinful.

    However, any Catholic School worth its salt should communicate Catholic teaching in its entirety regarding homosexual attraction and behaviour, as part of any discussion.

    I do not like Ms Coupars talk of a “safe space”, which alludes that Catholic schools are not safe in general.

    I think she means a quiet area where people can talk in confidence, but her poor choice of words seems to suggest that a common room (or similar) would be given over to “alphabet community” groups which would then inevitably become bases for promoting unnatural sexual conduct against Church teaching and common sense. Certainly, that is the angle the media are exploiting.

    There seems to be conflicting information in the articles too. Ms McKelvie says:

    Some schools, including Catholic schools, were “brilliant” on PSE and LGBTI pupils

    And then:

    The young people we spoke to did raise some issues about Catholic schools.

    No doubt these issues raised were simply the fact that some LGBTI-ABC-XYZ persons do not believe in free speech for anyone but themselves and cannot tolerate a different message.

    Certainly the SCES needs to be clearer about all this and especially about what its doing to clearly communicate Church teaching regarding sexuality.

    When I was at high school in the early 90s, tolerance of homosexual persons was advocated, but actual Catholic teaching was not mentioned at all.

    January 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme:

      “propose the gospel, not impose the gospel” and had taken on board guidelines against hate crime.

      I think the SCES is being about as clear as any piece of crystal you care to name.

      This is utterly disgraceful, but can we honestly claim to be surprised? Shocked, yes, of course. We must be – otherwise, we, like Mzzzzz Coupar & Co. have accepted the LGBT blah blah agenda. As for the reports of pupils saying Catholic schools were “brilliant” on PSE and LGBT – translated that means Catholic schools are NOT teaching Catholic Faith and Morals. As if we didn’t already know that.

      Now, though, as these faithless “educators” become even more brazen, pupils in Catholic schools are likely to face the prospect of passing a door in the corridor (OR EVERY CORRIDOR) with a nameplate which reads: LGBT Support or similar.

      Where are the Bishops of Scotland in all of this?

      PS – I made a decision some time ago never to submit another letter to The Herald as they discriminate shamelessly against Catholic Truth. I may, however, make an exception and write in to protest this latest caving in to blatant LGBT propaganda. I would urge others to write in as well – your letter(s) are more likely to be published than mine.

      January 26, 2017 at 5:26 pm
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme,

      I decided to break my rule and sent the following letter to The Herald. Don’t hold your breath – the chances of it seeing the light of publication are very slight, through to non-existent. For the record, though and in case it helps kick start letters for others, here it is:

      Dear Sir,

      “Barbara Coupar, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said Catholic schools “propose the gospel, not impose the gospel” and had taken on board guidelines against hate crime.” (LGBTI pupils will have safe space in all Catholic high schools, MSPs told, 26/01/17)

      Ms Coupar has no authority to decide that there will be a “safe space” where any pupil attending a Catholic school may be permitted, without challenge, to promote or justify any kind of immoral behaviour, including sexual immorality. Catholic schools do not exist to endorse contemporary “liberal” values which contradict the Catholic religion and God’s natural moral law. They exist to promote and defend both – without apology. Any pupil who believes him/herself to be of the homosexual orientation need only keep that information to themselves. No need to broadcast the fact. Do you hear those of us living celibate lifestyles demanding acknowledgement or endorsement of the fact? Gerragrip. Alleged bullying is merely a propaganda tool – Ms Couper isn’t keen to impose the Gospel but the LGBT lobby is determined to impose their counter-gospel.

      The Bishops of Scotland must now tell the Catholic community whether or not Barbara Couper – who speaks in their name in matters of Catholic education – is correct in her decision to equate defending the moral law with “hate crime”. Or has she overstepped her authority by forgetting that God, too, has rights – the right to have His creatures respect and obey His moral law.
      Yours faithfully,

      Catholic Truth

      January 26, 2017 at 6:08 pm
      • St Miguel

        Now WHO did she replace again? Just saying !

        January 28, 2017 at 7:22 pm
      • editor

        She replaced Michael McGrath.

        January 29, 2017 at 3:20 pm
      • Athanasius


        Great letter. The liberal Herald will never publish it!

        January 29, 2017 at 2:19 pm
      • editor

        Thank you, Athanasius. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t. They are totally shameless.

        January 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm
  • Helen


    January 29, 2017 at 10:12 am
    • editor

      Helen, Lupine was asking who the current Director of Catholic Education replaced, It was Michael McGrath.

      January 29, 2017 at 3:20 pm
      • St Miguel

        Yes and he was so good he got a Papal Knighthood, so she has a hard act to follow !

        January 29, 2017 at 8:41 pm
      • Helen

        Thanks Editor. Was he any use?

        January 29, 2017 at 10:40 pm
      • St Miguel

        about as much use as a chocolate tea pot.

        January 29, 2017 at 10:55 pm
      • editor


        He was dreadful. IN his very first article about Catholic schools, Mr McGrath wrote in the Scottish Catholic Observer that Catholic schools were there to provide a “spiritual dimension” to education, not to “impose” any particular set of beliefs on pupils. THAT, Helen, describes the rationale of the denominational sector – I’ve taught in both Catholic and non-denominational schools and there is absolutely no difference, apart from the weekly, occasionally daily, novus ordo Mass. In other words, even the alleged spiritual dimension is protestantised. I repeat, as Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, Michael McGrath was dreadful.

        February 6, 2017 at 10:36 am
  • St Miguel

    Funny how the old “Named Person” caper has seemed to have gone to ground !!!!!

    January 29, 2017 at 8:42 pm

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