Scots RE Teacher: why lack of teaching on purity & sin in Catholic Schools?editor
Pauline Gallagher, an RE teacher in Glasgow Archdiocese, argues that LGBT guidelines make it difficult to keep teaching true to the Gospel
AS a dedicated RE teacher in a Catholic school in Glasgow Archdiocese, I want to share fully the Church’s teaching and the Gospel with my pupils.
In Scotland today, as the authorities prepare to embed LGBT-inclusive education across the curriculum, those who disagree with the unquestioned promotion of the LGBT agenda have lost confidence.
We are marginalised and branded as old-fashioned. Injustice towards marginalised groups, such as LGBT people, is real. I know this. I witnessed and abhorred it as a teenager in Glasgow in the 1970s.
However, the old voiceless, intimidated groups have been replaced by new ones; faithful Catholics for example.
I am concerned about the legacy of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign and the new LGBT materials which will be delivered in Scottish Catholic schools early in 2019.
I support inclusion, yes, but not without open debate and a full encounter with Gospel values and of the Youth Catechism on this issue. However, protecting and promoting Church teaching in its entirety is easier said than done.
Catholic schools have a distinct character and duty. This distinction has Gospel values as its cornerstone.
I have been an RE teacher for 30 years. Maintaining this spirit has been both a privilege and a challenge.
Catholic RE teachers propose rather than impose the Gospel. This is what Jesus did. God is love and love does not force.
When pupils ask their RE teacher a question about morality, including sexual morality, we should be free to share with them Catholic teaching even if it is not politically correct.
Pupils love engaging in the marketplace, or battlefield, of ideas. They may not agree with us but they respect our right to speak. They are happy when a strong set of Gospel values is witnessed to.
They prefer this to woolliness. They understand that difficult truths, shared out of genuine concern, are a sign of love. Children feel secure with clear boundaries. Rebellious teenagers are no different.
In Catholic schools this should mean responding to pupils’ questions as a faithful follower of Christ.
However fidelity to the Gospel has been growing steadily more difficult in recent years.
Many topics concerning human sexuality are considered too risky to engage with. LGBT issues, in particular, are off-limits. Meaningful dialogue is stifled to avoid ‘triggering’ anyone.
This is frustrating; pupils keep asking questions and, sometimes, we have to avoid giving them the answers we would like to give. At a time when they need us most we are spectacularly failing them.
Why is purity a bad word? Why is sin a banned word?
The Catechism teaches that homosexual feelings are not sinful but like all sexual attraction are subject to the call to chastity inherent in the sixth commandment. The new LGBT materials are extensive, scriptural, quote the Catechism and, as their point is anti-bullying, emphasise Catholic social teaching.
Church teaching on sexual morality, on the other hand, is minimised and unclear in these materials.
This is a missed opportunity since the Youth Catechism alone deals comprehensively and eloquently with the sixth commandment.
RE teachers in Catholic schools in Scotland no longer have freedom of conscience. To be politically correct, we have to be compliant or vague.
Jesus was never vague. He was passionately inclusive yet crystal clear when pointing out sin.
The Catechism is like this. Teachers and pupils have no need to fear or avoid it any more than we need to fear Christ himself as long as we have honest hearts.
Jesus was gentle with sinners because everybody sins, everybody makes mistakes. This is why he told us not to judge each other.
The Church in Scotland is full of men and women of integrity and valour struggling to deliver the Gospel while trying not to offend anyone.
Their task is rendered even more difficult due to a priesthood made fragile by scandal. This is truly a cross of great weight for our bishops, priests and all those in the Scottish Catholic Education Service.
Many priests are exceptional in their fidelity to Christ and his doctrine. But they need support.
All Catholics, and those of us involved in Catholic education in particular, need to stand with them.
We are leaving our clergy ever more alone; we should wake up and stop walking on PC eggshells.
It could cost us dearly to rebel. Do we fear the loss of Catholic schools?
Yes! But I would argue that we are en route to that destination anyway if we take the path of further dilution of Gospel values. Our distinctive character is growing faint.
Scottish Catholics need to take a sgian-dubh and cut the fetters with which our bishops, priests, and RE teachers are bound. Source – Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO) [emphases added]
—The author can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to Pauline Gallagher for her courageous article. Catholic teachers challenging the modernist stranglehold in Catholic schools have been known to suffer, even finding themselves visiting the local jobcentre. So, we must pray that Pauline’s right – indeed her duty – to bring her perfectly legitimate concerns to the attention of the wider Catholic community without fear of reprisal, is respected. Her SCO article reflects the concerns expressed in the Catholic Truth article published on page 4 of the current, January newsletter, LGBTI Issues in Catholic Schools, which you can read by clicking here
One key point of discussion for this thread might focus on the following comment from the above article: “Catholic RE teachers propose rather than impose the Gospel. This is what Jesus did. God is love and love does not force.”
This idea of “not imposing” Catholic teaching/the Gospel, seems now to be rooted in the contemporary philosophy of Catholic education – I first heard it formally stated in a newspaper article by the then new (now former) Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Commission, Michael McGrath. However, this way of thinking stands in stark contradiction to the traditional purpose of Catholic schools which was to pass on the Faith, to nurture the Catholic religion in pupils; parents were required to take their children to Mass, inculcate devotions, while Catholic dogma and morals were systematically taught at school, just as every academic subject is taught. The Faith was to be taught across the curriculum so that pupils would leave school with a Catholic world-view. Catholic home-schooling programmes continue to pursue the traditional method, with much success.
The modern, rather apologetic attitude, this reassurance of “not imposing” the Faith suggests that it is optional, that the Catholic Church is not God’s means of salvation. The ecumenical times in which we live, the fact that we have both teachers and pupils from non-Catholic backgrounds in attendance at our schools partly explains this major omission, although it must be noted that from the beginning, certainly in Scotland, Catholic schools could not even have been established without the help of non-Catholic staff. And, in my own experience at Open Evenings with prospective non-Catholic students (including Muslims) visiting, those parents understand that their child will be exposed to Catholicism; as one Muslim parent told me, that was why she had chosen that particular school!
Pauline adds that Jesus Himself did this – i.e. He “proposed not imposed” the Faith, because “love does not force”. But, surely, it’s not about “forcing” – nobody speaks of proposing to give family and friends gifts and cards at Christmas. It’s not an imposition to offer gifts. The gift may not be accepted – the recipient may choose to return the gift, buy something else with that gift receipt, but few would consider the offer as an imposition, of being forced to accept a gift. And the Faith IS a gift – from God. He has given us free will in the expectation that we will accept this great gift. There really is no right to refuse. And that is because, in fact, Our Lord did NOT simply “propose” the Faith – his very last words on this earth were a clear instruction to His apostles: “All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Certainly, we cannot “force” the Faith on anyone, in the sense of coercion; but we must avoid the sin of omission by failing to teach the elementary dogma that – as the Fathers of the Church have taught from the beginning – outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation (Catechism of the Catholic Church #846). One famous educational psychologist, whose name escapes me at the moment, said that children can be taught anything, as long as the teacher has thought it through carefully. In other words, this dogma CAN be taught, without “offending” anyone – the current (and perhaps only) mortal sin!
Of course, given the weakness of the Scottish Catholic Education Commission for many years now, it is extremely difficult for any Catholic school to truly offer an authentic Catholic education in the sense traditionally understood. Goodness, as Pauline indicates, it is almost impossible for Catholic schools to teach purity and the abhorrence of sin, let alone imbue young people with a Catholic world-view.
For now, though, congratulations to Pauline Gallagher – I will email her the link to this blog so let’s assure her of our prayers and support, with gratitude for her courageous article, sincerely hoping that she will be able to make a real difference in the work of restoring authentic Catholic education in our schools.
Thank you Patricia for sharing the article and for your quick response and promise of prayer. I have a feeling I’m going to need it!
I take your point about a gift not being an imposition. You are right that the phrase originates from SCES. (That’s why I put it in italics) The truth is, as you have personally experienced, that we are having trouble even proposing the gospel at times!
I also agree with you that there is an air of apology about this notion.However, I stand by the theological accuracy of the phrase. I like it. Jesus did not impose, he invited. It is common sense that imposition is not attractive.What is attractive and effective above all, as you have said, is parental commitment to sharing the faith as well as the witness of genuine Christians.
Thank you for all that you and your bloggers do to uphold the beauty of the faith,
Great article and well done YOU for speaking out so brilliantly on this issue.
I am just wanting to say that I think there may be crossed wires about the “imposition” issue. I don’t think anyone here would believe in forcing anyone to have faith, or keep the faith or become Catholics, that suggests threats, but I tend to disagree about Jesus only “inviting”. I can see quotes to show Jesus giving instructions or commands, so can you give any quotes to show he is just “inviting” us because an invitation suggests it’s OK to refuse. Yet the dogma “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” doesn’t leave much scope for refusing!
Just to be clear, it’s possible to refuse something without there being any threat – say like my friends who invite me to try becoming a Vegan (no thanks!) but if I refuse something else, such as to eat and drink, while nobody will force me to eat and drink if I decide not to, it will lead to my illness and death eventually. Someone who might invite me to break my hunger strike without warning me of the dangers, won’t be as successful, IMHO, as someone who tells me I’m going to die if I don’t eat!
I’m not sure it’s a good analogy but I hope it helps to make the point about the difference between an invitation and a command. I can’t think of anywhere in Scripture where Jesus just invites us to be saved as opposed to commanding us.
Maybe you can prove me wrong, though, so I look forward to your reply (which I invite you to make, LOL!)
Thank you for your support Michaela,
I am smiling at your request to quote scripture – you are right – I will get back to you!
Meanwhile, I think invitation and command are not contradictions. Jesus commands those who have already accepted his invitation. He criticised the hypocrisy of unfaithful pharisees but he never commanded them to support him.
I agree with you that it is perilous to refuse the gift. I believe passionately that there is no salvation outside the Church. That is why I am speaking out despite my fear. Yet, I believe that this teaching is meant for those who, in full knowledge, abandon the faith. It does not mean that all Catholics will enter the kingdom of God or that non-Catholics won’t. Good will and upright hearts are the key.
I think I may have one!
What about the instruction to the 72 to shake the dust off their feet when leaving a village that would not accept the gospel? Does that fit?
I am very impressed by this teacher’s comments. In Edinburgh in my Catholic secondary school experience, I think I can honestly say I was never taught the faith at all. So the fact there are teachers who actually do try to teach the faith is impressive.
We would need men as bishops who would support these few teachers ( in Scotland I am not holding my breath) to teach the faith.
Thank you Graeme,
It’s great to get support. It would be wonderful if even one or two bishops responded as I intend to continue to speak out on this issue. I am hoping to create a website to share views and resources.
At last, a teacher who is speaking out! That’s fantastic.
I have often wondered when I hear this idea of Jesus “inviting” us to accept the Gospel, as my reading is very different. I hear Jesus speaking always in command mode, e.g. “Repent and believe the Gospel” and “Go into the whole world, baptising and teaching” .
That said, great article and I am very happy to pray for and support Pauline Gallagher. She is showing a lot of courage to speak out in this way in this day and age. God bless her!
Thank you so much for prayers and support Margaret Mary. I am greatly comforted by that!
I wrote to Michaela above about my views on command. I think Jesus commanded the elements but not souls who had not yet entrusted themselves to him.
I, too, am full of admiration at this teacher’s bravery. Really, it is so heartening and encouraging.
I am also amazed, though, that the Scottish Catholic Observer published her article. That is also incredible. Maybe there is a sign of change for the better in the editor’s office there?
Thank you Laura!
I have to say that I was well supported by the editorial team as SCO.
Well done, Pauline, for making the effort, not only to speak out, but to serve your students by giving them the truth. I appreciate the difficulties under which you labour: the youth are philoosophically misled, as are their parents, so that you may fear that any hint of necessity or compulsion or “commandment” about Our Lord, is offputting.
What a pity that people don’t see that the ten commandments are also a type of User’s Manual to happiness here and hereafter. If someone invents a hoover, they do the necessary job of giving a set of instructions for its safe and functional operation. No one considers them to be imposing themselves by so doing. Yet, God (if He were not infinitely happy in Himself one would be tempted to say “Poor God”) does us the compliment, not only of creating us from nothing, but of giving us a User’s Guide in the Commandments- and we have the lunacy to talk of his impositions, as if His most adorable impositions were not at the same time our most glorious happiness, as if they wouldn’t make us ultimately as happy as possible, both here and hereafter.
Yet, it’s true, God might have ignored our free will and made us robotically happy, happy without effort, happy without tears. ( Interestingly, even our great poet Keats, who was protestant, recognised that shadows in life were necessary so that we could appreciate joy at its fullest.) In the final analysis, therefore, a certain amount of humility is necessary to accept the rather mysterious decrees of God. And perhaps it is just there that our teacher training and the average parish sermon fails. We need to rediscover the great Majesty of the Eternal. Our students badly need to rediscover it. When we kneel, tiny and hushed before the Great Throne of God, when we realise our tiny selves dependent on God for every breath we take, then it is that we look around for a Master to teach us- and we discover Holy Mother Church.
You, Pauline, raise the pertinent question: if we don’t, as Catholic schools, pass on the truth about purity, the truth about sin- in short, if when our students ask for bread, we give them stones- then, what is the point of avoiding the physical loss of our school buildings?
I agree. There is no point. Catholic schools exist to bring souls to heaven. Far, far better that they don’t exist at all- far, far better have the children taught the rudiments at home, whether by parents or by a genuine Catholic tutor- in fact, far better they learn nothing at all than have their faith poisoned, mistaught, ruined at source, by an entity which speaks in name of Christ, but with the voice of the wolf.
Catholic teachers, let us not be afraid to lose our status, our salaries and our influence- all good things, but not worth the loss of one soul in our charge. Let’s seek first the Kingdom of God, and trust in Him to pay the mortgage.
Bishops of God, fathers of the flock, are you with us? Are you prepared to shout loudly with one voice: Death, but not sin! We will not allow the innocent lambs of our flock to be mauled by the wolves.
Wow!! Thank you sentirecumecclesia,
You got me! This is the missing link between the humble and merciful Jesus and ‘command theory’ – the ten commandments! The map to heaven!
Also, what a beautiful and inspiring response!
Oh, it’s easy for me to talk the talk (being Irish) but will I walk the walk with you and others to defend our kids….with God’s help I’ll try…let’s pray for each other!
Aw! That is lovely! Yes,sentirecumecclesia. Let’s pray for each other!!
A superb comment from you – I second it wholeheartedly.
Excellent article by Pauline Gallagher. As a primary school teacher I would like to add that these issues will affect primary schools too. Shocking!
I’ve written a letter to the SCO supporting Pauline’s article. I have post below, just incase it never sees the light of day.
Secondary school RE teacher, Pauline Gallagher, is to be commended for speaking out against the LGBT guidelines that will be imposed upon Catholic schools following the TIE campaign. It is outrageous that SCES, with the approval of the Scottish Bishops, have capitulated to the LGBT agenda.
These guidelines will not only affect Catholic secondary schools, but primary schools too. Under the proposed guidelines, primary school pupils will be taught about LGBT issues, including gender reassignment! Faithful Catholic primary school teachers will find themselves in an almost impossible situation.
The introduction of these guidelines is the next logical step in the sexualisation of children. First we had sex education in primary schools imposed upon us and now we have the promotion of the LGBT agenda. Of course, this is done under the guise of “anti-bullying”. All bullying is wrong and we shouldn’t make one type of bullying more wrong the others. I have expressed my concerns to a Scottish Bishop, who assured me that there was absolutely no hierarchy when it came it bullying, but this doesn’t quite tie in with Barbara Coupar’s statement on the matter, in which she says that SCES has, “the desire to have well trained staff within schools who feel confident and equipped to meet the needs of pupils and to address ineffective use of recording of LGBTI bullying.”
This “doublespeak” by Barbara Coupar, and the Scottish Bishop with whom I exchanged correspondence, is an attempt to water down the teaching of the Church and placate the world. It is a capitulation to the insidious TIE campaign and an act of moral cowardice. All Catholic teachers who are faithful to the teaching of the Church must speak out and refuse to accept this.
That’s a great letter. I hope they publish it, but won’t hold my breath. Mind you, the fact that they published the article in the first place, calls for praise, which I am happy to give unreservedly. Maybe now that things are so obviously pagan, some of the Catholic institutions will start to see the light. Here’s hoping and praying.
The problem is we need more teachers to speak out. Sadly, it won’t happen. I speak to colleagues in schools and they don’t want to rock the boat.
Thank you Petrus,
You have said many things I also wanted to say and will say (with your permission, and without using even the name Petrus) in the future. I intend to continue to speak out.
A very good letter, indeed. Let’s hope it sees the light of publication in next week’s SCO and that it sparks further debate in the letters page.
You are one brave lady, Pauline! Sentircumecclesia says it all really but I’d like to add a little saying which I often use when confronted with pc sexual babble: FOR THE BEST RESULTS FOLLOW THE MAKER’S INSTRUCTIONS.
Yes, not following his instructions hasn’t exactly brought us peace and happiness!. Why become even more corrupt as the antidote to our present confusion?
I completely agree – one fine teacher, and I hope other teachers (not to mention Head teachers) reading her article in the SCO or on here, hang their heads in shame. It was one thing to keep a low profile in the early days of this Church crisis, but not now. Children’s souls are at stake.
My unalloyed admiration, Pauline. You are one very brave lady.
I feel humbled by this. Thanks Nicky. I will re-read when accusations come!
That doesn’t surprise me at all, the pupils asking if Jesus was the Messiah because the iffy way everything about the faith is taught these days, both in schools and homilies, leaves us with more questions than answers. One teacher can only do so much. If they go from your lesson saying Jesus is the Messiah to a PHSE lesson where they are taught that it’s up to them what they think is right and wrong or which religion to follow, no wonder they get mixed up. It’s all linked, the authority of Jesus to found a Church to teach us and lead us to heaven etc., so if other teachers and priests are casting down on that basic truth, the rest just crumbles.
Your courage is really to be admired, though, for standing up in public to be counted. You can take heart from the promise of Christ that he will not deny anyone before his father in heaven, if they did not deny him in this world. That is a wonderful thought for courageous people like yourself.
I missed this the first time Josephine – thank you! Yes, learning materials at cross-purposes are leaving the pupils with more to do to reach Jesus and his truth.
Thank you too for the reminder of Christ’s promise. I relying on it!
Any teacher trying to pass on the authentic Catholic Faith today, faces an uphill struggle – not because the pupils are hostile, but because of the PC staff imagining that the pupils will be hostile. That is to put a charitable interpretation on what is happening.
I remember once being challenged by a colleague (who was subsequently – and most appropriately – appointed to a post in an ecumenical college in the north of England!) because, he said, I would “put the students off” by telling them that the teaching authority of the Church comes directly from Christ.
Truly, you couldn’t make the half of it up!
This is how I feel Patricia,
The pupils are looking for a strong faith witness.They instinctively know the truth when they hear it.
I believe you are so right about that – anyone with young people in their family know that they know the truth when they hear it – they pooh-pooh watered down stuff, and they dislike the “hip-hop” approach to religion, in my experience talking about the Church to young relatives and their friends.
It’s terrible to think that there will be young people who have an instinctive feeling that the whole LGBTI lifestyle is not right but are not getting the Church’s teaching on it, fully and in a way that gives them confidence to explain it themselves.
So, keep up your courageous position. We need more teachers like you in Scottish schools.
I completely agree. Youngsters really dislike “with it” teachers (and parents, LOL!) They get embarrassed.
If the schools would only return to teaching the faith properly, it would make a huge difference, but I’m afraid things are so bad now, that it’s going to take the Consecration of Russia (as Our Lady of Fatima told Sr Lucia) to end the devil’s work in the world, as least for a period of time.
Cheers Margaret Mary!
Bravo to Pauline and her outspoken article! Given what I’ve read over the years on this blog about the SCO, I’m surprised, actually, that they accepted her article for print.
The early-on discussion about “imposition” is somewhat of a red herring, I think. After all, the priest (i.e., the Church) “imposes” ashes on Ash Wednesday, and the priest “imposes” his hands on the Confirmand at Confirmation. Not to mention the imposition of hands at Ordination….that is, hands are placed upon the candidate. The candidate is not tied in chains, injected with sodium pentothal, and tortured until he meekly accepts the sentence.
Likewise, in normal times, Catholic teaching is “placed” upon the student’s head and heart.
So is imposition “forced”? No, it is chosen, as a public demonstration and embrace of the Faith – which, presumably, was desired by parents when they enrolled their children in a Catholic school. Perhaps, though, the faithful Catholic teachers are feeling forced into a corner about this, to the point of even being afraid to use the Catholic lexicon. Easy for me to say as I sit in retired comfort at my computer keyboard, but they should come out fighting, with Rosaries ablaze and Catholic action.
Beware the redefinition of words, Pauline, typically perpetrated by the left. That includes leftist-engendered false associations of Catholic truths with “bullying,” “discrimination,” “hate,” “homophobia,” etc.
A couple of things in Pauline’s article caught my eye, which I think need to be brought into sharper focus:
1. “This is truly a cross of great weight for our bishops…” Actually, Pauline, it is your spineless bishops who are responsible for this situation, and the result is that you, not them, are bearing this cross of great weight. They have washed their hands of their sacred duty, and left you to deal with the consequences. No doubt they will look the other way, as well, when you are punished for your fidelity!
2. “We are leaving our clergy ever more alone…” See comment #1. The clergy have left you alone, not themselves, by their cowardice (and/or their moral corruption and debasement).
In short, Pauline, your battle will be not only against “Catholic” bureaucrats and TIE ideologues, it will be against corrupt clergy. And, I daresay, against the “principalities and powers” which are doubtless the source of this “LGBT” insanity.
Thank you RCAVictor,
I think we are facing a grave situation – as grave as you imply by “principalities and powers”. I agree with those who say not only bodies but souls are at stake.
I understand what you are saying about neglect of duty. It is as if they are paralysed. But I meant what I wrote about the honest shepherds existing. And they need us as much as we need them.
I would like to create a platform (website) to encourage resistance to LGBT oriented materials in Scottish schools. I hope to attract/ reach out to priests, parents, teachers, people like you, anyone who can help build a case for their removal.
I am aware that this is a David and Goliath confrontation but feel I/we have no choice but to fight.
There’s another article in this week’s SCO about Catholic schools, this time by a priest, Fr Michael Kane
However, although he says a lot of the right things, he is clearly failing to understand that it’s not fair or possible to expect parents to be teaching the faith when they are victims of the same Catholic schools that have failed to teach it now for several generations.
His solution is also questionable. He says teachers should just show good example, just live your faith and let God do the rest. If teachers of other subjects did that, the kids would learn nothing!
It’s a ridiculous idea. It really shows how little even priests understand about the reason for Catholic schools in the first place. Even though he says that at the start, they are there to pass on the faith, he then says more or less that it can’t be done because there are lapsed teachers and atheists pupils, so just show good example which I presume boils down to the usual be nice to everyone, LOL!
It’s really hard to see how schools can be turned around, but at least a teacher like Pauline gives us hope and I suppose, to be fair, a well meaning priest like Father Kane might be willing to think again about his “solution”!
The words of the epistle of today’s Mass, the second Sunday after Pentecost are very appropriate to this topic.
St Paul writes that we must be “teachers of doctrine”. That is the doctrine of the Church. We cannot teach any other doctrine or philosophy. He goes on to say that we should be “hating that which is evil and loving that which is good”. Catholic teachers cannot present an evil doctrine as something that is good.
All teachers, therefore, should be up in arms about this. I expressed my concerns recently to a member of management and was completely blanked. They just do not want to know.
I have met Father Kane and think he is a good priest and very likeable man. He is the PP in the parish where I grew up, coincidentally. He is well regard widely, and some people (only half joking) refer to him as “the Bishop of Motherwell”.
I think he is sincere in his concerns about schooling, but I agree with you entirely that he obviously does not yet see the wider picture: that the schools have been failing for generations now – the whole thing is just an exercise in going through the motions, as regards passing on the faith.
And the problems are not contained to schools; really the problem is that *everything* the modern Church does today is rubbish. From catechesis, to liturgy, to it’s priorities, it is in a really malign state across the board. Things will only improve once clergy and especially prelates recognise this.
It is ironic that his article featured in the same issue as Ms Gallagher’s excellent article.
I also laughed to read the “children’s liturgy” advice in that edition of the SCO – it advocated teaching the children that the protestant sects are “Churches” and “part of the body of Christ”. It’s just ridiculous. For as long as the Church teaches rubbish, Father Kane will have no shortage of lapsed students and teachers to lament.
Nevertheless kudos to the SCO for carrying Ms Gallagher’s article. I didn’t think they had it in them.
My letter to all Scottish Bishops.
I’m sure you have now had a chance to read secondary school teacher Pauline Gallagher’s excellent article in the SCO regarding the LGBT guidelines produced by SCES.
I think Pauline speaks for many of us. We are not at all reassured by the statements from Barbara Coupar. Of course all bullying is wrong but the only type of bullying Barbara mentions is “LGBTI bullying”. If this doesn’t suggest a hierarchy of bullying then I don’t know what does!
I’ve now had a chance to look at the guidelines for myself, paying particular attention to the primary section . I was horrified to see at Second Level I am being asked to teach about the “protected characteristics”. These include those seeking gender reassignment! This is abhorrent. I just cannot believe the Scottish Bishops would sanction this. I cannot in good conscience teach what is contrary to natural law and the teaching of the Church.
So, I’ve decided to write to all Scottish Bishops, first of all to ask you to intervene and ensure these abhorrent guidelines are not implemented in Catholic schools. Secondly, to ask if a faithful Catholic teacher who feels they cannot in good conscience teach this material, will receive support from the Scottish Bishops if we are ordered by our employers to teach it.
I think, in fact, that the Bishops should have over-ruled Coupar to say that there is no way our teachers can be asked or expected to teach this material. It is a complete cop-out for them to leave this to the lay people at the SCES. It is the Bishops who are responsible for what is taught in Catholic schools, not Barbara Coupar. And, thus, it is the Bishops who will be held responsible at their judgment for their part in spreading this evil disguised as good. Have they never heard that there are nine ways in which we participate in (i.e. share the guilt of) the sin of another – and their complicity fits into several of those categories?
This is wonderful Petrus!
I am so grateful!
I would also urge everyone to email the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome.
My letter to the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome.
I write to you today as a Catholic teacher and parent in Scotland. I am extremely concerned that the Scottish Catholic Education Service has issued a document entitled “Equality and Inclusion Learning and Teaching”. This document deals primarily with homosexual issues and was written in response to pressure from the TIE (Time for Inclusive Education ) campaign.
The document can be found here:
The details of the TIE campaign can be found here:
I was horrified to see that in a Catholic primary school I am being asked to teach about the “protected characteristics”. These include homosexuals and those seeking gender reassignment! This is abhorrent. I cannot in good conscience teach what is contrary to natural law and the teaching of the Church.
It is important to note that the Scottish Bishops have sanctioned this document. I have written to every Scottish Bishop, requesting that they do their duty and protect Catholic children from this evil ideology. Should they fail to do their duty, I ask the Congregation for Catholic Education to intervene and ensure these abhorrent guidelines are not implemented in Catholic schools.
I await your reply.
Thank you for posting the link to the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, and for posting a copy of your excellent email to them. I endorse your exhortation to others to write – I will do so myself, a little later.
I am humbled by your professionalism in setting up these communications Petrus!
I’ve just emailed the following message to the Vatican…
For the attention of the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, His Eminence Giuseppe Versaldi.
From: Patricia (i.e. personal email)…
I write to express my deep concerns about the way homosexuality is being promoted in Catholic schools in Scotland, with the approval of the Scottish Bishops.
The Scottish Catholic Education Service, led by a lay woman (Barbara Coupar) but, obviously, under the authority of the Scottish Bishops, has set out its “guidelines” for Catholic schools to teach positively about LGBT issues, in a document entitled “Equality and Inclusion Learning and Teaching”. This document is published on the Scottish Catholic Education website:
As a retired teacher of Religious Education, and a former Head of R.E. Department in several Catholic schools, I am in touch with teachers currently working in Catholic schools, at both primary and secondary level; these teachers are deeply concerned that if they refuse to teach about these “rights”, including transgenderism, they will face disciplinary action and perhaps even lose their jobs. One courageous teacher has published her concerns in Scotland’s only national Catholic newspaper, the Scottish Catholic Observer, which you can read here http://www.sconews.co.uk/opinion/57273/teachers-should-be-free-to-share-catholic-theology/
Elsewhere in the same newspaper, a priest expresses his concerns about the impoverished teaching of the Faith in Catholic schools, and many parents, themselves victims of the failure to teach the Faith for over fifty years now, are now expressing anger at the worsening crisis in the Church. That is to say, parents who have not been taught the Faith properly themselves are now frustrated that they are unable to answer the questions posed by their offspring. They are now further troubled by the co-operation of the Scottish Catholic education establishment in the promotion of LGBT etc “rights”. What, they ask, is the point of Catholic schools?
It is unacceptable that Catholic teachers, seeking to be faithful to the natural moral law against the prevailing permissive secular culture, feel themselves forced to teach children and young people that the unnatural behaviours associated with same-sex relationships are normal and should be valued; and, further, they are being asked to teach acceptance of “transgender reassignment” which is, of course, an outright, diabolical, attack on our very humanity.
We need urgent action from the Church authorities in the Vatican in order to halt the decline of the Church in Scotland, with particularly urgent action to end the corruption of the young in our Catholic schools. Many Protestants and Muslims working in our schools share our moral teachings, and so it is wrong to ask teachers in Catholic schools to compromise their consciences by following these “guidelines”. It is, in fact, to be complicit in the corruption of young people to allow them to be taught, in essence, that sexual deviancy is acceptable to God.
I look forward to receiving your assurance that effective action will be taken to end this scandal, as a matter of the utmost urgency.
With kind regards.
Again I am humbled by your quick response and full expression of honest fears to the highest Catholic authority, Patricia.
Excellent email, editor.
I would like to thank you for your excellent article in the SCO and for the future work you are planning. I wish you every success and will support you in any way I can. You mention launching a website, I would suggest including a means of giving donations on it, which could help with the cost of hosting the site (for example).
I feel a bit foolish, for previously I had tried to defend the SCES and its engagement with the TIE campaign. I took confidence that TIE had failed in its central objective to have statutory requirements implemented for schools. I assumed that the Catholic schools would limit themselves to advocating tolerance for people experiencing same sex attraction, in line with the Catechism. That is what we got, when I was at school. However, from the concerns you raise, it seems I have been naive?
Can you tell us any more about the materials you refer to, arriving this year?
You are dead right in what you say, that pupils can tell right away when something is woolly or half-hearted. They want to be treated like the young adults they are, and hear the facts – even if controversial. No-one is interested in listening to ambiguous drivel.
Not too long ago a Catholic secondary (St Kentigerns, West Lothian, I think) was “caught” with CTS material communicating the catechism teaching on homosexuality. Rather than defend their right to have and discuss such material – basic Catholic teaching – the school immediately folded and removed the material claiming it was “not age appropriate”. They showed themselves to be cowards and infantilised their pupils, all in one fell swoop. It was pathetic and a good example of how the Church and its various arms retreat at the first sign of conflict. This is due to the fact that superficiality reigns, at all levels.
Would you agree that the problems with wider RE go further than just this issue? I turn 41 in a few days and looking back at my school days, I can say that in 13 years of Catholic school (and attending the modern mass in tandem with this) I did not learn one jot about the Catholic faith. RE in secondary school centered around praising the jews, praising the protestants and, yes, concern for homosexual people – but without any balance: of course, we did not hear why the Church condemns such behaviour). It was so poor that I am two minds if there is any point in sending my own kids to a Catholic school. This latest issue is just that: the latest issue. I wish my RE teachers had been like you.
May I ask: what kind of response you have received from colleagues and parents around this issue? Or is it too early to tell? I hope you get a positive and supportive response, your bravery and clarity certainly deserve that. I would warn you to be wary of hostility from supposed Catholics, but do not let it put you off.
(I used to be a member of a Catholic men’s organisation, but left after being attacked for espousing orthodox views. What I thought was a useful faith organisation was really just a drinking club – and I do enough drinking as it is – haha! :-P)
I am delighted that you have taken part in this discussion. When I read your article, I had intended emailing you and may still do so at some point.
I hope you remain in touch here to help build a base of support going forward. The website is a very good idea and I am pleased to see bloggers already emailing the Vatican to complain. I will do so too.
God bless you Pauline and remember that you are not alone. I expect there are a great many people who share your concerns, but who keep quiet due to fear or a sense of isolation. Let us hope that your good example emboldens such people to speak out.
I wouldn’t for one minute feel foolish. These are complicated times and it’s not always easy to grasp the full picture.
You can see the materials here:
Scroll to the bottom and click “download documents”.
Thank you Gabriel,
I have had a great many positive comments and so far two negative (I presume there will be more). I would like time to respond properly to you so will only say this at the moment: that I do not want to hurt or cause conflict but the truth must be told and protected. Also, I need all the help I can get and am deeply grateful to your bloggers for their encouragement and skill.
To those who comment negatively, the answer has to be that you cannot be asked to go against your conscience on such an important matter, that your Confirmation duty is to defend the Faith when it is under attack, as it is in our times, with top prelates pointing out that the crisis in the Church is directly linked to the rise of the LGBT dominance within society and the Church. This underlines the duty of all Catholics to resist the LGBT propaganda.
Our Lord warned that those who caused scandal to children – that is, those who put obstacles in the way of them coming to salvation – will be severely punished: “But he that shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)
Children attending a Catholic school surely fall into the category of those who might be expected to come to salvation if taught properly.
We are thinking of you today – and praying!
Today I had a conversation with a promoted member of staff about the LGBT guidelines and said it was abhorrent that we were being asked to teach what is contrary to the gospel. I got a few sympathetic nods, but in general, I got the feeling that most teachers, promoted and unpromoted, simply don’t care enough, or don’t want to rock the boat. Very sad.
I’m delighted that Pauline has rocked that boat. I’ve spoken up at meetings in the diocese, emailed RE advisors and written to the bishops, but it’s a lonely business in schools. Finally, there’s another teacher who will speak out.
That’s really excellent news – can’t have been easy for you to raise the subject because (you are spot on) most staff simply don’t care – that is the sum and substance of it.
Yes, it certainly is a lonely business but the Calvary part of our lives is always lonely.
Kudos to both Petrus and Editor for their excellent letters to the Vatican. I will follow this good example.
This is maybe above my Catholic Truth pay grade – minimum wage – but I think this thread is a prime example of why the blog should stay open.
Not only has it allowed Pauline Gallagher a platform to engage with us, build support and share her views, but the letters I mention above are good and inspiring examples of what action we ordinary people can take in support of Pauline.
I will certainly be emailing the Vatican about this, something which likely would not have occurred to me otherwise.
Maybe something to think about? Not least given it is clear that the SCO article is the beginning, not the end, of Pauline’s input on this issue – and it will be good for her to have online bases of support and assistance.
“…my Catholic Truth pay grade – minimum wage – ”
No way! You are on the same six figure salary as RCA Victor and Petrus (£000.000) but of late your attendance has slipped so if you want your summer holiday bonus, think about that 😀
When the blog closes, have you thought about the fact that bloggers such as Petrus, Athanasius, myself et. al. will be entitled to a six-figure pension???
I hadn’t thought of that. Let me think about that. I’ve thought about that. Oops!
I’ll sign a waiver…for a price….
It’s in the post…
Some years ago we sent our children to State schools in order to preserve their faith / souls and it worked. However, it is truly heartening to know that there are teachers out there like Pauline Gallagher! I would never have thought it possible and kudos to her and her dedication to the Catholic Faith and to her pupils.
On balance I think it would be better to close “Catholic” schools than to have them as they presently are because parents are lulled into thinking that their children will receive a Catholic education when nothing could be further from the truth.
At least in a State school the children wouldn’t hear their Faith being ridiculed, marginalised or trivialised. Ours found that, in the interest of P.C, teachers were very respectful of their beliefs and the other pupils envied them getting to skip “social education” lessons and being able to do their homework instead!
I think that’s a good idea. It would be very interesting to know how many of your “Catholic” schools are already on the verge on bankruptcy.
Financial bankruptcy, I hasten to add. Their spiritual and moral bankruptcy were seemingly achieved long ago, with the exceptions of teachers like Pauline.
I think you may be under the impression that Catholic schools are privately funded over here (as they are in the USA), but that is not the case. While there ARE some private Catholic schools, where the parents pay the piper (as, e.g. St Aloysius Jesuit College in Glasgow), the mainstream schools are paid for by our taxes. That is, we ARE paying for them, as we pay for our “free” NHS and our “free” everything else, just not at the check out!
Thanks for that clarification – I wonder how long these Modernist schools would stay open were they to be cut free from government funding?
If Catholic parents had to pay upfront for Catholic schools (as they did before the 1918 Education Act which brought Catholic schools under the control of the local authority) they would close tomorrow.
Prior to the 1918 Education Act, the teachers in Catholic schools were paid for out of the collection plate. They were paid less than their colleagues in the State (Protestant) schools. The schools were built before the churches were built, such was the importance laid on passing on the Faith.
Things have changed. Big time. Sadly, that spirit of sacrifice based on the central importance of passing on, undiluted, the Catholic religion, has gone, along with the strong Catholic and apostolic Faith which inspired it. Now, as we are discovering, most teachers keep quiet when the Faith and elementary sexual morality are being attacked, so we are unlikely to find Catholic teachers willing to return to work for less pay in order to restore the purity of Catholic teaching in privately run schools. Mortgages do have to be paid, so I’m not unsympathetic – it’s just a statement of fact, sadly, that, I think, in the main, Catholic schools have outlived their purpose. The “purpose” has been changed by the Catholic educational establishment, all part and parcel of the current, worsening crisis in the Church and until the diabolical disorientation through which we are living, comes to an end, the problem of anti-Catholic Catholic schools will continue apace.
When I taught in the non-denominational sector, I found exactly that – that, as a Head of Department, I was dealing with conscientious teachers who were keen to know what to teach in terms of Catholic doctrine. Conversely, in the Catholic sector, the modernists were on the attack the whole time; any suggestion that we ought to teach what had always been taught about doctrine and morals, and “one” was labelled “pre-Trent”. They just can’t see how silly it is to be so determined to modernise everything when the very litmus test for Christianity is, in the words of St Vincent Lerins, Doctor of the Church, that we adhere to what has been taught and believed by ALL Christians always and everywhere. Nothing else makes sense. Crazy modernists…
I agree. The problem in Catholic schools is that when an orthodox Catholic either promotes the true Faith, or corrects modern errors, the reply is always, “Well, the priest/bishop has no problem with it, so it must be fine”. It really is a losing battle, humanly speaking.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating! I can say that 2 of my siblings and I sent our children, all 14 of them, to State schools and they ALL still practise their Faith AND know it too. Conversely, the other siblings sent theirs to “Catholic” schools, all 19 of them, and NONE of them now practise their Faith. In fact the rebellion started at around 12 years of age in most cases.
Shame on our “shepherds”!!!! Shame on them and bring on Judgement Day!
That’s great news about your own children; however, there is still an important consideration to take into account in that I imagine, from your various posts, some of which hint at your age (!) that you would have been able to supply solid Catholic teaching at home, and fill in the gaps for your children attending non-denominational schools. Parents who have themselves not been taught the Faith today, can’t do that. However, the fact remains that in a non-denominational school, they would NOT be meeting with teachers (or are less likely to meet with teachers) who will undermine their Catholic Faith – assuming the school is made aware of the fact that these are Catholic children and the parents do not want them to be in the position of hearing or being presented with anti-Catholic material.
Having said that, I remember being asked to help out in the History Department and I was appalled at the series of glossy books, complete with cartoons, being used across the year groups. The presentation of the Catholic Church was entirely negative to the point of being openly hostile. I couldn’t believe it. When I spoke to the Head of History, she agreed to look at some alternative materials for the work I was doing with my classes, which presented the topic very differently indeed and she approved those for use, no problem.
So, we can’t rely on teachers in every subject in non-denominational schools knowing the facts about the Church, but that is also true in Catholic schools. Unless parents are alert to the dangers of both ignorance and prejudice, there will always be an issue of concern about the educational provision on offer today in the UK, whether in Catholic or non-denominational schools. It is much easier, however, to “contradict” or correct teaching given in a ND school, than a Catholic school – that is likely to lead to real confusion in the minds of young people.
Yes Editor, you have a point, or many points (!) but my children are in their 20s so I’m not that ancient! My husband is a convert and is completely self taught. True, between us we did manage to pass on the faith. I might add that we sent them to yearly summer schools in England and then to Evangelium when they were a bit older. We also invited, on a yearly basis, various very sound priests and lay people to holiday with us. It was a struggle alright!
The ironic thing about my nieces and nephews is that they are a fair bit older than mine (therefore schooled before the complete rot set in) but they are utterly ignorant of even a modicum of the Catholic faith. Not a clue. Literally.
What a fantastic article. You point out many of the reasons why I home-educate my children. When my eldest went to college, a few of her class members said to her: “You are the most innocent 16 year old I’ve ever met.” I teach my children about purity, and I know it will serve them well in the future.
I’m delighted to hear of a teacher sticking up for what is morally right.
Thank you, and God bless you.
Thanks Catherine! Please Pray for the campaign.
I am very interested in your mention of a campaign – I presume this is about the LGBT input in Catholic schools, so I will definitely keep that in my prayers. There is no way the TIE people should be dictating what is taught in Catholic schools about LGBT issues.
I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a couple of questions because I am so pleased to find a teacher in a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Glasgow who is fighting against the whole LGBT lobby in our schools.
What is the rest of the RE curriculum like? Do you get to teach Catholic doctrine properly or is it watered down?
Are there ever traditional Latin Masses provided or are the children only taught about the new Mass?
I know your question is directed to Pauline, but I thought I would jump in and give you my perspective.
The curriculum is known as This Is Our Faith. I think it is seriously lacking in doctrine. I did a review of it a number of years ago and found some very suspect content. I can’t remember the exact details.
It’s important to note that it has never received an Imprimatur from the Vatican.
As for the Mass, I’ve never seen anything about the Latin Mass mentioned in any material being used in schools. Certainly I talk about the Traditional Latin Mass, but all the material is based on the New Mass.
I think it is seriously lacking in doctrine
I have not seen the material myself, but that was my experience and is what I would expect: very effete, lovey dovey dross about “feelings” and how everyone is “nice” etc.
It’s important to note that it has never received an Imprimatur from the Vatican.
That is amazing (and not in a good way). Any Catholic should feel free to reject it then and “do their own thing” with solid catechisms.
Does it have any formal approval at all? From whom?
I have spoken to some people who attend the traditional mass but use Catholic schools. They have an agreement with the school(s) that the children do not attend novus ordo masses or RE classes.
I think that would make the schools viable for traditionalists, but isn’t it sad that what the schools offer (wrt the faith) has to be treated like toxic material?
Still, I am heartened by the fact that there are teachers such as yourself and Pauline Gallagher to be found!
Hi Catherine, Sorry late reply.life is hectic.
I have to say that the faith directives of SCES ‘this is our faith’ are greatly to my satisfaction. They are faithful to the teachings of Christ and the Church.
All the more reason for my dismay at the TIE directed materials.
I am glad to tell you that Latin Mass is sometimes provided, rarely but at least it is valued.
Sorry, Pauline, I must disagree with you profoundly. This Is Our Faith is not at all sound, hence the reason why the Vatican has only provisionally approved it. It’s vague, at best.
I’ve also never, ever known there to be any mention of the Traditional Latin Mass, nevermind it being provided! Never in 21 years of being involved in Catholic education.
Could you give us an example of something from This is Our Faith that you think is sound Catholic teaching
Could you give us an example of something that you think is “not at all sound”.
It’s difficult for us to know which of you is correct, without a solid example.
Good point, Josephine. I will get back to you.
Petrus, are you criticising the SCES?
I wonder if it is not time for the Church in Scotland to move its schools outside of the state sector?
I am open to correction, but I believe the system in France is that the Church runs its schools distinctly. However, they are paid for by the taxes of those families who use them. The State essentially gives tax rebate to the Church, given the families are not using secular state schools.
This works well for everyone, (I think), because the Church can theoretically teach what it wants, and the French state can still tout itself as secular.
Of course, they probably still teach dross thanks to modernism, but they could change that if they wanted (!).
I think it would be much better than our set up, where the main priority is always to please secular politicians, more than it is teach the faith.
Maybe blogger Lionel could advise us on how the French do this?
En France, il y a sous l’autorité de l’État l’école publique qui n’est pas vraiment satisfaisante et il y a aussi l’enseignement privé qui est sous l’autorité de l’Église.
Dans les deux cas les programmes sont fixés par les Inspecteurs d’Académie mais plus ou moins aménageables pour ce qui concerne les écoles privées.
L’enseignement privé pèse lourdement sur le budget des familles, car seulement partiellement financé par l’État, mais les personnes qui le peuvent, quelle que soit leur religion, préfèrent envoyer leurs enfants dans les écoles privées où l’éducation y est menée beaucoup plus sérieusement…
In France, there is, under the authority of the State, the public school (State school) which is not really satisfactory and there is also the private education which is under the authority of the Church.
In both cases the programs are set by the Academy Inspectors but more or less convertible within private schools.
Private education is a heavy burden on the family budget, because it is only partially funded by the State, but those who can, whatever their religion is, prefer to send their children to private schools where education is conducted much more seriously…
Many thank for your kind response – it is much appreciated.
May I ask – what % of the catholic school fees are paid by the State?
Do you know if the schools in France are more successful at passing on the faith than the ones in Scotland and the wider UK?
Sorry, I cannot comment on the “percentage of the catholic school fees being paid by the State” as I simply do not know. I thing that the State helps the poorest families.
With regard to “religious education” I do not know the situation in Scotland, therefore, I am not able to compare.
In France, free schools (private schools) must meet the requirements of families because those who do not provide quality education are deserted and therefore doomed to disappear.
I must specify that as far as the transmission of the Faith is concerned, everything depends on the orientations of the leadership and of the teachers.
In the North of Paris, some religious schools are attended practically only by Muslims and Jews…
Many thanks for this feedback!
Pauline has said that if anyone wants to join her Facebook group, the link to which I’ve posted below, they should send her a friend request.
Comments are closed.