Education Eric Hester
So much in the Church in Britain has been in decline since the Second Vatican Council. Mass attendance figures, vocations, baptisms, weddings, numbers at Confession, all have been in continuous decline since the 1960s. Yet our schools continue as a great success story.
However. our schools and teachers are embattled, like the monasteries in the Dark Ages keeping going Catholic values in a pagan, secular and hostile world. One obvious example of this is the hostility of the BBC. While good Catholic schools were trying to foster the real meaning of Christmas and to pay respect to Our Blessed Lady, the BBC celebrated Christmas with a blasphemous attack on Our Blessed Lady. There was on BBC television not a single Mass over the whole of the Christmas period. Communist Cuba and most countries in the world broadcast the Holy Father's Christmas blessing, but not the BBC.
Meanwhile, another threat to education is under way. While the rest of us were celebrating Christmas, the Local Government Association launched another attack on schools, once again proposing the six-term year. This bright idea — from the same firm that brought you the new A-levels and their wonderful results — is to turn the whole school year upside down to help the bureaucrats. Its real purpose is to abolish the celebration of Easter, detested by Local Education Authorities, who are realising how difficult it is to abolish Christmas by substituting Winterval.
The Catholic Education Service and our bishops must stamp on the idea of the sixterm year at once. In this, they will be working with teachers whose unions are against it. The Local Government Association says that parents are in favour of six terms, but produces no evidence. Parents, in fact, like teachers, are sick of the constant change in education, like the new A-levels, which have the incredible double effect of making more work for everybody, while lowering real standards.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that we could have a six-term year without its abolishing of Easter as a holiday. This is exactly what the Labour government in the 1960s did with the celebration of Whitsun, which used to be a big feast nationally and celebrated in all Catholic and Church of England schools. No need to attack Easter — just scrap the Bank Holiday and it will wither away. Catholics should take note of the hostility of the Red Cross to the least sign of Christianity in its shops. I hope that all Catholic schools will boycott the Red Cross's fund raising schemes. After all, it would be hypocritical of the Red Cross to object to Christian symbols in its shops (except, presumably for the Cross) and then to accept money from Christian schools where such symbols are prolific.
are, sadly, for schools
are, sadly, not just caused from forces outside. Within the Church itself various dissidents seek to impose false beliefs on our schools. Remernber how last year the bureaucrats of some dioceses tried to prevent good Catholic schools even considering the religious education books of the Catholic Truth Society, which presented authentic Catholic teaching according to the Magisterium.
From all over England, I receive reports of diocesan bureaucracies which, inspite of the Nolan Report, are trying to force Catholic schools to adopt sex education schemes in direct contradiction of the Holy Father's express commands that there must be no sex education at all in primary schools and only such schemes as are in complete accord with Catholic teaching and, moreover, controlled by the parents. Yet, it is a rare diocese where the education service is doing anything to encourage schools to follow the Holy Father's designation of this year as the Year of the Holy Rosary.
The coming year will be another tough one for our teachers. Please pray f6r them and our schools, especially to Our Blessed Lady.