CARDINAL BASIL Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, has called for an end to caning in all Catholic schools in his diocese.
The Archbishop has endorsed a new policy document from the Council of Diocesan Affairs which says that corporal punishment is to be regarded as "no longer acceptable".
The report carrying the Cardinal's recommendation will go before the governors of all Catholic schools in Central London in due course, and it will be up to the schools themselves to decide on their response.
The ILEA has already banned caning in the County schools which it directly controls, and the Church of England and the Free Churches have condemned the practice.
It is by no means clear how extensive the practise of caning is in schools in the Westminster diocese. Mr J McIntosh,
headmaster of the London Oratory School, admitted that the cane was still used in his school but was unable to say what, if any, the Cardinal's recommendation would have on this policy.
But Mr Peter Hannigan, Headmaster of Westminster Cathedral Choir School over which Cardinal Hume has direct authority, said that corporal punishment had not been used in the eight years that he had been at the school. "In a school of 90 people it would be absurd if such a sanction was required", he said.
Similarly at Ampleforth College, the well-known Catholic public school attached to the monastery of which Cardinal flume was Abbot until 1976, it was being said that corporal punishment had been phased out sometime during the Cardinal's period of office there.