Page 4, 9th December 1994

9th December 1994
Page 4
Page 4, 9th December 1994 — Birmingham: a defence of Fr Nicholls

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Birmingham: a defence of Fr Nicholls

I AM SURPRISED THAT the Catholic Herald should give such prominence to Peter Jennings' irrational attack on Fr Guy Nicholls. As you reported, it really is an "astonishing outburst" which is illinformed, inaccurate and potentially damaging to Fr Nicholls' reputation.

Fr Guy Nicholls is a highly respected and valued member of my community. It would be a great loss to the Oratory if he were to leave, for whatever reason. At all times he did what he believed to bethe best for the students, staff and governors of our College. often in difficult and complex circumstances where an unusually wide and diverse group of interests were represented.

The most severe criticisms of Fr Nicholls in the Caines report were concerned with alleged "mis-management" or "errors of judgement".

It should be stated both that Fr Nicholls was found honest and above-board in all his dealings and that he takes issue with the Report's findings.

Fr Nicholls, together with all the Foundation Governors, followed Diocesan policy, believing that a college founded and run to provide an education in accordance with the Roman Catholic faith should be predominately made up of Catholic students.

The fact is that these numbers have been falling steadily and currently not even one student in five is Catholic.

The appearance of the Caines Report helped to clarify the situation for the Oratory Trustees and led to the publication of our statement of November 2Ist. In that statement we indicate that, holding the legal right to decide the purposes of our Trust, we do not wish to engage in Sixth Form education.

The Very Rev Paul Chavasse Birmingham Oratory Birmingham

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