The Commission’s vision report: a nation with a deeply-rooted Christian history, but which has accommodated others at an ever-accelerating pace. It argues that all should be treated with equal respect and concern, knowing that their culture, religion and beliefs are embraced and valued as contributing to the nation’s common life.
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Would you believe they want to make state schools even less Christian than they already are – accusing our many excellent Church schools of being ‘socially divisive’ and of promoting ‘segregation’ – and to revise the Coronation and services of remembrance to make them more inclusive?
THE CATHOLIC Education Service (CES) has defended its decision to advise church schools to teach Judaism rather than Islam as a second religion at GCSE. Its comments came in the same week that a group of parents sued the government because the reformed curriculum excludes humanism.
Northern Ireland's first shared education campus for Catholic and Protestant schoolchildren has been granted planning approval. Up to six schools with 3,700 pupils are expected to be based at a former Army barracks in Omagh, Co Tyrone, Stormont's power-sharing government revealed today. The relic of the region's 30-year conflict is to be transformed into a 126-acre development to educate the next generation together.
Thirty years ago, its 400 pupils were all Catholics, many of them first or second-generation Irish. Now all but 10 per cent are Muslims, yet their parents are apparently happy for them to sit through lessons taught by a largely Christian staff and taken from a Catholic syllabus. “What can I say?” exclaims 72-year-old Fr Kelly. “It’s their choice. We make no imposition on them to change their religion.”
For the London 2012 Olympic Games, Christian Churches in the UK have also picked up the theme of 100 days of peace around this major sporting event. It will be launched at an all night prayer vigil in London’s central Trafalgar Square on Friday June 8th by Church leaders including Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster and the Anglican Bishop of London Richard Chartres.
The Catholic imagination — the imagination that allowed Shakespeare to sprinkle his plays with references to Catholic religious beliefs and practices in meaningful ways — also helped to create the fictive worlds of Denmark, Rome, Verona, Venice, and Illyria. The imagination that made him Catholic also helped make him the greatest writer in the English-speaking world.
According to the latest census of Catholic schools published by the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales (CES) the overall percentage of Catholic pupils in Catholic state schools fell to little more than 70 per cent last year. In Catholic sixth-form colleges the figure was closer to half.
“The Catholicity of our schools is not defined by the religious backgrounds of the children they take in, but by what they have to offer children,” said Mr Mannix. “[Catholic schools] are one of our most important tools for evangelisation. They can show children the good things Catholicism has to offer.”
Colleges that have deliberately watered down their Catholic identity, in part to help themselves compete for government aid, now face church pressure to strengthen their religious identity. The choice for Catholic educators is increasingly clear: defend religious liberty and stand up for a strong Catholic identity—or give up the pretense.