THE CATHOLIC HERALD APRIL 20 2012
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Cafod says tax relief cap will cost it half a million a year BY ED WEST
THE CATHOLIC charity Cafod has criticised the Government’s plan to cap tax relief for philanthropists, saying that it will cost them half a million pounds a year in lost donations.
The official aid agency of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales joined many other charities and leading figures in the arts and business in attacking the proposals, which would reduce the tax relief of gifts over £50,000 towards good causes.
Cafod director Chris Bain said: “We’ve worked out that if one in five of our reasonably large donors decides they cannot continue to make donations as a result of this change, that will cost us about half a million pounds a year, and that means money not spent on water and sanitation, not spent on agricultural development, not spent on reducing poverty.
“We have an immensely generous supporter base – and this will be true of many charities – and these people are not driven by tax loopholes or planning tax. We get our donations throughout the year – for emergencies, for Christmas, throughout Lent, not based on tax deadlines. These are donors driven by their faith principles who want to put something back. And the proposed legislation will make it financially harder for those people to make those choices to give. We hope that the Government will reconsider the elements of this legislation which impact on bona fide charities like Cafod. Of course they must find ways to stop any abuse, but they must do so in a way which encourages philanthropy and good charitable giving, not discourages it.”
The changes to tax relief on charitable giving were laid out in this year’s Budget as part of measures to increase tax revenue from the wealthiest, with the Treasury claiming it was shutting loopholes which allowed aggressive tax avoidance and could see money put into “bogus” charities simply to enrich the donor. The aim is to prevent people from claiming tax relief by funnelling money into suspect foreign charities, money which they can claim tax relief against, and which is often funnelled back to them.
But they have been severely criticised for reducing the amount of money wealthy philanthropists can give to charities and good causes, including the arts, medical research, church groups and schools, by capping tax relief at £50,000.
But philanthropists said that the Government’s proposed restrictions risked damaging the Prime Minister’s Big Society philosophy. Two of the country’s wealthiest and most generous families, the Gettys and the Sainsburys, have called on the Government to make a U-turn.
Lib Dem: no need for Catholic free school
BY ED WEST
BRITAIN’S first Catholic free school has defended itself after a senior Liberal Democrat councillor called spending on its new premises an “absurd waste of taxpayers’ money”.
The Department for Education bought an old grammar school site in Camborne for St Michael’s Catholic Secondary for about £700,000, after Education Secretary Michael Gove gave the school the green light last October.
The school, which becomes the county’s first secondary faith school, was kept open by teachers and parents in nearby Truro for 14 years and will open with a new building in September.
Councillor Graham Walker, shadow education spokesman for the Lib Dems, said: “There is no demand in the area, or in Cornwall. The county has 8,000 extra places.
“The county also has an £18 million maintenance backlog, there are schools with leaky roofs and draughty windows and they have been given £700,000.”
But Joyce Sanderson, school governor and chairman of St Michael’s steering committee, said the school satisfied demand among parents for more educational diversity.
She said: “The parents of over 470 children have registered an interest in attending the school at some point. That does suggest a demand for a different type of school. Cornwall has no faith secondary schools at all. I would think it is the only county without an Anglican school and perhaps without a Catholic one.
“Most secondary schools are very large and in Cornwall, like many places, they are about 700-plus in size and the ones with sixth-form colleges have over 1,000 people. So despite the range of opportunities, many parents and children find them overwhelming and don’t fit easily into them. A school the size of 300, as St Michael’s will be, will not be able to do everything, but it is a size that some families prefer, and a very strong ethos is probably easier to do in a school this size.”
Readers offered chance to hear Sistine Chapel Choir in London
WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL is offering reserved seats for the Sistine Chapel Choir’s first-ever concert in Britain to 10 readers of The Catholic Herald. All you need to do to stand a chance of winning the seats is answer the following question correctly: Mozart, at the age of 14, visited Rome and heard the Sistine Chapel Choir singing a psalm setting and copied it down exactly. What was the name of the piece and of its composer? Answers should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to The Catholic Herald, 15 Lamb’s Passage, London EC1Y 8TQ.
The Sistine Chapel Choir is the Pope’s personal choir and sings whenever the Pontiff requests its presence. It consists of 20 men and about 35 boys, aged between eight and 13.
The concert, on Sunday May 6 at 7.30pm, will feature Gregorian chant along with Palestrina and Perosi.
Soldiers urged to pray for vocations
BY STAFF REPORTER
BISHOP Richard Moth of the Forces has asked British soldiers to pray for more priests to come forward to serve as chaplains.
Bishop Moth has ordered a prayer card to be distributed throughout the Bishopric of the Forces with a prayer on it calling for more priests to serve as military chaplains.
In a pastoral letter the bishop said there was a “real shortage” of vocations in the Armed Forces. The aim of the prayer card, he said, was to “instil in the hearts of priests the desire to dedicate their lives to you as chaplains”.
He said he had also written to all enclosed religious communities in England and Wales, asking for their prayers.
The bishop said military chaplaincy was “vital” for troops. He said: “Every member of the Armed Services, together with their families, will have benefited from the ministry of their chaplain ... families, waiting at home for the return of their loved ones, know the support of our chaplains during this testing time. The celebration of Mass and the Sacraments is assured and the listening ear of the chaplain and his presence among his people exemplifies priestly life in a most powerful way,” the bishop said.
State vilifies Christians in Britain, says Lord Carey BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE FORMER Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has told the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that state bodies vilify Christians in
Britain. In a submission to the ECHR, in connection with a landmark case on religious freedom, Lord Carey wrote: “In a country where Christians can be sacked for manifesting their faith, are vilified by state bodies, are in fear of reprisal or even arrest for expressing their views on sexual ethics, something is very wrong.
“It affects the moral and ethical compass of the United
Kingdom. Christians are excluded from many sectors of employment simply because of their beliefs; beliefs which are not contrary to the public good.”
The submission precedes a hearing in Strasbourg scheduled for September, which will examine the cases of employees who were not permitted to wear crosses at work.
A spokesman for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said the bishops were not planning to make a similar submission. He said the bishops only intervened in the courts when “fundamental moral issues” were at stake.
HELP TRAIN A YOUNG MAN FOR THE MISSIONARY
Each year THE LITTLE WAY ASSOCIATION receives numerous requests from Religious Orders in mission lands for help to train their seminarians.
It costs about £500 a year to feed,
clothe and educate a student
“It is the little things done for love that charm the Heart of the good God” St Therese for the priesthood The great majority of young men who come forward to offer their lives to God, and His people, come from poor families. Their parents do not have the means to support them financially. The cost of educating and maintaining seminarians is often a heavy burden on the Religious Orders. It costs approximately £500 a year to feed, clothe and educate a student for the priesthood. We appeal wholeheartedly to all readers to help train and support a candidate for the priesthood. Any donation you can send will be most gratefully received, and will be sent without deduction, to help to train a young man for the priesthood.
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Oxford helps Vatican put vast archive online BY CINDY WOODEN
CURIOUS members of the public will soon be able to view more than a million pages of material from the Vatican Library online thanks to help from Oxford University and grants of £1.9 million.
process, which began in 2010 and has produced an online catalogue describing its 8,900 incunabula.
The Bodleian-Vatican Library digitised collections will be in three subject areas: Greek manuscripts, incunabula and Hebrew manuscripts.
The project will put on the web Greek and Hebrew manuscripts as well as incunabula – that is, early printed books. The incunabula include Johann Gutenberg’s Latin Bible, printed between 1454 and 1455 and the first book printed using movable type.
The documents will be digitised over the next five years.
Mgr Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Vatican Library, said: “Digitising means better conservation of cultural goods, less arduous consultation, guaranteeing a high-quality reproduction before the original can deteriorate and making them immediately accessible online to many more people.”
The project, funded with a grant from the Polonsky Foundation, is expected to digitally reproduce a total of 1.5 million pages of manuscripts and ancient books from the Vatican Library and the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford.
Mgr Pasini told L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, that about twothirds of the pages would be from the Vatican Library’s holdings. The project will be a huge leap forward in the Vatican Library’s digitalising
According to the Bodleian, the subject areas were chosen because both libraries have strong collections in those areas and because of the collection’s importance to scholars. The project will bring together online “materials that have been dispersed between the two collections over the centuries”, the Bodleian press release said.
Mgr Pasini said the project would allow the Vatican Library to expand the service it has rendered for almost six centuries by making cultural treasures available to a much wider group of readers and researchers.
The Vatican Library’s Greek manuscripts include works by Homer, Sophocles, Plato and Hippocrates, manuscripts of the New Testament and of the early Church Fathers.
The Hebrew manuscripts include the Sifra, a legal commentary on Scripture thought to be the oldest existing Hebrew codex; it was written at the end of the ninth or in the first half of the 10th century. Other Hebrew texts in the Vatican collection are biblical commentaries and works on philosophy, medicine and astronomy.
Hacker of BPAS site is jailed for 32 months
BY STAFF REPORTER
A 27-YEAR-OLD from the West Midlands who hacked the website of an abortion provider has been jailed for 32 months.
James Jeffery, from Wednesbury, stole the details of 10,000 women who had abortions from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) site.
Jeffery, a member of the hacking collective Anonymous, said he intended to publish the names, email addresses and telephone numbers of the women.
He also replaced the text of the BPAS website with criticism of abortion. “An unborn child does not have an opinion, a choice or any rights,” Jeffery wrote. “Who gave you the right to murder an unborn child and profit from that murder?
“The product abortion is skilfully marketed and sold to the woman at a crisis time in their life. She buys the product, finds it defective and wants to return it for a refund but it is too late.”
He signed off the statement using the alias of the infamous Colombian drugs baron Pablo Escobar, the court was told.
Jeffery, who had previous convictions for theft, cannabis cultivation and assault, had pleaded guilty to two offences under the Computer Misuse Act at Westminster magistrates court.
His lawyer had said his statements against abortion were “cut and pasted” from Google.
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