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OCTOBER 21 2011 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Cornish city to gain first ever Catholic free school
BY ED WEST
A SCHOOL in Cornwall that was kept going by teachers and parents for 14 years has become the first Catholic free school.
St Michael’s Catholic Secondary School in Truro was given the green light by Education Secretary Michael Gove in the latest round of schools to be allowed to run outside local authority control and receive money directly from the Department for Education. When the transition takes place next September St Michael’s will become Cornwall’s first free school and the county’s first Catholic state secondary school. It will also become the first secondary free school in the south-west.
Teachers and parents set up the school 14 years ago after the closure of the private Tremough convent school, and it was created with the support of Plymouth diocese and the Religious Daughters of the Cross in Plymouth.
There are currently 35 pupils funded by donations and housed in a converted Methodist church building, but the school hopes to expand to 300 and move to an old grammar school building in Camborne. The school has also been kept going through the generosity of 300 “angels” who donate monthly stipends of £5 or more, as well as educational trusts and fundraising activities.
Last week Michael Gove said the schools would “raise standards in communities where the need is great”.
The Cornish councillor responsible for children’s services, Neil Burden, said the council had “always supported diversity in all sorts of areas and parental choice”.
But he insisted the council was “not outside the loop” and would still be working in partnership “to help the school move forward”.
Headmaster Neil Anderson said: “We are delighted. I’d say almost overwhelmed by the good news. It is a monumental step forward.” He said St Michael’s was going to be a Catholic school which would “offer parents more choice, particularly in Cornwall where there is no Catholic secondary”.
“We’ve been working hard on this project for 18 months. The team has been running the school for longer.
“Every child in the school can benefit from the thoroughly good
Catholic education. Like all Catholic schools, we’re there to serve all the community, not just the Catholics.
“We’ve been through a process that mirrors Catholic education over years. The school was started by highly committed lay people who were determined to start a Catholic school with an independent mind. We’re just offering the best education we can. We have overcome great hurdles through turning to God for providence and the kindness of our benefactors. We have a highly dedicated teaching staff. We’ve all made sacrifices.”
Fr Chris Findlay-Wilson, parish priest for Our Lady of All Nations, Camborne and Redruth, said that staff were all delighted to be among the 55 new schools to be chosen in the latest round of free schools, out of 300 applications.
He said: “The parents really have gone through some awful times. They have kept it going. Teachers have made enormous financial sacrifices.”
Representatives of the school had been working for 18 months to acquire academy status and went up to London in August for an interview. Fr Findlay-Wilson also paid tribute to all the people who had kept the school going with donations through the years.
Joyce Sanderson, a governor and coordinator of the free school bid, said the school would “offer parents more choice” and that only 50 per cent of its intake will be Catholic. The school hopes to have class sizes no larger than 20.
She said: “We did not have the finance as an independent school. We wanted to take anyone into the school who wanted to come.
“Under a free school, this will fund each pupil to the same extent as a state school in Cornwall, and it enables us to expand to 300 pupils and allows a small school to move to a bigger site.”
Last year Bishop Malcolm McMahon, chairman of the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales, gave his backing to the Government’s free schools policy, saying that they replicated the way that Catholic education had evolved in the 19th century “by local communities getting together, pooling their resources. Many Catholic primary schools were started in the front room of the presbytery by parents with help from the local convent.”
Veronica Connolly says the BBC ‘presents immorality as normal’
I’d rather go to jail than pay licence fee, says Catholic gran BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
A CATHOLIC grandmother convicted for not paying her licence fee has said she is prepared to face jail rather than give money to the BBC.
Veronica Connolly, aged 54, was convicted last year of not having a television licence and took her case to the Court of Appeal, claiming that the compulsory payment violated her freedom of conscience.
Mrs Connolly has expressed moral objections to paying her licence fee because she says the BBC transmits immoral messages through programmes such as Jerry Springer – The Opera, which offended Christians with its portrayal of Jesus.
Mrs Connolly has unsuccessfully taken her case to the Court of Appeal and the High Court in London and is now expected to file her case with the European Court of Human Rights within the next month.
Mrs Connolly said: “Courts are not going to give Christians anything. But we still stand there and fight.”
Elaborating on her opposition to the BBC’s output, she said: “We are seeing abortion and the morningafter pill thrown at you, euthanasia and how great it is. There’s no balance either. The immorality is presented as normal.”
Mrs Connolly said that she only watches Sky and Catholic television channels. She would like to see a different system for funding the BBC, such as a BBC smart box,
similar to the item that consumers must purchase to view many Sky channels or the introduction of advertisements to fund the broadcasting corporation.
The legal argument behind Mrs Connolly’s case is based upon Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which protects freedom of religion and conscience.
Her supporters have drawn a comparison with the ECHR ruling in 1990 known as Darby v Sweden. In that case, the court ruled that the compulsory payment of the Swedish church tax violated the conscience of the atheist in question because he was being forced to fund a body that he did not support.
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Cameron writes to leaders about Act of Settlement Archbishop hails Royal College’s conscience stance
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE PRIME MINISTER has written to the Commonwealth heads of state requesting their support for constitutional changes that would allow an heir to the throne to marry a Catholic.
In his letter to the 16 Commonwealth leaders he described the current barrier to monarchs marrying Catholics as a “historical anomaly” that “cannot be justified”, especially given that people of other faiths are not barred from marrying monarchs.
David Cameron has said in the past that he supports reforming the 1701 Act of Settlement in favour of Catholics “in principle”, but said that “it will take time. We ought to have proper discussions with other countries. She is their Queen after all.”
The Prime Minister also wants to scrap the current rule of male primogeniture, meaning that succession to the throne would be determined by order of birth regardless of sex and end the supremacy of men over women in succeeding to the throne.
In his letter Mr Cameron said: “We espouse gender equality in all other aspects of life and it is an anomaly that in the rules relating to the highest public office we continue to enshrine male superiority.”
If the law is amended in the near future, this would mean that a first-born daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge could become Queen.
Support for amending the Act of Settlement to allow monarchs to marry Catholics has come from a wide range of people, from avowed atheists to outspoken cardinals.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien has previously described the Act of Settlement as “statesponsored sectarianism”, and has often called for its repeal.
Former Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris tried to amend the law with a Private Member’s Bill in 2009, arguing that “it is wrong that antiCatholic discrimination is written into Britain’s constitution”.
Dr Harris’s outspoken support for the change was particularly surprising given that he has been vocal in his opposition to the Church’s influence and teachings, particularly on abortion and euthanasia.
David Cameron’s proposed changes will need to be ratified by all 16 Commonwealth realms, including the British Parliament.
In 2009 Gordon Brown said he wanted to amend the Act of Settlement and entered into discussions with Buckingham Palace about it. Plans for reform were drawn up before the general election last year.
BY MARK GREAVES
ARCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols of Westminster has praised the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for supporting the right of conscience among doctors and nurses opposed to abortion.
He made the comments in a speech to medics at an event hosted by the Royal College and the women’s health charity Wellbeing of Women.
He told the audience: “I am all too aware, as you will be, of the very difficult ethical dilemmas which your specialism can produce. In approaching these, as you will know, the Church starts from some very clear and unambiguous principles, founded on the utmost respect for human life from the time of its conception. Such a principle unfolds into all sorts of areas and in ways with which some of you will not agree. Many of you will no doubt have thought deeply about these issues in coming to your own view of your clinical practice.
“But in this evolving situation,” the archbishop said, “your support for the right of conscience will be increasingly important and I very much welcome the fact that... the College fully accommodates this.”
In his address Archbishop Nichols lamented the “tragically slow” progress in improving maternal health around the world.
He cited the statistic that between 350,000 and 500,000 women a year die in childbirth, even though such deaths are largely preventable.
Pro-abortion campaigners claim that making abortion legal would reduce the maternal mortality rate.
But Archbishop Nichols pointed instead to the “strong correlation” between maternal deaths and the quality of a country’s healthcare. He also suggested that behind the slow rate of progress lay cultural factors such as “the status of women and the low priority given to their health, [and] a failure to accord women the dignity and respect needed”.
Other factors, he said, were “failed or fragile” states and the low proportion of world development aid – only two per cent – devoted to maternal health.
Archbishop Nichols also stressed the Catholic contribution to global healthcare and said that in some African countries 40 per cent of health care was faith-based.
He said: “The commitment of the Church down the centuries to care for the sick echoes in the names of some of London’s great hospitals, such as St Thomas’s and St Bartholomew’s.”
His address, at the Anglican St Marylebone parish church in central London, was given in honour of the late Sir George Pinker, a celebrated medic.
NEWSBULLETIN Bishop Lang expresses sorrow at violence in Cairo BISHOP Declan Lang of Clifton, chairman of the bishops’ department for international affairs, has spoken of his “great sadness” at the violence that left 26 people dead in Cairo earlier this month.
the Coptic faithful in Egypt so that they can become equal citizens alongside their fellow Muslims.” He said his prayers were with Catholic and Orthodox leaders in Egypt.
The bishop said: “It is to be hoped that the Egyptian political authorities will spare no effort in addressing at long last the festering problems that have affected
A peaceful protest by Copts on Sunday evening was attacked by crowds armed with rifles, sticks and swords. A military vehicle later sped into a group of Copts.
ʻDevoutʼ thief steals altar lamp A THIEF who stole from a church was caught making the Sign of the Cross on CCTV.
The man was seen crossing himself before his accomplice walked up to the altar in St Patrick’s church in Winson Green, Birmingham, and stole a 116-year-old altar lamp.
Parish priest Fr Harry Curtis said: “We are all saddened and angry about what’s happened. The lamp was quite valuable in monetary terms, but more importantly it is of huge religious and sentimental significance to the parish.” The lamp has been at the church since it was built in 1895.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I watched the CCTV footage and saw this man pause to cross himself before he took it,” Fr Curtis said: “It is very upsetting. As a church, our doors are open to all people every day, whenever they need us. Locking the doors is just not an option.”
TV monk to give Cafod lecture FORMER Abbot of Worth Fr Christopher Jamison is to give Cafod’s Pope Paul VI lecture next month.
Fr Jamison, director of the National Office for Vocation and star of the documentaries The Big Silence and The Monastery, will give a talk entitled “Charity begins at home: but what is charity and where is home?”
Gordon Brown and Baroness Shirley Williams are previous speakers.
Ordinariate will have own Mass MGR ANDREW BURNHAM, who is in charge of liturgy for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, has said the Vatican aims to publish a distinct Order of Mass to be used by ordinariate groups and parishes around the world within the next three years.
Mgr Burnham, a former Anglican bishop, made the comment in an address to the Association of Latin Liturgy at St Mary Magdalene parish in Brighton.
Archbishop to launch sport charity ARCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols of Westminster is to launch the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, a charity that aims to promote peace through sport, next Wednesday.
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LLO URDE S THE CATHOLIC HERALD OCTOBER 21 2011
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Bishop: we’re deaf to cries of weakest
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN AND STAFF REPORTER
THE BISHOP of Shrewsbury has said that the lack of compassion and care for the elderly are symptoms of a “culture of death” following decades of legalised abortion and embryo experimentation.
Bishop Mark Davies said the alarming findings of last week’s report by the Care Quality Commission on dignity and nutrition for older people contradicted the vision which first inspired the medical and caring professions.
The Bishops of England and Wales, meanwhile, said the report showed “something is deeply wrong at the heart of our health and care services”.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, Bishop Davies asked if medical ethics had been corrupted by practices which demean the value of human life.
Bishop Davies said: “Management and nursing practice have been questioned but surely we have need today to ask more searching questions of ourselves in a country where millions of lives have been destroyed in abortion, where human life is routinely experimented upon and discarded and when today pressure grows for what is called ‘mercy killing’ to end the lives of the terminally ill and the aged. So as a society we have need to ask: are we losing that respect and reverence for what Blessed John Paul II called ‘the sacred value of human life... the incomparable value of every human person’ on which the very ideal of the hospital and the caring professions are founded?
“Could it be that we have begun to dismiss the cries of the weakest in the place where they expected to receive the greatest care because their impaired lives no longer seem to have any great value?”
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of all health and adult social care in England. It published a report last week examining dignity and nutrition for older people as requested by the Government last year.
The review involved a targeted inspection programme between March and June, examining the question of whether elderly patients were treated with respect and if they were given food and drink that met their needs. It involved the largely random spotcheck
An elderly resident of a Catholic care home inspections of 100 NHS hospitals.
According to the national report, the review found that nearly a fifth of hospitals were failing to meet the basic legal standards and a further 35 needed to make improvements in their standard of care. Just 45 hospitals inspected were found to be fully compliant with their obligations towards elderly patients.
Among the problems identified was the failure to help patients to eat and the interrupting of patients while they were eating so that their meals went unfinished.
The privacy of elderly patients was not always respected, according to the report, because of the failure, for example, to close curtains and screens properly.
Call bells were in some cases put out of patients’ reach, or not answered soon enough, and this left some elderly patients rattling their bed rails or banging their water jugs to attract attention. Hospital staff also spoke to some patients in a dismissive or disrespectful way, the CQC found.
The report said that basic care of elderly patients was no mystery, however, yet concluded that many hospitals were struggling or failing to provide such a service.
It blamed the crisis on excessive bureaucracy and short staffing in some hospitals but also found that such problems existed even on wards that were well-staffed because of the poor attitudes of some doctors and nurses.
The Bishops of England and Wales said on Tuesday that the CQC’s report into the care of older people required values, compassion and an ethos of service to be put back at the heart of health and social care services for older people.
Archbishop Peter Smith said: “This is the moment many Catholic health and social care professionals have been warning of, a time when lack of care means the system begins to fail people time and time again. The report highlights not just failures in care, but something which is deeply wrong at the heart of our health and care services. How we value the people we care for, and how we treat them, holds up a mirror to who we truly are as a society and as individuals. The CQC report rightly identifies that we must put compassion, a commitment to dignity and a determination to keep people happy and healthy
CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec at the very centre of our care services; and that the systems are too often being allowed to fail.
“Regulation plays a part, but is not the whole story. It is essential to foster a culture of care which cherishes life from its beginning to its natural end, which recognises the Godgiven dignity of the older person, and sees it as the greatest honour to respect their dignity through the best care possible.”
He added: “We would gladly share our insights and experience with our own Catholic care homes with Government, as part of the Government’s agenda for working more closely with faith groups. This would be an authentic implementation of Benedict XVI’s message to us in Westminster Hall.”
Catholic ethicists welcome ban on embryo patents
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
LEADING Catholic ethicists have welcomed the European Court of Justice (ECJ)’s decision that stem cells from human embryos cannot be patented.
Following a legal battle between Greenpeace and Oliver Bruestle, a German professor, the ECJ said in its ruling statement:
“The use of human embryos for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes which are applied to the human embryo and are useful to it is patentable. But their use for purposes of scientific research is not patentable.”
The Anscombe Bioethics Centre welcomed the decision of the ECJ, commending the court for its ethical consistency, but it said that the ruling granted minimal respect for the dignity of the human embryo.
In a statement, Dr David Albert Jones, director of the Anscombe Centre, said: “The court has acted with clear and commendable ethical consistency in judging that if it is wrong to profit from destroying human embryos then it is wrong to profit from cells that are derived from destroying human embryos.
“It should not matter if someone else has destroyed the embryos for you. Inventions that rely on using human embryos both profit from and encourage their destruction. This clear decision closes a loophole left by the European Patent Office.
“The decision of the
European Court is very minimal. It does not prevent human embryos from being destroyed. It does not stop scientists from using human embryos in research.
But it does make it more difficult for commercial companies to profit from this destruction. It is to be hoped that this decision will act as a ‘nudge,’ encouraging scientists to turn from embryonic stem cells and towards ethical and more effective forms of stem-cell research.
“From the perspective of those who recognise the dignity of the human embryo, this is a small step in the right direction.”
The Brussels-based NGO Dignity Watch said the judgment was a landmark decision. Its director Sophia Kuby said: “We expect the European Commission to evaluate the next research framework programme in light of the judgment and adjust where necessary.
“The EU cannot go on funding research that involved the destruction of human embryos as it does up to now.”
The controversy concerning patency arose from a technique devised by Oliver Bruestle, a German professor, for turning human embryonic stem cells into nerve cells.
An attempt to patent his work was opposed by Greenpeace, which raised an ethical objection to the protection of work based on a human embryo which will later be destroyed.
TWO SEX ABUSE survivors’ groups have withdrawn from exploratory talks with the Catholic Church in England and Wales on ways to improve the pastoral response to victims of clerical sex abuse.
Representatives of Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors and the Lantern Project said on October 11 that they would no longer participate in negotiations with the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service, which oversees the protection of children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic
BY SIMON CALDWELL Church talks with abuse survivors’ groups break down
Church in England and Wales, because they said the Church was continuing to deny justice to victims.
Graham Wilmer, founder of the Lantern Project, said in a letter to colleagues:
“I can see no merit in continuing to deliberate with the Catholic Church... while at the same time I am having to support victims who are being crushed by the Catholic Church in the courts,” “I personally can no longer stomach the idea of being an active part of the illusion of goodness and understanding the Church is trying to create, so I am withdrawing from this particular endeavour, he said.
Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors announced its decision at an October 11 meeting between survivors’ representatives and the advisory group in London.
In a press statement, MACSAS said it had withdrawn because of the manner in which the talks had been conducted, the lack of any coherent purpose, aims or objectives, what it said was the manipulation of these talks in the media by the Catholic Church and the failure of the Catholic Church to acknowledge the duty owed to the many thousands of victims of abuse perpetrated within the Catholic Church and its religious institutions in England and Wales.
MACSAS said its demands included the acknowledgment of clergy and religious abuse victims as the primary responsibility of the Church and a realistic budget for any proposed response to victims.
“None of these foundational principles have been accepted by the Catholic Church, therefore we can no longer be part of these talks or any future working group that comes from them,” the organisation’s statement said.
Several survivors’ groups remain in the talks with the Church, including the National Association of People Abused in Childhood, The Survivors Trust, Survivors UK, One in Four and the Irish Womens’ Survivors Network.
Adrian Child, director of the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service, said in a statement to the US Catholic News Service that his organisation had been in dialogue with abuse survivors groups for more than a year.
The aim is to develop a sensitive and just response to survivors of abuse within a Church setting in order to promote healing for victims of abuse, Mr Child said.
At yesterday’s meeting MACSAS announced its decision no longer to take part in these discussions, he said. Regret was expressed by the group that it had made that decision, but the decision was respected, and it was thanked for its contribution to the work so far.
In response to the withdrawal of Chris Saltrese, a Catholic lawyer who represents people who say they have been falsely accused of abuse, accused the survivors’ groups of trying to bully the
Church into handing over money. “The Catholic Church should not be held to ransom by groups whose main aim is unconditional surrender to compensation claims,” Mr Saltrese wrote in an email on October 11 to CNS.
“It creates a climate of fear that rebounds not only on conscientious clergy and the laity, but acts to the detriment of the community at large, leaving many pressing needs unmet,” he said. “The whole focus of the Catholic Church on sexual abuse is disproportionate and should be scaled down to regain perspective.”
HELP THE LITTLE WAY
PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS
Today, Mission Sunday, is a day to pray that God will send MORE WORKERS INTO HIS VINEYARD, and also for the success of all mission activities and for all who have abandoned their homelands and accepted a life of hardship and even danger to spread the Gospel. In order to fulfil their true vocation, missionaries need help with projects necessary for evangelisation - namely the training and maintenance of catechists, the support of priests, religious sisters and seminarians, the building of small chapels, the repair of churches, and the translation of religious literature into native tongues. Almost every post brings us appeals for these evangelistic projects, and many missionaries tell us that they turn instinctively to The Little Way for the necessary funds. We find that people understand more readily the material needs of disadvantaged peoples and are not aware how sad many missionaries can be because they lack the tools to proclaim the Gospel and instruct their people. On this Mission Sunday, in thanksgiving for your own Faith, could we ask you for a donation to help missionaries in vast mission parishes to bring the Faith to others, and to build small chapels where their Christians can assist at Holy Mass. £200 would enable a missionary to support a Catechist for one year;
“I would travel the world over to preach Thy Name, O my Beloved.”
£2,000, with the assistance of voluntary labour,
would construct a chapel.
YOUR MISSION SUNDAY SACRIFICE COULD BE INSTRUMENTAL
IN BRINGING THE GOSPEL MESSAGE TO A WHOLE VILLAGE.
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Crossed POs and cheques should be sent and made payable to: THE LITTLE WAY ASSOCIATION, CH/10/23 119 Cedars Rd, Clapham Common, London SW4 0PR (Registered Charity No. 235703) Tel. 020-7622 0466 I enclose £ ...............to be allocated for: £........ TRAINING AND MAINTENANCE OF CATECHISTS £........ MISSION CHAPELS £........ FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY £........ MASS STIPENDS (please state no. ) £........ LITTLE WAY ADMIN. EXPENSES
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THE MISSIONS Our benefactors enabled us to send four million pounds to the Missions in the last financial year. This was used to roof chapels, to build small houses, to support Sisters and catechists, to relieve hunger, to help deprived children, lepers and victims of natural disasters, to support self-help projects and to provide Mass Offerings for needy priests.
Archbishop: ‘I did not intervene in Vaughan decision’
Continued from page 1: But the Diocese of Westminster said in a statement: “As with every Catholic School, it is the duty of the Governing Body of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School to appoint a headteacher. The Archbishop of Westminster did not at any time intervene in the appointment process or make any suggestions to the governing body as to the suitability of any particular candidate.”
Archbishop Nichols wrote a letter to the Daily Telegraph, referring to an article written by the Catholic journalist Charles Moore and denying that he had intervened in the decision.
He wrote: “I salute the governors of the school, who made a unanimous appointment that was theirs and theirs alone, despite outside pressures and innuendo.
“The Catholic character of the school is secured by its foundation by the diocese. It is the legal duty of all its governors to protect and promote this Catholic character, which is a key to the school’s success. I thank them, and all governors of Catholic schools, for their service to the mission of our schools, which are indeed worthy of government support.”
But both candidates had applied for the post when it was originally advertised, along with 23 other applicants, after which the diocese had said that the field was not strong enough. When the post was re-advertised they received just eight applications.
A member of staff at the school said: “There is a feeling of immense relief. [Mr Stubbings] ensures the long-term future, and is an exceptional teacher.”
Mr Stubbings joined the school in 1990 and taught Classics and Latin before becoming a year head and eventually deputy headmaster.
In the House of Commons on Monday Conservative MP Edward Leigh congratulated Mr Gove on his intervention. The Secretary of State paid tribute to an outstanding school and said “that the diocese and the department are determined to do everything to ensure it remains outstanding in the future”.
He confirmed that a change to the provision of governors, which would ensure that parent governors had to be parents of children at the schools they administer, would take place. The diocese had appointed parent governors who did not have children at the Vaughan.
Mr Stubbings is believed to be in favour of applying for academy status.
A former governor said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if a proposal for academy status will come before the Vaughan very soon.”
Several dioceses have already encouraged their schools to become academies.