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JUNE 29 2012 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Bishops’ new blueprint for RE highlights Last Things
BY ED WEST
A NEW Religious Education Curriculum Directory has been published for the time in 16 years, promising to counter difficulties brought about by the internet, the “privatisation of morality” and the “dictatorship of relativism” in moral reasoning.
The textbook is used to accompany the RE curriculum and was published by the Bishops’ Conference for use by pupils aged from three to 19.
Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham, chairman of the Catholic Education Service, asked for the Curriculum Directory, last changed in 1996, to be revised and updated to “better to ensure highquality Religious Education in the schools of the 21st century”.
Compiled by the Bishops’ Conference’s Department for Catholic Education and Formation, working with advisers and practitioners from across the dioceses of England and Wales, the new directory follows the outline of the Four Constitution of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
It stresses the authority of the Church, popes and bishops having “carefully transmitted to the generations whom they shepherd the truths revealed and taught by Jesus Christ”. It also comes in response to “the practice of selective adherence to the teachings of the Church and growing suspicion of the sources of any authority”.
The new directory also states that because of “changes in society, the internet has made it more difficult” to transmit the authority of the Church because children “suspicious of any source of authority” turn to the internet as a source of guidance.
The directory also features the fall of the angels, which was missing from the previous directory, while judgment and purgatory are discussed as two of the Four Last Things.
Also heavily emphasised are the Church’s approach to sexuality, including natural family planning and Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.
There are also more detailed references from the Catechism, reflecting concerns that educators may not be fully catechised, so that “educators are encouraged to make use of the catechetical formulas found in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church”.
The section dealing with Holy Scripture has been elaborated, “addressing a concern that pupils are not being given a sufficient grounding in this area”, as has the area of apologetics.
There is greater emphasis on Catholic social teaching, the Catholic understanding of virtue, “new challenges to justice and peace” such as global terrorism, New Atheism “and the rejection of the supernatural”, and “the widespread yet fallacious view that science and faith are opposed to one another”.
Social changes are reflected in the study of “the rich diversity of religious practice found in modern Britain including the growth of Islam”, while there is also more attention paid to the needs of children with disabilities and special needs “and this is reflected in this guidance”.
The new document was launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Gaudet Mater Ecclesia, the opening declaration of the Second Vatican Council.
Fr Tim Gardner, the CES’s religious adviser, said: “The directory studies the Second Vatican Council’s four constitutions, which are the four areas of study, at the end of which are sample questions which get into apologetics.
“There is a specific request that we look at the workings of the Council itself, partly because we begin the year of faith, and partly the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Council. That represents the hermeneutic of continuity.
“There is widespread concern among all RE advisers that children are not really getting the solid grounding in Scripture that they could be. They need to be taught the Catholic understanding of theology of the body.”
Fr Gardner added that currently exam boards “were very fond of opinion and feeling questions, but opinions still need to be informed”.
Those compiling the directory also had to be aware that not every catechist, whether a teacher or otherwise, will necessarily look up quotes in the Catechism and so simply referencing it is not enough.
“The Bible and science, the Bible and history, all the things that are in the Catechism but could be spelt out more clearly are, in detail.”
Deacons ordained at Westminster Cathedral
Seminarians Mark Walker, Jeffrey Downie, Fortunato Pantisano, Martin Plunkett and Oscar Ardila were ordained as deacons by Archbishop Nichols on Saturday Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk
Gove: urging pupils to sign marriage petition is not illegal
BY ED WEST
EDUCATION SECRETARY Michael Gove has told the Catholic Education Service (CES) that St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls in Carshalton did not break the law when it urged pupils to sign the petition opposing same-sex marriage.
After a student had complained to the Pink News, the National Secular Society wrote to Mr Gove, suggesting that the activities encouraged by the CES went beyond a statement of religious doctrine into the promotion of partisan political activism in schools.
In a letter to the National Secular Society Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Schools, said: “The Secretary of State has examined the evidence in detail. He has considered the description of the assembly at which the petition was discussed, and has also taken into account the religious character of St Philomena’s School and the freedom faith schools properly have to teach about sexual relations and marriage in the context of their own religion.
“He has found that, on balance, the school has worked within the legal framework provided by section 407 of the Education Act 1996.”
But the Secretary of State had written to the CES saying he was concerned that their letter to the schools “unintentionally blurred the distinction between discussing issues that are a matter of faith and promoting partisan political views”.
Remains of faithful re-interred BY DAVID V BARRETT
SIX medieval monks and three probable recusants were re-buried at St Peter’s Church, Eynsham, Oxfordshire last Saturday.
The nine bodies were unearthed 25 years ago in an archaeological dig following the extension of an Anglican church graveyard. Six,
all male, are believed to have been medieval monks at Eynsham Abbey, which was closed in 1538 in the dissolution of the monasteries.
The other three – two women and a man – have been dated to after the Reformation, and so are thought to be recusants.
Fr Martin Flatman of St Peter’s church said: “Suddenly it dawned on me that I didn’t know where the bodies were. I found out they were in the museum’s storage and I applied to have them back.
“As Catholics we honour the dead and we wouldn’t want to leave them, particularly those faithful 16th-and-17th century Catholics who faced persecution.”
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Priest remembers children killed in Derby house fire Newlyweds who handed in petition face vicious abuse
BY DAVID V BARRETT
HUNDREDS of mourners lined the streets of Derby last week for the funeral of the six children who died from a fire at their home.
Five of the children died at the scene from smoke inhalation; the oldest, Duwayne Philpott, died two days later.
Horse-drawn carriages brought the six white coffins to St Mary’s church, each coffin with the name of one of the children painted on the side, and a symbol on the end.
The children’s parents were not allowed to be at the funeral. Mick Philpott, 55, and Mairead Philpott, 31, are held in custody, charged with the murder of their children.
The family’s priest, Fr Alan Burbidge of St George’s church, Normanton, Derby, led the Mass. In his homily he spoke of God’s love.
“The lives of Duwayne, Jade, John, Jack, Jessie and Jayden will flower again even more fully in the paradise which God had in mind for us since he brought forth humans on this lovely planet earth. There, in the embrace of God’s love, they will live and be happy forever,” he said.
The children were “loved so much by their parents, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, teachers and companions,” he said. “Too soon their bright and lovely lives came to an end... Their smiles will now light up the face of God,” he said.
Five of the children were pupils at St George’s Catholic Primary School. Head teacher Patricia Hurd gave a tribute to each of them.
“Jade was everybody’s friend whose manners were impeccable. John was lively, jolly and a caring boy. Jack was shy, delightful and eager to learn. Jesse was generous, loving and was always smiling and laughing. Jayden was a whirlwind who loved playing outside and made friends easily. The school will miss them greatly,” she said.
Dr Christopher Reynolds, head teacher of St Benedict’s Catholic School and Performing Arts College where Duwayne was a pupil, said: “Duwayne was modest, hard-working and a genuinely popular boy who was always looking to improve his skills. One of my more personal memories of Duwayne was bumping into him after Derby County had played. I think we spent most of the conversation talking about the referee and how dreadful he was.”
Choirs from both schools sang at the 90-minute Requiem Mass. The order of service included a page for each child, with a photograph and a tribute written by the children’s step-siblings.
BY DAVID V BARRETT
A YOUNG married couple who were photographed delivering a pro-marriage petition to Downing Street have been subjected to a vicious online hate campaign.
Rhys and Esther Curnow, both 23, took part in the presentation of the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) petition to 10 Downing Street earlier in June. They were dressed in wedding outfits and the petition, with 575,000 signatures in favour of the traditional meaning of marriage, was gift-wrapped.
The publicity photograph was shown on the Pink News website, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, drawing a number of comments. One, by a Manchester city councillor, Kevin Peel, read: “Lovely photo of newly wed Rhys Curnow on his Fb. Shame he doesn’t want me to ever have same.” It then gave a link to Mr Curnow’s Facebook page.
Since then the Curnows have been bombarded with messages on Facebook and Twitter.
One Twitter user wrote: “Esther Curnow needs a punch in the face. That is all.” Another wrote: “Did Esther Curnow suffocate and die a sad and lonely death in her polyester wedding dress yet? No? Shame...”
A Facebook message said in capitals: “Go die and rot in hell.” Another said: “I really hope you & your husband turn out infertile & die of cancer. That would be something to celebrate.”
Another person, commenting on the Facebook messages, wrote: “I say BRING ON THE HATE! I really hope that both you morons get all the hate and threats in the world. You deserve nothing but sadness.”
The couple later changed their Facebook settings to prevent messages other than from their friends.
Mr Curnow said: “We are really shocked and saddened at what’s happened.”
“We’re at a loss to understand how people could be so vicious. All we did was hand in a petition at Downing Street. Surely there’s room for people to disagree without resorting this kind of hatred and abuse.”
Colin Hart, campaign director for C4M, said: “The level of abuse that this young couple have been subjected to is shocking. Having people going out of their way to trawl through the internet to find personal Facebook pages, just so they can send vile and hate-filled rants is appalling.
“Rhys and Esther are a lovely couple who agreed to take part in the presentation of our petition to Downing Street, because they care about this issue and want to take part in the debate.”
NEWSBULLETIN Auctioneers to sell chalice and paten for a second time A CHALICE and paten from St Augustine’s Abbey, Ramsgate, Kent, which sold for almost £18,000, have been returned by the buyer and are to be auctioned again.
to the rising price of gold. Auctioneer Tony Pratt said the owner had felt “something of such local and historical importance should be returned to its county of origin”.
The gold and ivorymounted chalice and matching paten, made by Arts and Crafts goldsmith Omar Ramsden, is now expected to be sold for £25,000 to £35,000 owing
Other treasures from the abbey were kept for the church after a lastminute intervention.
Eleven Benedictines voted to leave the abbey in 2009.
Pope honours ordinariate priests BENEDICT XVI has elevated three priests of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham to the rank of chaplain of His Holiness (monsignor).
Mgr Edwin Barnes, Mgr Robert Mercer and Mgr David Silk have all received the honour from the Holy Father, recognising their former ministry as Anglican bishops. Mgr Barnes and Mgr Silk were received and ordained via the Personal Ordinariate in 2011, while Mgr Mercer was received and ordained earlier this year.
The Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, said: “In every possible way he has sought to recognise the fruitful Anglican ministry which we undertook before entering the Catholic Church; this honour for these three distinguished men is a further sign of our Holy Father’s love and warmth toward this project.”
The announcement was made this morning as ordinariate clergy met for their summer plenary.
Abbey choir to sing for Pope WESTMINSTER ABBEY’S choir is to sing for the Pope today at a Mass in St Peter’s Basilica marking the Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul.
Choristers will sing with the Sistine Chapel Choir and the Mass will be broadcast live around the world. Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster Abbey, said it was a fruit of the papal visit was “a powerful symbol” of the “long ecumenical journey”.
Nuncio signs up to conference ARCHBISHOP Antonio Mennini, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, is to attend the Evangelium conference this year and celebrate Sunday Mass.
The conference, to be held in August at the Oratory School, Reading, aims to educate Catholics in the faith and includes speakers such as blogger Fr Tim Finigan, barrister Neil Addison and theologian Fr Andrew Pinsent, a former particle physicist at CERN.
Blogger to be ordained a priest JOHN HUNWICKE, distinguished scholar, blogger and former Anglo-Catholic clergyman, was to be ordained a Catholic priest of the ordinariate on Wednesday, June 27.
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Catholic charities condemn Cameron’s plans on welfare
BY DAVID V BARRETT
DAVID CAMERON’S plans for reforming the welfare system have been strongly criticised by Catholic charities.
Laying out his plans this week for a future Conservative administration unhampered by his Liberal Democrat coalition partners, Mr Cameron said he wanted to eliminate the “culture of entitlement” to benefits.
Among other radical changes he proposed to scrap housing benefit for under-25s, at a potential saving of nearly £2 billion a year. He also intends to cap child benefit payments to families with no more than three children.
Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) said it was “extremely concerned” over the proposed cuts, while the Cardinal Hume Centre, which helps homeless 16 to 21-year-olds in London, said the Prime Minister’s plans were “simplistic and could fuel a rise in homelessness”.
CSAN is the umbrella group for social action charities of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. In a statement on Tuesday it said: “Child benefit exists to provide for the basic needs of children; imposing limitations on the basis of family size will inevitably deprive children from larger families of essential support.
“It is important for the focus to remain on supporting children’s health, nutrition and other fundamental requirements, rather than setting arbitrary limits which will not only penalise people for having children, but also disproportionately impact upon parents of larger families who have fallen into difficult financial circumstances.”
Despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church and Britain’s major children’s charities, CSAN said, poor families are already facing a restricted cap on the size of their homes and an overall benefit cap, which encompasses child benefit. They would be hurt still further by the new proposals, it said.
A spokesman for CSAN described Mr Cameron’s proposed new benefit reductions “when we are only starting to see the devastating impact on families from the first round of changes” as “worrying”.
“CSAN is extremely concerned about proposed changes to the social security system, outlined by the Government today. The Welfare Reform Act, which made the biggest changes to the system since the Second World War has only recently passed into law. Its full provisions have not yet been implemented and it is still far too early to assess its overall affects, yet already the Government is outlining a further package of significant limitations and reductions to benefits.”
CSAN said the Prime Minster’s proposals to remove housing benefit from people under 25 may also have “a significantly detrimental impact”.
“The majority of people in receipt of housing benefit are already in low-paid work, actively looking for work or too ill to work. Setting an arbitrary age under which their housing benefit is completely removed will create unnecessary hardship and in many cases actively undermine people’s efforts to move into employment,” it said.
In a letter in this week’s Catholic Herald Cathy Corcoran, chief executive of the Cardinal Hume Centre, a homelessness charity, said that for many people living on benefits “is the only option besides l iving on the streets, riding around on the night buses or sleeping on someone’s floor tonight, not knowing what is going to happen tomorrow”, she wrote: “We regret this attempt to set people against each other: there are many working families who rely on benefits including housing benefit, to make ends meet. They are not scroungers,
any more than a homeless under 25-year-old is.”
Speaking on the Christian radio station Premier Radio she said Mr Cameron’s plan was simplistic and could fuel a rise in homelessness, especially among young people.
“Living on benefits is not an easy option,” she said. “It’s just not anything like he’s describing. For many people with whom we work it’s the only option until they get into work, which is what we’re helping them to do.”
She said many young people were not eligible for the Government’s own work programme.
“So how are they going to get a job, how are they going to earn a living, unless they get the support that we and other places like ours can give them. That’s much more of a positive approach than taking away something that actually they have a right to. They’re not taking it for granted. They need that housing benefit in order to live here in order to get jobs here.”
The Cardinal Hume Centre was set up by Cardinal Basil Hume in 1986 to help homeless young people sleeping rough and families in need in Westminster, helping them gain the skills to overcome poverty and homelessness.
Last week it was disclosed that Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has also attacked David Cameron’s policies, described his concept of “the Big Society” as “aspirational waffle”. His comments are contained in a book to be published after his retirement in December. Letters to the Editor: Page 13
Church mourns leading Catholic MP and pro-lifer
BY DAVID V BARRETT
LEADING Catholics have paid tribute to the former MP and pro-life campaigner Ken Hargreaves, who died last Saturday aged 73.
Mr Hargreaves was MP for Hyndburn in Lancashire from 1983 to 1992, having previously been a councillor and mayor in Oswaldtwistle. After losing his seat he worked for Conservative Central Office. He was awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to the community.
He founded the pressure group the Movement for Christian Democracy to promote Christian values in politics with the then Liberal Democrat MP David Alton in 1990. The group attracted 18 MPs from all the main parties. He also worked closely with Lord Alton on the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-life Group and was chairman for many years of the pro-life group Right to Life. He also campaigned for the introduction of the National Lottery.
Just a few weeks before Mr Hargreaves died at the East Lancashire Hospice in Blackburn, following a long illness, Pope Benedict XVI honoured him with a Knighthood of St Gregory for his service to the pro-life cause. Tributes to him came from all parties and from pro-life groups.
His friend, former MP Anne Widdecombe, said: “Ken will be remembered with huge affection by friends and colleagues. He was a tireless campaigner for God and the unborn. No constituent was ever neglected, no matter how trivial the problem. The trumpets will have sounded loudly on the other side.”
Lord Alton said: “Ken was one of those under-stated men, rare in politics, who had little time for vanity or ego but gave himself quietly to his causes. He never faltered in his deep conviction that every life is precious, from conception until natural death, stood four-square with the down trodden and combined patriotism and a love of his Lancashire roots – most notably Hyndburn, Accrington and Oswaldtwistle – with a deep and simple Catholic faith.”
Labour MP Jim Dobbin, chairman of the Parliamentary Pro-life Group, said: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to work on a cross-party basis with an individual of Ken’s integrity, humility and dogged determination to do the right thing by those who sought his help. The papal knighthood he received in the last few days of his life brought him great joy not in knowing that he had personally been recognised but rather that all who work for the prolife cause could share in the recognition of the nobility of their endeavours.”
Lobbyist Chris Whitehouse, former clerk to the Parliamentary Pro-life Group and a trustee of Right to Life, said: “Ken was a quiet and modest man whom it was a joy to know. But he spoke with a loud voice and clear determination on behalf both of this constituents and those with no voice of their own, the unborn child and the vulnerable elderly.”
John Cotter, vice-chairman of Right to Life, said: “Ken’s whole life was spent in the generous, tireless and loving service of others. He was a good man, a wonderful friend and for 13 years a greatly respected, dedicated and loved chairman of Right To Life. The fruits of his work will live on but we will miss him dearly. May he rest in peace.”
Mgr John Daly, parish priest at St Mary’s Church in Oswaldtwistle, said: “He was a great man and did a lot for the Church and he did a lot in his life. He was highly respected in the community, nationally and internationally.”
Kenyan priest says torchbearer who ran in bare feet is his hero
A BAREFOOT Olympic torchbearer has been hailed as a hero by children and a priest in Nairobi.
Against the instructions of the torch relay organisers John McBride, 48, ran his section of the torch relay at Barnard Castle, Co Durham, barefoot, in solidarity with poor children in Kenya. He then flew out to Kenya, where he ran with the torch through the streets of Nairobi’s Korogocho slum, before donating his torch to the St John’s Sports Society, a free gym for young people partly funded by Cafod.
“It will stand there as a reminder to all those young people that their dream of competing in the Olympics is not a distant fairytale, but something they can reach out and touch with their own hands,” he said. Mr McBride also gave away 60
pairs of shoes and trainers donated by pupils at St Patrick’s Primary School in Consett.
Fr John Weebotsa, who runs the sports club, said: “There will be many heroes at the London 2012 Games, but for me, John is the first hero of this Olympics.”
Bishop seeks to renew diocese in Year of Faith BY ED WEST
BISHOP Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton has made his diocese the first to respond to the Year of Faith by launching a plan of “renewal and restoration”.
The four-year plan will focus on the major documents of the Second Vatican Council and is being presented as an “opportunity for the people and parishes of the diocese to rediscover anew their beginnings in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council”.
Parishes across England and Wales are being sent guidebooks explaining how they can mark the Year of Faith, which begins on October 11.
Bishop Conry’s plan coincides with the diocese’s Golden Jubilee in 2015, in his pastoral letter the bishop said: “The celebration of our diocesan Jubilee in 2015 has this very specific purpose in mind, that it will make a difference and will be a moment of renewal and restoration. That’s why I’m asking you to be as much a part of it as you can.”
Bishop Conry will lead a series of meetings across the diocese to which all parishioners are invited.
He wrote: “I hope that the meeting will be an opportunity to talk about our faith. Why is it important to form community? Why do we go to Mass? How are we to respond to God’s word in the bible? And what do we mean by a mission to bring Christ to the world – are we honestly hoping to turn everybody into Christians and Catholics?”
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