James Le Fanu New Atheists have an Achilles’ heel
CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20
John Haldane What I learned from debating Hitchens
COMMENT, PAGE 12
David Alton Why I have hope for North Korea
FEATURE, PAGE 9
Bishop asks if Church should give up some of its schools
BY ED WEST
THE CHURCH should consider giving up schools that are “Catholic in name only”, the Bishop of Lancaster has said, re-opening the debate about the purpose of Catholic education in Britain.
In his New Year pastoral letter Bishop Michael Campbell wrote: “We are living through a time of great transition for the Church in which Christianity changes from a religion adhered to by the majority out of social convention to once again being a way of discipleship deliberately chosen by some, but not all.”
He noted that demographic movements meant that “parishes in wonderful neighbourhoods that 25 years ago were teeming with large, young families are now quiet and empty, while parishes in outlying areas seem to be thriving”. He said, therefore, that “older parishes with extensive church buildings struggle to keep them in repair as their numbers shrink, while other parishes cannot find room for meetings, education and worship”.
He added that economic constraints had to be considered and asked: “Is it right or sustainable to expect our Massgoing population of 21,000 to support our schools and colleges in which often the majority of pupils, and sometimes teachers, are not practising Catholics? Is it time for us to admit that we can no longer maintain schools that are Catholic in name only?”
He continued: “All of us know someone – a friend, family member, classmate, work colleague or neighbour – who used to be a practising Catholic, but isn’t any more. Surely our love and concern for them means that they should
The Church only exists to evangelise – schools are only valuable insofar as they help that
For the latest Catholic education news, visit CatholicHerald.co.uk be the primary object of our missionary or evangelising efforts, our energy and resources. The Church only exists to evangelise – that means buildings, churches, parishes, schools and colleges are only valuable insofar as they help the Church in that mission of salvation. How can we as parishes, schools and colleges – as the diocese – support this sorely needed New Evangelisation?”
Lancaster diocese oversees 87 Catholic schools and many have large nonCatholic intakes. In the Preston area one school is 90 per cent non-Catholic and another nearby is 80 per cent nonCatholic. Many of these schools are in heavily Muslim areas, but even in rural West Cumbria one school is 60 per cent non-Catholic.
A spokesman for the diocese said: “These schools were bought and paid for a long time ago, and the Church still pays for 10 per cent of the running costs. But it is not just about money. It is much more about the mission of the Church – these things are only valuable in that they help the mission.
“Bishop Campbell worked with his predecessor Bishop O’Donoghue for a year and has been continuing his work as outlined in Fit for Mission? Schools. This represents facing up to our current situation with honesty.”
In one parish in Preston, St Ignatius – English Martyrs, there are now four mosques, and minarets can be seen behind the English Martyrs’ church in the historic English Catholic heartland. The area is 40 per cent Muslim, and a majority of children are of the Islamic faith.
The diocesan spokesman said that Muslims in Lancashire “love our Catholic schools” and were welcome in schools.
Continued on Page 2
January 6 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Pope to visit Communist Cuba in March
Paralysed priest walks again after ‘miracle’
POPE BENEDICT XVI will meet Cuban president Raúl Castro during his visit to central America in March.
The Pope will also meet Mexican president Felipe Calderón and will deliver a message to the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as pray at the shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre in Cuba.
The Holy Father will have a personal meeting with the
Jesuit-educated Cuban president, before celebrating Mass at Havana’s Revolution Plaza. The visit coincides with the 400th anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin of El Cobre.
BY GEORGE MATYSEK JR
AN American priest who was paralysed from the chest down has started to walk again after praying to a 19th-century Blessed. When Redemptorist Fr John Murray struck his head against a railing after tripping along a walkway 15 months ago, the consequences were devastating.
The Baltimore parish priest suffered a broken neck that left him immediately paralysed. Rushed to a hospital, he underwent emergency spinal cord surgery and later began rehabilitation.
Doctors said that Fr Murray, who was known across the east coast of America, for his preaching abilities, would almost certainly never walk again.
“When they said I’d never be able to move, they took away all hope,” Fr Murray told the Catholic Review, Baltimore archdiocese’s newspaper.
But on November 28 2010 Fr Murray did something everyone said was impossible. While living and undergoing rehabilitation at Stella Maris in Timonium, Maryland, he moved his left leg ever so slightly, lifting his foot off the ground.
“I was ecstatic,” Fr Murray said. “Here I was about six weeks after they told me I’d never move again and, lo and behold, I could move. Just the foot, but it kept going and going and going.”
Today Fr Murray is completely mobile. Using a Zimmer frame he is able to walk on his own at his new residence at St Clement Mission House in Ephrata.
Fr Murray sees only one explanation: an encounter with the miraculous. In his pocket he carries a small object with him at all times. Encased in a locket is a relic – a piece of bone – of Blessed Francis Seelos, a 19th-century Redemptorist priest under consideration for canonisation, who had been a rector of the same parish Fr Murray once led. “Ultimately, all prayers go to God. Seelos can’t give the grace, but he was the conduit for my prayers,” he said.
Dr Ernestine Wright, medical director of Stella Maris, said she was shocked by Fr Murray’s recovery and that she had never seen anything like it. A bornagain Christian, Dr Wright said she believed it was miraculous.
Pope creates the world’s second ordinariate for former Anglicans BY NANCY FRAZIER OʼBRIEN
POPE BENEDICT XVI has established an ordinariate for former Anglicans in the United States and Canada who wish to become Catholics and named a married former Episcopal bishop to head it.
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter – functionally equivalent to a diocese, but national in scope – will be based at a parish in Houston, Texas. It will be led by Fr Jeffrey Steenson, the former
Episcopal bishop of the Rio Grande who was ordained a Catholic priest in 2009.
The establishment of the ordinariate and the naming of its first leader were announced by the Vatican on January 1.
More than 100 former Anglican clergy have applied to become Catholic priests in the ordinariate and 1,400 individuals from 22 communities have expressed interest in joining. In autumn last year, members of St Luke’s in Bladensburg, Maryland, and
St Peter of the Rock Community in Fort Worth, Texas, were received into the Catholic Church with the intention of joining the ordinariate.
It is the second such jurisdiction established under the provisions of Pope Benedict’s 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. The first was the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, created for England and Wales last January.
The parishes and communities accepted into the ordinariate will be fully Catholic but retain elements of their Anglican heritage and traditions, particularly in the liturgy.
Fr Steenson and his wife, Debra, have three adult children – a daughter and two sons – and a grandson.
Because he is married, the 59-year-old Fr Steenson will not be ordained a bishop and will not be able to ordain priests. But he will otherwise function as a bishop. Feature: Page 9
Man says jail is easier than life with friars BY NICK PISA
A CONVICTED criminal who was serving his sentence in a halfway hostel run by friars has fled and asked to be sent back to prison because life was too tough.
David Catalano, 31, who was serving time for a series of thefts, was first sent to a house run by Capuchin friars in November but he escaped and was sent back after being caught by police.
But earlier this week he fled again and turned himself in at a police station where he asked officers to send him back to jail, saying: “Prison is better than being at that hostel run by monks.’’
The Santa Maria degli Angeli community is based in a monastery near Enna on the Italian island of Sicily and has been run as a half-way house by the Capuchin friars for more than 12 years with around 60 people being accommodated there as they near the end of their sentences.
The Capuchin order branched off from the Franciscans in the 16th century, saying the order had strayed from the tough regime of founder St Francis. Neither the monks nor their monasteries are allowed to own property and they are expected to beg and rely on charity for all their needs, never keeping more than a few days’ worth of food at any given time.
A police spokesman said: “Catalano arrived out of the blue and said there was no way he could stay on with the monks. He said it was too tough and he wanted to go back to prison, so we happily obliged and he is now back behind bars. Life with the monks can be pretty tough. There are no mod cons and they are up early. There are no luxuries at the hostel and the monks run a very austere regime.’’
No one at the Santa Maria degli Angeli community was available for comment.
Will Heaven No one loves cities like country bumpkins PAGE 12
Mary Kenny We’re so lucky to live with ‘Catholic guilt’ PAGE 12
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