As an undergraduate, Ronnie Knox made a speech at the Oxford Union which had the distinction of being quoted in The Times’ leader. The remark which attracted attention was ‘The honourable gentlemen (the Government) have turned their backs upon their country and now have the effrontery to say they have the country behind them’.
It seems to me that the Catholic Education Service is in a fairly similar position, frankly. It has turned its back on the Catholic Faith, and yet tries to say that the Catholic Church is behind it.
Just the most recent of its idiocies is its appointment of Mr Greg Pope as Deputy Director; a decision which has attracted a great deal of justified criticism due to his truly appalling record whilst an MP of supporting anti-Life and pro-‘choice’ legislation, and proposals and motions which were fundamentally opposed to Catholic teaching. John Smeaton, Director of SPUC, gives full details of Mr Pope’s record in this post.
In a recent statement, Oona Stannard, the Director of CES, has suggested that this is a time for Catholics to ‘pull together’, and that ‘the undermining of Mr Pope saddens me’.
Well, I suppose I have to say that it saddens me too.
It saddens me that anyone calling himself a Catholic could publicly undermine his integrity in the way Mr Pope has done throughout his parliamentary career; and whilst we’re about it, it saddens me that he was appointed, and it saddens me even more that he has Ms Stannard’s support, and – apparently – that of the Bishops as well.
Ms Stannard says that she has ‘every confidence’ that Mr Pope will ‘uphold the Church’s teachings’. I wonder why ? I fully accept her assurance that he has said that he will do that; but I have to say that I find it hard to understand why anyone would accept such an undertaking from someone who has for so many years consistently failed to do exactly that.
The splendid Mac, over on Mulier Fortis, has made the valid point in her most recent post that ‘Yes, Catholics should pull together. But they should pull together in order to defend Catholic teaching in its entirety. The CES has failed to do that – it is the Catholic Education Service which is doing the undermining.’
I’m sorry : but the whole sequence of recent events show quite clearly, to my mind, that the CES has turned its back firmly upon the teachings of the Church from which it takes its name, and which finances it.
Let us at least ensure that it cannot now say that the Catholics of England & Wales are behind it : by making it clear to everyone that we’re in front of it, confronting it about its lack of support for the Faith, and the Faithful.