Back at university, a couple of friends and I set a few cryptic crosswords for the student rag. One of my more awful clues was: God-fearing feline addict? (8)
Anyway, the chairman of the Catholic Education Service, Vincent Nichols, has come out fighting [free registration required] against the proposal for faith schools to have to give a quarter of places to children from other religions or none. (I’m sceptical of the idea myself, but for different reasons.)
Let me try to interpret the Archbishop’s argument as best I can, although I caution you that theological exegesis was never my strong point (I went to a brain-rotting secular comp, you see).
“The amendment is… deeply insulting of the reality and achievements of Catholic schools. … The intended amendment is based on the assumption that Catholic schools, as they stand, are socially divisive. The evidence is the opposite”
It’s not our fault. Any divisiveness must all be down to those other religions. Did you know that some of them aren’t even true? We obviously deserve special treatment.
“the coercive measures being proposed by the Government will not win co-operation.”
We will not tolerate the government telling us how to spend the taxpayers’ money it gives us. We will confront them over this.
“Confrontation will not build social cohesion.”
Ah. Um… But miiii-iiiiss, he started it…
“Those who understand Catholic education know very well that it is an integrated endeavour, centred on the person of Christ, whose Spirit informs the school and whose teaching is embraced and explored in every aspect of its life.”
Hello children. Let me tell you about Jesus – but I’ll do it through the medium of dance. And maths. And biology.
“The introduction of ‘admissions requirements’ is a Trojan horse, bringing into Catholic schools those who may not only reject its central vision but soon seek to oppose it.”
Fear the militant entryist heathens! They will sacrifice their own children’s education to destroy the ethos of my precious schools!
“Catholic schools, on average, already welcome 30 per cent of their pupils from other Churches, faiths or none.”
This in no way undermines the rest of my case.
“Is it really sensible to assume that a new Catholic school could be planned on the projected needs of the Catholic community – for that is what happens – only for a quarter of those places to be taken away from that group of parents?”
A school that only discriminates 75% in favour of Catholics would be discriminatory. Now, I understand there are some people who aren’t Catholics but think they still should be able to send their children to their local schools. What these people refuse to see is that Catholics are more important. Can we have some more money now?