Friday June 8th
A HOT DAY...
...and off to the cool of St James, Spanish Place, where we hold the committee meetings of the Association of Catholic Women. We always start by going to the lunchtime Mass - which incidentally is invariably very well attended,it seems there are lots of people who make weekday Mass a part of their lives in London - and it's also a handy church for confession as this is available every weekday from 12 noon to about 1pm. We hold our ACW committee meetings in the large parish room which is in the semi-basement of this massive Victorian pile, and the meetings are always talkative (well, obviously...but truly, truly it isn't just me that talks...)and teeming with ideas.
We've just reached the climax of our 2008 Religious Education Project for primary schools, and will be announcing the winners. The children who have produced the best work get copies of the new mini-Catechism, plus certificates and other prizes, and a trophy which the school keeps for a year. And every child who takes part gets a holy picture, and some of the best work is displayed on the ACW website. We do get some evidence of really good work done in Catholic primnary schools. But frankly, some of the work that gets sent in is very, very poor. It is a fact that Catholic primary schools are crippled by the poor Religious Education syllabus they are obliged to follow and the silly books they are made to use. In spite of this, some schools do manage to teach the Faith and do very well. Others sink into the mire of soggy rubbish and cliches that passes for Catholic instruction in the minds of catechetical "experts".
The winning schools this year have produced really excellent work and I will be revealing their names in due course and you can see the work on the ACW website.
According to a report in the Evening Standard, Cherie Blair is to attend the Civil Union (ie a same-sex marriage, or "gay wedding") of a friend, and play an active role by "giving away" this friend - ie sort of like the father of a bride does in a real marriage - as part of the ceremony.
If this is true, this is serious. No Catholic can in good conscience take part in such a ceremony, and a Catholic in public life has the extra responsibility of giving scandal by celebrating the "gay lifestyle", ie active homosexual lifestyle, in this way. Any sort of legal ceremony between two people of the same sex which masquerades as a marriage is a mockery of the great reality of matrimony which is the unique lifelong bond between a man and a woman which establishes a new family. The Church teaches this plainly, it was spelled out in some detail in a special document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith because of the importance of this matter, and the Holy father has made it the subject of specific teachings in recent weeks.