Monday, December 14, 2009

A baptism... Brompton Oratory, followed by a lively gathering, lots of children, a table spread with sandwiches and snacks and cakes, plenty of good cheer. Officiating at the baptism was Fr Anthony Symondson SJ, who writes and speaks on architectural matters and is a friend of the family.

Whenever Catholic families get together, the subject of education comes up...parents are so keeen to get their children into the good Catholic schools, which as a result are beseiged by numbers. The Government has decided that the admissions procedures - which gave priority to practising Catholic families who could show that they sought a Church-based education for their children - were "elitist", and now, alas, our Catholic Education Service is effectively supporting this view. So now the priority will be given to families living near the schools - thus giving a huge advantage to rich families who can afford to buy housing near the good schools. There are some excellent Catholic boys' secondary schools in London, and parents start worrying about how to get their children into these schools while the children are still small...To get a child into a Catholic primary school, you have to show that the child was baptised within a few months of birth and that the family attends Mass regularly...and you will be competing against a good many others. If, for some reason, the child doesn't get into a Catholic primary school, it seems practically imposible to get into a Catholic secondary school.


Alan Frost said...

As a Lancashire lad I'd just like to say how for years I've enjoyed going To mass and services at the Brompton Oratory (though never a baptism!) when I'm in London. Recently met Fr. Ignatius and as a (much smaller scale) fellow Catholic writer I did contribute three pieces on Fr. Faber to the Oratory Magazine some years ago. I do have a Christmas message that may be of use given your international standing if you have time to get in touch.
God bless, keep up your great work!

Anonymous said...

Joanna, don't wish to appear cynical, but where are these "good Catholic schools" you speak of? I am not aware of any schools with the label Catholic producing better percentages of practising leavers than those which are not Catholic. Perhaps by "good" you mean academically strong? I would love to hear of some statistics which show that some Catholic schools are producing higher numbers of leavers who continue to keep the faith in practice. Perhaps you hve some figures. If not, can you qualify the term "good" please for those of us who really can't see these schools ourselves?

Archbishop Cranmer said...


The effectual fervent prayers of a righteous woman availeth much.

And pray for a Conservative victory. Mr Gove is not unsympathetic to the concerns of those parents who want a faith-based education for their children. And where the State fails, parents will be liberated to start their own schools. His Grace is planning a chain...

Alan Frost said...

As a Lancashire lad, I'd like to say how much I enjoy visiting the Brompton Oratory when I'm in the 'big smoke', and going to the services, including once the Rosary Procession (I'm usually in Fatima at that time), though I've never attended a Baptism there! Recently I met Fr. Ignatius and did some articles on Fr. Faber for the Oratory Magazine when Fr. U. Michael Lang was editor. On which note,given your international status, I have a Christmas message that might be of seminal value, if you'd like to get in touch.
Keep up the great work!

Malcolm McLean said...

A long time ago, the Church made the decision to offer a Catholic education to any baptised Catholic who wanted one.

Whilst the advantages of that policy are obvious, the disadvantage is that the education system becomes bigger than the parishes it supposedly serves. It's then harder to make the school serve the needs of the parish rather than those of the wider community which, unfortunately, sees Christianity as something useful to impose on children rather than something to live itself.

Janjan said...

The Government is really overstepping it's bounds when it comes to faith-based schools. Just look at the recent decision regarding the Jewish school! Shouldn't they as well as the Catholics be allowed to determine who is a member of their faith community? It's getting ridiculous.

Angel said...

I know many affluent non catholic
families who send their children to catholic schools because of the
high academic standard and overall
pastoral care that the students receive.I support the baptismal
certificate approach.