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Showing posts from December, 2007

Protestants and Pagans

Who is the more Catholic: a witchdoctor or a Calvinist minister? It is a question I have often asked myself ever since I made friends with a very charming young man called Darren. Darren came from a typical lukewarm Protestant background. Old-style ‘public school’ (in the British sense) in pre-Mandela South Africa, with freemasonic Anglicanism and vicious bullying. Then national service in the Army (more bullying).

By the time I met him, he had found his way to Catholicism, ‘via paganism’, as he said. He was devouring Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and encouraged me to do the same.

At university there were plenty of nerdy mathematicians and scientists in the Christian Union. They broadcast their conviction that Catholics were no better than pagans. After I had made friends with Darren, I began to wonder whether in fact those geeks were on to something.

On the face of it, it is undeniably true that Catholics seem to worship statues, mutter incantations and generally do all sorts of things that pa…

Being a sign of contradiction for Catholic education

THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL (in the Constitution Gravissmum Educationis, 28th October, 1965) taught that Catholic education should be characterised by four key elements. They make a good checklist for parents searching for the right school for their children: 1. Promotion of academic excellence; 2. Breadth (an all-round education); 3. Moral formation (teaching children to choose what it is right); 4. A formation in prayer, especially how to pray with the liturgy of the Church.

The Council Fathers are clear that every one of the four aspects is geared towards evangelisation: Catholic education should make a difference not just to the children at Catholic schools, but also to the world of work they will enter when they leave full-time education.

Catholic schools today are like a shop window for the Church: they should show Catholic life and witness at its most authentic, preparing the young to bear witness to the faith and to become the movers and shakers in every sphere of modern life. A …